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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Penang: A Sikh New Year

A couple of people told me that there would be a celebration for the Sikh New Year over at Fort Cornwallis. I didn't even know the Sikhs had their own new year. A show, free food, and some cultural things were planned for Saturday from 6 pm to 10 pm. The actual New Year was a few days earlier, but mid-week isn't a good time for a party.

I went with a Canadian woman who is staying at my guest house. She's just come from India, and I've come from Thailand. We got there a little after 7:30. Now, in Thailand or India, they wouldn't have been very far into the event. However, this is Malaysia, and all we saw was two dances, as the performance was almost over. The dances were an odd mix of traditional moves, hip hop, and swing, and a bit jarring to watch.

The lines for food were too long, so we headed off to a hawker center (sort of an outdoor food court) for some something to eat. We stopped again to explore a place called the Red Garden, a sort of hawker center with shops.

Our route to and from the festival took us past the old colonial buildings that house government agencies, museums, and such things. I saw them all when I was here in the early nineties (this is my sixth visit to Penang), but never at night. It was nice to see them all lit up.

It also provided a photo opportunity. Carol reminded me of Jellybean. One minute she's there, and the next minute I was talking to thin air. I'd look around, and there she'd be, standing on a park bench, her face hidden by her camera. Later we also stopped at the Hainan temple, which is just a few doors down from the hostel, for more night shots. I finally got Carol to put her camera down by reminding her that I could sleep as late as I wanted, but she was getting up at five in the morning!

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