What would Penang life be without the regular visit to the neighbourhood barber? Walking through swing doors into a dark shop, browsing greedily through worn magazines, and sinking into a swivel chair. The warm welcome from the barber uncle can be as familiar as the old streets are hot and dusty.
AS A CHILD, whenever I was in need of a haircut my father would take me to our regular Indian barber. I never understood why we always patronised the same shop. My remonstrations were always quickly dismissed, “We’re going to Uncle Goonalam’s.”
Our visits to Goonalam Vadiveloo’s became a monthly ritual right up till my secondary school years whenever my hair became unkempt. Having my hair cut at Goonalam’s came instinctually. Like my father and brother before me, Goonalam was the only man I knew and trusted to cut my hair.
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