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Foreigner pretends to swim in shallow Penang floodwater, sparks diverse netizen reactions

During recent flash floods in Penang, Malaysia, a foreign man took a light-hearted approach amidst the chaos by “swimming” in the shallow floodwaters on the streets of Georgetown.

While this unusual behavior brought amusement to many onlookers and online viewers, it also sparked a mix of amusement and concern among netizens.

Some found humor, comparing Penang to Venice, while others expressed health concerns due to potential water pollution and floating debris.



MALAYSIA: In some parts of Malaysia, particularly rural areas, playing in floodwaters is not an unusual pastime.

However, the situation takes a different turn in urban areas, as evidenced by a recent incident in Penang.

On Monday (4 September), Penang experienced heavy rainfall and strong winds, leading to flash floods in various locations.

According to Malaysia news outlet, Malay Mail, these flash floods caused significant traffic jams, toppled numerous trees, and damaged many homes.

Amidst the chaos, a foreign man in Georgetown, Penang, decided to adopt a surprisingly positive approach to the situation.

He ventured into the shallow floodwaters outside a row of shops and proceeded to lay face down, mimicking the act of swimming.

His unconventional behavior caught the attention of passersby, who stopped to record his antics.

Seeing that his impromptu “swimming” brought amusement to onlookers, he elevated the performance by getting up on his knees and waving his hand in the air.

He even posed for bystanders taking pictures and videos before continuing to frolic in the water.

Images and a video of the man quickly made their way onto the Facebook page “Penang Kini,” with captions humorously stating, “Mat Saleh (a colloquial term for foreign people) swims in a swimming pool, incorrect. Mat Saleh swims on the road, correct.”

The flash floods in Penang led to water levels rising by as much as 50 centimeters in some areas, but by approximately 12.30 pm, the floodwaters had receded entirely, as reported by Malay Mail.

Netizens are amused and concerned

As is typical on the internet, a wide range of opinions emerged in response to the man’s unique water antics.

Many netizens found humour in his behavior, with comments suggesting that Penang had now transformed into a free swimming pool on the road, or even a Malaysian version of Venice.

“Penang has now become Venice, eh?”

Some light-heartedly compared the drains in Japan, where Koi fish swim, to those in Malaysia, where humans took to the waters.

Others expressed concern for the man’s health, mentioning potential hazards like water pollution, floating debris, and health risks.

“He does not know what is in the drains,” said a Facebook user.

A few others said that the man would be admitted to the hospital soon.

A concerned netizen mentioned that she was worried about the presence of floating cat feces in the floodwater, to which another netizen corrected that there was more dog feces than cat feces.

Another netizen suggested that he should have leptospirosis and cholera medicine on standby.

Despite varying opinions, some netizens reminisced about their own childhood experiences of playing in floodwaters.

Many also speculated that the man might have been using sarcasm to highlight the city’s vulnerability to flooding during heavy rainfall.

In the end, this peculiar incident in Penang left netizens amused, reflecting the diverse reactions and sense of humor found on the internet.

You can watch the video here:

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