"Ah Kong & Ah Mah" Mural, by Simon Tan (12 April, 2013)
Ah Kong & Ah Mah is a mural by local artist Simon Tan. It is done on the wall of a house in Chew Jetty, George Town. The mural depicts a vivacious elderly couple sitting down for an afternoon break. There is no indication to the reason for their laughter, probably they were sharing a joke together.
Simon Tan had originally intended to paint the lady of the house, but she was too shy to have her likeness rendered on the wall. So he used his own imagination to create the stylized mural that captures a snapshot of life at the George Town Clan Jetties.
Clean Ah Kong, Dirty Ah Mah, a day after the vandalism (13 April, 2013)
17 April, 2013: I learned that one of the reasons Simon Tan decided to erase the painting was due to complaints from some tenants of Chew jetty that tourists were jumping up and down on the floor board, and that residents were afraid that the wooden planks would one day collapse. Secondly residents were also complaining of the noise from tourists.
If you were to visit Chew Jetty today, you will see that many of the houses have converted into souvenir shops. There could be two main reasons. The first is, residents used to the tranquility of the place are getting tired of the crass commercialism that has descended on the place. Secondly, there may also be some jealousy and resentment among the residents of people cashing on the attention the jetty has been receiving.
16 April, 2013: Unable to tolerate the Ah Kong & Ah Mah mural being vandalised, Simon Tan has decided to wipe it out. I find this extremely regrettable. While I fully respect the artist's decision, I wish he had just repaired it or even leave it unrepaired.
Ah Kong & Ah Mah having been painted over by the artist himself (16 April, 2013)
13 April, 2013: One day after the vandalism, Ah Kong has had his face cleaned up, but Ah Mah is still very much "niau kong".
12 April, 2013: When I visited the mural today, I discovered that it had been vandalised with motor oil. I am not sure the intention of the perpetrator. Whether it is jealousy or politically motivated, I believe the defacement will generate greater sympathy for the mural and endear it to the general public.
Meanwhile Simon Tan is working on another similar mural, Ah Mah & Ah Soon, located at the entrance of Chew Jetty. I will document its progress and report it on the Penang Street Art Facebook Page.
The "Ah Kong & Ah Mah" Mural is located on the wall of Chew Jetty. On arriving at the jetty area, walk along the plankway. Just before arriving at Ernest Zacharevic's "Children in a Boat" Mural, look for the "Ah Kong & Ah Mah Mural" on the wall of the house on the right.
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