Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Phuket & Penang(The 2Ps)

Penang island and Province Wellesley, Malaysia

(credited to source: zh:Image:Penang State Map.jpg. —Bkell (talk) 03:25, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Phuket Island ,Thailand

Phuket & Penang( The 2 Ps)

If you look at the map, Phuket, Penang, Pulau Langkawi is located along the coast of Kra Isthmus and Malaya Peninsular.

Phuket (普吉), the largest island in Thailand, with area of 570sm, is in the north, at the Shore of Andaman Sea, off Southern Thailand. It is also called the Pearl of Andaman. Penang (檳榔嶼), an island of 293 sm is located at the south of Phuket; it is located at the north-west coast of Malaya Peninsular, in the Strait of Malacca, after Pulau Langkawi. Penang is also called the Pearl of Orient.

Phuket is the island province of Thailand. Penang included Province Wellesley on the mainland of Malaya Peninsular to form Penang State, second smallest state in Malaysia. The island of Phuket is bigger than Penang Island. Both are today popular tourist attractions.

Penang and Phuket, together with Medan, Burma are historically linked by trading in the old days, especially 19th century. Moreover, Penang Chinese has kinship ties with the Chinese in Phuket. The Penang Chinese have contributed labor and capital in the southern Thailand. Phuket is culturally, economically close to Penang. At the time Pulau Langkawi was still a cursed island, & not developed.

The relationship between Phuket and Penang however was close and established historically. It is still close today. Phuket and Penang culturally has many similarity, most of the Phuket Chinese are from Penang, culturally they are linked. The shophouses of Phuket is of identical style with Penang's shophouse. Their cultural activities and food are similar.

Francis Light, the founder of Penang stayed in Phuket for 15 years from 1771-1786. He found Penang in 1786. There was no trace of Francis Light in Phuket but there is a bronze statue of Francis Light standing in front of Penang Museum at Light Street. There is also a tomb in Western Road Cemetery. Francis Light was in Penang from 1786 to 1794. Francis Light was looking for a trading post for East India Company to protect the opium trade in China. He selected Penang over Phuket due to safer harbour. He was a person who known Phuket well, but chose Penang.

Another man is Khaw Sim Bee, from Na Ranong family was the one who introduced rubber trees to Phuket and the first rubber tree was planted in Trang. The rubber become the major crop of Thailand. He was the Governor of Monthon Phuket, a monthon was a country sub-division of Thailand in the begining of 20th century. The Monthon Phuket was established in 1898, it controlled Phuket, Ranong, Phang Nga, Ta kuapa, and Krabi provinces. In 1907, Satun was added when most of area of Monthon Kedah was ceded to Britain. Khaw Sim Bee is political-businessman, holding official position as well as having businesses in tin mining, shipping, trading, insurance, transport, and rubber etc.Khaw Sim Bee in Thailand, he goes by several names and titles, including Phraya Phakdi, Phraya Ratsada, and Phraya Ratsadanupradit Maissara Phakdi. His family was from Penang & his business base was also in Penang. Penang being a British port, was the source for the labor required for the tin mining and also the capital required for the industry. There are many monuments in Thailand, especially Phuket, Trang, and Ranong for remembrance of his contribution in South Thailand. But in Penang, there is one road named after him, the Khaw Sim Bee Road(or Jalan Khaw Sim Bee in Malay language)

Other than culture and trading, Penang is also the place for education for Phuket Chinese and other Chinese from South Thailand. Han Chiang High School and Chung Ling High School were the two popular school for the Phuket Chinese.

So Phuket and Penang are sister islands. If you visit one of them, you should visit the other island.

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