rochowski

8

Yin Oi Tong Chinese Medical Hall, George Town, Penang, Malaysia:

I’ve pulled an edit of this up from the archive because I went past this building in December last year while on a trip through my home country of Malaysia and then Vietnam. It’s now been restored and turned into a hotel, restaurant and museum.

I shot it in 2010 as part of a larger project called First Island (something I still haven’t actually fully edited). I was fascinated by the rapid development of Georgetown and the island itself yet there were so many buildings being left to ruin for one reason or another.

The Yin Oi Tong was still operating and it was a great privilege for my wife and I to spend 3 days inside it with the owners. The air was thick with over 200 years of dried medicinal ingredients oozing out of the layered paint work, floor boards and dusty furniture. It was a rabbit warren of artefacts, measuring scales, rice sacks and boxes. The ingredients were dried on the roof and supplies winched up through the shaft. It seemed like it hadn’t changed since the day it opened in 1796, 10 years after Sir Francis Light established a British Colony there. . I love these buildings and the vivid history that jumps out at you right before your eyes.

While we were there local residents and businesses would come in for advise, have a chat and of course lunch…then we would go back upstairs and continue taking pictures.