Penang and Its Street Art: Guest Blogging on Wandering Mee

Posted on June 21, 2013 by Ee-Leng Chang | 1 Comment

As soon as I touched back down in Australia, I received an email from long time friend and ex-colleague Mee. She had seen a few of the street art photos I'd posted on Instagram while I was in Penang and asked if I would consider writing a guest blog post for her travel blog Wandering Mee. I happily agreed and here it is:

Check out Wandering Mee for my guest post!

I love Mee's blog, it always puts me in a holiday/adventure mode. I love travelling but don't have time to do it as much as I'd like. Well mostly I reserve my holiday time and budget for my annual Malaysian trip. So, reading about Mee's travels is an awesome substitute for the real thing. :)

When Mee asked me to write this post, I had no idea that she was going to put it in her "Home Is Where Your Heart Is" Series. I never did mention anything about Penang being my home and when I saw the post, I wondered if somehow she managed to read that in between the lines of my post. In truth I have 3 places I call home. One is being right here with my husband. Since we're both living in Melbourne now, well that's where my home is. My second home is PJ, the town that I was born and grew up in for 17 years in Malaysia, where my parents, oldest sister and most of my childhood friends still live and where I spend most of my time in when in Malaysia. I guess in the traditional sense of the word, PJ is my hometown. But my third home is definitely Penang, despite never having actually 'lived' there beyond spending my school holidays there growing up. I get this ridiculous happy smile when I'm in the car or the plane approaching Penang. Any nostalgic waves that come over me makes me think of Penang. I often wonder why this is and what it is about Penang that makes me include it in my list of homes. 

Mee brought up in her blog about the concept of home and her struggle to define home. As a migrant, albeit a less-travelled one than Mee, I've also had my struggles with that question. I used to think that people should only have 1 home and that should be where you are living at the time. So while I was still a fairly new resident in Australia, I would think that home should be Australia. But that made me feel disloyal to my hometown of PJ, Malaysia. After all, I grew up there, my family is there, my best friends are there and I had spent more than half my life there. So while I consciously call Melbourne home, I felt deep inside that Malaysia is still my home. And then for awhile I started to feel disloyal to Melbourne. After all, this is where I am now and my present and future life with my husband is here in Melbourne. And then to throw in the mix, when I feel homesick, I think of Penang (really don't know how Penang comes into this!). 

So after wrestling with this home identity dilemma for many years, I realised I can comfortably call multiple places my home. Malaysia (PJ and Penang) are 'place homes' to me. I think because I grew up there, both places are very deeply-ingrained into me as my homes. I have a deep love and attachment rooted to both the place and the people and that will never change. On the other hand, I didn't grow up in Melbourne and so while I have many happy memories here, I do not associate the physical place of Melbourne as my home. But at the same time, this is my home because this is where my life is unfolding. I feel at home in Melbourne because my husband is here and we are living and building our lives here. This is the kind of home that is movable. If my husband and I were to move away from Melbourne, this same feeling of home that I have living in Melbourne now would move to wherever we go too. In other words, and as cliche or corny as it sounds, my home is my husband! :)

Of course, the longer I live in Melbourne might also change Melbourne into a 'place home' for me. I certainly do love Melbourne and when asked where I'm from, these days my short answer is usually "Melbourne". 

I didn't mean for this blog post to turn into a reflection on where I call home. So I'll snap out of it now and just say, "What are you waiting for?? Head on over to Wandering Mee right now to get your travel-fix!" :D

Posted in Musings

May in Pictures

Annual Malaysian Trip 2013

1 Response


June 28, 2013

hi Ee-Leng, this is a wonderful “rebuttal” post. I realized I have a very loose definition of “home”, but I guess that’s the only way I know how. I’m glad calling Penang as your home is not that far-off, otherwise I need to re-title my series lol. I like reading your reflection and I hope to continue the series and have more conversations of home with more people.

ps: I’ve updated my post to include your link to this post at the end. Sort of like the sequel to the story :)

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