George Town, 6 August 2018 - Trishaw riders were once vital transport provider for over 80 years in Penang since trishaws were introduced here in the 1930s. Penangites of all ages took them to school, market, work, you name it.
Today, though, trishaws are just a memory and only tourists want to ride them to experience the slower pace of yesteryear. Trishaw riders in Penang no longer make the kind of earnings they used to, so to appreciate their contributions to George Town's heritage enclave, KDU Penang University College (KDU Penang) gave back to them by distributing meals to trishaw drivers on May 14, 2018.
Students pursuing their Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management and Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management prepared and distributed 80 meals to trishaw drivers.
“Many of the trishaw riders earn low income and some of them are even homeless and sleep in their trishaw,” said Dr. Irhanida Abdul Kadir, senior lecturer of School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, KDU Penang.
“We met an 86-year-old-man who has been a trishaw rider for 67 years, with no plans of retiring. They are slow and look a little worse for wear and frankly can be hazards on
the road, but the Penang trishaw has been a part of the state’s heritage for over 80 years,” expressed Dr. Irhanida.
She added that there was no special spot to find trishaw riders and they stationed themselves along roadsides and sidewalks around George Town. KDU Penang believes giving them meals and listening to their stories will put smiles on their faces.
Dr Irhanida said KDU Penang looked forward to the setting up of their flagship campus in Metropolis Batu Kawan because it has the potential to play a role in boosting tourism on mainland Penang.
"We actively connect with the community and also industry partners because it helps our students to get a more well-rounded education. In Batu Kawan, our tourism and hospitality students will have greater opportunities to research into greenfield tourism projects and enhance such activities," she said.