Letters from the Past – Penang

Photo courtesy: Hzh — Wikimedia Commons

With our Sumatra tour over, we flew to Kuala Lumpur, but I’m thinking back to my first visit to Malaysia, before the daughter I dragged through Sumatra was born.

We had left India for Bangkok and flown north to Penang, staying in Tanjung Bungah, eleven kilometres from Georgetown. Our upstairs room in a Chinese family’s house, overlooked the Malacca Strait.

My two daughters were toddlers then, who wanted to stay there “every day” because they seemed to have the run of the Chinese children’s play area: colouring pencils; cups and plates to play with in the sand; and they were spoilt with chocolates. If my youngest at the time, was missing, I could guarantee I’d find her downstairs drawing on paper at their table or watching television.

How do I remember this you might wonder? Well, I didn’t, but luckily my sister saved, yet another of my letters. As I comb over sentences about my daughter racing downstairs to relish the simple delights of using a pencil, something she’d been unable to do during our months in India, I visualize her then, snowy head and little legs disappearing down the steps.

How grateful I am for these anecdotes of my daughters, more than the details of places we visited.

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