The six Clan Jetties situated just along from the ferry port, where a return fare from Butterworth, on the mainland, to the island, will cost the grand sum of 21 pence, (UK currency), are part of the islands heritage. These communities are the oldest surviving cluster settlements in Penang.
The jetties were originally rows of planks of wood supported on stilts, made as a platform for passengers embarking and disembarking from the boats to the shore. Eventually the platforms were joined together to make a jetty, and wooden houses were built. As more houses were constructed, wooden walkways and alleys branched out from the main jetty to become a cluster of homes for the immigrant workers and their families, because they couldn’t afford to live on the mainland. Water and electricity weren’t installed until 1954. Today the Clan Jetties are still home to hundreds of people, who are exempt from paying tax, because they don’t actually live on the mainland.
The jetties take their name from the family or clan surname of the original residents, and migrant families with this surname would live together on the same jetty. The Chew Jetty doesn’t have much of a heritage feel to it today, lots of tourist shops, and modern construction materials. There’s a good view of the mainland from the end of the jetty.
‘Marking George Town’ was an initiative implemented by the Penang State Government, 52 unique and humorous illustrations in the form of iron rod sculptures, were installed on George Town buildings. The sculptures provide information about the street or vicinity. These were the ones I came across.
Little India refers to an area in the centre of the Penang Heritage Zone in George Town. As the name suggests, it is an ethnic Indian enclave. On entering this area one’s senses are simultaneously overloaded: loud (Indian) music booms from speakers in shop door ways; thickly scented, incense smoke weaves its way along the streets; no matter what the shops are selling, it is highly coloured, bright and in many cases jewelled or sparkly: add the locals, who dress in beautiful, loud colours and then top it all off with the tempting smells of some of the best Indian food on the island.
Little India is also where the oldest Hindu temple in Penang is situated. The Sri Mahamariamman Temple was built in 1833 and features the Hindu goddess Mariamman in her various incarnations.
George Town has temples of all faiths, sizes, and styles, often sited next to each other, or along the same street.
There are homes that can rival the temples.
The Penang Peranakan Mansion was built at the end of the 19th century. Originally a private home, the building is now a Baba-Nyonya museum, showcasing the culture and opulent lifestyle of a rich Baba, men were known as Baba and women as Nyonya, living a hundred years ago. The original owner also had a private temple built, attached to the house.