All it says on the wooden sign – above the painting of the smiling girl against a bright red background that says ‘welcome’ – is ‘41 Living Story’. It gives no hint as to what exactly it holds within. Step inside and you’ll discover a treasure trove such as sewn cotton stuffed toys, clay-bead bracelets, little knick knacks to litter your shelves with and souvenirs to mark a moment in Penang, are for sale.
Opened last April, 41 is located on Love Lane and seems to be the place where delightful, dainty things are displayed and sold. While the front is a souvenir store, various goldsmith’s antique equipment are preserved and exhibited in the courtyard area right behind it.
Apparently, the collection of goldsmithing equipment once belonged to a goldsmith from China who made it good here in Penang during the 1950s. That was when goldsmiths went around collecting metals and bought over pawned jewellery only to have them melted down and recast into contemporary designs before they are resold again.
Climbing up two flights of stairs reveals white washed walls and floor that result in an overall effect of an English country cottage that is a stark contrast to the dark wood interior of downstairs. There are pieces of art on the walls of the corridor and paper umbrellas posing as window covers to add to the already interesting and creative ambience of the place.
Here on the upper floor, traditional cotton batik sarongs, bags, clothes and shelves of old-fashioned candies, are for sale along with pocket toys of yesteryears such as gooey blowing balloons at RM2 for five mini tubes and pop bombs in small eye-catching yellow boxes at RM1 each. Forgotten beauty products such as small packs of homemade rice powder that promises fairer complexion are sold here for next to nothing.
Basically, here’s a place to buy little gifts, souvenirs for those at home and little pieces to prettily clutter a shelf or adorn a wall. The myriad things, what seems like a hodgepodge of inanimate objects, are actually a result of clever anticipation of what you may need, like and want – a sign of a good souvenir store, wouldn’t you say? Su Aziz
As featured in Time Out Penang's 50 things to do in Penang.