This is my Penang: Jimmy Lim
By Rebeca Duckett-Wilkinson
An Aga Khan Award winning architect, Jimmy Lim has not outgrown any of his Penang childhood pleasures. He still gets excited about Penang food, nature, heritage and architecture. He has recently been working on the hawker centre on Penang Hill, re-working his family’s house on Lebuh Cintra and designing pavilions made from totally recycled materials in his garden (he has a love of re-using material). With his children always on his mind, the protection of Penang’s environment for the future is close to his heart and he is an outspoken (some say eccentric) supporter of sustainable development in Penang.
What do you love about your job?
As an architect I can see what I have created for my client manifest into reality. To know that what I have designed is enjoyed by people is most satisfying.
What is your quintessential Penang dish?
Hokkien mee (without the mee) and curry mee without the mee. Both with lots of pig’s blood! At a push I can cook Hokkien mee, assam laksa, lobak, char koay teow and many dishes that my mother and grandmother used to prepare in our kitchen.
Where would you bring first-time visitors to in Penang?
My house and the Francis Light / Protestant Cemetery. You get to see the living and the dead.
Can you tell us one thing about Penang that we don’t know?
We should record Penang’s oral history now and write it down before it’s all forgotten. Rapid development means history can be dismissed. The treasure trove of the past within the people of Penang should be collected for the future. This is all an integral part of George Town’s sustainability as a World Heritage Site and research institutes should allocate their time and resources towards the pursuit of this information.
From a personal point of view, what is Penang’s best-kept secret?
The iconic Penang Hills.
Is there a specific area/spot where you like to unwind after a long day?
After a long day, I like to unwind in my own garden among the pavilions I designed from recycled materials.