FAMILIAR FACES IN PENANG
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.