i love Straits Chinese culture - feels so much more glamorous than my normal Malaysian Chinese background. after this visit i have also developed an affinity for Penang. people are really warm and friendly - not sure whether this is attributable to their new administration (the last time i visited Penang i was 18) or because i was traveling with a pretty companion. compared to the previous times i was in Penang, random people on the street spoke to us more, and are super accommodating whenever we ask for directions.
on the last day of our Penang trip dad drove us to the Mansion. all photos stolen from S.
entrance to the Mansion. pardon my clothes. i can't wear half the summer clothes i brought home because mum deemed them too 'revealing'.
entry costs rm10 for all adults, irrespective of whether you're a student or a local.
i think for groups a guide is provided; but for only 2 people like us, we were asked to tag along to another group of mainland Chinese tourists. there are mainland Chinese everywhere we went. come on, mainlanders! RMB is rising! come to my country and boost our economy!
it's the real, restored home of a wealthy (really filthy rich!) Baba whose descendants have all migrated abroad and sold the property to an antiques dealer. there is a connecting ancestral shrine which is still owned by the family, but maintained by the dealer.
to the right of the entrance there is a Western style dining room -
and off the dining room is a mahjong room where the ladies play -
my mum plays these cards, as well as mahjong, during chinese new year, but i have no idea how to play either.
and S has a thing for old people. every time she sees them she must take photos with them, of them, whatever. hence the awesome photos of my ahma -
back to the Mahjong Room -
i swear, there is no ugliness in this house! zilch. nada. non. even the door (knobs?) handles are intricate.
these mirrors serve as a kind of old school cctv. apparently the masters of the house can use them to check who is calling, and then decide if they want to receive the guests, and where to meet them.
what is most fabulous about the Mansion is that it is very well designed, allowing for maximum ventilation and keeping us cool in the Malaysian heat.
another elaborate European style dining room
me pretending to be the CEO of Lim Kongsi..
太，太美了！！！i'm gonna faint..
even the outdoor spaces are pretty.
here we bumped into a guide showing a tour guide around, and we joined them for a bit. this is how we discovered the ancestral shrine.
i myself have never seen anything quite like this fully 3d carvings before, and i have watched 2 palace dramas. (however, when we visited Batu Caves a week later, we noted similarities between this and the sculptures near the entrance to Batu Caves.)
the entrance to the shrine.
the shrine itself.
on one side of the hall there are pictures and brief bios of the ancestors. in short, a young teenage Chinese lad came to Penang, amassed a fortune and married a local Malay girl. still, he pined away for his first love back in China, and finally, in his 30s, went back to China and brought her back as his concubine.
personally i'm not sure how the mansion could have housed so many, but maybe it was bigger back then.
small wonder i have so many freckles orz
the lighting is great for portraits! eg. my future wedding portraits.
here's the grandma posing for pictures again ;p
this portrait is the last generation of the house. the man is a real Baba and his wife a real Nyonya. they have both migrated. (we initially took them for models, they are quite good-looking!)
here the bubbly guide made me laugh out loud -
guide : they are very rich! very, very rich!
us : yes.
guide : if you don't believe me you can look at the Nyonya's hands! she has jewels on each and every finger!
us : ooh. wow.
then the guide physically lifted the chair/bench so we can see for ourselves that indeed, the Nyonya was wearing a ring on every finger.
haha this guy takes his job very seriously! sooo cute.
there is a Peranakan Jewellery Museum within the Mansion. in the old days, rich Babas would have their own workshops and commission goldsmiths to create jewellery for the ladies of the house -
real gold purses
i'm not sure what a dining table is doing in the middle of the museum, but i do like their bluntness -
this somehow reminds me of The Conjuring. ugh
out of the museum.. and while we were camwhoring, saw the newlyweds taking their wedding photos -
made our way upstairs..
an old-fashioned camera.
the upstairs living room. shoes not allowed upstairs.
wash stand in one of the bedrooms.
the teeny tiny Chinese style bed.
dressing room with tiny vintage bottles of perfume etc.
not sure why the lighting's so strange.
me in 10 years
isn't this for peeing? i think we had a red one at ahma's as a child.. for when we needed to pee in the middle of the night.
a Western style bedroom
they even have a tv!
S kept wanting to do a '大小姐 returns from studies abroad' photo, but my version was too punk.
i think she was aiming for this.
finally S got her wish and we wrapped up with a photo shoot with the Nyonya granny.
granny totally in her element, fixing my hair and teaching me how to pose.
i kept giggling as i took this, because i was thinking, is this what the high class nyonyas used to do? 赏花？i thought that was only in palace dramas.
granny takes her job as art director very seriously too.
off to pretend to be genteel Stepford wives
parts of the Little Nyonya were filmed at the Mansion.
did i inspire you to have your wedding photos taken at the Mansion?!!!
now i have to go out and find husband, tata!