Penang and the Hajj

New Mandala readers in the region may want to check out this interesting workshop, Penang and the Hajj on 17 & 18 August, 2013.

From as early as the 18th century, Penang was a port of embarkation for aspiring pilgrims travelling by ship to the ‘holy lands’. The activity was centred at the port, Acheen Street and adjoining areas. This era ended in the 1970s with the establishment of the Tabung Haji (Pilgrims Fund) corporation and popularity of air travel. Thousands of pilgrims from Sumatra, northern Malaysia and southern Thailand went through Penang to realise the fifth pillar of Islam. Their reminiscences and collective memories deserve to be celebrated, consolidated and documented for posterity.

This workshop includes a keynote address by Professor Eric Tagliacozzo, titled, “The Material World of the Hajj in Colonial-Era Southeast Asia.”

It appears that Penang, in recent years, has been on overdrive, bringing over some of the world’s top academics and public intellectuals to its shores. Is it attempting to replace Kuala Lumpur as the nation’s academic, intellectual and cultural capital?