Chinese New Year Decorations @ Gurney (2015)

I wrote about the Chinese New Year decorations in Queensbay Mall. Today I am going to write about Chinese New Year decorations in Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon.

Gurney Plaza

If you are a local or a tourist that has visited Penang before, chances are you will know Gurney Plaza. After all, it is located on the famous Gurney Drive. If Queensbay Mall is THE shopping mall on southern Penang island, then Gurney Plaza is THE shopping mall on the northern side. In fact it predates Queensbay Mall, I think it has been around since the late 1990s or early 2000s.

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Center Court view from 6th Floor

My impression on the Chinese New Year decorations of this place? I think they are doing a good job in a completely different way compared to Queensbay Mall. While I think QBM has been rather flamboyant and in-your-face with their decorations, I think Gurney Plaza is being more subtle with their works.

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Front entrance concourse

You get the feeling that QBM is trying to set up their decorations to be a visitors attraction, where people would be induced to visit the mall solely for taking pictures with the nice CNY things and in the process will hopefully spend money in the restaurants and shops.

In Gurney Plaza, they place their decorations to be on the periphery. I get the feeling that the mall’s management is trying to convey this message: “Yes, it is the festive season, but we are still a shopping mall first and CNY photoshoot location second.

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Cherry blossom trees on the side

I’m not saying that there is nothing interesting here though. Although less flamboyant, I think you will still be able to find interesting spots to take photos in this mall if you so happen to visit in the coming week or two.

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Cherry blossom walkway, Center court
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Colourful umbrellas covering the side strip.

I think Gurney Plaza paid more attention on Valentine’s Day. I noticed (or rather felt) that they try to incorporate romantic themed decorations with CNY based decorations.

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Lovely flower bouquet

As you make your way from the upper levels down to the Center Court, you will notice that besides the lanterns hanging in the center, there are many curtains hanging on the side, with lovely flower bouquets on each of them.

I tried like 30 different spots to take a photo with the flowers and the lanterns in it,

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I think this is the best of the lot (to my eyes)
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I think this is something that might look perfect for a garden wedding

Because I arrived through the car park, I saw the interior decorations first rather than the outside decorations first. As I made my way to the front entrance of the mall, something caught my eye.

Lion Dance Mascot
Lion Dance Mascot

If you read my QBM post, you would have seen the Nian Gao 年糕 mascot. Here there’s the lion dance mascot.

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The Prosperous Eight. I am beginning to wonder if they actually have eight different mascots scattered across eight different shopping malls in Penang. Do we have that many malls in Penang??

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Front Entrance

There’s this three goats decoration outside the front entrance. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that each goat (or sheep/lamb/ewe/whatever is it you call it) seems to have a different facial expression. So I did the only sensible thing that any man with a camera would do..

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Goat #1
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Goat #2
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Goat #3

Man this goat #3 sucks. Can’t see the face!

This is where I am able to utilize yet another power of my new camera. Flip the screen out to 135 degrees, then place the camera downwards with lens facing upwards, and now I can see the goat’s face.

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Goat #3’s face

I didn’t think too much about it back then, but as I am sitting here looking at the photos now, those three goats don’t really have different expressions, do they? The only difference is how their heads are positioned. Tsk!

Gurney Paragon

This is one of the newest shopping mall in Penang. It is very close to Gurney Plaza. In fact, only a hotel (G Hotel) separates them. You might wonder why the developers are so stupid to build a mall within walking distance to Gurney Plaza. Well, they are different alright. While Gurney Plaza is more a commoners’ mall, Gurney Paragon is supposed to be the place where the rich shops. This is where most of the luxurious brands and haute couture (custom made fashion) houses are.

Well, I made my way to this mall on foot, and I was rather disappointed when I arrived. There was no decoration at all on the front entrance. No, wait a minute, I think they designed the mall to have the front entrance on the opposite side compared to Gurney Plaza, so I was actually at the back entrance.

Even as I made my way into the mall, there was no sign of anything being set up to usher in the Year of the Goat. I had to make my way to the back concourse to see this..


I don’t know, but it somehow felt rather… pathetic. Maybe the rich and classy people do not care about decorations, so this mall pays no attention to decorating the place.

I have to confess here, this was the first time I went inside Gurney Paragon. The previous few times I came were always for lunch, outside the mall. This Gurney Paragon seem to be a rather small mall. I don’t think there’s a center court here like most of the malls in Malaysia. There’s a back concourse, a front concourse, and a walkway connecting them. And it was when I saw the walkway that I found more signs of an occasion.

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More lanterns hanging around

I was not too impressed to be honest, after all the unique designs and decorations I have seen so far, to now see hanging lanterns was kind of… deflating. Then I made my way to the middle of the walkway, beneath the lanterns, and looked up. And I finally got it.

You see, this mall is actually 7 or 8 floors high. And those lanterns were coming down all the way from the 7th floor. I cannot imagine the amount of lanterns they used to complete this monstrosity.

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I don’t think my pictures can describe what I felt standing at the bottom of all these. Let’s see. Have you ever watched those space travel movies where the spaceships fly at hyper speed and all the stars seem to fly by as beautiful strips of light? When I looked up, it felt that way to me.

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If I have to summarize in words, simplicity done in an overwhelming manner? That’s about as apt as I can think of..

Then I made my way towards the front entrance and out of the mall and found this staring me in the face..

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The Red Lantern Walk

I think it was pretty cool. There were people doing the walk, but when they spotted a fatty aiming a camera at them, all ducked to the side to avoid being captured in photo. Oh well..

Ah yes, before I decided to call it a day, I spotted the third mascot..


Now I can say that I am very sure that there are five other mascots hidden in 5 other malls in Penang. Too bad (or too great) I realized this too late as I am heading back to KL soon, else I will be trying to hunt down all eight mascots. Just for the sake of it though, I don’t think they are very pretty to be honest 🙄 .

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I’m not even sure if there are eight shopping malls in Penang island. Maybe they stowed some away in mainland Butterworth. That would complicate matters. Well, if any of you readers would be in Penang and want to hunt down the remaining five mascots, you might want to try these malls.

  • First Avenue
  • Prangin Mall
  • Straights Quay
  • Sunway Carnival
  • and a big maybe, AEON Bukit Mertajam

I’m just guessing though, if you decide to follow my instincts and end up being disappointed, don’t kill me because of it 😐 .

Actually, you might want to check to see if other blogs covered these mascots. That would be the more reliable thing to do..

And that I think, closes my chapters of CNY decorations in Penang..


    • I think the malls really invest quite a bit to create that atmosphere to encourage people to visit and spend spend spend 😀

  1. Those are great shots of the decorations! I hardly notice the ones at the mall I go to. Yesterday Aeon supermarket was so chaotic. The number of customers rushing in to shop is just astounding! Have a safe drive home 🙂

  2. I think the 3rd baby goat was busy eating before you disturbed the poor fella by sticking your camera in its face! 😀

    Wishing you and your family lots of “ong” this Chinese New Year! Have a pleasant and safe trip back to KL (and I’m leaving KL Wed).

    • Hahaha you make me feel like an intrusive bastard now! 😀 😀

      Wish you a smooth trip back to hometown too! And also, huat ahhhhh 😉

  3. Wah, kam song ahh, went to so many malls and kaikai and take pictures.. Talking about CNY decorations, to be honest, I never got the time to take the boys to go see see look look leh.. Mountain people mountain sea, where got time and mood to ask them to stand near the sheep/goat/ram to take pictures? I like the pink goat the most, made from flowers, nice..

    • They run around then you headache la. Maybe when they older a bit then you can enjoy the festivals more 🙂

    • But you have been DIY those decorations for your home. Your home can be a visitors attraction too I think! 😀

  4. Very nice RG! I took some pictures of the Goat/Sheep in front of the Gurney Mall… Ipoh here cannot be compared but this year, they have improved a lot too especially AEON…

    • I think everywhere is improving. Less people go to the malls to save money/avoid the crowds now, so they all have to spend extra effort to lure visitors.

  5. Oh, and you got yourself a great, superb, fantastic camera to be able to take the shot of the kambing facing the ground. You can go promote this camera by highlighting this feature with your example. Work part time selling cameras.

    • Hahaha, unfortunately this camera will be obsolete soon. I think they will come out with A6100 in March. I should’ve waited until then and hope for an even better price for my A5100, but I was worried about GST.

  6. You are taking great photographs! I can see what you are trying to describe about the lanterns in Gurney Paragon being like spaceships flying at hyper ships towards me, in your photo that you have taken.

    I also felt like I am there in person enjoying the decorations. You framed your photos very well giving the viewer a clear sense of the scene you are capturing. Well done! Your next career can be a professional photographer.

    Ok, I found all eight from the star metro online but you guessed all of the malls correctly. YOU ARE A TRUE BLUE PENANGITE NOW!!!!

    and you can’t deny it because how else would you have guessed the remaining 5 malls correctly otherwise.

    It says:

    “Designed by local artists Albert Lee and Ong Hock Lye, the ‘Prosperous Eight’ have been adopted by Gurney Plaza, Queensbay Mall, 1st Avenue Mall, Aeon Bukit Mertajam, Straits Quay, Sunway Carnival Mall, Prangin Mall and Gurney Paragon Mall.”

    You are so right, there is

    • I am too lazy to be professional photographer. If a real pro sees my pictures he/she will think: “what rubbish is this fat bloke taking?”, and if he/she sees your comments, he/she would probably think: “biased blog reader”. 😀

      I do agree though I spend some time trying to frame the pictures as best as I could. It is easier with a digital camera, you can try shots at different angles and different locations and compare immediately. I can’t remember how life was like when we were still on those old film based cameras.

      LOL, I suspect it is very hard to get the malls wrong. The malls that I mentioned, they are basically the only malls in Penang. I was torn between AEON BM and Bukit Jambul Complex though. BJ Complex used to be one of the main malls too, but I reckon it is now a place full of foreign workers and Malays so it won’t make much sense to put the mascot there..

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