Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang

Some of the final scenes in 'Merdeka' are set in the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang (known as the E&O).  It was founded by the Sarkies Brothers in 1885 (they also founded the Raffles Hotel in Singapore in 1887 and the Strand Hotel in Rangoon, Burma in 1896).  It never really regained its former glory after World War Two and went into a period of decline, finally shutting down in 1996.  After a major refurbishment,  it opened under a new owner in 2001. 

I was lucky enough to visit in 1992 and, while it was clear that its former glory had faded, it was nice to sit and enjoy the facilities and dream of what the Hotel must have been like in its heyday.  If you want to see what the hotel is like today visit its website.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Taman Negara - National Park

Picture © Lachlan Gunn 2012

A large part of 'Merdeka' is set in Taman Negara National Park.  Located on peninsular Malaysia, it was known as King George V National Park from 1938 (when it was first formed) until independence.  On the slopes of Gunung (Mount) Tahan there are some old concrete base slabs where Gedung Camp, mentioned in 'Merdeka' could have been situated......

Picture © Lachlan Gunn 2012

Covering 4,343 square kilometres of what is believed to the oldest jungle in the world (130 million years?), the park spans the states of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.