Suffolk House, welcome back to Malaysia!

2 October, 2010

Filed under: Everything else — admin @ 11:47 am

In 1985, whilst a student in Penang, I visited this derelict colonial mansion within the grounds of the Methodist Boy’s school. I wandered the building and its surroundings, watching birds and treeshrews frolic the twisted fig roots and lianas, reminiscent of Angkorian temples.

In Sept 2010, I paid a small fee to Melanie Anthony, and she took me on a tour of Suffolk house. A walk backwards into time it was, both into the times of Francis Light, and myself as a student… and a heart-warming experience it was.

This was where the founding of Singapore was plotted by Stamford Raffles, and where I saw a Blue-winged Pitta for the first time in my life. Today, Suffolk house as it stands is a testimony to the deep appreciation of our history that still prevails amongst some Malaysians today. It is growing, as it should, but it stands above as the true Malaysian spirit of preservation and restoration, as opposed to replacement.. We lose a bit more of our rich history every minute somewhere in the country.

As a member of Badan Warisan, I applaud those who lead this journey of restoration, and share the joy they undoubtedly experienced through the difficult and often hair-tearing task of bringing Suffolk house back.

have tea and scones, and walk back in time

If you are reading this, go visit the next time you’re in Penang. Have a cuppa on the terrace, and contemplate what our country would be like if we aspired to restore, and not destroy… Give Melanie a call (+6017-4921119; email: and she’ll take you down a delightful story of this magnificent edifice and its journey back into 2010. In the mean time, I now head, not without a tremour, into my archives to retrieve those images I captured 25years ago…

1 Comment

  1. Awaiting those images. This place.. noted to visit.

    Comment by Alvin Sebastian — 07/10/2010 @ 10:19 am

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