After visiting the Clan Jetties we trek up the waterfront to a nice little boardwalk that leads to Fort Cornwallis.
Hmmmm Fort Cornwallis, don’t I know another star shaped fort built by some Cornwallis fella? Actually this particular fort (and George Town itself) was founded by Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786 when the British came through scoping out sweet looking ports and trading spots. Bingo! Between this place, Singapore and Malacca the British had a lovely little trading route all laid out along the Malacca Straight.
Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately to some, unlike the Citadel in Halifax, this star shaped fort does not dress it’s employees up in Victorian era garb and force them to speak in fake accents. Actually there’s hardly anybody in here at all and when we walk up there are just a couple of people talking to a Chinese tour guide lady who invites us to join.
She first gives us the low down on this Captain Francis Light dude.
This was followed by a Fort Cornwallis photo op that no one went for
Up on the walls is this old gunpowder magazine sitting beside some legendary cannon.
And then came the story of the legendary cannon which our tour guide clearly loved to tell. I’ll try to recount this as best I can since the tour guides story was slightly different and had far better details then the pic I took of the sign.
The Legendary Seri Rambai Cannon
“The cannon was built in 1603 by a blacksmith in the Dutch East India Company who was said to be descended from Woden himself. His hammer struck lightning blows upon the once enormous Vaalserberg, reducing the mountain to a mere hill and leaving enough bronze materials to forge a single badass cannon. 28 pounds of God-busting potential.
In the Great Lycanthrope Outbreak of 1603 the cannon was outfitted to launch expensive yet effective silver cannonballs in order to protect Amsterdam from a horde of werewolves that had suddenly emerged from the Amsterdam Bos, then just southwest of the city. While necessary at the time, silver cannonballs proved quite costly to make, especially in the haste of a werewolf outbreak, and so the Dutch needed some quick cash.
So, also in 1603, the Dutch offered the mystical cannon to the Sultan of Johor as thanks for helping them fuck up some Portuguese blokes in the straights and also as a catalyst to entice trade. In return the Sultan began flowing all manner of goods towards the Dutch colonies in the area around Johor, most notably, black tar heroin and their infamous crossbred prostitutes known at the time as ‘Sexy Cats’.
Of course when the Sexy Cats stopped performing along their usual routes in what is now Indonesia, the Sultan of Aceh took notice. Fed up with the discomfort of his blue balls and the Johor imposition on their own trade ambitions, in 1613 the Sultan went over and fucked Johor up royally, burning the place to the ground and capturing the sultan, the remaining Sexy Cats and the legendary cannon in the process.
For the next 180 years the cannon took on an interesting and nefarious life in the courts of Aceh as one of the 7 phallic wonders of the Early Modern era. Early in its tenancy in Aceh it was discovered during a rather raucous court shindig that when the cannon was subjected to certain low end vibrations, if a naked female is positioned directly over the trunnion and facing the muzzle, a most enlightened orgasm will take place.
Word of the sexual exploits of the Aceh court were quick to spread and soon the cannon was receiving all manner of horny guests from far and wide. This became the real driving force behind Acehnese trade and markets now had a plethora of new customers as well as unique vendors of sex wares not found elsewhere.
The oscillating sexual properties of the cannon itself, crudely dubbed ‘Acehnese Brass on the Ass’, were not specific to females either. It was quickly discovered that members of both sexes were capable of heightened and sustained climax. The lines for the cannon were long but curtailed by the fact that subsequent rides proved to be less comfortable than the first. After thorough testing it was found that the vibrations eventually led to a painful irritation in male genitalia which simply became known as ‘Cannon Balls’.
Of particular interest in this 180 year period of cannon sexploitation was a visit from noted french chronobiologist Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan. After overhearing a conversation in the bath house in Beziers that piqued his interest, de Mairan soon found himself booking a trip to the ‘Tip of Sumatra’.
Using the current Sultans own extensive harem, de Marian was able to privately study the cannon in depth. He discovered that the ideal frequency of maximum stimulation among the women was 33 hertz. Of more interest to de Marian was his findings on a circadian system at work within the cannon itself. Somehow the cannon was acting as external stimuli to entrain a sexual rhythm within its subjects. This led de Marian through a series of experiments in manipulating the lighting and temperature within the cannon room and he soon found himself venturing into a new field of chronobiology which he aptly named ‘Sexcadian Rhythms’.
In a miraculous breakthrough one mistress was able to sustain sexcadian rhythm for a 24 hour period with constant 33hz vibrations and despite changing kinetics in the room. This concluded de Marian’s work in Aceh and he returned home a very happy man.
The fanfare about the legendary cannon was naturally renewed from de Marian’s findings and led to a new sexual era that lasted the final 70 of it’s 180 year entry in the phallic world wonders. Having discovered the secrets behind sexcadian rhthyms and the 24 hour orgasm, Aceh became a near holy place in the circles of the World’s sexual elite. Many patrons planned yearly pilgrimages to the cannon, the main goal being to acclimate their own circadian rhythms to the island before mounting the cannon and achieving what became worldly renowned as the pinnacle of ecstasy.
This 70 year period of tantric pilgrimages ended in 1795 when the cannon was sent to the Sultan Ibrahim of Selangor in exchange for his brothers help in a military campaign. A trio of Sirens off the coast of Sabang were leading islandfolk en masse into the sea to their deaths. In desperation the sultan of Aceh traded the sex charged cannon for the one man known to be immune to the Siren’s hymns, Ibrahim’s brother (who’s name has since been mysteriously removed from all known historical documents).
Somehow Sultan Ibrahim hadn’t gotten the memo on the sexual history of the cannon and those powers were all but wasted for the next five years as it sat by the throne turned upwards and used as an ashtray in the royal capital of Klang. During this time the cannons barrel was fitted with a pipe rack, a container for snuff, and a cup holder.
In 1805 Ibrahim’s brother returned victorious from his extended Achenese military campaign and a massive welcoming feast was held. As the story goes, while the Klang kitchen staff was busy making the feast the head chef received word that Ibrahim’s brother had developed a great fondness for bakso while in Sabang. Running low on cookware to accommodate the newly added dish, in a spark of ingenuity the cannon was emptied of its ashes, cleaned up and used as a large pot with a fire lit under its rear vent. The cannon was then filled with beef surimi which was quickly heated to separate the paste and make it more malleable. The paste was rolled into bakso (an Indonesian meatball, of sorts), plated and presented to Ibrahim and his brother at the feast.
When Ibrahim’s brother ate the bakso his face went blank and he uttered just one word, which loosely translates to ‘Disbelief’. After dinner a large scale orgy erupted in the throne room that lasted several days.
Word of the culinary sexploits of the Selangor court were also quick to spread and soon the cannon, which they now called Disbelief, was cooking mass quantities of bakso to keep up with the high demand within the city. The court chefs tried using other cooking pots but only Disbelief was able to deliver bakso with both the taste and affect that was driving Selangorians insane with sexual whimsy. Not only were the meatballs amazingly delicious, they also somehow acted as a powerful aphrodisiac. These incredibly satisfying meatballs, of course, also became known as ‘Cannon Balls’ and fertility rates in the city increased tenfold.
Apparently, the bakso was unbelievably good on many levels that the Selangorians could not comprehend at the time. Historians however were able to piece together the legendary cannons history and draw some natural conclusions:
- Firstly, the cannon was made of thick brass which has a much higher thermal conductivity than Selangorian pots of the times.
- Second, the ‘Cannon Balls’ were literally rich with flavor as centuries old pieces of silver shrapnel from the Great Lycanthrope Outbreak were being melted from the insides of the barrel and infused into the food.
- Finally, unbeknownst to the Selangorians but knownst to historians, the meatballs were also being infused with nearly 2 centuries worth of caked on semen and vaginal discharge from its time serving as a phallic world wonder.
And so, the Selangorians could only briefly bask in the benefits of sexual bakso. The cannon had a limited number of sex charged tasty meatballs to offer before all of the essential ingredients were cooked out of it. After approximately 527 days there was a noticeable change in both the taste and affect. This led to mass rioting as chefs of the court were still trying to produce enough for the demand but were being lambasted for selling shitty knock offs, or ‘Cannon fodder’. Sultan Ibrahim feared for the cannons safety and had it suspended above the throne indefinitely.
In 1808 the cannon received another intriguing visitor, the English poet, literary critic and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. STC had left the cold and damp English climate to travel hoping that it would help with his ailments and subsequently reduce his dependency on opium for comfort. He’d also just been separated from his wife Sara and suddenly became interested in exploring the long and unique lineage of the Johor Sexy Cats.
Sultan Ibrahim was an old school fan of STC’s work and when he heard that the poet was on the peninsula he sent an invitation out immediately. The two became fast friends and spent many nights smoking opium in the large Klang throne room.
On one such night below the cannon, Ibrahim related the tale of his brother’s feast that led to the Selangorian sexual frenzy of 1805. After describing how he hoisted the cannon up above the throne to save it from rioting hooligans, Coleridge was suddenly lost in thought. He would hold on to that thought for over a decade until publishing Biographia Literaria in 1817, a collection of critical and metaphysical analyses on contemporary literature, in which he coined the term ‘Suspension of Disbelief’.
And so the cannon remained safely above the throne in the Palace of the Sultan in Klang until 1871 when it was sent up the coast to help fight the British. Some pirates native to the region had boarded a Penang junk, killed the 34 passengers and crew and brought the ship back to Kuala Selangor. The Brits said “Nope!”. They were getting mighty pissed about the disruption of trade along their colonized straight and sent a steamer and a Royal Navy warship to go fuck up the assholes responsible.
Of course they had no idea that Kuala Selangor was now being defended by a legendary sex cannon and they encountered much more resistance than anticipated. After a number of skirmishes the Brits finally had to bring in more helmets and some artillery of their own to finish the task. They burned the town to the ground, sacked it of meatballs, took the Dutch cannon and handed the place over to prince Tengku Kudin, then the Viceroy of Selangor.
At this point the cannon was taken to Penang with the intention of mounting it in defense of the English colony from increasing naval security threats. However, on the voyage along the Straights of Malacca a bout of what was described as ‘spontaneous homosexual conduct’ erupted among the crew members. In an episode unprecedented in the history of the British Royal Navy, an entire warship of male soldiers ceased all military activity for a number of hours to allow personnel to fornicate freely on the top deck in the rain. This event remains to be the longest conga line ever formed in British Naval history.
Once the episode had passed and everyone was clothed again some of the soldiers felt ashamed of their actions. They felt that the Dutch cannon was cursed and somehow responsible and so as they approached Penang a number of them decided to heave it into the water out of spite. And there it sat for ten years. On the bottom of the ocean serving as a home for a curious and clawless Malay lobster named Raja Udang.
Udang was a rather solitary lobster in his mid 60s when the large Dutch cannon sunk swiftly to the sea floor nearly crushing him. He was ecstatic. This offered the perfect shelter for Udang who previously walked twice this distance from his seaweed abode to the shallows in order to collect fish scraps from seaside restaurants. The brass housing protected Udang from Malay fisherman and he was overjoyed to find out that lady lobsters were extremely impressed with his new pad as well.
Despite being late in his lobster life, Udang spent the next decade in his absolute prime. He courted countless wide-tailed lady lobsters and sired somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of mini Udangs. This new family brought much joy to the once solitary lobster (and much equity to the seaside restaurants of Penang).
Scholars among the lobster intelligentsia attribute this miraculous longevity and fertility to the Dutch cannon in which Udang took residence. They hypothesized that the cannon somehow increased the production of the enzyme telomorase in not only Udang but also the lady lobsters that he brought in there.
In 1880 Udang was snatched from the roof of his cannon home by a Malay fisherman and brought to port in George Town.
Meanwhile, Tengku Kudin, having won the Klang War years ago but still not garnished the support of the region, had moved from Kuala Selangor and was now living in George Town to get away from it all. During a lovely lobster dinner one evening he was interrupted by a colorful local character named Vasun Dari who begged him to accompany her to the waterfront. She was referring to him as ‘Water Priest’.
Vasun Dari was a disheveled elderly woman who lived on the streets of George Town. She was a self proclaimed sorceress who surely looked the part and was always seen eating pomegranates in the alleyways. This left her lips stained red most of the time. She was mostly harmless but did have a nasty reputation for wearing a raggedy old trench coat and flashing passers by. This was all the more shocking as reportedly she’d clearly never pruned the hedges and had amassed a dizzying abundance of salt and pepper pubic hair that had a mystically stupefying effect when glanced upon.
Tengku had no interest in leaving the most enjoyable lobster dinner of his life to join the maddened pubic witch on the beach. That is until she mentioned word of a certain legendary cannon that was rumored to sit on the seafloor just off the point of Penang. Of course Tengku still remembered the Dutch cannon from the battle at Kuala Selangor nearly 10 years prior. How Vasun Dari knew who he was, that he was a prince from Langkawi in Kedah, and that he had ‘met’ this particular cannon in the past was just intriguing enough to entice Tengku away from dinner and down to the beach.
When they got to the coastline Vasun Dari took Tengku’s hands and positioned them outstretched with fingers wide. She then took a long black string and began weaving a precise and intricate pattern between his fingers. When she was done she pointed out to sea and told him to close his eyes and “remember the cannon”. Tengku closed his eyes and tried to focus.
It was impossible to know if anything was happening. After a few moments he thought he’d heard something and opened his eyes to take a peak. To his horror, Vasun Dari had completely disrobed and was performing some contortionist dance in the sand. Tengku was strangely mesmerized by her naked form, but this quickly turned to terror as he realized the black string around his fingers was still attached to the witch’s gyrating nether regions. He’d been duped by this crazy bitch and now his hands were tangled up in her pubic hair!
He pulled back his hands in disgust, the swift tug almost toppling the witch over. She seemed to enjoy this briefly but was more worried about finishing the spell. “Look! Focus!!” and she pointed out to sea where a subtle rippling had begun along the water’s surface. Tengku couldn’t believe it. He shuddered and closed his eyes once more, stretched out his pube-ensnared fingers and tried to remember the cannon. Unfamiliar images of experiments, orgies and meatballs quickly flashed across his mind’s eye. He strained harder.
His eyes finally opened when he heard the old witch collapse in the sand beside him. He was amazed to find himself worriedly cradling her in his arms, what had they just experienced? Exhausted, Varun Dari pointed to the tide line. There in the surf sat the Seri Rambai.”
At this point MacKay leans over to whisper something to me. “Dude, this Chinese tour guide speaks English better than we do”, “Yeah, no shit.”
The tour guide wrapped things up by explaining how the cannon sat on Penang’s Esplanade for roughly 50 years, was removed during the Japanese occupation in World War II, returned in 1945 and by 1970 was mounted on the walls of Fort Cornwallis.
These days, infertile women or those wishing for successful pregnancies regularly visit the Seri Rambai and adorn it with 7 colored flowers. And it works.every.time. It’s also a hit during the Fort Cornwallis summer rave series.
Here’s the abridged version of the legendary cannon:
Cool place, Fort Cornwallis. We ask our tour guide what else we should do while we’re here in George Town and she suggests we go see the graffiti art along Armenian Street.