FA­MIL­IAR FACES IN PE­NANG

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You’re ob­vi­ously very pas­sion­ate about the Ge­orge Town Fes­ti­val. What drives you to do this year af­ter year?

Crazy pas­sion! I found my switch and to be hon­est it makes me happy to see how the fes­ti­val makes oth­ers so happy. And of course, hav­ing a great team.

What would your dream acts be for the GTF?

We’re com­mis­sion­ing Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui [a Bel­gian chore­og­ra­pher who has won a Lau­rence Olivier award for Best New Dance Pro­duc­tion] to de­velop a piece in­spired by wayang kulit (shadow pup­petry), which will pre­miere in 2018. I’m also work­ing on an Asean show­case which I hope to show in New York.

Tell us why you love Pe­nang so much.

The whole city is very in­spir­ing. It’s like a liv­ing, chang­ing, ex­cit­ing mu­seum, from the win­dows, doors, walls and the peo­ple. The food is in­cred­i­ble, but what I love the most is the fact that this is the only place in Malaysia that the peo­ple take proud own­er­ship of space like nowhere else. The sense of com­mu­nity and sup­port I get from ev­ery­one – from the Chief Min­is­ter and Mayor right down to the coun­cil clean­ers – makes it re­ally pleas­ant to work here.

What are your favourite places in Pe­nang and why?

There are a few but these are some of my favourites – Beach Blan­ket Baby­lon for the view of the sea and the sea breeze; Mun­tri Mews is my go-to for week­end breakfast meet­ings; Bellevue on Pe­nang Hill for the mag­i­cal sun­set views; and my of­fice be­cause I love my team and my work!

If there was one thing you could change about Pe­nang, what would it be?

I truly be­lieve tourism should be con­trolled to pre­serve all the as­pects that make Pe­nang so unique. When you have hordes of tourists com­ing to a small cul­tur­ally rich des­ti­na­tion, it has the po­ten­tial to lose its iden­tity.

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