PETALING JAYA: Penang has expressed interest in a Hollywood-style sign for the state after a picture by an amateur photographer went viral last week, attracting both praise and criticism from internet users.
Twenty-year-old design student Chng Senn was inspired by the iconic Hollywood sign to add the word “PENANG” across a picture he had taken of Penang Hill. But he never expected the shot to go viral.
As of press time, it had amassed over 1,600 likes on Facebook, a far cry from the 300 to 500 likes he normally gets on Instagram.
“I actually did it just for fun,” he told FMT. “When I was editing my photos, I felt there was too much space at the top part of the picture where the hill is, so I thought of adding something there.”
It was then that he came across the Hollywood sign overlooking the district from the Hollywood Hills area in Los Angeles, California.
Recalling a similar sign erected in Ipoh, Senn thought of adding one for Penang as well.
“I just wanted to let Penang look more interesting than it already does.”
Senn’s picture has sparked a mixed response from internet users, some of whom say such a signboard might affect the natural environment around it.
“If these signboards do not affect the wildlife and cause damage to the forest, I’ll agree to them,” said Facebook user Lee Khai Xian.
“But if… some of the trees have to be cut down to put these up, and people go there and want to take photos with those signboards after they have been put up (and leave) rubbish behind, then I won’t agree to the idea.”
Senn concurred, saying his idea would have to be developed in a balanced manner so that Penang’s greenery is preserved.
Confusion also arose over his use of “Penang Tourism” in his original caption, which he says is only the name of his portfolio and has nothing to do with tourism and travel bodies such as Penang Global Tourism and the Penang Tourist Board Association.
However, other users praised his idea saying it deserves the notice of the state government.
When contacted, Penang Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said Senn’s idea was a good one but would need further discussion with the state housing committee.
“We welcome ideas and proposals to make Penang better,” he told FMT.
“(With the sign), drivers’ attention may be drawn for a few critical seconds.”
He also noted that a number of technical issues would need to be addressed if the project is taken up by the state, including road safety and maintenance of the sign.
For Senn, though, all he wants is what’s best for the state.
“Maybe Penang will become (even more of) an iconic city (because of the signage) and it will attract more tourists to visit Penang,” he said.