27 April 2013. Saturday. While most people in Penang were probably watching Iron Man 3 in cinemas or perhaps, resting at home after an entire work or school week and a whole day’s household chores as in the case of my wife and our kid, I left our place at around 5PM, hopped on the bus, took the 15 minute ferry ride from Butterworth to George Town and rode another bus to Lebuh Chulia, then strolled my way to Cannon Street with nothing in mind but to revisit one of the incredibly majestic clan houses in Penang, the Khoo Kongsi.
Yes, I’ve been to Khoo Kongsi before and I’ve blogged it a few times already but I’ve never experienced the “Evening of Lights At Khoo Kongsi” celebrated every last Saturday of the month at 7PM. It is when the entire Prayer Pavilion of Khoo Kongsi beams and shines against the royal blue sky!
Since I still have prepaid Rapid-Penang-Bus unlimited-ride-card for the month of April, and the usual admission rate of 10 ringgit (USD 3.30) to Khoo Kongsi was waived during this event, I only spent 1.20 ringgit (USD 0.40) on the roundtrip ferry ride and 13.50 ringgit (USD 4.45) for a personal favorite Indian plate with Mango Lassi from Restoran Kapitan at Little India.
The gates of Khoo Kongsi located at Cannon Street were guarded and only opened at 7PM. After grabbing some bites at Restoran Kapitan, I went back to this famous clan house and simply waited for moments when everyone’s done with their obligatory photo-ops with the gorgeous Prayer Pavilion as their backdrop. I was lucky to have a chance to capture the beauty of the Prayer Pavilion of Khoo Kongsi with less tourists and visitors as people began to flock after I left the area.
“From the late 18th century to 1850, the Khoos migrated from Sin Kang Village in China to Penang and involved themselves in trades and other careers. They formed a closely-knit community, took care of each other and gathered on the 5th day of the 5th Moon every year to celebrate the birthday of Tua Sai Yah. In 1835, they founded the Ee Kok Tong as an early form of clan association. The basement of Leong San Tong has been converted into the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Museum.” sourced from www.khookongsi.com.my
Who would not be in awe with this excellent Oriental structure built from exquisite craftmanship in woodcarving, stone carving, coloured drawing, stucco sculpture, cut-and-paste decoration and tiled roof?
The Prayer Pavilion faces a courtyard intended for gatherings then and now, and a huge stage built for Opera and other performances. And for this weekend’s event, Chinese drums were installed that provided the beat and accompanied the traditional lion dances.
Good thing the lion dance performers and “prosperity mascots” with the drummers and cymbals on stage deviated the attention of the people from the Prayer Pavilion; I had a few minutes of camera clicks without tourists and other photographers around it.
This monthly Evening of Lights At Khoo Kongsi was supposed to end at around 10PM with other entertainers to performs but I left the place at around 8PM. En route back to Chulia Street, I failed to resist and captured a couple more photos of the corner of Cannon and Armenian Streets…
Over all, I enjoyed my Saturday evening and considered it a blessing that eased out my stress from work. Engaging in activities and sights like this is a welcome respite from my almost routinary life at my desk in the Faculty Room and in the classrooms.
*How did you spend your weekend?
*More photos on my earlier blog post about Khoo Kongsi –> HERE!