Visit Malaysia: Khoo Kongsi, Penang

Visit Malaysia: Khoo Kongsi, Penang

Are you a fan of Chinese kung-fu movies? Well, I am. Before Ip-Man, I used to watch all those kung-fu and shaolin movies as a kid and it had a big impact on me. I always love how ornamented and elaborated the architecture of the buildings in that era were. Sometimes, I wish that I could travel in time to be in such a place.

Until recently, I went to Khoo Kongsi in Penang and my dreams came true.

Khoo Kongsi is a clan house in Penang, situated right in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Georgetown. In the past, Chinese people who migrated to Malaysia (then Malaya) vowed allegiance to their own clan and every clan has their own house and community structure.

After independence, most of these clan houses are in dilapidated conditions except for some which the trustees managed to well-preserved the conditions from being further worn down. One of the houses which is well-maintained is the Khoo Kongsi.

As a Malaysian, I have heard about Khoo Kongsi and I knew all this while that Khoo Kongsi is in Penang but I did not know the exact location. However, I made it a point to come and pay a visit here so as to fulfill my childhood dreams.

I wander around the old part of Georgetown until I saw ‘Cannon Square’ and voila! I am at Khoo Kongsi!

It was raining heavily but nothing could stop me as soon as I reached there. I paid RM 10 for the entrance ticket and I walked inside the amazing compound.

As I walked, I was greeted by rows of empty old shophouses. I felt like I was transferred to China in the yesteryear. Indeed, I was right. All buildings inside Khoo Kongsi look like it was stuck in a time warp. There is a temple, opera stage, museum and shops – all look like in the early 1900s.

I took some time to walk, to read the history of Khoo Kongsi (Wikipedia has a page on Khoo Kongsi) and to snap photos of this amazing place.

I stood on the stairs of the temple, overlooking the square. I imagined children training for their kung-fu and sparring among themselves. I imagined the men chit-chatting inside the shops while the ladies standing on the hallway looking at their children practicing kung-fu.

“Boom!”

A thunderstorm woke me from my far-fetching imagination.

It might only be my imagination but being a place that big, I am pretty sure this place was buzzing with people then. Today, it is an empty and quiet compound, sitting right in the middle of a heritage city.

Khoo Kongsi itself is a heritage. A heritage building in a heritage city.

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Khoo Kongsi is a Chinese clan house located at Cannon Square, Georgetown, Penang. It is within walking distance from other major attractions at the core area of the world heritage city. The entrance fee is RM 10.

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