Every Danish expat in Asia – and all over the globe – would know of or have heard of the game of Balut, which under its present structure and form was initiated in Bangkok in 1972 by a group of Danish expats, and from there it mushroomed to cities and capitals all over the world under the umbrella organization, International Balut Federation, which today comprises some 75 branches with about 2,000 Members under the auspices of the IBF General Committee in the Copenhagen Head Quarters.
Over the past 5 – 10 years a number of additional Balut associations among Danish expats – as well as a few of other nationality – have been established worldwide, including in reputable and exclusive private clubs like The Tanglin Club in Singapore and British Club in Bangkok, and one such Danish ‘break-away’ is Penang Balut Society’ on the beautiful and fast progressing island of Penang.
Penang Balut Society was founded on 1 st March 2001 at the heritage club from 1868, Penang Club, by:
Karsten Willerup as Founding Chairman
(Ex IBF founding Member Manila 1976 with no. IBF00071, IBF Member Copenhagen Branch 1980, IBF Chairman Taiwan Branch 1983 and creator of The Grand Order of the Chinaman, which has been bestowed on historical Balut executives like Honourable El Presidente Niels Lumholdt +, Jan Pilebo, Troels Carstensen, Henrik Lund, Kai Kirk Soerensen +, Karsten Willerup, John Winther, and a few more).
Frank Poulsen as Chairman and
Erik Lund as Vice-Chairman and VP Ladies Relationship.
Nick Ridley as VP for International Relationship/Troubadour.
The monthly Balut meetings thereafter were transferred to the popular ‘Sunset Bistro’ beach pub at Batu Ferringhi, Penang, which regrettably later burned down, and was transferred by the owners to Bora-Bora Beach Bar, also in Batu Ferringhi. Sunset Bistro and Bora-Bora were both ‘PBS Approved Outlets’.
From Penang being a rather provincial international community in 2001 with few Danish expats, over the years it has seen a good number of Danish expats relocating to Penang from Denmark, France and Spain due to the attractive and generous tax free government programme, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H), providing a 10 years multi-entry visa and no tax on foreign income.
PBS has evolved into a professional Balut dice society in Penang with presently 21 Members (5 on the waiting list), and as one of the few Balut societies worldwide, PBS has assisted in establishing an independent PBS Ladies Section, and the 2 sections meet for a sumptuous Balut wine dinner and game twice a year in any of the established 5***** hotels like E & O Hotel, Rasa Sayang Shangri-La Resort and Spa, Penang Club from 1868, etc.
Naturally and obviously, PBS is playing the Jackpot Balut system, and every month the score card will be adjusted with new decorations and pictures highlighting individual Members birthdays, anniversaries, Chinese New Year, etc. to make it more colourful.
Today PBS is meeting monthly for dinner and two games of Balut at Vintage Bulgaria Restaurant and Bar in Tanjung Bungah, the staff of which has been trained to provide Carlsberg beer at a high flow level, and the service, food, pricing, environment/ambience and location is perfect for the Balut atmosphere. Vintage Bulgaria is a ‘PBS Approved Outlet’.
The Members will place a bet before each game on how many Baluts will be accumulated during the game, and the winners have the option to spend the takings as he/they prefer, but another round of Carlsberg is normally a popular choice.
The winner of the evening will take home a Champion’s trophy after gobbling down a Carlsberg from it, and the monthly winner of the two games will normally score around 50 points.
From October – May, PBS is running a tournament with the monthly scores accumulated, and the Champion in May will have the ‘honour’ of hosting the first upcoming PBS event after the European summer holidays.
PBS celebrated 15 years Anniversary last year, and with a change to new uniform, Nick Ridley generously was the main sponsor, and consequently was awarded the title of ‘Life Time Honorary Member’.
Any respectable and professional society will have a ‘PATRON’, and on Nick Ridley’s suggestion (Wife name Marianne), and through a democratic voting process, the PBS Members chose MM
The game of Balut is a ‘life style’ involving a very social and highly competitive game, and remember that the outcome of a game is a combination of luck with the roll of dice and your intelligence of where to place your scores.
In Penang the game of Balut has being instrumental in getting the Danish community together monthly, and it is used as a networking platform to introduce newly arrived Danish expats to Penang as well as to invite personal friends visiting Penang for a relaxed Penang evening.
For those who have not yet joined any Balut association, but are interested in learning and playing the game, you can Google the words – balut game – and you will find the history, rules and requirements easily available, and if you wish to play the game electronically, you can Google – balutgame.com – and then download the best available option of the Balut game from the internet under the heading: “Balut – a fun dice game”.
Georgetown, being the city on Penang Island, used to be a sleepy town, especially after 6.00 pm, but now it is bustling with many nice little cafes, plenty of restaurants, pubs and a variety of ‘watering holes’, museums, art galleries, renovated heritage buildings like in Singapore, boutique hotels, and not forgetting the well-known and famous local cuisine, and Western fine dining has emerged to world standard in many hotels and restaurants in Penang.
Georgetown’s designation as a Unesco World Heritage Site with numerous street art murals throughout the city have attracted a lot of tourists. Art and culture is a game changer in Penang.
Penang Island is offering a variety of activities from sandy beaches and 3-5 star hotels at Batu Ferringhi as well as Penang Hill 720 meters above sea level with a cooler climate, and with an amazing view all over the island including Georgetown, the Malacca Strait and the two bridges to the mainland.
See you in Penang.
Penang Balut Society