City of birds


“ Zero tolerance” is not the way things seem to get done in our part of the world. In striking ways, a “look the other way” policy is more common. George Town’s chutzpah has encouraged enterprise and innovation but often at the cost of good longterm planning and sustainable development. Urban swiftlet breeders are the latest group to come under fire — victims of their own success.

George Town, the far-flung outpost

OVER 200 YEARS have passed since Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company established Penang’s capital city George Town, and it would be fair to say that the city’s character has remained virtually unchanged. If George Town were a person, he would be a dishwasher in the morning, an illegal 4D seller in the afternoon and a pimp by night. George Town is a hustler who has stayed true to the DNA of his founding “father”. History books reflect kindly on Light’s efforts to create a new outpost in the Far East, and indeed George Town’s rise as an entrepot is a larger-than-life tale of blood, sweat, tears… and greed.

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