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October 28, 2014

Penang

From 8th to 21st October 2014, I, together with many other Malaysian polytechnic, community college & vocational college English language lecturers, were at Balik Pulau Polytechnic for a course. The name of the course was English Teacher's Training Project (ETTP) and it was a combined effort by our Malaysian Ministry of Education (MOE) and United Kingdom's Westminster Kingsway College (WKC). 


This course was no ordinary course since the trainers came all the way from United Kingdom. All 6 of them : Peter Ellis, Chris Gleeson, Andrew Steele, Katie Courtney Bennett, Bill Bowler & Carole Allsop. These trainers are very experienced in teaching English language to non native speakers. You can read brief descriptions of them here

I'm not gonna go further into details about the course but if you're interested to know more about it, you can click here

Instead, I would like to tell about the places I visited and the food I enjoyed in Pulau Pinang. 

Though I was there for a long time, I didn't got the chance to fully explore the island because my days were mostly spent being in a classroom. Pulau Pinang is a book and all I did during my stay there was browse through on most of the good parts because of the time restraint. Someday I'll definitely re-read it and I'm gonna do it attentively.

My friend Ikhwan was kind enough to be a guide and drove me and a few other new friends around. He's quite familiar with Penang. Transportation to tourist spots were also provided by Balik Pulau Polytechnic during the weekends.

Food heaven. That's what most people refer Penang as. So lets start with the food.

The best food I've tasted so far in Penang is the Nasi Kandar.


Owh man. I was like so rambang mata when I was queuing to buy the nasi kandar. So I decided to go big or go home. I picked a huge fried chicken, fish eggs and curry meat. The fried chicken was the best fried chicken I've ever tasted. It's juicy, it's huge. Umphhh. The fish eggs... My God. The fish eggs... and the meat! Melted in mouth. Besides that, the gravy... the beautiful gravy. I could taste the mixture of spice. Wow wow wow... Definitely to die for. 

I don't have pictures of the food because I attack them right away after they're put on my table. So you guys just have to see them with your mind eyes. Whatever that means. Imagine them I mean. 

Okey, next best food of Penang for me was the ikan bakar at Teluk Tempoyak. According to Ikhwan, Teluk Tempoyak is very famous for the seafood and nasi lemak. The place is usually packed with people at dusk - around 6.00 to 8.00 pm. A few friends who tagged along with Ikhwan and I went to the place at 9.00pm. By that time, the nasi lemak had already sold out but they did have more fish and seafood. We ordered sotong celup tepung, prawns and of course, ikan bakar. Wow wow wow... The ikan bakar was awesome! The best ikan bakar ever! I've tasted the one in Melaka and Langkawi and the one at Teluk Tempoyak, Penang just tops them all. The prawns were also really good. Sotong celup tepung is just ordinary though.

Ikhwan said, when in Penang, you better not eat stuff like nasi goreng and mee goreng. Don't eat food that are available someplace else. Just eat those that are only available in Penang. 

While at there, I've eaten Briyani, Cheese Naan with Tandoori, Laksa Janggus, Mee Ketam, Mee Udang, Air Kelapa Campur and other good food recommended by people who're familiar with Penang. I tell you, it's true. Penang is a food heaven! 

If you really want to come to Penang to try the food, I would suggest you to get a person who knows his/her way around Penang to be your guide. 


Enough about food. 

My next favorite thing about Penang is Georgetown. 

One the first weekend there, Balik Pulau Polytechnic prepared a bus to go to Komtar. Along with a few new friends I made, I explored Georgetown by foot until my legs couldn't stand it anymore. 



The one wearing a cap is Kamal, green shirt is Andy (not Alfred), yellow shirt is Wong Tee Wei, blue shirt is Maxwell, and the one in red is Faez Jiro. I've known Faez since my degree years at UiTM but the others were people I just met at the course. They're nice and cheerful people! I love being with them.




What to expect from Georgetown? Well, it's actually a bigger and better version of Melaka's Jonker Street. I love Jonker Street, so it's very exciting for me to explore Georgetown. You can see in the pictures the town is rather vintage. I love it.

Besides old, vintage, historical and cultural buildings, Georgetown is also famous for its street arts. 





































































There are so many pictures, I don't even bother captioning and organizing them :-P Kamal is a non professional photographer and he said it's the first time his camera went out of juice. There were so many pictures to take here!








The two pictures above, I didn't know who the ladies were. But people lined up to take pictures with the street arts. I didn't want to pose, I just wanna take the pictures of the art. So instead of waiting for people to clear up, I just snapped the pictures from far.


You can rent bicycles here if you don't prefer walking. I didn't want to rent a bike because I thought it would be a hassle to lock it whenever I wanted to go into a shop or look at a street art up close.





There you go. Believe me, there are many other things to see there. I haven't got the opportunity to try the hipster cafes and museums yet. Maybe next time. 

On the second weekend, a Polytechnic bus took us to Road Walk, Fort Cornwallis and Queenbay Mall. Road Walk Penang is famous for antiques and second hand stuff being sold like a yard sale. Fort Cornwallis is just a fort. Nothing special about it :-P Pictures below.

Queensbay Mall? Hehe... just a mall. 


FRANCIS LIGHT!





Besides that, we also went to Batu Feringhi. There's a night market there but it was raining at that time so there were not so many stalls opened. What a shame :-( The night market is so famous. Kamal was disappointed too because he wanted to take pictures of the beach. 

Besides makan-makan & jalan-jalan, I also went cycling while I was there. Balik Pulau Polytechnic prepared bicycles for the ones attending the course to use. 











Explored Balik Pulau on two wheels! Basically, Balik Pulau is just a peaceful kampung. Kinda isolated la... Balik Pulau literally means at the other side of the island. People said it's famous for durians. Damn it! It was not durian season. If not, I would definitely indulge myself with durian goodness. 

I really had fun exploring Penang. 

The ETTP course was not bad either. The trainers were rather fun and the lessons were useful for my personal and career development. Best thing of all is I got to meet and make friends with awesome people. Awesome polytechnic, community college and vocational college English language lecturers. 

All of the participants were divided into 6 groups. Mine was the one named Brighton. 


My favorite 'classmate' was Cath. She's cheerful and outgoing and even though she's so experienced, she was willing to listen to younger people's opinions. If my memory serves me right, I think she started teacher when I was 2 years old. Now I'm 27 so you do the math. Next to Cath in the picture above is Sarojini. I like her too. She's from Politeknik Port Dickson.
















The trainers and the participants are really experienced and I was so happy to get to know them and here their stories. During the closing ceremony, there were mentions of a sequel to the course. If the sequel does happen, I hope I can be a part of it just because I wanna meet these people again. 



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