Reunion Report
RAAF School Penang Teaching Staff
July 2002

 Eating peanut pancakes

Following is a report on the teaching staff reunion in Penang, July 2002. A sincere thank you to Don Whatham for putting this together for us.

More Photographs

We have all arrived back safely from our reunion held at the Crown Prince Hotel Penang in the week commencing 7 July 2002. What a great time we had. We had 22 in attendance.

When we all arrived it was as though we had not been separated for over 20 years. The friendship and camaraderie were immediately evident. Maree Phelan described the week as "like being on a week long school camp".

The hotel provided an outstanding venue for the reunion. It was convenient to where most of us lived, was close to the site of the school, had excellent public transport and was about half way between Batu Ferringhi and Georgetown.

Report Detail
As well as enjoying each other's company around the hotel, at breakfast and at "happy hour " in the bar each afternoon, we managed to fit in many trips and lots of shopping. Penang is now one of the premier shopping locations of Asia. It still has the street markets, unspoiled shophouses of Pulau Tikus and Georgetown as well as now boasting several large department complexes. We made full use of all of them.

Most took the opportunity to travel around the Island, across the new 13 km bridge to Butterworth and a nostalgic trip back on the ferry. We also caught the railway up Penang Hill, visited Kek Lok Si, Batu Ferringhi and of course the E & O hotel where the single teachers used to reside.

Most of our travelling was by the very inexpensive but regular and reliable public bus service (however, the vehicles are not luxury coach standard). Taxis are also inexpensive but un-metered therefore negotiating (bargaining) skills are useful. We also hired a mini-van at an hourly rate. (I have details of a good contact). In addition the Crown Prince has a courtesy bus to Georgetown twice daily.

Amah Reunions
Many of us were able to make contact with the amahs who had worked for us during our stay in Penang. This was a highlight of the trip for many of us.

The food in Penang was a feature of our trip. We re-explored many of the great eating places. The Crown Prince was within walking distance of Hillside where of course the famous "Hillside Hilton" eating area is located.
We made many trips there for dinner.

We also visited the street food markets of Gurney Drive and of course enjoyed the curries, rotis and murtabahs at Haemadees. Many other food stalls and areas have sprung up and we attempted to sample food from as many of them as possible.

Penang has lost none of its charm and even though extensive depelopment has taken place it still retains its pleasant friendly atmosphere and it remains a part of Asia where you can enjoy the company of happy, relaxed people in a generally safe environment.

We found that the climate had not changed at all . The high temperature and humidity took some getting used to as we had all come from a cold Australian winter. We still enjoyed the thunder, lightning and flooding rain of the afternoon storms.

At the end of the week we sadly left to go on our separate ways. Some travelled to other parts of Malaysia, some to Thailand and Vietnam whilst a few of us had time in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Greg and Jan Woods had included the reunion as part of a round world trip.

This concludes the brief report of our reunion in Penang . As you can see we had a great time and most of us have commited ourselves to a return trip to Penang. We would certainly recommend the trip to ex-RAAF School students, teachers or RAAF Butterworth personnel. Anyone interested in the venture is well advised to contact the Crown Prince for accommodation.

Anyone organising reunions is welcome to make contact and I will make as much information available as possible.

Whilst at the Crown Prince many of us became friendly with the hotel's assistant manager, Calvin Tham. As the Hotel and its management had been so obliging in meeting our every wish and since the location was so convenient and relevant to RAAF School personnel I asked Calvin if a special deal for RAAF / ex RAAF personnel who might wish to holiday in Penang could be arranged. He made the offer which is reproduced below :

Ex-students, teachers and RAAF Personnel who attended RAAF School or served in Malaysia are eligible for a special holiday deal at the Crown Prince Hotel, Tanjong Bungah, Penang.

The deal involves accommodation in a superior room with full buffet breakfast for 2 people for RM120 . At the current exchange rate this equates to approximately $A60.00.

Crown Prince Hotel, Penang is a luxury beach hotel situated on the Northern coastline of Penang. It offers an excellent pool, beach swimming and sports and excellent bar facilities.

With the Komtar Shopping Complex, Island Plaza, the fantastic hawker food of Gurney Drive and Hillside, the Botanical Gardens, Penang Hill, renowned Temples and Mosques, the shopping of Georgetown and many nightspots only 15 minutes away the Crown Prince is strategically located and is an idyllic getaway. The hotel is well served by public buses, taxis and has its own courtesy coach . Transfers can be arranged from Penang Airport .

This deal is available privately and inquiries should be directed to:

Calvin Tham
Assistant Manager
Crown Prince Hotel
Tanjung Bungah 11200
Penang, Malaysia
Tel : (604) 890 4111. Mob (6012) 492 2881. Fax : (604) 890 4777
Email :
Website :


Don Whatham

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