Many are the Malaysians who grew to know Penang through studying for years at USM. The memories of those days live with them throughout their lives, and bring them back time and again. Gunalan Namasivayam is one of them.
My love affair with Penang began more than 20 years ago, when I first set foot at USM as a callow youth of 20, on the cusp of manhood and about to begin life as a fresh undergraduate or “freshie”.
There was no North-South Highway back then; the journey was via a meandering country road that snaked along the Perak Coast. But one thing which was already there then was the 13km-long Penang Bridge, which had been just completed three years earlier. It was far more convenient to use the bridge since it ended right at USM, while the ferry, although cheaper, was slower.
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