Photo Essay

Penang Wheels

Penang Wheels

If you ever visit Penang, Malaysia, make bicycles as one of your theme. You'll find plenty of these wheels on the road or parked. Either be it two wheels or three, the character it brings to the city is unmistakably unique.

If you think these bicycles are simply being used for the typical activities like transporting goods, delivering mails, or as a mode of transportation, you will soon discover that in Penang they take it to the next level.

To see rows of old bicycles being lined up as your garden fence, to me is something new, creative, and as how my brother-in-law Carl puts it, questions the concept of what a garden can be.

After walking around the city, you will not fail to observe that just about every other house has a row of bicycles in front of the door. If you pay attention, you'll notice that out of all the bicycles lined up, some of them are very old, broken, and not usable. Yet, the owner still lines them up and puts them in front. It questions me to wonder if bicycles in Penang are in any way tied to one's status symbol.

There are bicycles that are piled up in back lanes or left in front of deserted houses, and I somehow feel they were put there for a reason other than leaving it to rust. It intrigues me to find out if there is something more existing in the relationship between the bicycles and their owners. It also makes me look forward to my next trip to photograph them, and to keep an open mind in hopes to understand their role in that city.

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