Sunday, 22 April 2012

Chinese Temples in Penang

Chinese places of worship are the Chinese temples. Chinese temples are usually big and with big statues of the Chinese gods. I remember the word Tok kong from my schooldays in Alor Star, Kedah. There were a lot of Chinese temples in Alor Star.

I remember in Penang, going round with my Chinese step-grandmother to a Chinese shop where they baked pink buns with a dot, for offering to the Chinese gods. My grandmother bought some for me to eat that morning. Did I eat the pink buns? Yes, I did - I was hungry. It didn't matter to me. They had a bean paste inside.

I was walking with my Chinese-Malay husband and we passed a row of shops in Penang where they made giant joss sticks for the Chinese temples. I was curios so we walked slowly and I could pause longer and take a closer look at the giant joss sticks - they were made of sandalwood sawdust and were so colourful.

I have never been close to a Chinese temple nor gone inside one to see what is inside or what goes on inside. I only watched them from outside. Our medical students are posted to Chinese tok kongs in Kota Bharu, Kelantan and they also have to clean the tok kong for the Chinese community they visit for the Community and Family Case Study (CFCS) programme. There is Kampung Cina just before Pantai Cahaya Bulan in Kota Bharu.

Here are pictures of Syed Sheikh's old residence at the corner of Jalan Solok and Jalan Jelutong in Penang, next to Esso petrol station. They were taken on 22 October 2011. The house is now a Chinese tok kong. Syed Sheikh was the grandfather of Dr Syed Mohamed bin Alwi Alhady (Dr SMA Alhady), an early Malay doctor.

From the book Syed Syeikh al-Hadi by Sohaimi Abdul Aziz (2003), page 79.
Photo from Arkib Negara Malaysia
Same as above. Page 46.

Here are some pictures of a Chinese shop and 2 Chinese temples which I captured in my balik kampung trip to Penang, on 13-16 April 2012. These are near Masjid Kapitan Keling area. My old camera was slow and I missed a lot of good scenes. I had saved the new camera for my visit to the Penang Museum.

Red lanterns, green roof, dragons
Chinese shophouse with unique features
A Chinese temple (we got lost and went round in circles and passed this place three times!)
KOMTAR in the background
Almost missed it
Very big front yard. The giant joss sticks can be seen smoking/fuming ... the pigeons in the foreground didn't mind the smoke