Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!!!!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year from Penang and may 2012 bring you health, joy and prosperity.

Night Club: Slippery Senoritas - UPR, Penang (Top Pick)

Few who stay in Penang for any length of time will not have heard of Slippery Senoritas, Penang's longest standing night club in Upper Penang Road. Set amongst the bustling bars of UPR, SS, as it is kno
wn locally, is without doubt one of the best night-spots in Penang. UPR is home to many bars, including two of my favourites, Monkey Bar and Zanzibar (photoreviews to follow), and also the clubs Voodoo and Mois. These clubs are also popular with Mois being particularly busy BUT, they cater for a different crowd. Stand outside Mois on a Friday night and you will see that it is definitely frequented by a very young clientele. So where do the '30 something' crowd in Penang head for when they want to party? Simple, SS, and it's easy to see why.

I have now been to SS numerous times on differing nights of the week and can honestly say that it's easy to see why SS is so popular. Firstly there is the layout. The main area is arranged around a large, nicely lit central bar where the bar staff pull-off some superb juggling acts with bottles while mixing cocktails for the revellers. Tables and comfortable stools are laid out on a variety of slightly different levels in this main area which opens out just in front of a large stage to an area that often doubles as a dance floor when the mood takes. On the next floor up an all round balcony with yet more seating, another bar, and a large floor area provides further space for party-goers when the club is particularly busy, like Halloween and like it most certainly will be tonight!!!!

So what else has SS got going for it that makes it so special? Well, it's really the complete package that it offers. Throughout the evening the club is cascaded in various arrays of lights from a superb light system ranging from swinging beams with all colours of the rainbow to the black and white contrasts of high speed strobes. Then there is the entertainment. A superb Philippinno band 'Elevate' play a number of sets each and every night from around 9:30 pm onwards, starting of with some outstanding ballads and set pieces to get the mood going. As the first set progresses, and certainly in the subsequent sets, the stunning singers Joan, Rose and Reema really up the tempo and belt out some outstanding rock numbers both contemporary and classical. They clearly enjoy what they do and their voices, drive and energy really get the crowd going. They are a real pleasure to watch, nice people too :-)

The DJs (Chan and Menu) and the sound system are also outstanding. One of the owners is a DJ of 25 years or so experience and it's clear that this experience, together with a lot of thought and effort, and also expense, has gong into to making the sound system in SS something to be proud of. The sound from the vast array of speakers that surround the club is monitored throughout the night by the sound and lights engineer, Mark, to ensure it's not too loud, too much base etc etc. It's a pity some other clubs don't do this. The result is well balanced sound throughut the evening and some truly exceptional music.

On the music front, you should also try SS on a Thursday night. Thursday is retro night with the Retrokillerz as guest DJs, Retrokillerz being none other than the owner / DJ I mentioned, Harry, and my good chum and manager of SS, Jack. A great night out with a difference and a change in music theme.

The range of drinks on offer at SS is also staggering and prices are very reasonable IMO. There is also an extensive menu available and many people dine just outside SS in a courtyard which is shared between SS and a few other bars that surround it. And of course, what finally makes a club is the crowd and the crowd in SS tends to be more mature, fun and friendly with many being regulars.

So there it is, SS. If you are in town either as a resident or as a visitor you should definitely give SS a try, and preferably more than once. Wednesday is ladies night with free entry for the fairer sex, Thursday for Retro and of course the weekends are very popular. But just about any night at SS will be enjoyable and for that reason alone SS gets a well earned 'Top Pick' from me. Below are a few pictures to give some idea of what SS is like. More pictures can be found here.

My chum and manager at SS, Jack, prepares for another busy night.

Hostesses Irene and Sally at reception.

The band 'Elevate' in action, features three of my fave singers in Penang......




and Reema.

As the night goes on the band ups the tempo....

and SS gets busier as it gets later....

but the crowd is always good and just out to enjoy.

And finally, two shots from Halloween. Nights like this can be very busy but luckily SS has the capacity to cope......

Friday, 30 December 2011

Looking for a Print Shop?

After being in Penang a while most people will probably acquire their own computer printer and/or scanner. However, there may well be times that you need letters printed off, papers scanned or copied, passport photos doing and such like.

I have had a fair bit of printing and design work done just lately and was recommended a printers called CNC Printing Solution by my friend and fellow blogger Watertown Wanderer. The shop is at the top of Jalan Fettes (no. 14), close to its junction with Mount Erskine in Tanjung Tokong.

Last time I went I paid only RM 15 for:
  • 6 passport photos
  • 1 letter printed from USB stick
  • 1 letter scanned to USB stick
  • 5 photocopies (2 colour)

They also do:
  • Stickers
  • Business cards
  • Laminating
  • Rubber stamps
  • Photo printing
Good value for money and good, friendly service. They open from 10am until about 7pm daily and their telephone number is 04-899-5035. Email address: cncpenang 'at'

Good Dentist

One of the services that you don't need too often but when you need one it can be a pain (literally) to have to waste time to try and find a good one. Not had call to use a dentist myself yet here but when the time does arise I plan to use a dentist in Tanjung Tokong who has now been recommended by several people.

The dentist is KK Ong (04 899 1469) and it is situated on the Tg Tokong Road at the junction with Jalan Fettes (the dentist is actually on the right hand side of the road as you travel towards Batu Ferringhi and is opposite Fettes Residence).

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Underworld 4 - In Cinemas 19 Jan

Finally go to go and see Mission Impossible (4): Ghost Protocol yesterday and I have to say I thought it was brilliant. Plenty of action and very well filmed. If you haven't seen it already and are even the slightest bit interested in action movies I'd suggest catching this before it closes.

I was also delighted to see that my favourite actress Kate Beckinsale returns to the role of Selene in Underworld (4): The Awakening on 19 January. Really looking forward to this as the Underworld series of movies has always delivered. If I was going to get bitten by any vampire, Selene would be the number one choice ;-)

Friday, 23 December 2011

FM Radio Stations - Penang

Prompted by the need to programme the radio memory on the recently arrived car, the following is a list of what I've found to be my favourite English language FM radio stations in Penang over the last few months (good for streaming on internet too):

Fly FM: 89.9

Hitz FM: 92.8

Lite FM 104.4

Mix FM: 91.0

Red FM: 107.6

Traxx FM: 98.7

The Malaysia Central site is also useful as it lists these and the many other Malaysian radio channels transmitting with live stream so you can listen through the internet.

'Pick of Penang' Goes Mobile

Picked up the new Vios from Toyota today and have to say I'm very happy. Chin from Toyota even picked me up to go and collect it. Must say I was very impressed with the thoroughness of the handover from Toyota and was even more impressed with the bonus discount they gave me of a further RM 1,000 and RM 200 off the price of the tinting I had done (I went for the best quality CoolTint as I have seen the disastrous results of using cheap rubbish). They also threw in a large umbrella, full set of rubber mats, more fuel than they needed to and a pack-away large shopping bag.

Must admit it's really nice to have the car now, while the buses etc. are fine they are a bit inconvenient at times. Fathoming exactly where the bus-stop is can also be immensely hard in some parts of town!!!

I did drop one clanger though. Flicking through the brochures you can see that the numerous editions of the Vios include a radio/CD player which is listed as 'MP3/WMA'. Ordinarily you might be forgiven for thinking that means that the vehicle comes fitted with socket where you plug in your MP3 player of choice. Not so!!! It means the CD player can play MP3/WMA files from the CD. The system can be switched to 'Aux Input' if an adaptor is fitted 'in some units'. So, if playing music through an iPod/iPhone or whatever is important to you, check that your vehicle has an 'Aux' input. I shall be using the car rarely and even on the longer trips it's no BIG deal. I might explore the option of a retro-fit 'Aux' input but it's an assumption I'd made from the catalogue that was incorrect :-(

I'll post up some more specifics about purchase finalisation, insurance, servicing and such like in a few days but for now I'm just happy to have the car. I was also very impressed with Toyota who handled the whole MM2H tax-refund application for me as part of the purchase. Couldn't have been easier. I will be happy to provide Mr Chin's contact details to anyone interested in purchasing a Toyota, MM2H or not.

Good Taxi Driver

Mostly, while in Penang, if I have needed to take a taxi I just tend to grab one from the nearest rank and, now I have a rough idea of the going rates, I've always got a reasonable enough deal. Meters here are just for decoration. However, at the top of Penang Road in Georgetown, near the junction with UPR, there is a taxi rank (almost opposite Soho bar) where they even publish their rates to different areas.

At times though it's handy to have a number to call to book a taxi, especially if you have a lot of running around to do. Yesterday I had a lot so I used my trusted taxi driver chum Mike.

The trip yesterday involved:
  • Pick up from Tg Bungah
  • Drive to Downing Street in Georgetown and wait while I went to post office and bank
  • Drive to Bayan Lepas while I went to JPJ / RTD
  • Drive to Sungai Penang and wait at car showroom
  • Drive back to Tg Bungah
Total cost RM 80 with a total 'hired' time of about 3 hours. Very reasonable IMO. It would probably have cost the same flagging individual taxis down and there is a need to bear in mind that a couple of these locations are not near ranks.

So, if you need a taxi for some running around (he does a good price to /from the airport too at around RM 40), drop me a mail from the contact form here (or my profile) and I'll pass on Mike's details.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

New Bagan

Another quick update as I have had several contacts from readers asking about the opening of the new Bagan (see previous posts), mainly about when and where.

The new Bagan (although it's name will change) will be in Mcalister Road, Georgetown. The slightly bad news is that the opening will now not likely be until March 2012. It's a shame as there are no other venues like Bagan in Penang and it is missed by a lot of people. I also hope the format of the new place doesn't change too much, but we shall see.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Catvoque Events Production

I have previously posted a few shots of some good friends of mine who are members of the very talented Catvoque Dance Troupe based in Penang. Recently I got to shoot some more pictures of them in action at the Cititel Hotel in Penang. Managed to get some nice shots of them despite the scourge of photographers everywhere, dry ice or stage smoke :-)

A link to the public album can be found here. Tags and captions to follow.

Catvoque really are superb to see in action and their full show is really something to behold. If you are planning an event and need something to wow an audience you should really consider Catvoque. They can be contacted through their Facebook Page here.

Penang Heritage Haven Event

Thought I'd give this event an a mention seeing that it combines very good black and white photography, Penang heritage and the and a charity sale all the proceeds go to a very good cause, National Autism Society of Malaysia.

The event opens at 2pm on Saturday 17 December at the E&O Hotel and features over 100 photographs by 15 photographers. It runs for a week with a heritage and photographic talk at the hotel at 2:30pm on Sunday 18 December.

Monday, 12 December 2011


Just a quick post this, merely to let people know about the small disposable dehumidifiers that can be purchased from many supermarkets and used in cupboards and wardrobes etc. They are basically plastic tubs with a reservoir at the bottom and which contain small water attracting pellets suspended above it. They draw water into the reservoir and are good for helping to keep dampness from clothes and shoes etc.

They are used extensivelyin the Middle East where they are somewhat cheaper than in Malaysia where they retail at about RM 5 each. At times they can be had on offer. One of the most popular brands is Thirsty Hippo and, used in a cupboard with the doors kept closed, they will last for up to a month. Quite useful.

Maxis and Facebook problems.

In addition to all the other problems that many people I know seem to encounter with Maxis it now seems that there is now an additional problem that is affecting large numbers of Facebook users who have the misfortune to be on Maxis. They cannot upload pictures and constantly getting error messages regardless of the browser they use.

Even using Blogger is absolute torture. I do find Blogger quite poor when it comes to image uploads and particularly when it comes to moving them around. Several browsers handle this very poorly and about the only one I have found effective is Firefox. I have never had the problems I have had with Blogger today before though, oh and yes, I was using Maxis. Coincidence???

Yet another reason that I am happy to say I avoid Maxis like the plague.

Restaurant: Nyonya Breeze - Straits Quay, Penang

I had seen this restaurant on the first floor several times on visiting Straits Quay and often thought about giving it a try but I'd heard mixed reports about it and was a little hesitant. Recently I called in with a friend of mine and tried the set lunch that they have at around RM 25-30 per person.

For one person you will normally get some rice, a meat or fish dish and a vegetable dish. As there were two of us we opted to try different menu choices to get a good mix for sharing. We opted for roast belly pork, prawn sambal, a fried egg based dish and a potato dish. There was also a broth style pork-based soup accompaniment.

I have to say that the meal was very disappointing. To start off with the portions were very small, much less than you'd get from a hawker with little more than 2-3 mouthfuls per person. The quality of the food was also very poor, my friend, a local, commenting that it was like home cooked food made by someone who couldn't cook. The pork was tasteless and not well cooked, the egg dish was greasy and quite sickly with only the prawns, 4 of them, being anything like enjoyable. The broth was almost completely tasteless. The peach tea was about the only thing we really enjoyed. I think the waiter sensed the disappointment as he did say that the best dishes were on the A La Carte menu in the evenings. Trouble is, these were on it too!!!

Sadly this was one of the poorest meals I have had in Malaysia. Maybe it was a bad day, maybe there are better dishes on the A La Carte but I have to say I won't be in a rush to try. Not recommended at all :-(

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Asia Model Festival Awards - Final (Northern Region)

The final for the Northern Region of AMFA was held at Voodoo in Georgetown, Penang on Friday 2 December. The winner, Jane See, will go to the finals of the event in Seoul, Korea.

Again, rather than upload numerous pictures here, which will string out to a very long post, here is a link to an album of pictures from the event. The lighting and set up was not brilliant, largely because of the restrictions of the venue, so I missed quite a few pics.

One of my friends here in Malaysia is Asia's top super-model Amber Chia and it was her Academy, in conjunction with Intrenasionale, that ran the event. Amber is pictured above (left) with two more friends, the first and second runners up, Sofia Yeng (centre) and Iyvonne Lo.

Monday, 5 December 2011

8th Penang Jazz Festival - Final Night

Managed to get to the festival and I have to say it was BRILLIANT. Jazz lovers will have loved it and even people who aren't keen on jazz would have had a great time. Trust me, modern jazz is superb, even more so as the edges between other music styles such as rock and electronica get blurred by increasingly innovative artists like 'Rusconi', an outstanding trio from Sweden.

Rather than posting images here (which can spread out over a long post and be difficult to place), I've uploaded a selection to the Facebook Page for POP here. Hope you like them :-)

For those that missed it this year I would STRONGLY suggest you remember it and look out for it in 2012. I shall certainly be making sure I am free EVERY day for the next event. Congratulations to the organisers for a brilliant event!!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Penang Jazz Festival - Has Started!!! (1st - 4th December)

For those who may heave missed this, just a reminder that the Penang Jazz Festival has started. The full programme can be viewed and downloaded here. I certainly intend to catch Primitive Leap and Shakatak, more if I have the time. Been a busy week!!!!

Penang Districts

Many people coming to, or contemplating coming to, Penang will likely be trying to get some kind of idea as to what the areas are like that they keep seeing people discuss on forums and such like. Tanjung (Tg) Tokong, Tg Bungah, Batu Ferringhi, Gurney, Georgetown, Little Inida etc etc etc. The names crop up all the time but until you actually GET here it's hard to get a feel or even a glimpse, of what they are like.

So, in an attempt to remedy this to some degree I intend over the coming weeks to take several general views of the areas in question and post them up under a separate title for each area to give people SOME idea of what these places are like. Where appropriate I will try to get in some night shots also (not really needed at Tg Tokong and Bungah as there is little to see at night, different to Gurney, Batu Ferringhi and Georgetown). In cases where a night shoot is needed I'll likely do a 'By Day' and 'By night' subject rather than cram them all under one heading. It won't be ideal but I figure it'll be better than nothing. Hopefully I shall be able to start next week with Tg Tokong and then Gurney.

Asia Model Festival Awards - Voodoo Club (Fri 2 December))

The final for the Asia Model Festival Awards (Northern Region) will be held at Voodoo Club, Penang tonight from 6:30pm. Looking forward to this event.

The 6:30 start is for guest arrival and the show is scheduled to start around 8:30, I would suspect however that it will be later than this. Previous weeks the show has started at midnight albeit the scheduled time was 10pm before, if it's midnight tonight and people have got there at 6-7, there will be some PRETTY angry people around. Anyway, let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Good luck to my friends and contestants Sofia Yeng, Melinda Lee, Fiona Tan, Jess Tan and Iyvonne Lo!!