Passionate about Penang

(BRIEF CAPTION) Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai sharing some historical gems about Penang with audience at sharing session on Penangs History, My Story at Straits Quay in Tanjung Tokong,Penang. Star pic by: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star/07 Dec 2014.

BOOK lovers learnt about snippets from the past during an up close and personal sharing session with the author of ‘Penang’s History, My Story’, Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai at the Popular Mega Bookfair at the Straits Quay Convention Centre in Penang.

Wong, who is also the Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer, shared stories from his book, which enraptured the audience who turned up at the event.

“True to its name, Jalan Zoo at Air Itam used to have a zoo, which was once opened by a monk. It was closed down but a lot of people do not know about it,” he said during the session yesterday.

He also spoke about the late Dr Wu Lien Teh, the first Malaysian Chinese medical doctor to study at University of Cambridge and similarly, the first Malaysian Chinese to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Wong said that Dr Wu was a Penang-born who had studied at Penang Free School.

He was known as the Father of Modern Medicine in China due to his accomplishments.

“Dr Wu is a character who should be remembered in the historical books and among Malaysians,” he said.

Wong added that for most Penangites, the state is not just about being an island, a city, or a state, “but it is the bond we have.”

Retiree Tan Swee Im, 59, who bought a copy of the book, said she was not very well-versed about the history of Penang before getting the book.

“Now, I hope the book will enlighten me about so many things about Penang.

“I went to Popular twice for the book, but it was all sold out previously.

“It will be interesting to immerse myself in the book to learn about the place I was born,” she said.

Retired banker Khoo Kay Liang, 61, said the book reminded the people about things they had taken for granted before.

“He (Wong) went through the trouble to compile bits and pieces about Penang, which will rekindle our feelings towards the state we were born in,” said Khoo, who bought a second copy for himself after he had gifted the first to his relative.

Former teacher Oh Aik Jim, 65, also said it was easy to relate to the historical figures mentioned in the book.

Oh, who bought the book a few months ago, said he was hooked to the book and used to finish two chapters daily until it was completed.

The 326-page book launched in July is the fruit of five years of research.

The book is a compilation of the weekly column in StarMetro, which made its debut on Jan 5, 2013, to great reception, and went on for a year – the last article was published on Jan 4 this year.

The book is available at Areca Bookstore at The Star Pitt St at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and major bookstores nationwide.

The Popular Mega Bookfair, which began on Nov 27, ended yesterday.

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