Khoo Kongsi - Malaysia Bukit Pagar

Khoo Kongsi

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Khoo Kongsi

Khoo is the family name. Kongsi means clan (family) house.
This clan house of the Khoo family reminds us of the very first period the Chinese came to Penang. The Khoo family that built this Kongsi came originally  from Sin Kang village in the Hokkien province of China. They actually began migrating overseas in the 16th century. They came to Penang sometime in the late 18th century. By 1835 their numbers were large enough that they formed a clan group and purchased the land and building for the first Kongsi.
The Khoos were among the the wealthy Straits Chinese traders of 17th century Malacca and early Penang.
The idea of a temple was first mooted in 1836 and was completed 8 years later. The Leong San Tong of the Khoo Kongsi in Cannon Square is the most picturesque clan-temple in Malaysia. The richly ornamented carvings of the roofs, walls and pillars reflect the art and architecture of ancient China and made of the finest wood. It was built as a clan-house for people with the same surname.
In the 19th century, the clan complex resembled a miniature clan village, with its own self-government as well as educational, financial, welfare and social organisations.
It burnt down in 1894 and some believed it was due of its resemblance to the Emperor's palace. A reduced version was later built in 1902 which features a magnificent hall embellished with intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams of finest wood bearing the mark of master craftsmen from China.
The principle of "ghee" or brotherhood is highly revered within the clan. Every year a few selected members of the Khoo clan are honoured either for their services to community or for their academic achievements.
During the Second World War, bombings by invading Japanese forces partially destroyed portions of the roof of the Dragon Mountain Hall, as well as over 20 clan houses in the courtyard. After the war, repair works were done to fully restore the temple to its former glory.

The beatifull roof of the Khoo Kongsi

Taking the central stairway up from the pavilion brings you to the open veranda which fronts the three halls of the temple. The central hall is the largest and the main place of worship. The two incense burners are dedicated to two great heroes of 4th century China, Ong Soon Yah and Tua Sai Yai. Other statues are meant to depict Kuan Im, the Goddess of Mercy, Poh Seng Tai Tay, the God of Medicine, and Mah Chor Pho, the Goddess of the Sea. The walls and ceiling of the main hall are richly decorated. Expect to finish a visit to Khoo Kongsi with a sore neck!


Ong Soon and Tua Sai

To the left of the main hall (as you face the building) is the main ancestral hall, Ee Kok Tong. The alter of this small hall contains many gold and black tablets of the Khoo ancestors appropriately arranged top-down in order of their ranking in the family. Along the sides of the hall are a number of large plaques displaying the names of various Khoo ancestors and the high rank they achieved or been awarded. You'll note that even graduating from university is considered a high honour for the clan.

Beautiful ornaments

The hall on the other side of the central hall is called the Hock Teik Soo and is dedicated to the deity Hock Teik, the God of Prosperity. The walls of this hall are also lined with plaques, but as the size of the clan has increased, along with a higher percentage graduating from college, the size of the plaques have been downsized considerably to make sure there is room for the honours of future generations. You will however note that one thing hasn't changed: Only male members of the clan are honoured.
In the large courtyard, facing the temple, is an ornate stage for Chinese Opera. Performances are usually held around Chinese New Year and other important holidays. The stage is also available for special events


The entrance is in Lebuh Cannon. You will recognize the entrance by this signboard (photo right). You walk in this street. At you left and right you'll the old clan houses.
At the end of the street you have to buy a ticket (RM5.-). After that you may continue to the Khoo Kongsi. 
How to get to Lebuh Cannon
Penang Street is the very busy road with the shop.
Halfway you see "Lebuh Campbell". Also very beautiful road with all kind of shops. Now you have to walk till the very end. At the left you'll se the Kapitan Kling Mosque.
Go to the right and you'll see Lebuh Cannon.
Look for the signboard.

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