|Penang Heritage | Weld Quay Chew Jetty & Clan Jetties|
Have been existence since 19th century, Clan Jetties are unique Chinese settlements with their homes built on stilts along the wooden pier that extend to the sea or Penang Channel. The residents of each clan jetty are descendants of Chinese immigrants. Typically, houses here are supported by wood or cemented beams, stand in a row on one or both sides of about a couple meters width wooden walkway. These single story houses are usually covered by a triangular shaped zinc roofing and a slightly elevated porch to park bicycles or motorcycles at door front. At some corners, there are a few alleys leading to more houses and ending at a cul-de-sac.
The most famous clan jetty is Chew Jetty, being the highest occupancy among all. Named after their last name 'Chew', this waterfront village houses the largest community whom still uphold most of the traditional lifestyles and cultures. The families here are the descendants from Xin Lin She village, Tong Aun District, Quan Zhou Prefecture of Fujian Province.
One of highlight tradition associated with Chew Jetty is the annual prayer to Jade Emperor ('Tee Kong' in Hokkien which literally means God of Heaven) that occur on the 9th day of the first month in Chinese or Lunar calendar. Grand offerings comprises roasted pork, crabs, chickens, Chinese cakes, cookies and fruits would be lined up in a long stretch and elevated tables as altars serving to Jade Emperor as a thankful gesture. Many cultural activities are still in practice including lion dances, dragon dances and not to miss the spectacular fireworks that mark the celebration of Hokkien New Year. And the most Today, Chew Jetty still serves its function as a public jetty in instances of ferrying goods to the bigger boats that anchored further away from the harbor.
Chew Jetty's entrance is exactly in-between Chew Jetty Cafe and Chew Boon Sai Coffee Shop at the juncture of Armenian Street Ghaut and Weld Quay. Sandwiched between these coffee shops, a small alley leads you to pass Chew Jetty Kongsi (Association) and a Chinese Temple on your right. Walk straight onto the wooden pier and it will take you to experience the life in the houses that are built at waterfront. I believe most of the families here earn their living as fisherman as several boats are parking along the pier. In this small community, I also spotted a sundry shop, a souvenir shop and a hair saloon among the houses
along Chew Clan Jetty. Take a slow walk and enjoy the sights of their daily life. Give these folks a smile and they will return you similarly in a friendly gesture to greet or welcome you!
If you have time, proceed to visit the other clan jetties. They are accessible from the main road of Weld Quay not too far from each other. Look for the signpost by the road side to identify the entrance into the clan jetty.
Visiting hours: Open daily - free
About 200 meters walk from Penang Ferry Terminal or Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda.