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About Us

Hello! I’m Reese, from Penang.  I spent my entire life on the island until I left after University.

I’m quite surprised to say that I am back living here.  Many Penangites leave after school to search for bigger and better things, as I did seven years ago, and never seem to move back.  I worked in Kuala Lumpur for a few months, before moving on to Singapore where I landed a job that took me all over the world.

So after all the excitement and opportunities, here I am, back in Penang. My home.

The decision to return wasn’t easy, as written in “Our move back” section, but it was the right one.  Not only am I able to spend the kind of quality time with my family that can only be appreciated as an adult, I have the unique opportunity to re-learn everything that I overlooked about my home.

Can you believe it?  Penang is an exciting place! I spent 22 years here, but only realized it this year.

Is Penang a paradise then?  Unfortunately not.  The island has more than its share of problems (and more problems) that will take a long time to overcome, but the love for my home motivates me to try, dedicating the free time I have to help in any small way I can.

Between volunteer projects and freelance work, I write, eat, cook with my mom and eat again, dance to Bollywood songs, and pursue my passion in art - painting & sketching the scenes of the island.  And of course hit the streets with Mark, exploring places I remember, and places I didn’t know existed.

Mark insists that this isn’t enough about me.  He asked me to add that I speak five languages – English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, and Malay.  That I meet the characteristic of a true Penangite – stubbornness. That I’m beautiful in every way (I tried to delete this sentence, but he adds it back).

Who is Mark? 
Mark is wonderful, caring, clever, handsome, and brilliant.  And did I forget helpful?  He was helpful enough to write this bio of himself pretending it was from my point of view, so the blog sounds consistent.

Mark hails from Minnesota – 10,000 lakes that are frozen half the year.  Living in the tropical heat hasn’t been easy for him, but I always catch him standing like the “Christ the Redeemer” statue in Rio with his arms out, staring at the air conditioner.  This seems to keep him happy and freely willing to contribute to Capturing Penang on a frequent basis.

Between writing fiction and making ice cream, Mark finds time to drag me on long walks around town day or night, causing me to wear through four pairs of shoes, but at the same time, opening my eyes to see the island from a different angle.

Mark has the perspective of an outsider, an element of this blog that helps speak directly to readers not from Penang.  But also as an insider on a journey similar to my own, having left Penang seven years ago after a one-year study program at a University here.

I see both sides in him – an awkward foreigner struggling to place two words together to communicate in Malay or Hokkien or Mandarin, to an impassioned local working to promote the island as if he was born here and eating every dish to prove he was.

Mark rushing to beat the 2-second timer on the camera.  One of many lessons we have learned working on Capturing Penang - take it easy, have fun, and always go with the 10-second timer...


debi said...


I downloaded "That's Minnesota" and sent it to my kindle. I just read and thoroughly enjoyed it! I joined Shortbread and am looking forward to more reads. Tell Mark I said, "Bravo!"

Thanks for all the fun!


Reese said...

Thank you Debi! I still can't believe I won the contest and we are headed to Spain.

I'm looking forward to reading your stories on Shortbread too.