Who knew that this little northern state had so many people to boast about? You could be Penang’s next big star — after these 10, of course.
Carrie Bradshaw loves her Jimmy Choos, and Penang loves him, too. The son of a family of shoemakers, Jimmy found fame in London when Princess Diana became a patron of his well-crafted, hand-made shoes, turning the Penang-born designer into an overnight haute couture sensation.
Say “squash” and we’ll say “Nicol David.” This professional squash player twice won the World Junior title, is an eight-time World Open winner, and a five-time British Open winner. The Penang-born-and-bred icon is currently ranked world number six and holds the record for the longest successive period in the top 10 ranked players.
If you’ve lived in Malaysia within the last 10 years, you’ve probably seen Andrea on the billboards. Ever since winning the title of Miss Universe Malaysia in 2004, this Penang gal has been running pageant runways (front and backstage), presenting game shows on national TV, and appearing on print ads by the slimming center, Marie France.
Farish A. Noor
If you haven’t heard of Farish, it’s probably because you prefer HBO and AXN to NatGeo and The History Channel. This renowned political scientist and historian has had numerous publications, including The Other Malaysia, which is a collection of articles on the country’s subaltern history. He has also previously hosted a documentary, Inside Indonesia with Dr Farish, on ChannelNewsAsia.
Is Penang made of sun, sand, and rock? We sure think so, and not least because the country’s “Queen of Rock” hails from here. The singer, actress, model, and entrepreneur started out in KL’s club singing scene in the 80s, rose to platinum-selling records in the 90s, and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award last year. Talk about doing Penang proud.
Tan Twan Eng
Say what you like about the literary scene in Malaysia, but when we have artists the likes of Tan Twan Eng – whose debut novel The Gift of Rain was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize – we must be doing something right. The man was born in Penang in 1972.
Lee Chong Wei
Malaysia’s favorite badminton player may have been born in Perak, but his childhood home was in Bukit Mertajam (on Penang’s mainland), from which he had to take bus trips to the state badminton academy in Jelutong (on Penang island) to practice his serves, shots, strokes, and smashes. The three-time Olympic silver medalist was ranked first worldwide between 2008 and 2012, and a biopic on his life is due for theatrical release soon.
Kee Thuan Chye
At the forefront of Malaysia’s decades-long campaign for freedom of expression is Kee Thuan Chye, a Penang-born journalist, dramatist, and poet. He was the Associate Editor of The Star, Malaysia’s forerunning national newspaper, and was voted the 34th Most Trusted Malaysian in a poll by the Reader’s Digest.
KL’s foremost integrated performing arts center, KLpac, is at the heart of the city’s flourishing arts scene — and you have Faridah Merican to thank for it. Built on an old railway warehouse in Sentul, the Penang-bred talent and her husband Joe Hasham have led KLpac for the last 13 years, delivering iconic productions including Broken Bridges, Life Sdn Bhd, and the now-annual festival, Short + Sweet.
There’s no shortage of beautiful people in Malaysia, and Marina Suwendy is one of them. The international model, TV host, and journalist was born in Penang, raised in KL, studied in the UK, and is now based in New York, currently signed with Ford Models and Charm Model Management.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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