Yes, you read it right...doors. It’s easy to overlook the ordinary things as we travel to a new territory. But sometimes, paying attention to the little things lets us see something valuable about a place. Find out what I discovered about Georgetown, Penang through its Doors.
Georgetown, Penang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its street art and appetizing hawker foods. Apart from that, it’s difficult to miss the heritage houses and shophouses when you're wandering among the streets of Georgetown. The structural design of the shophouses, laid out in rows, represents the fusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European influences.
The Doors of Georgetown
History has written that the early town was predominantly settled by Indians and Malays, until there came an influx of Chinese laborers from South China to work in Georgetown and tin mines in Penang. Manifesting this history are the doors of Georgetown's shophouses. The basic carved timber door is Malay-inspired, while the butterfly-shaped air vents and small shrines in front of the house are from Chinese influences.
Temple doors, on the other hand, are framed with inscriptions of the names of door gods in the belief that the gods will protect the temple. Some have paintings of the gods facing each other and prayer lanterns hanging at the doorways.
As the Hokkiens, or Southern Chinese communities continue to make good money from tin mining, they soon brought their sons to English schools. Upon return, they brought with them the European culture and started improving their houses, giving these European touches.
The old tiles below the windows and on the floors were said to be imported from Europe
As shops flourished over time, some converted their doors into roll-up shutter doors. I would have preferred though that they keep the old architecture as this represents Georgetown, Penang’s heritage.
I did not get tired capturing images of several doors even though they look very similar. In fact, I liken all these doors’ colors as different flavors of ice cream.
Moreover, the doors seem to reflect the personalities of its dwellers.
Undoubtedly Indian - this is along Little India after all
Being a popular street art destination, street art around doors is inevitable.
This one's my favorite!
There’s also something rustic about the structures of Georgetown, Penang like the worn-out walls and metal doors that I can’t resist snapping photos of.
At this point, I hope I haven't made you feel like being "doored-out". My simple message goes like this: appreciate the little things.
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More stories on Georgetown, Penang street scenes from my guest post at The Planet D.
Want to see more door porn? I've put together 25 of my favorite door images from around the world in an e-book, each with a story behind the image. You can get it for free if you subscribe to my blog here.