Friday, May 28, 2010

Georgetown: Colonial Architecture, Tan Jetty, Suffolk House

Welcome to the final blog on Penang. 5 blogs out of a 4 day visit shows just how much there is to see on this beautiful Malaysian island!

In this issue you will see Georgetown has many fine, grand buildings reflecting the colonial times. In complete contrast it has a jetty area where people live in shacks on the water. And Francis Light, the founder of the British colony of Penang had a rather nice house.... though there is some doubt he ever lived in it.

This first picture shows St Georges Church. It is the oldest Anglican church in South East Asia. It is one of the 50 national treasures of Malaysia.

I hope you enjoy the photos


The Curch of the Assumption. It was built by
the Eurasians that followed Francis Light to
Penang. It was erected in 1861. Francis Light
had a common law wife who was a Eurasian
of Thai-Portuguese descent

The Penang Customs Department clock tower
The building was originally known as the
Malayan Railway building. It was built at the
turn of the 20th century. The customs
department has it offices there but the building
is now called Wisma Kastam

Majlis Jabatan Agama Islam Pulau Pinang
Beautiful double storey Neo-Classical
style building constructed in 1907. This is the
pinnacle of colonial architecture in the Straits
Settlements during Edwardian times.
used to be part of the Government administration
offices. Now it houses the State Islamic Council

The moorish-style clocktower at
the junction of Lebuh Light and
Lebuh Pantai is sixty feet tall, one
foot for each year of Queen Victoria's reign

Something strange about this picture.......

The Old Town Hall was once a premier place
for George Town’s social events, balls, public
speeches, art exhibitions and amateur concerts
for the town’s European community. Its
foundations were laid in 1879 and it was the
oldest municipal building in Penang

The City Hall housing the municipal council.
It is a handsome Victorian-style building and
was one of the first buildings in George Town,
to be completely fitted with electric lights and fans

The Clan Jetties are traditional settlements
created by Chinese immmigrants and are a
fascinating feature of Georgetown

We visited Tan Jetty. It houses the descendents
of people who came from Tan Village in the Fujian
province in China. They came at the turn of
20th century

At that time, the shoreline of
Georgetown had just been
extended outward to create
a deeper port for steamships,
which in turn created jobs for
port workers and coolies

Here's Daniela at Tan Jetty

Hmmmm! Am I wrong or is
there something missing....

Tan Jetty bird

The shacks

Francis Light's accommodation called Suffolk
Although there is a short but interesting
article that suggests this building was built after
he died. Click on the link to read it

My front garden was a bit smaller than this, as
for the house........

Interesting bridge just outside the grounds of
Suffolk House

And then all of a sudden this
pack of marauding canines
attacked us with great gusto!

It was hard not to put a couple in our pockets
and bring them back to Singapore, though
Singapore customs may have had other ideas!

I hope you have enjoyed the blogs on Penang.
If you get a chance do go.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Temples and mosques of Penang

Hello and welcome.

This is the penultimate blog from our trip to Penang.

In Georgetown, and outside, on the island of Penang, there are many temples and mosques to see. It was one of the great pleasures of our trip. Here is a selection of photos that give you a taste of the richness and variety of these places of worship.

This is Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong clan house and ancestral temple. The Cheah association was the first of the five great Hokkien clans. It was founded sometime before 1820. The others are the Khoo, Yeoh, Lim and Tan associations. The Cheahs originated from Sek Tong village in South China. These benevolent overseas Chinese associations are called "Kongsi" and they exist to look after the welfare of their particular clan.

This first picture shows the gateway located at No' 8 Armenian Street. I hope you enjoy the rest.


Simple but striking

I'm not sure the choice of red table is wise....

Inside the main hall of the temple

Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple which was
constructed in 1845. Apparently it was
the headquarters of a Chinese secret society

Altar to the Tua Pek Kong, the Taoist god of
The colour gold represents

You will see a lot of gold in this blog!

Incredibly ornate columns

Choo Chay Keong Temple of Yap Kongsi (Clan House).
Among the most famous Yap clansman in Penang
is Yeap (Yap) Chor Ee. He arrived in Penang in
the late 1800s and started a barber shop. Then, he
ventured into trading the local products like sugar,
rubber, tapioca and all kinds of farm production.
Eventually, he diversified into banking and built
the Ban Hin Lee Empire. The piece of land where
Yap Kongsi or Yap Clan house stands today at
the junction of Cannon Street and Armenian Street
in the heart of George Town was also donated
by this well-known philanthropist.
Situated in the core zone listed in UNESCO's
World Heritage Site, it was built in 1924

I found the interior of this temple to be one
of the most beautiful

The altar is compelling and I took lots of photos

Leon San Tonk Khoo Kongsi is the most
illustrious and majestic of the clan temples
in Georgetown and perhaps in South East Asia.
The "saddle" roof is said to weigh 25 tonnes.
You can see why!

This is the altar with ancestral tablets.
The Khoos were among the wealthy Straits Chinese
traders of 17th century Malacca and early Penang

Another prosperous altar!
The clan temple was built in 1906 when the
Khoo clan was at the height of its wealth and
eminence in Penang society

The lanterns are particularly beautiful

The beautiful Kapitan Keling Mosque was built
in the 19th century by Indian Muslim traders

It is situated in the Little India
area of Georgetown

There are several very tiny
mosques situated around
the city with very interesting

Sri Mariamman Temple, built in 1833. It is the
oldest Hindu temple in Penang

Now we are moving out of the city. There are
two temples on the way that are right opposite
each other. This one is Wat Chayamangkalaram,
which houses the third largest reclining Buddha
in the world. It is 33 metres long

The other is a Burmese temple
called Dhammikarama Burmese
Buddhist Temple. It was
consecrated in 1805. This
standing Buddha has something
special. I was drawn to the face and hands

Daniela, slightly dwarfed, pointing to Singapore.
These Mystical beasts are Panca Rupa, or
'Guardian Protectors of the World'. They
are said to be the masters of water, land and
air, with appendages of various animals
– the head of a lion, a trunk like an
elephant, the body of a fish, the wings of
the mystical Garuda, the ears and hooves
of a horse and horns of a deer

Now in the country we are at Kek Lok Si Temple.
It is the largest Buddhist temple in South East
Asia, situated in Air Itam in Penang. It is a
magnificent temple complex built on the hills.

This is a statue of Guan Yin, short for Guanshiyin
觀世音, which means "Observer of the Sounds
(Cries) of the World." She is commonly referred to
as the Goddess of Mercy. The statue is bronze
and 30.2 metres high

Inside one of the many prayer halls.

The rambling temple consists of prayer halls,
pagodas, bell towers and just about every
other typical temple structure you can think
of, in varying styles, from Burmese to Chinese
to Thai

Here you can see part of the temple with the
backdrop of the surrounding hills

Sumptuous, prosperous and glorious!

This is Aksobhya Buddha, one of the Five
Dhyani Buddhas
, icons of Mahayana Buddhism.
He is known as the "Immovable Buddha"
because he was a monk who vowed never to
feel anger or disgust at another being

More of the temple complex

A place to relax and contemplate

A long line of Buddhas

The famous pagoda of Kek
Lok Si Temple

A humble hut, flying the Malaysian flag, hidden
away under the temple

Back in town, this is a night shot of yet another
temple building. Are you templed out yet?

Come back for one last blog of Georgetown which
will show you some of the colonial buildings and
the famous Georgetown quays. See you then.