Seh Tek Tong Cheah Kongsi 世德堂謝公司, on Armenian Street in Penang. Is one of the most beautiful clan temples tucked away in a secret corner of George Town.
Cheah Kongsi’s History
Although there is no record of when the Cheah Kongsi was created. It may be determined from the title deeds that it was established before 1820. Cheah Yam is credited as the founder.
It is the oldest of Penang’s five major Hokkien clan organizations. The others are the Khoo, Yeoh, Lim, and Tan clan associations. The group purchased various plots of property between then and 1858. The land where the clan temple stands were purchased in 1858 on Armenian Street. It took 15 years to construct. The two principal Cheah deities are housed within the halls of the Cheah Kongsi temple. They were, in reality, extinct generals who bore the titles “Marquis” or “Hock Haw.”
Penang’s Cheah Clan’s Origins
It was difficult for the people of China’s coastal districts during the tumultuous years. Between the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Countless mainlanders from the coastal provinces of Guangdong (Kwangtung) and Fujian (Hokkien) fled to seek better opportunities abroad. Many people want to visit the Nanyang (Southern Seas), including Siam, Sumatra, and Malaya.
When the Cheahs first came to Penang, they resided in the Butterworth neighborhood of Bagan Dalam.
Clan gradually moved over the water to settle in George Town, where there were more commercial prospects. They founded the Cheah Kongsi to pool their resources and look after the welfare of their fellow clan members. They called it after their family hamlet, Sek Tong Seah. Located in the Hai Teng District in the Zhang Zhou prefecture of Fujian Province. In the current designated Development Zone of Hai Chang, opposite Xiamen.
The Cheah Kongsi, like the other clan organizations. Gave housing and financial assistance to new Cheah clan newcomers until they found work and could pay the guild.
Other goals of the group include:
- Honoring their patron saint.
- Worshiping their ancestors.
- Offering academic help to clan members’ children.
- Providing sustenance allowance to widows of Cheah clan members. Hock Haw Kong.