It is a natural rule for him to wake up early every morning without alarm, as far as no any special schedule like taking an early morning flight. The next day to arrive in Penang as well, HE woke up at 5:30. After washing his face, HE immediately went out from the hostel bringing all the valuable items, but limited. It was still dark around there. HE stayed in the area called “George Town” which is in the center of downtown. It is not so large area, HE thought HE would walk all around George Town area all the day wishing to see the history even though it is a viewing only on the surface. Georgetown is not a downtown full of skyscrapers like Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Tokyo, just like a residential area but with so many small restaurants and shops which are historical with heritage. Walking around in such an area reminded him of an old memory long time ago at his hometown. Quite calm.
Even though it was still dark, HE found a bright spot. It was a fruits shop. HE never thought in Japan there were such an early bird fruits shops in Japan! It was interesting.
Then, little by little, it became bright in the east sky. Surprisingly again, there was a working restaurant already accepted many customers !! HE remembered it was a very famous restaurant on all the websites.
It was a nice breakfast, indeed.
After breakfast, HE wanted to visit the cafe checked on the website. It was not so far, of course HE can walk. But it is still early.. HE decided to continue walking around.
Long and long time ago HE visited Penang a few times on business. At that time Penang was not registered on UNESCO World Heritage Sites (which was on 2008). Probably after that sightseeing in Penang became much more popular, especially Georgetown, “heritage area”. It was on business at those time, and quite short time HE walked in Penang, this time HE was surprised to see there are so may Chinese Temples, not only Then Hau Temple visited yesterday. “Oh, Penang is a live museum of Chinese Temples !” It was so interesting for him that each Chinese group had each Temple. Suddenly HE stopped walking and could not move for a while in front of one temple.
HE did not understand what has happened. But sooner HE could walk again, and realized that the cafe should be open now. HE approached to the cafe to be followed by Google Map.
The cafe was on the very famous street called “Armenian Street”. Easily HE could find that cafe, and entered. Again, HE stopped moving after a view of one photo of an old man on the back of wall of cafe. For a long time HE was just standing in the cafe. The cafe was operated by one lady, who talked to him many times, “Mr.!, Mr.!!”
Finally HE came awake, facing to cafe staff who called him many times, then again HE was surprised because the cafe staff, who was quite charming, looked like the front desk lady of the hostel in Shenzhen, but “a little bit”. A little bit headache HE felt, and wanted to calm down with a cup of coffee. Just quietly.
The next day and the following day, there were the repeating. In the morning after breakfast, HE went to the cafe. And after that, HE walked around in Georgetown, just walking and walking. Then the next day, on the way to the cafe, HE found the cafe lady coming out from the Teochew Temple where HE stopped for a while a few days ago. HE realized that it was the timing! HE talked to her, “Good morning!” HE got a reply, “Ah, Good morning!” That voice was more similar to that of the staff in Shenzhen working together long time ago, than her looking. HE was, of course, happy enough and all through the way to the cafe, HE talked to her about his introduction. Then HE got hers. After exchange of both self-introduction, they reached the cafe, then HE knew that she was a Teochew潮州 people, called “Malaysia Teochew Nang”. She said, long and long time ago, her ancestor came to Malaysia from Teochew, and she got a strict education from her parents to keep Teochew culture and rule, for example, every morning she went to the Teochew Temple for praying.
Teochew, Teochew…. there HE felt a thunder suddenly. HE remembered that the staff at Shenzhen working together was from Teochew. But at that time HE had little interest about Teochew and almost forgot… What a pity! Now HE came to know that this trip was to make him realized about Teochew and all through this trip 媽祖 has been protecting, and leading on that. So far several times…..
Then, she told him about her father on the wall of this cafe. He started this cafe in Taipin, from the roasting of coffee bean at his cafe, as an innovator of authentic cafe in Malaysia.
Also HE learnt that Taipin is the city in Pela State, in the south of Penang. HE leant as well about the history long and long time ago when there were TIN mining in Taipin and Malaysia.
There was a dark history as well about fighting between two Chinese group, called “Larut War”. HE ashamed himself that HE got very little knowledge about the history in Malaysia.
For the thanks of the education about coffee business history and Malay history itself, HE gathered all the brave inside him and invited her the dinner on the day. She looked a little bit confused at first but accepted. Basically it was not his rule to have Japanese dishes on abroad, but HE thought it was the time. HE proposed Japanese dinner, and enjoyed it together. HE prayed to 媽祖 strongly, “if it was a dream, please never be awaken”.
Then, 媽祖 gave him a supreme gift that HE got an invitation from her of a Teochew dinner the next day. Wonderful !! But where ?? At her own house by her own cooking. Unbelievable !! HE asked double confirmation to 媽祖 several times.
The next day they met at a seafood market to get several fresh fishes. Then they were going to her house…on the way, how cruel 媽祖 this time, one crazy car rushed to her suddenly and she could not escape from it….Crush !! HE called ambulance immediately. It was lucky that she got slight damage, but was hospitalized for a few days. HE went to the hospital every day, just instead of to the cafe. HE was educated more every day, in addition to the relationship between man and woman.
She said that after discharge from the hospital, she would be going to Taipin, asking cafe operation to her friend. HE gathered all the brave again, and necessary debt as much as possible from the bank, HE asked her to be attending to Taipin. She was more confused than at his invitation of dinner. And there was fighting between his seriousness and her confusion, then his seriousness was stronger. She accepted.
HE had no idea at all how long HE could be in Taipin, what is necessary to bring, how to meet her parents… Then, all those worries flowed away. They appointed to see at the station, but finally she did not appear……
Long and long HE was waiting at the station, then went to cafe, went to the hospital, but all in vain. HE realized HE had a long dream………but HE got a commitment himself that HE keeps a valuable soul inside more and more, probably in relationship with Teochew. HE went to the hostel to check out and took a bus to airport. HE booked a flight to Singapore there.
— Thank you very much for long reading of this stupid column. This is made of 50% fiction–