In Home Groan, we take a deep look at Penang. From idyllic beaches to dangerous jungle, reflections on the past to current issues, island living to mainland life, we explore our beloved home state in both prose and poetry, spinning tall tales and telling it as it is.
This is your Penang. This is your home. Come groan with us.
Anna Tan writes stuff and then worries that everyone will hate it. She is the author of two fantasy books, Coexist and Dongeng; several short stories; and more short stories included in various local and international anthologies.
In 2019, Anna completed an MA in Creative Writing: The Novel at Brunel University London under the Chevening scholarship. She is interested in Malay/Nusantara and Chinese legends and folklore in exploring the intersection of language, culture, and faith. Anna can be bribed with books, tea, and Nando’s. You can find out more about her at https://annatsp.com.
Anis Rozalina Ramli is a writer with PR, corporate communications, and advertising experience. She writes poetry, explores therapeutic writing, and is currently dabbling in writing short fiction. On the weekends, she can be found in Janda Baik, Pahang with her husband and children, where they are building a writer’s retreat and retirement home in the jungle.
Frequently wishing the world was a better place, Celine Wu spends her time daydreaming about guillotines while at work. Oh, she also likes books, chocolate, and cute animals. What she doesn’t like are wealth-hoarding dragons. If you know what I mean.
Chee Siew Hoong loves books, music, writing, dogs and family jaunts. She enjoys conversations with young and old people over books, faith, and food. She volunteers with a local community school. She writes because she can’t imagine not writing. Some of her writings have been published.
Born and raised in Penang, Dan Lee is an underpaid office worker with grand dreams but because he is a master procrastinator, and only writes when lightning strikes, he lives with his mother in Penang.
Born and bred in Penang and still currently residing in the Pearl of the Orient, Elaine Lee Yew Mei loves reading, dogs, and taking walks on the beach. She also has a thing for Sunrises and Sunsets. Writing is something that she is passionate about and it brings her inexplicable joy. Elaine believes that every life experience should be effective agents of change to make us better people on this earth.
Hi, I’m Kang Chung Yee and I’m currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Public Relations at Han Chiang University College in Penang. I was born in Penang as well and am really proud to express how fortunate I am to be a Penangite. Planning and coordinating events are my passion. I also plays football and perform calisthenics workouts on a regular basis.
Krishnaveni K.K. Panikker is a retired clinic nurse who lives in a small kampung. Her hobbies are reading, people-watching, and writing. She has written mainly children’s short stories. She loves helping abandoned children and the homeless and this has made her see things differently. She enjoys writing about the underprivileged and how they cope with life but never mentions any names in her writings as she feels everyone has dignity and should be given the privacy they deserve.
Lucille Dass is retired but remains ‘rewired.’ Try depriving this erstwhile lecturer of her daily fix—a Cup of Joe joy—and she is reduced to a tangled mass. Words will flow when laced with a euphoric frothy, creamy latte…. She happily thinks latte lets her put a spell and a spin on words. But the words? They conspire to land her in a flat spin! Then a flat white is summoned. Amazing how caffeine creativity has put out some publications in her name…and so she raises a toast, “better latte than never!”
A native Penang islander, Mandy Chee is fascinated by all things musical, history, and wildlife. She is more comfortable penning her thoughts than initiating conversations. Creativity and words elude her 90% of the time—and the remaining 10% come at the most random moments. When she’s not reading or hiding in her bubble, you may find her in her backyard learning to ID birds.
NightShade is a full-time writer, editor, proofreader and social media manager based in Ampang. They are the founder and co-organiser of Poetry Jam Asia. When they aren’t writing for work, they write for fun. Their works are usually found under their pseudonyms, Serendipity and NightShade. They write poetry and fiction/non-fiction about fantasy, feminism, human rights, and the environment. When they occasionally venture out of their hidey-hole in an obscure part of Selangor, you might find one of their alters spouting poetry on a stage. Or just gazing off into space.
Ong Sheng How, a.k.a. Orange Ong, grew up in Bukit Mertajam. He studied in Kim Sen Primary School and then Jit Sin Secondary School before furthering his tertiary education in Melbourne, Australia. Upon returning home after graduation, he had the experience of working as a construction site engineer and as a civil engineering design engineer in Penang, and as a traffic engineering and transportation planning consultant in KL. Currently, he is back in Penang to care for his aging parents as well as to contribute his expertise hoping to improve the traffic and transportation situation in his beloved Penang.
A concoction of oxymoronic attributes, Rachel Yeoh is a lazy overachiever. She writes for a living, sings when the sun goes down and runs a homemade granola company with whatever is left of her time. Always planning for something to do while procrastinating on her bed, she is quick to be on her feet at any chance to travel.
Red Beanie, author of poetry zines Black Ribbons and Pearls, Kisses on Coffee Cups, and If Taylor Swift Can Write It So Can I, is a translator of hearts to words. Born and bred in Penang, she advocates the benefits of creative arts in self-discovery and connection. She balances her life in being a romantic as well as a cynic.
Sukanya Dhanarajan is an educationist with more than 30 years’ experience in the field of Education. She is a Biochemistry graduate who went on to do a Diploma in Education and a Masters in Managerial Psychology. Currently she works as an Education Consultant promoting New Zealand Educational Institutions.
Sukanya has been writing since she was in school. Writing is both a hobby and a creative outlet. Besides writing, she also loves to travel, the experiences of which, contributes to her stories. She likes to write about real-life experiences.
JY Tan was born in 2000 and raised in Penang, where she learnt to love the food but hate the traffic. After moving to Semenyih, Selangor for her Creative Writing degree at Nottingham Malaysia, she learnt to tolerate the food and loathe the traffic with a burning passion.
Depending on the time of year, she’s either staying in Penang, travelling to and from Penang, or complaining about Penang, all while pretending Twitter is a good enough replacement for her semi-abandoned blog.
Vanessa Woodruff hails from Lancashire in the north of England and has lived in Penang for the past 26 years. She has years of experience teaching English to locals and foreigners alike and she currently tutors in the Department of Education in Wawasan Open University. Marrying into a Hindu family and raising two biracial children has given her an insight into another culture, which she seeks to share from her own unique perspective. Vanessa loves to travel with her family and explore new sights as well as read and cook in her free time.
Wan Phing Lim was born to Malaysian parents in 1986 in Butterworth, Penang. Her short stories have appeared in Catapult (USA), Ricepaper Magazine (Canada), Lucent Dreaming (UK), Kyoto Journal (Japan) and anthologies by Monsoon Books (UK), Ethos Books (Singapore) and Fixi Novo (Malaysia). Her story ‘Snake Bridge Temple’ was selected for Kitaab’s Best Asian Short Stories 2017 and Buku Fixi’s New Malaysian Writing 2017.
Wilson Khor W.H. is known for many things—zine poet and publisher; teacher, otaku, and an obvious oddball.
His hobbies include eating, being annoying, and fooling around in writers’ meetings. He has a bad habit of cracking the wrong jokes at the wrong time, as well as a notoriety for abusing long sentences, em dashes, and semi colons.
Winston Lim is the author of two biographies, including one of the late Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew, and a Young Adult novel. His interests are varied and include some very esoteric subjects.
Yee Heng Yeh currently works as a translator and proofreader while writing in his spare time. His poems have been featured on the KITA! Podcast, adda, and Unmasked: Reflections on Virus-time, while his short scripts have been selected for the Short+Sweet Festival, winning Best Script in Penang (2019). He also co-wrote Have/Had, a full-length play staged in PenangPAC. You can find him on Twitter at @HengYeh42.
Yong-Yu Huang is a Taiwanese teenager who has lived in Penang for most of her life. Her work has been previously published by or is forthcoming in Kissing Dynamite, Hominum Journal, and Sine Theta Magazine.
Chew Yuin-Y currently teaches at university by day and dabbles in art by night (or whenever she has the spare time and energy for it, really). Her projects have included the Olive Tree Hotel logo and wall mural designs for Settlements Workspace (both in Penang). She also had a piece featured in Lukis Tulis Malaysia 2019, a community art festival held in July 2019 at Jaya One. Her work—a mixture of drawings and lettering in both traditional and digital media—can be found on Instagram (@elvenstar).
Winnie Cheng (ERYN) is a Penang-based artist who creates surreal compositions using drawing, painting, watercolours, collage, and paper and wood cut-outs. She loves to read and often uses writing as a point of inspiration for her art. Her work has been shown in local and regional art exhibitions and she received the Gold Award under the Emerging Artist category from UOB’s Painting of the Year (Malaysia) Competition in 2015. Winnie also participated in local art residencies and was selected as one of the artists for the Khazanah Nasional Associate Artist Residency Programme in London in 2018.
X.Z. is an art hobbyist who enjoys dabbling in different mediums of art, from traditional to digital. Although mainly focused on character drawings, she enjoys the occasional attempt at other subjects in both concepts of fantasy and reality.
Born and raised on Penang island, she currently resides in neighbouring Singapore as a 3D Apparel Specialist at a tech company and spends the time in between daydreaming of her next inspiration.
When not creating illustration art, she can be found sifting through Netflix or exploring curated shops and cafes with friends. Instagram: @xz_art