Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pinang Peranakan Mansion @ Penang

Botanic Gardens, Reclining Buddha Temple, Burmese Buddhist Temple, Fort Cornwallis, Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower and we were at our 6th destination of the Penang trip on 6th of October - Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Peranakan which also known as Baba and Nyonya mainly at Straits Settlements such as Penang, Malacca and Singapore are acculturated Chinese who had adopted selected local Malay culture and later colonial British to form their own very unique way of lifestyle and customs.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion is actually a museum of Baba and Nyonya in Penang where the mansion itself was owned by a very famous and influencial historical personality, Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee. Remember about what you study in History book during secondary school about "Kongsi gelap Ghee Hin dan Hai San"? Yeah, the rival triad who caused the Larut War in 1860-an. Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee was the "daigo" (leader) of Hakka (Hai San) group at that time!

Interesting fact is that Chung Keng Kwee himself is not a Baba, but he commissioned his mansion to be built in the influence of Baba and Nyonya architecture incorporating Chinese carved wood panels, Chinese Courtyard, English floor tiles and Scottish ironworks. The mansion itself reflects the typical home of a rich Baba about a century ago, including their luxurious lifestyle as well as their customs and traditions.

Admission fee for each adult is RM10 and free for kids under 6. The fee appeared to be a lil expensive to me, but trust me it worth the money as there are too many to see and too many to capture inside the mansion. Just in case you dunno, this mansion had become the venue for few film/drama shooting. Among them include "The little Nyonya"《小娘惹》by MediaCorp Singapore, a very successful local drama "The Iron Lady"《女頭家》produced by ntv7 and Double Vision, a film featuring Dr Sun Yat Sen refuge life starring by Angelica Lee(李心潔), "Road to Dawn"《夜明》 and others.

Upon entering the mansion is a wide space served as waiting lounge with air well at the center.

The room on the left was meant for gathering and is a reception hall...

... and the smaller chamber inside the room was the place for the ladies to enjoy their card games or did some gambling perhaps to spend their leisure.

Yes, these were the cards they played at that time which caught my attention. Perhaps these were the ancestor of Mahjong or they were totally different kind of card game? I really have interest to know. There was actually a tour guide in the mansion who will explain to you about the histories, the stories and everything about the mansion provided that you have at least 10 persons in a group visiting the place.

Coincidentally there was a big group of tourists visiting the mansion at the time of our visiting, so there was a tour guide trying to introduce the place to them. We tried to join in and listen, but the group was too big and the voice of the tour guide was too small to reach the back. We finally decided to give up and spent our time touring around ourselves while shooting as many photos as we like!

On the right side of the waiting lounge from the entrance was a dining hall with a long wooden western style dining table which reflects the western influence in early Baba and Nyonya lifestyle.

The upper floor showcase the family living hall, bedrooms, traditional bridal room with typical Nyonya matrimonial bed and sewing room.

The upper floor is also where all the antiques are displayed including women accessories. Some other interesting artifacts I found out are the huge vintage standing camera, radio, vintage platter player and many more!

Oh ya! Footwear is disallowed during you visit to the upper floor. So make sure leave you footwear (except stocking) before the staircase heading to the upper floor.

Another part of the mansion which may gain your attention is the kitchen on the ground floor. The kitchen space is relatively big which shows its importance in Peranakan culture. Here you can see all sort of cooking utensils, even refrigerator and oven of the old days!!

At another side of the mansion is an ancestral temple which look really impressive! You know those old time ancestral temple of rich families which you saw in Chinese drama? If you did, then this is exactly like what you see on tv!!

There were lots of colorful sculpture decorating the wall of the ancestral temple, each of them represent some meaning.

It was certainly a great eyes-opening experience visiting to Pinang Peranakan Mansion. If not because I was worry my camera's battery will get flatted for capturing too much, I would have more picture to share about this mansion. Anyway, you better visit the place yourself to feel its ambiance which certainly will impress you I believe.

The mansion is located at 29, Church Street and open daily including weekend and public holidays from 9.30am to 5.00pm.


  1. nice shot. Each time i travel alone, i can go discover most of the places like history site and snap photo. If with my wife, usually will end up for food shooting.

  2. no matter which one you shot, either foods or places, it'll be a nice thing to do! ;)

  3. i'll be going here next month. i'm just wondering, i thought photography is not allowed here? do i have to make any appointment to visit the house?


  4. Hi Totty...

    I am not sure are they changing their rules... but at the time of our visit, photography is allowed. 3 of us went there and we all brought our camera inside and shot as we like ;)

    No appointment needed. Just go and there was someone inside the house to collect some entrance fees from you ;)

    Enjoy your trip!

  5. Those white card games are called chap ji, there were quite commonly played until the mid-seventies.


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