On the first part of our Penang Tour Day, I shared stories about the Peranakan museum, jetty and other places. After lunch, we continued the tour and went to.
The Blue Mansion
When I was still young and cute, my brother and I had a favorite shop on the corner of the street. It was a shop-house owned by an old couple. They sold daily necessities. Kind of like a 7-11 except instead of killing small businesses they were the local business. We loved going to this shop. Every time our parents give us “uang jajan” pocket money we always went there to buy something. Crackers, soda, candies. Anything. As long as we could walk into the store. Unfortunately, one day we had a fall out. The old uncle and 10 year old us. No, we didn’t steal anything. We quarrelled over something that I couldn’t recall, but it got so big that we stopped going there. Eventually, I forgot about the shop until I was big enough to miss it. So one day I walked there only to find out that the shop was gone. Even then I was too proud to be sad about it, but later I did.
The reason I share this story with you is that the store’s name was Green Shop. Not because it has any environmental value. In those times green wasn’t a political choice, it was just a color. So yes, the shop, the wall, the fence, the roof, the whole house was painted in green. It was an attractive sight. Maybe that was what bewitched us to go there every chance possible.
Today I went into another colored house. The Blue Mansion. Surely this one was far majestic compared to our neighbourhood shop, but it reminded me of it.
Known for its’ reputable owner and for being “perfectly” feng shui-ed, Cheong Fatt Tze House stood tall in indigo blue. This was the first place we visited after lunch. I was already drenched with sweat and dust; not a good feeling, but the Blue Mansion was worth it. It is a piece of art.
Fat Tze, the owner of this mansion, was a poor young immigrant from mainland China who once said one day he would provide provision for everyone and he soon did. He then became very affluent, well respected and was given the nickname “Rockefeller of the East”.
He built this mansion in the 19th century. A luxurious mansion with mixed Chinese and Western architecture, it is magnificent.
It has thirty-eight rooms, five courtyards, seven staircases and forty-eight European stained glass windows. Imagine 38 rooms! Even Angelina’s chateau in France only has 35 rooms (Okay, maybe this is not an apple to apple comparison but you get what I mean). Apparently Fat Tze built the same kind of house in Thailand, Indonesia and other places, but Blue Mansion remained the grandest.
The 3-D wall decorations and stained glasses of the Blue Mansion although pretty didn’t interest me as much as many feng shui symbols all over the house. I saw bats, pineapples and butterflies carvings around the house. The owner built this house to face the sea and with a mountain (Penang Hill) to its rear. This is considered as a very auspicious position. The open courtyard in the middle of the house also let air and sunlight come abundantly into the house. Nicely done.
The Blue Mansion is quite illustrious that it has been used to shoot a few movies; the famous ones were French Indochine and The Blue Mansion. I am planning to watch both of them.
The best part of the Blue Mansion today is that we can stay there for MYR 500 per night! If only I knew this earlier, I would have stayed here. Spending a night and waking up in a more than hundred years old mansion! Imagine all the rooms to explore, courtyards to chill, and ambiances to soak in. I would have relished it. I don’t missing a chance to stay in Blue Mansion. Now, if you ever stayed in there: I envy you! And do share your experience with me.
Actually we went to Khoo Kongsi temple after Blue Mansion, but I didn’t find it too interesting. So I am skipping it for now.
Thanks for reading.