Lim (second from left) and her family members greeting Lee in front of her house at Lim Jetty, Penang.
GEORGE TOWN: A son, worried that his mother would have to put up with loneliness, devised a novel way of attracting people, even complete strangers, to visit her at her home in Penang’s Lim Jetty.
Lim Eng Choon’s trump cards were an old photograph of Lim Jetty and an illustration of the popular heritage attraction, which he mounted on the exterior wall of his mother’s home.
In just three days, more than 100 visitors walked up to the house to look at the illustration and chat with 97-year-old Lee Kim Kee.
Eng Choon said he came up with the idea almost a year ago.
“I live in a house near the same jetty, but I needed to leave for work early in the morning,” said the 62-year-old, who added that the ancient photo was a view of the jetty captured by a foreigner in 1910.
“It was presented to my grandfather,” he said.
“I enlarged the photo, and looked for an artist to draw it. Through a friend, I got to know 15-year-old Khoo Ka Leong.
“At first, he said he had no inspiration to draw a big picture for me, so I agreed to a much smaller version. To my surprise, he presented a huge drawing after six months, which was on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year,” he said.
Since the 1.5m by 1.2m drawing and the photo were put up on the wall on Thursday, the house has been the talking point of every visitor to the jetty.
Kim Kee, one of the oldest residents at the jetty, said she was surprised when people began to drop by her house.
“I was not aware of the drawing at first, but was only told of it by my daughter, who came back for her Chinese New Year break,” she said.
“Although I can’t hear very well, I can still feel the concern expressed by visitors, who are so friendly,” she said, adding that she even received visitors past midnight celebrations of the Jade Emperor’s Birthday, which lasted until 1am on Saturday.
“Although I was tired, I felt very excited. They also asked me to pose for photos with them,” she said.
Homestay operator Lim Kooi Choo, 45, from Nibong Tebal, brought along her husband, mother and four children to the jetty to visit Kim Kee after reading about her in a Chinese daily.
“I want my children to learn how to respect the elderly, and I felt blessed to have the chance of talking to aunty (Lee),” she said.
Teh Siew Beng, 47, who visited with his family, said the old photo and huge painting made the jetty more attractive.
“I’m sure these will bring in even more tourists,” he said.