Why indeed. Because I wanted to collect all the links related to Penang Hokkien I could find in one place. If you think I’ve “eaten my fill and have nothing to do” (translate that to Chinese or Hokkien lah), well, I disagree.
A few months ago, I watched a TEDx Petaling Street video of Ooi Kee How’s talk entitled What will we lose if we give up Hokkien? He gave the talk in Cantonese though, go figure. But it rekindled in me an appreciation of Hokkien, specifically Penang Hokkien.
Penang Hokkien is my native tongue. I remember learning to read English with my mom, and learning to write Chinese with my grandma, but I came out of the womb speaking Hokkien. In school though, I only had 1 friend who was fluent enough in Hokkien to hold a decent conversation with. Even then, there were distinct differences in intonation and vocabulary because she spoke the Singaporean-variant.
My family moved out from Penang more than 20 years ago, and the only times I heard Penang Hokkien being spoken were in my house (with my family) or during the couple of days each year when we went back to Penang. You could hear Hokkien spoken on television or on the radio sometimes, but never Penang Hokkien.
After watching the talk, I went on a related-link-clickfest and found the Penang Hokkien Podcast by John Ong. It is simply a bunch of friends chatting about everyday topics in completely in Penang Hokkien but when I heard it playing through my headphones, it was a feeling I cannot describe.
It felt like coming home.