May 20, 2008
DON'T be surprised if you spot Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at your favourite hawker stalls.
Last Wednesday, he was spotted having lunch at the popular New World Park hawker centre in George Town and the sighting has since been generating a buzz among Penangites who were pleasantly surprised to find themselves dining alongside their chief minister.
Stories on the encounters were featured on shitakarupat. livejournal.com and giddytigers. com by bloggers who took the opportunity to shake hands and pose for pictures with him.
Describing the chance meeting as “priceless”, one blogger labelled him “a really friendly and nice man” while another said he was “very smiley, very cheerful”.
When contacted, his press secretary Cheong Yin Fan said her boss has been known to frequent various hawker centres for a “quick bite”.
When it comes to hawker fare, Lim, who hails from Malacca, has a penchant for char koay teow although he rarely indulges in it.
In a recent interview with The Star after assuming the state’s leadership on March 8, Lim said he loved char koay teow but added he had to deny his guilty pleasure, as it was bad for his health and throat.
“I always end up losing my voice after a plate,” he said.
Sharing her experience, a journalist said she was “genuinely surprised” to find Lim so down to earth.
“I interviewed him together with two other senior reporters just after he moved into the chief minister’s office in Komtar and when it was time for lunch, he invited us to join him.
“He got his staff to ta pau (bring back) a few packets of nasi goreng and mineral water,” she said.
Lim, who has adopted a ‘no formalities’ approach as his personal administrative style, hopes to lead by example.
He usually travels economy class or by a budget airline.
As the chief executive of Pe-nang, Lim is entitled to a business class seat.
The Chief Minister also does not check into luxury-class rooms in hotels, opting instead for a room that is “at least one level down” from what he is accorded