History of Cheah Kongsi
Cheah Kongsi was established in 1873 by Cheah Yam, an immigrant who came from the Sek Tong village in South China. Upon Cheah Yam’s death, his widow Ong Sin Neoh took over management of the clan house: before her, women did not wield such direct influence over the local Hokkien clan associations. Her son, Cheah Choo Yew, and subsequently his descendants, have served as the presidents of the Cheah Kongsi ever since. There is an office building on-site which houses the temple’s management office.
Design of Cheah Kongsi
The entrance to the double-storey Cheah Kongsi is through a narrow alleyway off Lebuh Armenian. The charming, perfectly-manicured front lawn leads you past a front door edged by etched black marble panels; the complex uniquely integrates a European double-storey plan and a distinctive Chinese courtyard layout. The temple’s porch was renovated in the 1930s and elaborate carvings were added: it also underwent extensive restoration work between 2003 and 2004.
Good to Know
Cheah Kongsi also doubles as a museum: to exhibit the temple’s 183-year history, several pieces of original furniture and artefacts (well taken care of) are on display in the temple’s smaller rooms. Though there is no entrance fee and you are free to wander around at leisure, it is considered polite to obtain permission from the office within the compounds.