Chew Clan Jetties, George Town, Penang

The water villages along Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay), George Town are a cluster of wooden houses on stilts, built out into the sea, belonging to various Chinese clans.  Houses here are linked by connecting wooden planks and joist. 

These clan communities were set up in the 19th century, where many then worked mainly as harbour workers such as stevedores or boatmen. The seven jetties are divided according to the Hokkien clans with the surnames Tan, Ong, Lim, Chew, Lee, Yeoh and Koay. Four other jetties in the area consists of Chinese with various surnames, these include New Jetty, Gat Lebuh Noordin Jetty, Gat Lebuh Sandiland Jetty and Selamat Jetty. The Chew Jetty (Chew Clan) located at the end of Gat Lebuh Armenia is one of the largest community we still see today. 

 Some of these villages have a colourful and notorious past and was known as a haven for smuggling and gang activities in the early part of the 20th century when Penang was a free port.    The clan villages are still residential dwellings today.   Though the villages have water and electricity, they lack a proper sewerage system.  

Traditional cultural practices are still deeply rooted in these villages.  One such festival that is grandly celebrated here is the Festival of the Heavenly God, celebrated on the 9th day of the Chinese lunar calendar (usually after 12midnight on the 8th lunar day).

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