Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Visiting the roots of Penang's founder

Last weekend, my friend Wailian brought Saucer and me to a very unsuspecting 'tourist spot' in Penang. He was telling us about how this place was even used as a venue for wedding photography. I'm sure you would be as surprised as I was, when he revealed this place to be...


Tadaa! Got you, didn't I? Even though it was a bit awkward, I proceeded to go in anyway, since I was really curious to know where Francis Light was buried. The cemetery was still well-maintained even after hundreds of years, it's amazing. Luckily the gate was not locked, so we all went in, only to find that we're probably the only visitors there.

Entrance gate

There was this huge information board at the entrance, detailing the location and information of each tomb. There was even a map with numbers to let you know how to get to specific tombs. I didn't pay too much attention to the numbering because I thought it would be more interesting to search for the tombs ourselves.

Information board

There were many important people who were buried in this cemetery before, especially the British. The pathway was nicely built and led us to the inner part of the cemetery. I guess if we just stay at this path without walking in, we wouldn't have known that this was a cemetery plot. :)

Walking path

Walking in gave us a very calm and peaceful feeling, maybe bordering on eerie too, once we saw these lying around us. One thing noticeable is that their tombs came in all different shapes and sizes, and most of them were buried on the ground, instead of inside the ground, unlike the Chinese cemetery. I suppose the size of the tomb also reflects the status of the person buried inside.


After the first path, there was a second path continuing, without the tiles. We walked further inside, hoping to find the home of Sir Francis Light's.

On the way in

We were greeted with more elegant tombs, with the company of huge trees that protected us from the sunshine. It was really rather comforting walking in the midst of thick trees, mainly because it made us feel protected.

Calm and peace

So we started with our quest to look for the tombstone with Francis Light on it. It wasn't that easy.


For one, there were plenty of mosquitoes in the cemetery! And we were all wearing shorts, so it was really annoying to flick them off. I guess even mosquitoes found this place to be comfortable to them. :P


I saw many tombstones with the last name of Brown. I'm not really familiar with the history of Penang but I'm guessing this Brown fellow must have been a very important person in the days of yore.

Mr Brown

Then there was this gigantic tomb that we saw, complete with a dome. We thought it was Francis Light's but it wasn't.

Saucer and witch

This was the back view of the gigantic tomb.

Biggest tomb

Still no sign of Francis Light. At that point, I thought of going back to the front to look at the map for the location, because the mosquitoes were seriously irritating the hell out of me. But then I saw it! The great father of Penang, Sir Francis Light, resting in peace. It's surreal to come so close to history, to know that Francis Light really did exist.

We found it!

Even Wailian was captivated by it.

Wailian admiring Francis Light

Thank you Sir Francis Light, for bringing us the wonderful gem that is Penang. :)

Posing with the founder of Penang

Anyone still thinks this place is appropriate for wedding photography?


vkeong said...

Wedding photography at a Christian cemetery is still *acceptable* for me. If anyone dares to shoot their wedding photos at a Chinese cemetery then I would be impressed lol

J2Kfm said...

i wouldn't even snap any pic at the grave, let alone wedding pics!!!

what if got supporting characters in the pics? not so ... worthy right?

Bamboo said...

well, that brings the sentence "till death do us part" to a whole new level :P

khengsiong said...

Thank you Sir Francis Light? Well I think many nationalists dislike him.

Many nationalist Chinese are still angry at losing Hong Kong to Britain, even though the city flourished under British rule.

khengsiong said...

Oh yea... lengchai lenglui *thumbs up*

Anonymous said...

hehe.. Last time when I was in high school that time .. we have this habit of going to this cemetery to take photo one.... the last time I go I also feel that it is very peaceful and calm. But I dun recommend going in on a cloudy day as it will appear dark and horror movie like scene. I went there and took a couple of photos also myself but me and fren didn't go hunt for Sir Francis Light. I am glad at least someone like you from outstation appreciate Penang with its ups and downs... not unlike some sour grapes who kept complaining about Penang and its people ... aka Mr Chen from IPOH...

On a side note... with some many comments and hints above, can you still guess who I am...? It should be simple then... sms me

iamthewitch said...

vkeong: Haha, yea, the Chinese cemetery photography would have opened up a lot of eyes. :P

J2Kfm: LOL supporting characters! :P I suppose during the daytime it should be ok? :)

Bamboo: You're right!

khengsiong: Well I guess not everyone will like Sir Francis Light but I'm really thankful for what he's done to Penang. :) And thank you for the compliments! ;)

Anonymous: I know who you are already! Loke!!! :)))

foongpc said...

Yikes! A post about cemeteries! And you told me you are afraid of ghosts!

Wedding photography at the cemetery? Big no no for Chinese - very pantang! : )

Ling said...

Hey Mei Yee, I read your blog once in a while, this cemetery outing is certainly extraordinary. Just my observation, your albow seems to bend at a slightly awkward angle in the last pic...

P/S: I like your food blogs.

Anonymous said...

hahhah finally... but ok lah with some help from mr boay... mauahahhha I shouldn't comment so much about that ipoh chai... che....rgds,loke

iamthewitch said...

foongpc: Haha.. Yea I know I'm afraid of ghosts, but I guess they won't be around during daylight? :) And no for me too, for wedding photography here. :)

Ling: Hi! :) Do we know each other in real? :) Anyway, I agree with you about the elbow thing. Somehow my elbow can bend more than 180 degrees, ever since I was small. Weird eh? Hehe..

Loke: Hehe finally the cat is out of the bag! Thanks for your continued patronage... Like your comments! :)

weilian said...

David Brown is the Owner for "Glugor Estate". He is one of the largest landowners in Penang. David Brown was a noted philanthropist who donated tremendously to the development of Penang. The 12-acre Padang Brown, on which his memorial now stands, was donated by him to the municipality. Other tracts of land donated by David brown include the site of the Snake Temple. Like many of his contemporaries, Brown took a local wife. His first wife was called Nonia Ennui while his second was called Inghoo.

Here is the link to "Glugor Estate"

David Brown Restaurant
David Brown’s Restaurant and Tea Terraces
Strawberry Hill, Penang Hill, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 04-828 8337 | Fax: 04-826 6337 | Email:

iamthewitch said...

weilian, thank you for the informative comment! Now I know why the Brown grave is so very big. :))