PWMF 2008 – The Welcome Dinner @ Khoo Kongsi

The Welcome Dinner for the Penang World Music Festival was held last night at the Khoo Kongsi, which won a UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award in 2006. I’ve not heard of it before, but Peggy said that I should go see it.

The building sits inside a maze of other buildings. The entrance didn’t look like much.


But a stroll and a few turns in the alleyways brought us to this:


Cue me standing there for about two minutes looking like this -> :O


The detail they injected into this temple is nothing short of staggering. There is something interesting to look at every direction you turn. What an amazing place to hold a welcome dinner for international delegates.

The temple faced a theatre which is located on the other end of the courtyard. That was where the speeches were given and entertainment was performed. The left and right sides between the temple and the theatre were lined with food stalls. Tables filled the middle.


But it was almost enough to stand there and drink in the opulence.


The two statues above and below flank the foot of the stairs up to the temple. It’s two versions of the same man (or god?) but with different expressions. The happy/sad is to represent the two states of humanity.


Inside, the walls are more muted compared to the distracting glare of colours outside. It struck a necessary balance and gave the main room a slightly sedated feel, with detailed trims in the nooks and crannies most people don’t pay any attention to.


Everything is a work of art. It’ll take hours to fully explore and photograph the Khoo Kongsi.


When we finally extricated ourselves from the interiors, the dinner and show was in full swing. Here’s the theatre on the other side of the courtyard.


And here’s us sitting at the steps of the temple, people watching after dinner.

Irene, me & Peggy

The Festival kicks off tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow with a report, photos and hopefully some videos.

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