Clan Jetties, Penang
Penang has eight jetties, named after their surnames, “Lim”, “Chew”, “Tan”, “Lee”, “Yeoh”, “Koay”, “Peng Aun” and Mixed Clans. “Chew” is the famous last name and it means the entire long stretch of jetty are residence with “Chew” as their last name.etty is actually a village built on stilts and these were built by some pioneer Chinese immigrants. Each jetty comprises of row houses on stilts joined by wooden walkways over the water. These ‘water villages’, set up more than a century ago, house the descendants from Fukien Province in China, who shared common historical, geographical and clan origins.All jetties are business with motel , B & B and each other stay rest.
I am from this clan called Lim Kongsi, is a Hokkien Association located at Ah Quee Street, George Town. Its full name is Kew Leong Tong Lim Kongsi. which means Hall of Nine Dragons, The name Kew Leong Tong is to commemorate the nine sons of a particular Lim clan in China who were elevated to the status of chief magistrates during the Tang Dynasty.
The Kew Leong Tong Lim Kongsi was founded by people of the Lim surname who came from the village of Koe Guan in the sub district of Sam Tor, Zhangzhou, in Hokkien (Fujian) Province, China. Nevertheless, the association is open to anybody surnamed Lim, regardless their origin and dialect.
The three Lim clan associations in Penang were established in 1863, in the 2nd year of the reign of Emperor Tong Ti. In addition to Kew Leong Tong, the other associations are Toon Pun Tong and Bian Soot Tong. The Bian Soot Tong Lim Kongsi was confined to the descendents of two sub-groups of Koe Guan, namely the Keong Cheng and Eh Ho, whereas the Toon Pun Tong Lim Kongsi was open to all the families from Koe Guan. As for Kew Leong Tong, it is open to all Lims.
Lim Cheng Kah was the president of all the 3 Lim Kongsis, and the association was run from an office at Messrs Chop Heng Moh at 164 Beach Street. When the Lim Ancestral Temple building was completed in 1866, the Kew Leong Tong moved its office there. The address was 234 Beach Street. Later, Ah Quee Street was demolished when the Kapitan China Chung Keng Kwee alias Ah Quee donated his Beach Street shophouse to be demolished to create the street that bears his name. Ah Quee Street which also happens to be the longest shophouse in Penang.
As one enters the Kew Leong Tong, one finds a well, and the shrine to Mar Chor Poh, the patron saint of seafarers, whose surname happens to also be Lim. The Lim Kongsi is the only local clan association whose patron deity is a female. and still supports children of Kongsi members who need scholarship and school supplies assistance.
If you wish to visit Lim Kongsi, be aware that at most times, Lim Kongsi is kept behind lock and key except during the Chinese New Year Open House. But you can enter by calling the keeper at the small door beside the main entrance.*fh
This collection of water villages has been in existence since the 19th century. A clan jetty is actually a village built on stilts. Each jetty comprises of row houses linked by planked walkways over the water. Their ancestor’s came from small coastal communities in Fukien, China, and were mostly fisherman.
You can easily walk there if you stay anywhere near Lebuh Chulia, otherwise take a bus to Weld Quay the starting place of most city buses.
Originally from Fujian province in south China, the settlers of the Clan Jetties found it much cheaper to build their houses on stilts above the water instead of on land where they were forced to pay tax. Today it is less a tax avoidance technique and more of a tourism drawcard.
When coming up Weld Quay from the ferry terminal, you can see signs to each pier detailing information about where that particular clan originated from. The first is Lim Jetty, belonging to the Lim clan, a small settlement compared to the next one 50m down the road. Chew Jetty comprises around 80 houses built on two boardwalks that lead out to sea, where a small shrine dedicated to seafarers looks out across the channel.
You'll know you're at the right jetty when sighting the big red painted temple and the Chew Cafe, where gathering locals often play mah jong. Tan Jetty is the last pier and by far the smallest, with an entrance looking more like a scrapyard than anything else.
I loved this place it is like a miniture village on the sea. From the street down at Weld Quay you just walk right onto the village, tiny wooden sreets and the beautifully decorated chinese little wooden houses each with its own garden or yard.
Another heritage conservation project is the fishermen house jetty is the Chew Clan jetty which located just south of the Lim Clan Jetty. The fishing families were also originally from Fujian too but belong to different surname group.
There is a Chinese diety temple at the entrance too and map of the jetty layout.
Many of the later generations of these residents may not be fishermen but they stilled live in these fishing houses over the stilts.
The third jetty that I visited is the Tan Clan Jetty.
The jetties were begining to look the same but I realized that they belonged to a different clan where are jealously guarding and competiting in their own way with the other clan jetties.
In the older days, you would not be able to freely walk upon the jetty unless you lived there. Today, more and more tourists are visiting these unique fishing jetties that still survive in Penang since the mid 19th century and seemed to be out of place with a yatch jetty a block away.
Lim Clan Jetty is one of the well known traditional fishing clan jetties at Weld Quay. It is located the closest to the ferry terminal. At the entrance, there is a sign sponsored by a multinational corporation saying that it has won the best recycling project.
Apparently the jetty started in the mid-19th century of the Lim Clan who came from certain villages in Fujian Province in Southern China.
Tourists can wander freely up to the end of the jetty admiring the fishing houses built on stilts over the sea. As these are private homes, just be respectful if you are snapping photos. At the end of the jetty is a typical fishermen Chinese diety temple for safe homecoming from sea and you can have excellent view of Penang harbor of channel crossing ferries, luxury cruise liners and container ships.
Chew Jetty is the home of some of the earliest Chinese settlers and the largest of the clan jetties in Penang. Families staying at this jetty have the same surname 'Chew'. The people stay in distinctive wooden houses built on stilts that reach out to the sea.
Slowly take a walk to the end of the jetty and observe the laid-back, rustic lifestyle of the Chew. You will see Penang Bridge at the end of the jetty. Beware of motorcyclists who ride on planks of the narrow pathway.
At Weld Quay, clan jetties line the water front of Georgetown. This communal site is a waterfront settlement created over a century ago by Chinese immmigrants sharing common historical, geographical and lineage origin. The Clan Jetties consist of seven sets of wooden piers. They are home to seven clans who migrated from China: the Lim, the Chew, the Tan, the Lee, the mixed clan, the Yeoh and the Koay. Here is a community that has existed for over a hundred years, suspended in time above the tide lines. Nowadays, however, encroaching development has posed a new threat to the very existence of this unique community.
Perhaps this is one of the most unique and old settlement in Penang. Situated near the Penang Port and Esplanade are two village built on the sea.
These houses are made of wood ( which mainly come from trees in the swamp , for their ability to withstand water erosion ) and stand on some wooden stilts.
Its inhabitants are usually fisherman , but the number has reduced as younger generation prefer working in the city .
Its a good place for photography !