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Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016

Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang

Location: Penang, Malaysia

Guru-Types
Penang is unusual that I met 3 people who are what I would call guru-types. Why guru-types and not gurus? Because they have what it takes to be gurus and command a following, but I am not sure if they are willing to play that role or already playing that role. You don't get to meet these rare types but Penang seems to attract them. These are people who are acutely aware of their imposing presence on other people, notwithstanding being softspoken. Somehow they have this charisma, this esoteric X-factor that make people follow them and listen to them speak. These guru-types know and appreciate the power they command on people. They can have disciples if they choose to, without any effort to recruit. People find this irrepressible desire to learn from them or perhaps find solace in their words. They are knowledgeable, life-experienced with a telling narrative, and conviction of their righteousness. Usually, these guru-types are old learned people who have learned the lessons of life through the trenches of suffering, triumph, defeat and exhilaration. But surprisingly, 2 of the three are just in their mid 20s!

Sasha KoziniSasha Kozini
I was at the National Park and needed a spare battery for a torch. Sasha offered his spare. That's how I met him. He's lean, head-shaven with a brushy beard. While camped at Turtle Beach, me and my Turkish friend Luna, gathered up with him as he talked about his travels in the Himalayas, his penchant for tea and some yoga asanas. Not surprisingly, he is well versed in Vipassana, although he's a bigger fan of Mooji than he is of Goenka. He has been traveling for 10 years now...and he's only 27! He talks in a relaxed anecdotal narrative, unimposing but almost hypnotic. Like most guru-types I've met before, it's not so much a conversation but a monologue - he talks, we listened. And it wasn't overbearing. We couldn't wait until the next word comes out of his mouth.

When I left the National Park, I thought I've seen the last of him. But in the passing days, our karmic paths intertwined. We ended up somehow bunked in the same room at the CasaBlanca Inn in Georgetown. We would spend a lot of time talking...actually more like me listening while he talks about anything under the sun. I may not always agree with him, but it's always good conversation with him. I have a feeling that even after my Penang sojourn, our paths will continue to cross.

Marat ChasanovMarat Chasanov
Marat has a boyish look and looks the most normal of the three. Although we both shared the same room at the same hostel, we didn't really talk much except for a few snippets of yoga. While friendly, I found him reserved. Together with some friends at the hostel, we did a yoga practice one morning at the Esplanade Park. I conducted the yoga asanas and after, Marat conducted Pranayama and Meditation. It was during his closing remarks after meditation that I got a sense he is one of those guru-types. What he said wasn't new to me. In fact, it echoed much of what we both learned from Vipassana. I guess it's how he said it...his deliberation that made an impact. Like Sasha, Marat has no home and has been traveling for 7 years already. Marat left for India and I haven't seen him after that.

It wasn't until I bumped into Sasha again that I learned more about Marat. Apparently, they both know of each other. Sasha talked about Marat with respect as an equal. Sasha said that in a short time, Marat gained 23,000 followers on his Facebook page, Sun Surfers, a Russian-speaking group in pursuit of higher evolution. I did not find it surprising despite Marat being only 25 years old! Like I said, he is the guru-type and people naturally default into him.

Marat and Sasha
I found it odd that 2 young Russian guru-types who are well-traveled are in the same place at the same time, but never bump into each other. Even Sasha concurred that him and Marat are often in the same place but they never meet. Sasha also acquiesced that they are 2 alpha-types and it's hard for both of them to be in the place at the same time. Perhaps this ego-consumption is un-yogic, but that is a natural human reality I can very much appreciate. It is uncanny that they are very similar - both are extensive travelers whose tales cover the far-flung esoteric places most travelers don't even know about. They are both heavy into yoga and can be yoga gurus on their own. Both are Russians (Marat is from Lithuania). And both are just in their mid-20s! Even more uncanny is when I recommended my hostel to Sasha, he ended up staying on the same bed as Marat did! I somehow feel that both of them are partnered in a cosmic dance whose climactic apex is yet to be revealed.

Manna SayerManna Sayer
When I accidentally bumped into Sasha back in Georgetown, he was with Manna. Sasha already told me back at Turtle Beach that a powerful New Zealand yogi and friend would be paying him a visit. When I saw them both, I immediately knew the other guy was the NZ yogi - he was walking barefoot with a stick, goatee, tattoo all over, lean and lithe like a master yogi. He had very deep set eyes with a penetrating look...very much like Charles Manson. I never saw him blink. He sleeps on the streets (but he has money). It was hard to have a normal conversation with him as he defers back to a Vedic teaching or some ancient wisdom even on mundane talks.

Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang
Sasha, Manna and Marat

Common Denominator
Aside from being smart and charismatic, these 3 guru-types share things in common. They are all versed in Vipassana and other types of meditation, they are deep in their yoga practice, and they are all consumate travelers - the world is their oyster! They are all well-connected to essential people with special skills, unique life experience or to people who themselves are well-connnected to an intricate web of peoplescape. And they all seem to know each other!

Ending Thoughts
I would say that all gurus or guru-types are natural leaders who are smart and charismatic, who have the gift of presence and influence - Gandhi, Hitler, Pol Pot, Kennedy, etc. It doesn't matter if you are a force for good or evil - it's the gift. I wondered if what they say is powerful and unique to attract such following. It would appear that way, but if I envision a lesser person saying the same thing, it would not have any impact whatsoever. It's their X-factor, whatever it is, that makes their persuasion so compelling. I keep using the word hypnotic. I have not become a disciple, but I feel privileged to be in the orbit of such guru-types and feel their power and presence from the ringside seat.

--- TheLoneRider

ps - I have to add another one below as a special mention. She's not a guru but a precocious life-hacker.

Jin PenangJin
I met Jin in a hawker-type food stall along Chulia Street. At a very young 22 years old, she's still a student but life-savvy. She doesn't like the course imposed to her by her parents. So, she hires someone else to attend her classes and pass all the exams until graduation. That way, she gets the diploma under her name, which helps her look good to her parents-in-law when she gets married. So, what does she do now? She put up a beauty business, hiring Koreans to apply make-up to her Chinese customers. She uses the income to fund her travels. So while enjoying her travels, she's actually "attending school" and generating money from her business. Smart !!!!

Jin Blogs on TheLoneRider

with Marat conducting pranayama and meditation at the Esplanade meeting Sasha at Turtle Beach with Luna with Sasha at the same guesthouse, Casa Inn in Georgetown stumbling into Manna at Georgetown

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Jun 17, 2016

Google Map Penang, Malaysia



tourist attractions in Penang tourist attractions
  • Batu Ferringhi in Penang Batu Ferringhi - beach resort town 30 minutes from Georgetown
  • Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) in Penang Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) at the National Park (Taman Negara) - free admission, beach, camping, trekking and maybe you get to see a turtle lay eggs
  • Penang Hill in Penang Penang Hill - panoramic view of Penang from 830 meters above sea level
    Hours: 6:30am–10:30pm, Phone: +60 19-750 2139
  • Botanical Gardens Penang Botanical Gardens - developed in 1884, the garden is 29 hectares of prime evergreen tropical rain forests just on the outskirt of Georgetown
    10470 George Town, Penang | 5am–9pm | +60 4-227 0428
  • Botanical Gardens Penang Penang National Park - with 2,562 hectares, the park is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets. The sandy beach of Pantai Kerachut is also a nesting place of Green turtles from April to August
  • 
Pinang Peranakan Mansion Pinang Peranakan Mansion - a stately home has been renovated to back to its former glory to showcase the opulence, lifestyle and times of the Peranakan a century ago. Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Admission: MYR20.00
  • 
Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum - modern interactive 3D art Museum with the "Glow in the Dark" theme | 145, Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 Georgetown, Penang | Adult MYR 18, kids MYR 10 | Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 18:30, Sat-Sun: 10:00 - 21:30
hotels in Penang - hotel
  • Le Dream Boutique Hotel Le Dream Boutique Hotel - central location, fitness gym, jacuzzi, compli wine hour, all day treats, movie nights
    139, Jalan Pintai Tali, Georgetown - 5°24'55.9"N 100°19'58.4"E
  • Just Inn Hotel Just Inn - central location, clean, affordable, helpful and friendly staff
    155,157,159, Carnarvon Street, 10100 George Town, Malaysia - 5°24'53.8"N 100°20'05.3"E
restaurant in Penang - restaurant
  • My Voice - Big Bowl Ramen My Voice - Big Bowl Ramen - 2 locations to serve you, biggest ramen bowl for everyone to join
    1. C-5-1, Lorong Bayan Indah 3 Bay Avenue, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, George Town
    2. big bowl ramen, Penang Penang Chew Jetty

Penang FYI / Tips

  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is in Georgetown's Old City (the UNESCO Heritage Site area). Any lodging in Old City puts you in the heart of things
  • getting around Penang by bus is convenient as there are many buses to several destinations. However, the bus takes the longest and circuitous route so be prepared for a long ride. For more information about Penang buses, go to Rapid Penang

How to Get to Penang (Georgetown) from Kuala Lumpur

  1. train - with the modern ETS fast train, the travel time has been reduced to 3 hours 50 minutes. It's not necessary to take the sleeping train or bus anymore. And you can buy train tickets online at the KTMB website **. Go to KL Sentral and buy your ticket at the KTM InterCity office on the 2nd level, B79. Wait in the waiting area until the train comes and the staff opens up the gate to let you down to board the train - 3 hours, 50 minutes. ETS train schedule
  2. ferry - from the train station, it is a 5-min walk to the ferry station (Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal) to board the ferry for Georgetown - 20 minutes, MYR 1.20. Ferry leaves every 40 mins. First ferry from Georgetown departs 5:40 a.m. and last ferry departs 1:00 a.m. From Butterworth, first ferry departs 5:20 a.m. and last ferry departs 12:40 a.m.
  3. bus - from the Jetty (Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal, aka - Jetty), walk to the bus terminal in Georgetown for a trip to the city center. There is a free bus - Free Cat, which takes you around the Old City of Georgetown, where most of the backpacker hostels are located. The free bus departs every 15 minutes. The free Jetty-Georgetown bus takes a different route from the Georgetown-Jetty free bus
** I initially booked the train ticket with Easybook.com. They confirmed it by email and charged me for it. They said a 2nd email will come with my seat number. The 2nd email never came. When I had the confirmation email checked at the KTMB office on my departure, they said my purchase was not on their system. I had to buy another ticket. I later complained to Easybook.com and requested them to reverse the charge. They arrogantly said they don't do refunds. You'd been warned!

Things to do, Places to go in Penang

  1. food - needless to say, there is no bad food in Penang. Every local has a recommendation on the must-haves, the food bloggers all have their opinion on where to eat and what to eat. But again, you don't have to search far and wide - the eating stall across you is probably a good bet already
  2. street art - in Georgetown, there are numerous street art adorning the walls. Walk around and be surprised. There is even a Penang street map devoted to street art - ask for one from your hotel concierge
  3. Batu Ferringhi Batu Ferringhi - beach resort town 30 minutes from Georgetown, MYR 2.70 by 101 Rapid Penang Bus
  4. Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) at the National Park (Taman Negara) - free admission, beach, camping, trekking and maybe you get to see a turtle lay eggs, MYR 4 by 101 Rapid Penang Bus, 1.5 hours, 22 kms
  5. Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) - 6 kms, bus 204, 1 hour, MYR2 from Comtar to Penang Hill. Penang Hill rises 833 meters up a tram system. It covers several hills and could take a whole day to explore on foot. Tram fee MYR30 round trip
  6. Botanical Gardens in Penang Botanical Gardens - developed in 1884, the garden is 29 hectares of prime evergreen tropical rain forests just on the outskirt of Georgetown. 10470 George Town, Penang | 5am–9pm | +60 4-227 0428
  7. Penang National Park Penang National Park - with 2,562 hectares, the park is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets. The sandy beach of Pantai Kerachut is also a nesting place of Green turtles from April to August. Phone: +60 4-881 3530
  8. 
Pinang Peranakan Mansion Pinang Peranakan Mansion - a stately home has been renovated to back to its former glory to showcase the opulence, lifestyle and times of the Peranakan a century ago. Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Admission: MYR20.00
  9. 
Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum - modern interactive 3D art Museum with the "Glow in the Dark" theme | 145, Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 Georgetown, Penang | Adult MYR 18, kids MYR 10 | Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 18:30, Sat-Sun: 10:00 - 21:30

Suggested Destinations after Penang

  • Cameron Highlands -
  • Perhentian Islands -
  • Langkawi Island -
  • Taman Negara -
  • Hat Yai -

Penang Cost Index

(US$1 = Malaysian Ringgit 4.116 = Php 46.67 as of June 1, 2016)
  • MYR 40/hour tri-shaw (pedal-powered rickshaw) around the city
  • MYR 5-8 small bottle of beer
  • MYR 5-8 standard price for a soup noodle or rice topping dish
  • MYR 6 hot coffee in a decent cafe (cold coffee is more)
  • MYR 10 bicycle rental, 8am to 6pm
  • MYR 5 coin operated laundry
  • MYR 1-2 local bus rides, no change given, have exact fee
  • MYR 18 cheapest dorm room, shared toilet during low season
  • MYR 2 one hour, internet cafe
  • MYR 2.70 1.5 liter drinking water
  • MYR 79 ETS fast train from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth (Penang pier area)
  • MYR 18 standard admission fee for museums for 1 adult. eg - Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum
  • MYR 7 haircut

Malaysia Blogs by TheLoneRider

    Cameron Highlands

  1. Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
  2. Kluang

  3. Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
  4. Kuala Lumpur

  5. Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
  6. Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
  7. Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
  8. The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
  9. Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
  10. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  11. Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
  12. Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
  13. Kuantan

  14. Goodbye and Thank You Kuantan Apr 13, 2018
  15. Visiting the Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque Apr 10, 2018
  16. Visiting the Pahang Art Museum Apr 3, 2018
  17. Beach Fun at Teluk Cempedak April 1, 2018
  18. Visiting the Kuantan Mini Zoo April 1, 2018
  19. High Intensity Interval Training Apr 1, 2018
  20. Fitness in Kuantan Mar 29, 2018
  21. Exploring Kuantan, Malaysia Mar 25-, 2018
  22. Hanging-Out in Kuantan with the Guangzhou 5 Mar 25-26, 2018
  23. Satipatthana Sutta Vipassana Mar 16-25, 2018
  24. The 24-Hr Trip from Loboc (Philippines) to Gambang (Malaysia) Mar 15-16, 2018
  25. Malacca

  26. A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
  27. Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
  28. The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
  29. About Malacca July 28, 2016
  30. Penang

  31. Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
  32. Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
  33. Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
  34. Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
  35. Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
  36. Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
  37. Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
  38. Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
  39. The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
  40. Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
  41. Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
  42. About Penang May 27, 2016

»» next story: Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang
»» next Fab People story: Andrea Paige - Health Crusader and Yogini
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Penang Hotels

Hotels

Le Dream Boutique Hotel, Penang hotel


Just Inn, Penang hotel


Restaurants

My Voice Cafe, Penang hotel


Attractions

Dark Mansion 3D Glow In The Dark Museum, Penang hotel






Penang Hotels

Le Dream Boutique Hotel, Penang
Le Dream
Boutique Hotel

Georgetown
Penang, Malaysia



Just Inn, Penang
Just Inn
clean | affordable
Penang, Malaysia



Dark Mansion 3D Glow In The Dark Museum, Penang
Dark Mansion
3D Glow In The Dark Museum
Penang, Malaysia



My Voice Cafe, Penang
My Voice Cafe
Big Bowl Ramen
Penang, Malaysia







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