Khoo Kongsi

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Koentje3000 on August 12, 2006

Near the free shuttle bus stand no. 15, in Lebuh Cannon off Jalan Masjid Kapitan Kling (Pitt Street) is one of the most beautiful buildings in Penang, Khoo Kongsi or the clanhouse of the Khoo family. The entry to the clanhouse is marked with a signpost in Lebuh Cannon, leading into a small unremarkable passage. At the end of the passage you'll pay the entrance fee of RM5 (1 ‚ā¨). You will come to a square (Cannon Square) surrounded by houses, administrative buildings, an opera stage and the clan temple of the family.

The Khoo family began to emigrate from Hokkien province (China) in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th century they became one of the wealthiest families in both Malacca (Melaka) and Penang. The clan complex was built in the 19th century and burned down after it was struck by lightning at the end of the century. The temple was replaced by a smaller construction because it was thought that the fire was provoked by the gods due to the resemblance of the complex to the emperor's palace. In this period the family was at the height its wealth and power.

The most magnificent structure in the complex is definitely the beautiful Khoo clan family temple, Leong San Tong, located right on Cannon Square. It is a Chinese-style temple with wonderful wood carvings painted in bright colours, an ornamental roof, statues of deities and heroes and even plaques commemorating honourable members of the clan. Across the square is an ornate Chinese opera stage, still used today at Chinese New Year and other festivities.

Near the Khoo clan house there are two other interesting clan houses in George Town. The first one, Yap Kongsi, is near the Khoo Kongsi entrance passage on the other side of the road. The only surviving structure is the beautiful Yap clan temple, right on the corner of Lebuh Cannon and Lebuh Armenian. If you walk southwards along Lebuh Armenian, there will be another small passage on your right towards Khoo Kongsi (unmarked and sometimes closed) and a little further on your left a narrow passage will lead to the temple compounds of the Cheah clan, similar but smaller than the one of the Khoo clan. You should ask permission at the offices in front if you would want to enter the clan temple or other buildings.
Khoo Kongsi
18 Cannon Square
Pulau, Penang, Malaysia, 10200
+60 4 261 4609

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