Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple is on Armenia Street in Penang’s George Town close to the famous Cheah Kongsi Clan House which was the headquarters of the Cheah clan who together with other Hokkien Chinese clans formed a secret society that engaged in a short bloody street war with Chinese and Indian rivals in 1867.
The British military authorities became involved in this gang war and thereafter banned secret societies in Penang. To get around this prohibition the various Hokkien Chinese clans formed legitimate associations which, under the auspices of a board of trustees, now jointly manage this temple and five others in Penang.
About Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple
Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple is a Taoist temple dedicated to the Taoist God of Prosperity of Tudigong which is the main deity of the Hokkien People in Penang. The temple was constructed at some point between 1845 and 1867 as there appears to be some disagreement about the precise date and the date has been derived from examining the land titles and working out from there how long after the various buildings were constructed.
To enter into the temple you pass through a narrow gateway and passage before coming out in a large courtyard at the back of which is a two storey temple building. The design of the building itself tells a story. The Courtyard and temple are protected by the high walls of the adjacent shop houses and entry is easily restricted by closing off the narrow passage way leading to the courtyard. This is a temple where you could be assured privacy as well as to assemble a small army which could go to battle in the streets outside and beat a quick retreat when necessary, as happened in 1867. Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple was a religious site, military barracks and business headquarters for the local Hokkien community all in one.
The inside of the temple is very ornate and there are lots of artefacts dating back to its earliest days. As well as the elaborate shrines and religious statues and paintings, the temple contains some wonderful antique furniture, as well as clan paraphernalia (such as the red flags they carried into battle) and an array of weaponry which may or may not have been used back in the days of the secret societies of George Town.
Location of Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple
- Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple is located at 57, Lebuh Armenian, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.