38 Rambunctious Teenagers, 1 Bus, 4 Destinations

Fun Fact! I spent wholly three minutes trying to come up with interesting titles that would grab readers’ attentions rather than over-the-top bland and hackneyed ones like ‘Trip To Penang’, ’19/8/2011 Penang Trip’  etc.

Post-Fun-Fact! This post will be rather photo-laden. 

This is one of the rare moments I actually leave the hermit hole I’ve hidden in for quite some time to be ‘adventurous’ (however ‘adventurous’ I can get anyway). Thus, after much persuading on Pei Fong’s behalf, I agreed to join the one-day Penang trip organised by my school’s Chinese Society on the 19th of August, a Friday.

Admittedly, I felt rather sour that I had to wake up so early on a weekend, not to mention the relatively hollow feeling in my gut caused by much worry over how this trip would turn out. Would I have fun or would it be a waste of time? Worry, worry, worry. So when I got on the bus, I told myself sternly that I wouldn’t be a pessimistic for the day and would try -at the very least, try– to enjoy myself, no matter what happens. It turned out that it wasn’t a waste, after all.

(Back): Pei Fong, Jia Yee, Yu Han; (Front): Jia Huan, yours truly looking ever so royally hippie in that tie-dyed shawl, Chew Jie & Shi Qian

Most participants were Form Four students, followed by Form Two students and only one Form Three student. We stopped for breakfast at Butterworth before we continued to our first destination, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion.

Chew Jie!
Yuen Ming & Pei Fong!
I like how I've managed to fool everyone by my non-existent 'tallness'.

Before leaving, we visited the souvenir shop and despite knowing it’s a place where prices are set so, so high to kah tourists, I still bought four souvenirs that cost me a total of RM 20 as I realised that I had nothing for my debate team members who would be coming over for a discussion the next day.

After that, we headed for the Kwang Wah Yit Poh newspaper press headquarters, where we had an insight on the multiple gears functioning within the headquarters to produce daily papers for the Chinese folks of our country. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to describe the working scenes in the building as we were prohibited to snap any photos in it due to privacy reasons so I’m just going to say how the whole visit to the headquarters reminded me of the Starstruck! visit to Menara Star in June, which I didn’t get the chance to join. Billions of sighs.

After that, we had lunch at Sushi King at 1st Avenue and not only did we overeat, we also overspent. The ‘perks’ of being in total control of your wallet. Sigh.

Then, we visited the Chinese book exhibition at PISA but predictably, I didn’t buy anything there. The next and last stop was the most anticipated one of all: Queensbay Mall. Well, what do you expect from 38 rowdy teenagers who were ready to break their wallets into half for teenage-ish stuff like books, clothes, accessories, books, shoes, bags and did I mention books?! The first thing I did when we reached the mall was excuse myself from my friends to dash to Borders, and by the time Shi Qian, Pei Fong and Chew Jie were already done with their shopping, I wasn’t done with mine yet, because get this, the Borders outlet in Queensbay Mall Penang lost all of their Murakami books, so in the end I bought Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and that in itself took me a few hours because it was a ‘50% off for second book’ purchase but I couldn’t find any other second book with the same promotion that I wanted, so the 50% discount was considered obsolete in my case.

After that we had dinner at the food court at the topmost floor of the mall, which I’ve never been to before. Sadly, most of us (Vi-ven, Shi Qian, Pei Fong and yours truly) couldn’t finish our food because we were simply too full, and even Chew Jie and Jia Huan who finished theirs were bloated after that.

After dinner, we received an urgent phone call from Jia Yee calling us to meet them at Brands Outlet where we found out they only called us down so we could complete their ‘3 clothes for RM50’ purchase. Nah, just kidding, but that was partially truthful. After much frenzy over these purchases, we gathered at the main entrance and left Penang at around 8.30 PM.

I wouldn’t say this trip was ‘educational’ or ‘eye-opening’ (which I, truth be told, think is the main objective of this trip) but it was certainly very, very fun and it turned out I had nothing to worry about in the first place.

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Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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