September 8, 2019

Penang mainlanders vs islanders

If you’ve been to Penang or know someone from Penang, I’m sure you’ve heard the term – mainlanders and islanders. Referring to the Penang dwellers who are from the mainland on the peninsula, versus the dwellers on the island. Non-Penangites would ask, is there a difference between mainlanders and islanders? Aren’t they all the same? Most Penangites would avoid that question like a plague. The truth is, there is a ‘perceived difference’ among the Penangites. It is thought that the mainlanders, are the bunch of least urban or uneducated people, and they are mostly perceived as less well-to-do. i.e. they’re the hillbillies of Penang.

How come? One would ask. It’s because the city and capital is on the island. In the old days, this means only the well-to-do’s are all located on the more happening island. The demographics on the island comprised of businessmen, professionals, skilled workers, government servants, just like any big city – while the mainlanders are mostly farmers or laborers who lived in cheaper and smaller houses/shanties on the mainland with more pastures for their farm animals and stuff (where do you find pastures in Georgetown, you numb nuts?) So that’s how the stigma began. Mainlanders = hillbillies.

But in the modern days, this is no longer true. The hillbillies have since fanned out and spread across the country like a plague, and a lot of them have called themselves ‘the islanders’, simply because they’ve earned a few bucks from the sale of their buffaloes. Now, they look down upon their comrades who are still on the mainland, and even those well-to-do’s who moved there to exploit the cheaper price of bigger houses, and these island hillbillies even had the gall to label them “the hillbilly mainlanders”. It’s like a pot calling kettle black. The island is just a place, the people are the same. The fact now is, the whole Malaysia is now full of mainlander hillbillies. There are no more islander left, except maybe me.

michaelooi  | enlightenments  | 

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