Penang top five: Ooi Chean See

Updated: 10 Mar 2014

There’ll be two or three sightings of this lady in Penang annually. Usually, on stage, conducting a full orchestra but perhaps hunting down her favourite hawker stall around George Town that she misses when she’s back in Germany. However, Datuk Ooi Chean See, a Tourism Ambassador of Malaysia and one of the few female orchestra conductors today, also has a thing for Penang’s beaches and heritage area.

Penang’s Beaches
It’s where my family and I used to hang out and have picnics, eat seafood at one of the seaside restaurants and bungalow stay during school holidays. The sound of the waves, to me, is like balm to the soul. 


A soothing view of a Penang beach

Penang Hill
Again, there are memories from school days up this hill. There was bungalow stay amid lush flora and trees that always seem to grow much better up there. Of course, the cooler weather and the view of Penang below are simply wonderful.

Home, Where the Heart is
More than three decades living in Germany doesn’t wipe out the fact that my parents’ house on perpetually busy Green Lane is always home for me. It’s cosy and a place where I actually belong, am always welcome and feel free. Mom’s cooking seals the cosiness of being home and Dad’s very protective – he still waits up if I come home late from an evening out, even at my age now!


An animated and busy hawker vendor in Penang

Penang’s Hawker Stalls
I enjoy all of them. The fact that there’s variety in terms of food and venue. What I enjoy more is observing the vendors. They’re really interesting to watch because they’ve been at it (cooking) for decades and each of them brims with so much personality.

Heritage Area of George Town
I find the streets within the heart of George Town capture the essence and charm of Penang best of all – Masjid Kapitan Keling road, Armenian, Beach roads and all the streets in between – it’s concentrated right there. Wander into shop houses and feel how time has stood still.