Please do not boycott the innocent in Pulau Tikus
By Marina Emmanuel – August 19, 2020 @ 8:34pm
DEAR Penang residents,
For years, I have been tagged as an affluent neighbourhood where real estate prices continue to be on the rise.
I am also home to upmarket and budget hotels, trendy eateries and scrumptious hawker fare, along with shopping malls, houses of worship,and hospitals.
My beginnings were humble, as is my name, which is Pulau Tikus.
I was established as a Eurasian settlement in the early 19th century and named after my namesake, which is a tiny rock off Tanjung Bunga in the northern part of Penang island.
Those living and working on my “turf” have never felt safer coming to work , visiting or living here.
They have also been blessed to discover delicious food on many of my streets, pre-war shophouses and the iconic Pulau Tikus Market (also known as the Rich Wives’ Market because items sold here are priced a little higher than elsewhere) where some of the best street food, Nyonya snacks, cooking condiments and other treats are found.
The news that the Covid-19 pandemic has not spared Pulau Tikus is now an open topic and I do not wish to dwell on whose fault it was for causing panic and fear, due to irresponsible acts by unnamed parties.
What I know is that the fear of contracting the virus has been planted in the minds of many and it breaks my heart that many have opted to stay away from their favourite market traders, food suppliers and certain retail outlets and public places.
Please know that the operators of all these establishments, including the street food vendors have always maintained high standards of cleanliness and hygiene. These practises have been taken up many notches because of Covid-19.
All businesses – especially the smaller ones – need you to stand by them during this time, as you take all the necessary safety precautions when you step out of your homes and be the responsible frontliners that you are meant to be, while supporting these operators.
Please do not boycott any businesses or innocent residents and workers in the area.
Everyone is currently making the best of the situation and maintaining safety protocols to the best of their ability.
So please step out and do a Nyonya Kueh or Char Kuay Teow takeaway. Or if you are brave, go grab that famous soft serve ice cream sold by a famous 24-hour family convenience store which has opened its doors here.
The two golden rats guarding you in the heart of my suburb carry the message saying “We are Pulau Tikus.”
Indeed we are Pulau Tikus (or Pulau Tikood, as some locals say), and in the words of my elected assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit “Just stay calm and together we will get through this.”