Penang Trip: Upside Down Museum
Museum. The word evokes shared silence, a state of appreciation in honour of rare artifacts and dim lights. I’ve thought of wearing slippers to museums, because the flapping feet movements will turn me into an object of constant scrutiny, like I am an exhibit of historical or artistic value.
This time round, I happened to be in my slippers. Where better than to exercise our deviant streaks than in foreign lands? After all, this “upside down” museum certainly calls for the inversion of conventions. I realized my attire was fairly appropriate. We had to leave our footwear outside anyway. But by the end, I was left wondering if “museum” is a misnomer here.
As of Jul 2016, the entrance fee is RM27 for adults and RM16 for students. Bring your student cards, because the student fees apply for foreigners too! They do ask for your nationality first, though I’m not sure if it’s for differentiation or documentation. Also, take a screenshot of this voucher to gain an RM2 and RM1 discount respectively.
Bring a decent smartphone camera too, as they will be using it to take your photos.
With little ado, we were in.
With little ado, we were out.
This was a fun experience for my family, because we were allowed (read: required) to make funny poses. Never go alone because it’d feel real awkward with no one to laugh along with. There are many sets in the sequence, but I shan’t spoil you because anticipation is part of the fun.
Now, the caveat: It felt like a race for time. At each new set, the photographer will give brief, half-hearted demos of the positions each of us should take. Within seconds the camera will be snapping. We are shown the photos and ushered to the next stop before we could figure what the photos should look like.
It was only after leaving that we could slowly peruse the photos. Only then did we realize how contrived most looked, simply as we didn’t know how best to position our bodies, limbs, and fingers. If only the photographers had the patience to help us. Yet it wasn’t their fault; the attraction was designed with speed – i.e. profit – in mind. What more, we didn’t even have time to look at the setups around us. It was just too hasty.
‘Museum’ is thus a gross misnomer here. The facility was designed for Instagrammers, even if there were constructs of local settings like coffeeshops. The experience was solely of self-indulgence, rather than other-appreciation. Worse still, we weren’t even given tips on how to pose. There was zero enrichment. This was no museum. It should be called Upside Down Park or Upside Down Town.
Still, if you are adept at Instagram, this place along Kimberley St is a good stop. If you aren’t but don’t mind the hassle, go once, analyze the photos, then go again to generate the ideal effects. If you mind the hassle, there are alternatives like the Penang 3D Trick Art Museum. That was the museum we decided against, having lost all confidence in our posing skills.
Let me know if you experience something different there!