As traditional Chinese establishments in Malaysia’s quaint town of Penang, clan jetties are an integral part of the country’s heritage and history. With just six jetty clan communities left, they are fewer in numbers, but the waterfront shack communities are a still very much a part of the circuit for travelers through the area.
Built in order to house port laborers that could not afford housing on the mainland, the spanning clan jetties of Georgetown are today inhabited by the descendents of these workers. They are a bit run down and effectively shanties, but are considered by historians to be cultural landmarks that define a rather large group of people.
The wooden planks that make up the houses are aged and withered, but any visitor would be entranced by the structures that have lasted more than one hundred years, held together by the stilts that prop them over the waterfront.
The six jetties that still exist are Seh Lim Keo, Seh Chew Keo, Seh Tan Keo, Seh Lee Keo, Chap Seh Keo, Seh Yeoh Keo.
They are a bit difficult to get to since they aren’t very close to the main areas in Georgetown. Nevertheless, there is still a rather large bus network that can get you close to them, or even better, cheap taxis that will take you direct if you so choose. The six clan jetties of Penang are all one next to the other, so simply call one out and make your way around on foot.
- Contributed by John Reality