Learning Penang Hokkien the 'art' way

GEORGE TOWN - Penang Hokkien can be hard to grasp. It differs somewhat from the Hokkien spoken in southern states such as Johor, or even the Taiwanese Hokkien.

So two artists decided to produce a new mural in the heritage enclave on Friday, dedicated to helping tourists learn the basic expressions of the dialect.

The work of art is located at the corner of Lebuh Armenian and Lorong Soo Hong.

The mural is drawn on the purple-coloured side wall of a pre-war shophouse and measures about 2.5m tall.

It depicts a young lad calling out that he would teach Hokkien.

At the base of the mural are 10 concrete drain covers and on each one is drawn a Romanised Hokkien expression such as Gui Lui (How much money?), Chiak Pa Bui (Have you eaten?) and Chui Ta (Thirsty), with translations.

This latest creative effort is from artist Jim Oo Chun Hee, 26, who has already drawn several murals in Penang, including a few on Penang's longest wall of murals at Gat Lebuh Magazine.

Oo said he painted the Hokkien mural with his partner John Cheng, 21.

"It only took us about two hours to complete the mural," he said, adding that it was done graffiti style, using both spray and acrylic paint.

The shophouse, he said, belonged to his friend and they had sought his help to paint a mural on the wall and draw the crowd.