The Cheah kongsi or Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi was formed in 1810 by members of the Cheah clan from Sek Tong Village in the Fujian province of Southeast China. The main temple was completed around 1870 with architectural influences from Peranakan, Malay, British and Chinese. Although its premises face Beach Street, the main entrance is down a narrow passageway on Lebuh Armenian. The Cheah clan is one of the five largest Hokkien clans in Penang. The place is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm and admission is free.
Probably of Hainan descent, this elderly man enjoys his morning paper while waiting for temple to officially open for the day. The clan associations still play an active part in the lives of the local people, especially the older generation, who meet every day to worship, clean and generally look after the temple facilities. The intricate ceramic work depicting swirling dragons – restored to its former glory in 1995 – on the roof of the temple is beautiful when captured on a clear bright day. Located on Lebuh Muntri, its building began in 1866 and was competed almost 30 years later. The temple is dedicated to Mar Chor who is the patron saint of seafarers. The Hainanese, from Hainan province in China, are famous for their seafaring and culinary skills.
This is, perhaps, the most well-known kongsi in Penang. This spectacular temple has an entrance on Lebuh Cannon with two green stone lions – the male on the right and female with a cub on the left – guarding it. There’s a gold and black plaque to honour the two patron saints of the Khoo clan. The story goes that Tua Sai Yah the great Duke and Ong Soon Yah the great Noble were generals in the army during the 4th century Jin Dynasty and they defeated a much larger opposing army using their own unique tactics of trapping them in the trees and grasses near the River Fei. Due to this cunning tactic that saved the dynasty, they were later deified.