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A German's Love Affair in Penang

๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐ฅ๐ ๐ฉ๐ก๐จ๐ญ๐จ๐ ๐ซ๐š๐ฉ๐ก๐ฌ/๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ๐œ๐š๐ซ๐๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐ž๐ง๐š๐ง๐  โ€“ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ž๐ง ๐ฌ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐จ๐ง ๐…๐š๐œ๐ž๐›๐จ๐จ๐ค โ€“ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐†๐ž๐ซ๐ฆ๐š๐ง ๐ฉ๐ก๐จ๐ญ๐จ๐ ๐ซ๐š๐ฉ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐€๐ฎ๐ ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐„. ๐Š๐š๐ฎ๐ฅ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ฌ?

๐ป๐‘’ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘ข๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘œ ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘ก 9, ๐ฟ๐‘’๐‘๐‘ขโ„Ž ๐น๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ž๐‘ขโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ ๐‘–๐‘› ๐บ๐‘’๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘”๐‘’ ๐‘‡๐‘œ๐‘ค๐‘›.



Street scene of Lebuh Pantai circa 1900.

Many of us share photographs and postcards of old Penang on Facebook, to show what Penang looked like more than a century ago. Some of the photographs taken between 1880s to the early 1900s were snapped by August Kaulfuss, a German photographer.

Kaulfuss (also known as A. E. Kaulfuss, August Kaulfuss, A. Kaulfuss) arrived in Penang in 1883 and established the oldest European studio on the island at 9 Farquhar Street in George Town. He was also a royal photographer to Kedah monarch Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah in 1896.



A 1902 postcard produced by German photographer August Kaulfuss showing a Penang rickshaw puller with his passengers. PIX COURTESY OF ALAN TEH LEAM SENG source: https://www.nst.com.my/.../150-year-love-affair-postcard...


Capturing and promoting images of Penang was always treated with the utmost importance. His photographs depict developments around George Town, such as harbour and shipping activities, newly unveiled buildings and amenities, as well as modes of transportation and municipal advancements of the time.


The intrepid entrepreneur died in 1908 of heart failure and was buried at the Western Road Cemetery. The death announcement stated โ€œ27 Farquhar Streetโ€, which could be his residence at the time, although we couldnโ€™t find anyone to substantiate the fact.


Street scene of Weld Quay circa 1910.Credit: Malaysia Design Archive


Thanks to his work, we have visual evidences of how early Penang looked centuries ago.




[1] https://www.nst.com.my/.../150-year-love-affair-postcard [2] More Than Merchants: A History of the German-speaking Community in Penang By Salma Nasution Khoo [3] https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/.../straitstimes19080806-1...


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