Thursday, July 29, 2010

To feel part of the heritage of Penang

Cheong Fatt Tze, winner of the UNESCO Conservation Award 2000 National Architecture Award for Conservation 1995.

We visited this historical building on 1.3.2009 with our student, Jia Yin.
It carefully restored after a century of neglect. Restoration work on Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion began in 1991 and was completed in 1995.
What a perfect place to feel part of the heritage of Penang in this lovely afternoon.
After Cheong Fatt Tze's death, the family scattered. The mansion fell into disrepair. Finally it was bought in the 1990s by a group of heritage lovers, who invested in restoring it.
The mansion holds many portraits and photographs of the man himself and his favourite wife. Cheong Fatt Tze had eight wives. There are other antiques like an abacus, silk clothing, bamboo pillows, a few bits of old furniture.
They are all remain of the Cheong family's possessions. The area is built much with feng shui principles. Every door had Chinese sayings written on them. It tells a story. A gold leaf caligraphy which encourage the safety and prosperity of the household.
It is an grand Chinese-style mansion along Leith Street with high ceiling and old stone floor. It had been converted into a hotel. It is quite a tourist attraction and there were groups of people on guided tours twice a day. The Mansion has 38 rooms, 5 courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 windows. 
They do 1 hour tours for visitors. The tour itself was fascinating. Our guide spent 1 hour with us talking about the social and commercial background in which Cheong Fatt Tze developed from immigrant labourer to Mandarin, family life of the Straits Chinese.

She also talked about Chinese architecture and the basics of Feng Shui.

We were the only Penangites. Our tourguide spoke fluent English. It's a must-not-miss experience to study the cultural, historical and architectural heritage of Penang.
The tour guide asked dad and mom to share all those places with fellow Malaysians. We were good listeners. Really paid attention during her sharing.
It took us half an hour to shoot some of the photographs.
The entrance fees is RM12 for adult. RM6 for children.

The weather was getting warm.

Throughout the day, mom felt a bit sickly as time went on.
Good ventilation is extremely important for hot and humid climates.

The mansion seemed lack of sun and air.

Anyway, visiting this mansion was an unforgettable experience. We reached home at about 5p.m.
Girls, it was a good learning day. A historical reminder of a past era. A man whose dream will live on in the majesty of his home.

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