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Home Malaysia Georgetown, Penang ⇒ The Chinese Community

Georgetown: Asia’s Melting Pot

5The Chinese Community

Malaysia is a multiracial and multicultural society and nowhere is this more obvious than in Georgetown. Over half the population is Chinese with the rest made up of Malays. Tamils form a small but highly visible minority of the population.


The Chinese, whose belief’s are a complex mixture of Buddhist and Taoist, have clan houses called Khongsi, which are like social clubs dedicated to one family name. As there are only a few dozen family names in China and everyone with the same name is regarded as related, you can see that families can be enormous. The clan houses are partly places of worship, where ancestors are paid homage to, and partly meeting houses.


The most spectacular is the Khoo Khongsi off Lebuh Cannon. This was rebuilt in 1902 after a fire destroyed it in 1894, the very day it was completed. This was generally regarded as a divine hint to tone down the decoration a tad. The Khoo Khongsi is open to the public.

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