Photo: An early starter.

Eng Chuan Tan Kongsi

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The Tans are regarded as one of Penang’s “big five” Hokkien clans, and although there are no records confirming the fact, the general consensus is that they may have formed the first clan association in Penang.

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After moving premises a couple of times in the early- to mid-19th century, they have stayed put in the Eng Chuan Tan Kongsi near Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street) since 1878, which has had a couple of facelifts in the meantime, most recently in 1992.

Intricate decorations. Photo taken in or around Eng Chuan Tan Kongsi, Penang, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Intricate decorations. Photo: Sally Arnold

The single storey building is not as impressive as their Hokkien brethren, the Khoo’s or the Cheah’s Kongsi, but if you pass by it’s certainly worth sticking your nose in, especially if your surname is Tan (one of the more common Chinese surnames) as you’ll be treated as part of the family.

Set in its own cul-de-sac, the temple sits sentinel-like facing the short laneway from Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street), the road then splitting around it and by all accounts, many Tan families still live in the surrounding houses. The modern-looking gateway was added in the early 1950s, but the curved roofline and cut ceramic work echo the temple itself for a ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)

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