Cheah Kongsi is a Chinese clan house in Penang, Malaysia. It looks like a Chinese temple but it’s a fraternal organization, started in the mid 1800’s to assist the waves of Chinese immigrants arriving in Malaysia for work on the docks, in the tin mines, wherever hard labor was needed.
The young men were frequently alone, didn’t speak the language and had no ability to establish themselves in a foreign land. Cheah Kongsi provided all of the necessities, from housing, healthcare to social opportunities that would lead to marriage and a family. Today, workers no longer immigrate from China. The Kongsi is transitioning to education and geriatric support for families already part of the community.
Here is a set of images depicting current members and details of the clan house.