Open call for old photos and stories of Penang’s Sia Boey

Penang Tourism and Creative Economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the project, titled ‘In a new light: Memories & Aspirations for Sia Boey’, is a photograph and oral history documentation project. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Tourism and Creative Economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the project, titled ‘In a new light: Memories & Aspirations for Sia Boey’, is a photograph and oral history documentation project. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 21 — Penang is calling on those with memories of Sia Boey to share their old photos and stories of the site for a project documenting the history of the old market site.

Penang Tourism and Creative Economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the project, titled ‘In a new light: Memories & Aspirations for Sia Boey’, is a photograph and oral history documentation project.

“Sia Boey was a community engagement and trading hub in George Town but it lacked documentation in terms of photographs and written records,” he said in a statement today.

He said the project was to collect old images and community stories of Sia Boey so that they can have a record of its history and cultural significance.

The project, supported by Yeoh’s office, is organised by George Town World Heritage Incorporated in collaboration with City Eye.

“Interview sessions will be conducted and artefacts discovered from the Prangin Canal at Sia Boey will be curated for the public to experience the interconnection of two different eras (the past and present), and have a glimpse of the future of Sia Boey,” Yeoh said.

All materials collected will be published in a special issue of City Eye, a local magazine, and also be available online.

Yeoh said selected interviews will be featured in the July 2021 edition of City Eye in conjunction with George Town Heritage Celebrations.

“Contributors would need to complete a consent form, and their names will be published along with their submitted photographs, which will be scanned and archived,” he said.

Contributors will also receive three complimentary copies of the City Eye special issue.

Contributors may choose to submit their photographs in any of the four categories:

1. Back in the Days — Your old home in Sia Boey

2. Vibrance of a City — Anecdotes and remarkable incidents of market life

3. Festive Celebrations — Religious ritual, folk customs or family celebrations

4.Business as Usual — Shophouses, market and vendors in the old days

Sia Boey was historically a busy trading hub centred around the Prangin canal, which was used to transport goods from the pier to the inner city.

The canal, built in 1804 along the Prangin River, was considered to be the boundary of George Town.

Sia Boey is a Hokkien term to mean the end of the village and the market was also known as “Ujong Pasir” which has the same meaning.

The Prangin Canal is known as “Kaalai Kadai Alluru” in Tamil.

Sia Boey was a wholesale market site for many years while Prangin Canal was the site for the central bus hub before it was cleared to make way for Komtar Phase 5 development project in 2004.

The site was left vacant for many years after the traders were relocated and plans to turn the site into an urban archaeological park were put in place when artefacts were discovered at the site.

“With the opening of Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park in 2019, Sia Boey has been returned to the public as a green lung for George Town, and as a heritage education base,” Yeoh said.

The submission deadline for the photographs is December 31. Contributors can email their photographs to [email protected].

Those interested can contact Lee Choo at 019-472 6525 and Chiew Yen at 016-457 0322.

Related Articles