Colorful Legacy Of
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Pinang Peranakan Mansion. An exemplification of the
colourful legacy of the Baba-Nyonya of yesteryears
The building that houses the Pinang Peranakan Mansion was originally the home of Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee, leader of the Penang and Perak Hai San groups in the Larut Wars from 1860 to 1884.

Built at the end of the 19th century, the mansion is a typical representation of the
Straits Eclectic style of architecture – highly favoured by rich Peranakan families of old.

Affectionally called 'Hai Kee Chan' or Sea Remembrance Store, it served as his residence and office.

Though not a Baba himself, he chose this style of architecture because of its association with wealth and substance. A fusion of Eastern and Western elements, the Straits Eclectic home featured full-length French windows and exquisite ceramic tiles on the floors and walls. Solid iron pillars embellished with elaborate and striking Chinese carvings support part of the upper floor.


After the death of the Kapitan, the home slowly sank into a state of disrepair. Not too long ago, it even served as space for several offices. A signboard for a travel agent could also be spotted in one of the windows when the mansion was vacant. Had it been left to the mercy of the elements, the building would surely have succumbed and died a disgraceful death.

Plans to rescue one of George Town's most historical and architecture achievements came by way of Peter Soon, a Peranakan first and an architect second. Both these features would come into play and serve him well during the restoring and subsequent planning for adaptive reuse. First, his architectural skill ensured that the restoration would faithfully adhere as close as possible to the original. Then his heritage would serve as a guide to decorating the interior into a authentic replica of a Peranakan home.

Today, the mansion showcases the opulent lifestyle of the Peranakans and their many customs and traditions, displaying over a thousand pieces of antiques and collectibles of this unique community.

The present building comprises the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, housed in the main building, and the annexes which houses the ancestral temple.

The photos and panoramic views here are only a sample of what to expect when you visit the mansion. They don't even come close to the visual feast provided by the beauty of old Peranakan culture, not to mention that every item in the mansion has an interesting story to tell.

Daily conducted tours are available at the mansion, one at 11.30am and another at 3.30pm.

If he is there, guest curator Michael Cheah, a walking encyclopedia on the minutiae of the Peranakan culture, may even be pressed into enhancing your tour with anecdotes and interesting facts.

During the setting-up of the mansion, Michael also lent his personal touch towards decorating the interior. If you haven't guessed by now, Michael is a true-blue Baba and valuable contributor to the history of Penang's Peranakans.

Pinang Peranakan Mansion Map

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Opening Hour:
Monday to Saturday from 9.00am to 5.00pm
Closed on Sundays and all public holidays
Daily conducted tour at 11.30am and 3.30pm sharp

Admission:
Adult (aged 12 and above): RM10.00
Children (below 12): Free
School Children (in uniform): RM5.00

Complimentary conducted tours are only available with prior arrangements for a group of 5 persons and above. All rates are subjected to change without prior notice. Discounts are available to school bookings and other large groups. Contact the Mansion for prior bookings and more information to enjoy special rates.

Getting There:
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
29, Church Street, 10200 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-264 2929
Fax: 604-264 1929  Email: rmhbaba@streamyx.com

Written by photographed by Adrian Cheah
Courtesy of www.tourismpenang.com.my © All rights reserved