One Observes a Lot When Exploring On Foot

By Ooi Geok Ling

August 2021 PHOTO ESSAY
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Wire art caricature of Penang's “Fifth Avenue” and rolls of linoleum, which Campbell Street was also known for.

CAMPBELL STREET IS more than a thoroughfare or a location to me. Its place is in my heart and it almost became just another memory until I started living in the heritage enclave again. While I treasure the past, re-discovering Campbell Street and its side streets after a lapse of 40 years is wonderful.

In the morning, I pick up vegetables from a stall opposite the Campbell Street Market. I get dried oysters from Kwong Tuck to make porridge. When I need accessories to hang a painting, I go to Kon Sen Hardware. I have also become a regular of the fruit seller just off Campbell Street at Kuala Kangsar Road. I do these sometimes on a bicycle with a rattan basket behind my seat but not often lately as it is much easier to find parking spots during the lockdown.

Slowing down my pace to take photographs on foot reveals yet more angles of looking at Campbell Street.

These balconies go unnoticed by most motorists who pass through unless they stop and explore Campbell Street on foot.
Chan Peng Siew is a second-generation proprietor of Kon Sen Hardware, which has been in Campbell Street since 1963. The shop is well-known among contractors and DIYers.
One of only a handful of signs remaining of a once-thriving business on Campbell Street.

A popular street side vegetable stall diagonally opposite Campbell Street Market.

Boon Wah Textiles' bright facade landmarks the junction of Campbell Street and Rope Walk for easy reference of road users.

Customers and food delivery riders patiently waiting for their orders at the popular Hameediyah Restaurant before dinner time.

This was the Medicated Tea stall my family frequented for a quick remedy to suppress sore throats. You would be rewarded with a mouthful of sweet chrysanthemum tea after downing a whole bowl of bitter brew.

Two-of-a-kind but of different fates.

Ooi Geok Ling

likes trying most things once, provided they are not detrimental to her body or her pocket. Too much.