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Rickshaws of Penang

๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ก๐š๐ง๐-๐ฉ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐ค๐ฌ๐ก๐š๐ฐ๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ข๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ข๐œ ๐๐ž๐ง๐š๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐š๐ฐ๐ฌ?


๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’ โ€œ๐‘ฃ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘–๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘’๐‘‘โ€ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘‘๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ค ๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘™๐‘ฆ ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘š๐‘–๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐ถโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘” ๐น๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘ก

๐‘‡๐‘ง๐‘’ ๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ƒ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ƒ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›.


Credit: Muzium Negeri Pulau Pinang (Facebook)

Hand-drawn rickshaws were one of the earliest modes of transport in Penang, predating the iconic trishaw we see today. Rickshaws were first introduced in Penang around the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and were a common sight on the road and around marketplaces. [1] When Albert Einstein visited Penang briefly in 1923, he was pursued by rickshaw men.


Credit: Muzium Negeri Pulau Pinang (Facebook)


Although the trishaw was only introduced in Penang in 1936 [2], it wasnโ€™t until after World War 2 when the trishaws overtook rickshaws in terms of popularity (by 1957, there were only 28 registered rickshaws left. [1]). According to oral history, during the Bombing of George Town in December 1941, the Japanese bombers mistaken parked rickshaws (with their handles pointing up) as anti aircraft guns and began to bomb the rickshaws, especially at the Prangin area.


RICKSHAW AT AYER ITAM RD 1960. credit: Jamil Othman

Rickshaws at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Credit: @dayamuthu (Instagram)


Today, while trishaws are still plying the streets of George Town, one can only view rickshaws at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Pinang Peranakan Mansion.


Rickshaws and Trishaws at Pinang Peranakan Mansion.


It is interesting to note that Singapore banned the rickshaws on humanitarian grounds, with The Straits Times newspaper described rickshaw-pulling to be โ€œthe deadliest occupation in the East (and) the most degrading for human beings to pursueโ€ [3]. Many of the poorest individuals in Singapore in the late nineteenth century were poor, unskilled people of Chinese ancestry. Sometimes called coolies, the hardworking men found pulling rickshaws a new means of employment. Rickshaw pullers experienced "very poor" living conditions, poverty and long hours of hard work. [4]


Credit: Jamil Othman

The trishaws are pedaled, while rickshaws are hand-pulled.

๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’‘๐’๐’”๐’•? ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’๐’‘ ๐’–๐’” ๐’•๐’ ๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’‰๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’‘๐’๐’”๐’•! โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ”ฅ Sources: [1] https://www.facebook.com/muziumnegeri.pulaupinang/posts/3324836684220304 [2] https://prezi.com/zcyd6_tqvpos/history-of-trishaw/ [3] https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/.../SIP_947_2005-01-25.html [4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulled_rickshaw

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