Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Transfer Road(调和路)

Transfer Road or Jalan Transfer(调和路) is named after the event of the transfer of Strait Settlement from Indian office to Colonial office in London in 1867. It is a road between Burma Road and Northam Road(now known as Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah). It was intersected by Hutton Lane and Argyll Road. The off roads are Kedah Road, Lorong Popus, Dindings Street,Jalan Ariffin, Jalan Sekerat, Dickens Street, Sri Bahari Road.

The Chinese called the street Tek-sūn-ke pin-ke(德順厝邊街),literally means street beside Tek Soon's house. But the popular name by the Chinese is still teow-hoe-lor(調和路), which literally means collaboration into peace or harmony , may be due to various communities in the area, harmony is essential.

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During early 19th century, the urban development of Georgetown had arrived at the border of Prangin River and Transfer Road Ditch(today's Transfer Road). The Transfer Road area was originally inhabited by the Jawi Peranakan community. Jawi Peranakan is a community of mixed ancestry of Indian Muslim man and Malay female. The are mainly English educated and favor by the colonist government.

A canal linked Transfer Road to the Prangin River, allowing boats to come up to the area, called Titi Papan(Plank bridge, after the bridge over the Prangin Ditch). Masjid Titi Papan is a small heritage mosque along Jalan Burma, located at the junction of Jalan Khoo Sian Ewe. This mosque was built in 1893, and is significant landmark for being the point where the Praingin River used to reach. The river, which is now only visible at Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong, near Sia-bui, now demolished wholesale market. Once the river reached Jalan Transfer, from where there's a plank bridge (titi papan) across it. The Transfer Canal may be the large drain behind Police station, flowing from Jalan Phee Choon(which have been covered up), to Jalan Khoo Sian Ewe near Masjid Titi Papan, and flow over to the Loke Thye Kee building(2B, Burma Road) at the junction of Burma Road/Penang Road, just opposite the Masjid(mosque). You still can see the large drain behind Loke Thye Kee buidling. That is the place where the Transfer Canal met Prangin River. It flow under the Penang Road, crossing Penang Road which is under Octopus overhead bridge near Komtar, and join Prangin Canal(now closed) and continue flowing to Sia-bui(which can be seen). There was plank bridge over the Prangin river located between Maxwell Road(now no more) and Prangin Road until 70s, which separated the two roads, near the Loh Boon Siew's Yellow Bus station. I wonder is the plank bridge similar to the one near the Yellow Bus station.....

Masjid Titi Papan used to be the community mosque for the Peranakan Jawis (Muslims of Indian and Malay parentage), that lived in a settlement around the mosque. But in the mid 19th century to early 20th century, the community moved out. May be when they are more affluent they are moving to better houses. The South Indian Tamil Muslim from Kadaiyanallur, Malabar Muslim from Kerala moved in, and settle around Kedah Road, Transfer Road area. The Tamil Muslim community become the main worshipers in the small mosque. Note: Malabar Muslim already living at Kampong Malabar and Chowrasta Market area.

There was formerly a popular coffee shop at the ground floor of Hotel Embassy(12, Burma Road). The corner coffee shop at the junction between Transfer Road and Burma Road during late 70s. The coffee shop was the popular place for breakfast. The coffee shop had closed down.

The side roads of Transfer Road

Kedah Road - The side road that joined Burma Road, and Kelantan Road. Kedah Road and Kelantan Road are both L shape, together they formed a square block, with Kedah Road joining Burma Road.

Dindings Road - It is named after the islands and territory of Dinding, collectively the Dindings, which formed part of the Straits Settlement following the Pangkor Treaty of 1874. Dindings Road was the location of a settlement of Jawi Peranakan in the 19th century. The road is dead end.

Popus Lane(Lorong Popus) - a short lane off Transfer Road, which was part of an Indian Muslim and Malay settlements, but all have disappeared. The road is dead end. The No. 8, 10 & 12 are beautifully restored by an Australian couple from Melbourne who decided to make Penang their new home under the MM2H, Malaysia My Second Home programme. They are the one that renovated the green house in Mentri Street, Penang. Please visit http://www.penang-traveltips.com/8-10-12-popus-lane.htm for details.

Jalan Ariffin - off Transfer Road, joined with Jalan Sekerat. Together the two roads formed a U shape road. Otherwise it will be dead end. There was an abandoned hotel at the junction with Jalan Sekerat. It is having many Indian bakery shops, providing competition for Ismalia Bakery. The junction with Transfer Road, at the corner is the Ismalia Bakery.
It is named after Wan Chik Ariffin, a rich Jawi Peranakan in the area. Another road, Ariffin Court or Halaman Ariffin, off Burma Road, a small road is also named after him.

Jalan Sekerat - off Transfer Road, joined with Jalan Ariffin. Together the two roads formed a U shape road. The road end of Transfer junction is the International Hotel and its Nasi Padang stall.

View Larger Map

Cheah Tek Soon's 5 storey Mansion- abandoned

Originally built in the 1880’s by Cheah Tek Soon it was the first five-story residence in Penang. The building passed on to his only child, his daughter Cheah Liew Bee who married Dr. Sun Yat Sen supporter, Goh Say Eng. Goh, who was selling his properties one by one to support Dr. Sun's revolutionary movement, eventually sold this property too. Merchant Tye Kee Yoon bought it and turned it into a hotel. It has been known as the Bellevue Hotel and also Raffles-By-The-Sea. It was then leased to the Government and used as an English school (1920s) and later became the Shih Chung branch school after the war. In 1993 it was seems to have been acquired by the Malaysia Vegetable Oil Refinery Sdn Bhd, one of the major shareholders of Stanford Raffles By The Sea Sdn Bhd, from the Tye trustees at a price of nine and a half million Malaysian Ringgit. With the purchase, the building which has, through the years been reduced to three storeys, is to be restored and will surrounded by a three-block columbarium to be built by developers Stanford Raffles By The Sea Sdn Bhd. But the people voiced against it.

Dato Koyah Shrine

In Penang, Dato Koyah settled down under a tree at the site where his shrine stands today. At that time, Jalan Transfer was not yet built. Instead, a canal extends from North Beach - the coast where Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah is today - right down to where it meets the Prangin Canal, where Masjid Titi Papan is today.Dato Koyah became a laborer to earn a lifelihood, but to the Malayalee and Tamil Muslim community, he was respected as a spiritual leader and teacher. There are legends about him that he could do miracles, including feeding the masses from the porridge of just a small pot, of producing candies for children seemingly out of thin air, and on one occasion, of getting out of a locked jail. It happened when Dato Koyah was arrested along with the fellow labourers for demonstrating against the beatings inflicted by their British superiors. Somehow, he managed to walk out of the jail very next day. Not only that, while the workers were incarcerated, the road work that they were to do had been miraculously completed.

Eventually Dato Koyah won the respect of the British authorities. When he passed away, he was buried and Keramat Dato Koyah was erected by his followers. It stands on the spot where he lived under the tree. The British honored him by naming Jalan Dato Koyah after him. That road leads from Lebuh Clarke, behind Keramat Dato Koyah right down to Penang Road. A Malabari settlement once existed in this area, from the shrine, along Jalan Dato Koyah, and continued across Penang Road into Kampung Malabar.

Followers of Dato Koyah would observe his feast day, which falls on the 5th day of the second Muslim month, Safar, at which time alms were distributed to the poor. On normal days, devotees - mostly Tamil Muslims - would visit the shrine, especially on Thursday nights. They place flowers on his grave, burn incense, and ask for favors.

(source: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/keramat-dato-koyah.htm)

Japanese Hotel: Asahi Hotel(NO.22,Demolished)
Asahi Hotel(朝日酒店,后期是光榮酒店) at 22, Transfer Road was established to cater the needs of more sophisticated Japanese customers. Today the Asahi Hotel had been demolished together with row of 3 double storey pre war shop houses.

根據地圖,在朝日酒店前有一排五間雙層戰前屋,不過他在去年11月15日再到相同地點時,只看到三間雙層建筑,不過那時已是人去樓空,然而建筑外觀保存良好。唯如今卻與朝日酒店一并被拆。由日本人創辦,是日本官方及大公司機構指定的海外酒店之一,它在1914年創立。 朝日酒店在周前被拆除前為光榮酒店,座落調和路門牌二十二號,即是大馬酒店旁,西湖公園飯店及橋南旅社對面,它連同前方一排3間的戰前雙層排屋被拆,引起古跡保護者的震驚. 除朝日酒店,日本人在檳城創辦的酒店尚有松屋酒店,及田中酒店,其中松屋酒店即是尚保留至今的重慶酒店,該酒店在最近發生火患。而田中酒店則原座落牛干冬,不過相信在二次世界大戰時被摧毀。


SJK(C) SUM SUN(三山小学)- moved to Taman Free School Road

In 1927, Foo Chow Hoay Kuan Penang(槟城福州会馆) was established ; at the same time the clan house also proposed set up of Sum Sun School. Sum sun in Chinese literally means three hills, the three hills(屏山、于山及乌石山)in Foo Chow city. Initially the school was located at Transfer Road with simple basic school, where there were only for std 1 to 4. There were 200 pupils. During the war, the school closed and premise rented out to 乐香园 used as hotel. After the war was over, it was difficult to take back the school premise. The school board of directors 首任董事长李学良,名誉主席杨鸿斌、林国香、林仲铭、马朝钦, all the five gentlemen donated $5,000 each to purchase the said land,and employed lawyer to sue 乐香园。The school only able to take back the premise in 1947. Due to the location, students continue to increase after the war. The existing classrooms were insufficient to cater for increasing student population. In 1957, a school building committee was set up, and finally bought a land in Taman Free School Road(大英义学路). In 1963, the new school completed.


1. MCA Building(槟城调和路马华大厦)
2. Siew heng Foo Association (肇庆府会馆)
The clan house was built in 1921, located at 126-C, Transfer Road

Budget Hotel

1. Hotel Regal
, 6, Jalan Transfer, Penang
Tel: 04-2279584 Fax: 04-2299512
; Rooms: 64; Room Rates (RM): 46-78
; Facilities: TV, Car Park, Air Condition, Hot Water, Laundry
2. International Hotel
, 90/92 Jalan Transfer (First Floor) 
10050 Penang
 - Tel: 016-4342775; 
Rooms: 10; Room Rates (RM): 25-35
3. Kowloon Hotel, located at the corner lot between Argyll Road and Transfer Road. Opposite the Caltex petrol station. Newly renovated, still not opened.

The community
Jawi Peranakan

The Jawi Peranakan ethnic group, also known as "anak mami Tanjong", came into existence through inter marriages between the Malay community and migrants from India who settled down here during the colonial period. Today, the easiest way to identify them are from their last or first names "Shaikh", "Khan", "Shah", "Merican" dan "Mah Wan". Differentiating them physically is difficult as they share similarities in looks, customs and traditions with the Malays and often branded as the Malays of Penang.

The Jawi Peranakan were an elite group within the British Malayan community in mid-nineteenth century Malaya. The term Jawi Peranakan referred to locally-born Muslims of mixed South Asian(Indian) and Malay ancestry. "Jawi" is an Arabic word to denote Southeast Asia, while Peranakan is a Malay word meaning "born of" (it also refers to the elite, locally-born Chinese). More broadly, South Asian Muslims without mixed parentage but born in the Straits Settlements were sometimes also called Jawi Peranakan, as were children from Arab-Malay marriages. Similar terms for mixed Malay-South Asian people were "Jawi Pekan" (mostly used in Penang) and "Peranakan Kling" (mostly used in Malacca), the latter made popular by the great early Malay chronicler, Munshi Abdullah. Jawi Peranakan families were found throughout Malaysia, especially Penang, and Singapore.They are also called "Straits Malays".

The Jawi Peranakan were enterprising and progressive. By the late 19th century, they had accumulated considerable wealth and status and contributed to the economy as merchants and land dealers. They were also literate and English-educated, easily qualifying for government jobs. In addition to their substantial wealth and social standing, they are remembered for setting up the Jawi Peranakan, the world's first Malay language newspaper.

There are a few Jawi Peranakan families left in Singapore and Malaysia, especially Penang, which used to be their largest settlement. However, most today register as Malays. The loss of their identity is due to various causes. Economically, other competing mercantile groups were emerging, especially the Chinese. By the 1930s, the Jawi Peranakan grew increasingly dependent on government and clerical jobs.

By the turn of the 20th century, the political climate favoured the Malays. As the largest 'racial' group and the indigenous people of Malaya, they were seen as the natural successors to the British, with the waning of the British Empire. Projecting an identity that was distinctly apart from the Malays was therefore not expedient. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Jawi Peranakan were also criticised for their brand of religious belief which did not conform to the widely-practised Shafi Islam. To make matters worse, the Jawi Peranakan tended to be reformist and they challenged the authority of the Malay royalty in religious matters. Most were born and bred in the Straits Settlements, and had never been a subject of the Sultan. They therefore lacked this political and cultural quality, which was seen to define a 'true Malay'. In addition, the Jawi Peranakan's affiliations with the India-inspired religious Tabligh movement came under fire from some religious and public figures as this association was not considered "patriotic".

Even their houses follow a unique design - double storey houses half masonry and half wood with concrete staircase at the front. Another feature of their homes are the spacious verandah where visitors outside family are entertained.

Jawi Peranakan slowly assimilated to Malay, and gradually become Malay under constitution.

Bengali Muslim

The Bengali Muslims came from the State of Bengal in India at a time when the countries Pakistan and Bangala Desh were not born, and therefore have to be included as Indian Muslims. Now Bengali are divided into West Bengal Indian Bengali, and East Bengal Bangladesh Bengali. The Indian Bengali are mostly Hindu with minority of Muslim. The Bangladesh Bengali are Muslim. The Masjid Bengali in Leith Street and the Kampong Bengali in Butterworth are evidences of their contributions in Penang.

Kerala Muslim/Malabar Muslim

The Kerala Muslims came from another South Indian State called Kerala. They are also known as Malabar Muslims sometimes referred by the people as 'Kaka' which means elder brother, in contrary to the malay word kaka meaning elder sister. These Malabar Muslims seem to have lived in Penang in considerable number. The Kampong Malabar around Transfer Road, and the Masjid Malabar in Beach Street, built by them but destroyed in the bombing during the 2nd World War, are evidences of their presence in Penang. Malabar Muslim have gradually assimilated as Malay under constitution defined Malay.

Kadayanallur Muslims & Tengkasi Muslim

When they first settled in Penang, the Kadayanallur Muslims moved into the neighbourhoods of Transfer Road and Hutton Lane and attended Friday prayers at the Hutton Lane Mosque, the Bengali Mosque on Leith Street as well as Masjid Tarik Ayer and the Masjid Titi Papan on Burmah Road. They also gathered around the Datuk Koya shrine at Transfer Road.

Despite their poverty, large families were common within the Kadayanallur community, and many had to put up with crowded conditions. Ahmad Shah, a librarian at the Penang Library and a descendant of A.S. Osman, a founder of the United Muslim Association, used to live in the big house at No. 20-22, Hutton Lane. It had 16 rooms partitioned to accommodate 40 Indian Muslim families.

By the 1920s, the Kadayanallur and Tengkasi women had become well known for their curry paste and they started the trade of giling rempah (grinding spices). They would carry the spices in baskets on their heads and sell them door to door. They also sold freshly made curry paste along Tamil Street near the Chowrasta Market, which they ground with a granite rolling pin and slab.

Kadayanallur curry pastes were made famous through one of Penang’s most popular foods, nasi kandar. The nasi kandar vendors, usually Tamil males from Ramnad, would carry a basket of rice and another of curry, slung on a bakau (mangrove) wood yoke.

As Ahmad Shah explains, “A Kadayanallur family may provide a sojourner from Ramnad with capital to start a nasi kandar stall and supply him with fresh spices each day.

“The nasi kandar vendor then has to pay for the spices each day as well as repay the loan in instalments.”

The Penang Kadayanallur community is made up of three large endogamous (marrying within the limits of a clan or tribe) groups. Each group has its own religious teacher – called a sheikh – spiritual path (tarikat) and its own association.

United Muslim Association (UMA)

The oldest association is the United Muslim Association (UMA) on Transfer Road, formed by the descendants of a sheikh. Another group started the Anjuman Himayathul Association in Chulia Street, which also serves as a mosque and madrasah (religious school). Yet another group is the Hidhayatul Islam Association on Kedah Road. The three associations jointly formed the Kadayanallur Muslim Association.

The UMA’s Golden Jubilee Souvenir 1929-1979 (in English, Malay and Tamil) records that the association was officially founded in 1929, although the group had started meeting around 1925.

Their first premises at No.417F, Chulia Street, in the “Alimsavali” village, was rented for $13 (Straits dollars) per month. The UMA was a centre for community service, where poorer members could turn to for help. It also offered Indian martial arts (silambam) classes, comprising exercises, stick play and gymnastics. The association celebrated “Milath” (Maulidur Rasul, Prophet Muhammad birthday) and the annual festival of their “guru and sage” Alkamilvali Sheigul Masai Sheiguna Sheiguthumanul Jisti Rathialhuanher, believed to have brought Islam to Kadayanallur village.

The first generation of migrants was mostly illiterate, but they realised the importance of education. The UMA established classes for both children and adults, opened by H.H. Abdul Kader, Indian representative to the Legislative Council of the Federated Malay States.

In 1935, the UMA purchased its own building at No. 202, Transfer Road, a compound house within a neighbourhood then largely occupied by the Jawi Pekan (Muslims of mixed Indian – especially Tamil – and Malay descent, although mixed Arabic, Bengali, Punjabi, Acehnese and even Siamese and Chinese parentage were also common) .

The UMA affiliated with the Central Muslim Association in 1953 and the Muslim League in 1954 and, like the other Indian Muslim organisations, they supported Umno.

Due to the community’s political affiliations, the United Muslim Tamil School later became a government school fully assisted by the Education Ministry. A piece of land adjacent to the association’s premises was acquired and five additional classrooms were put up.

Transfer Road Foods

1. Wan Tan Mee - Tai Wah Cafe, Argyll Road/Transfer Road

The stall in Tai Wah Cafe is famous for its Wan-tan-mee, The sui kow is also popular.

2. Roti Canai, near Transfer Road Caltex Station. The best beef curry to eat with roti canai.

3. Penang Chu char- See Kong Ooi Restaurant(西公園飯店)
For seafood and chu char, Hokkien and Hainan style, the Kedai Makan See Kong Ooi located near to the junction with Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, after the caltex petrol station junction. For picture, please visit http://www.what2seeonline.com/2009/10/penang-chu-char-hokkien-hainanese-dishes-see-kong-ooi/#more-4193

Kedai Makan See Kong Ooi
9 Transfer Road, Penang
Tel : 04 2627845
Business Hour : 11am - 11pm

4. Nasi Padang - International Hotel ground floor

The unassuming facade of International Hotel, at 92, Transfer Road, with the Restoran Padang Minang on the ground floor. It is at the junction between Transfer Road and Jalan Sekerat. Several kinds of curries are available such as korma chicken and fish and beef curry. Several kinds of curries are available such as korma chicken and fish and beef curry. RESTORAN Nasi Padang Minang is probably the longest-running nasi padang stall on Penang island. Another reason for its fame is its authentic padang dishes.

The family-owned business is a stall located in a Chinese coffee-shop at Transfer Road and has been in business since the 1940s. For the uninitiated, nasi padang refers to a style of cooking that originated from Western Sumatra, Indonesia. For the picture of the stall, please visit http://www.penangfoods.com/nasi-padang/. Check the price before order, as it may be overcharged.

No. 92, Transfer Road
10050 Penang
West Malaysia
Mobile : 012 - 4899693
Mobile : 010 - 4129693
Business hour: open from 11 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. daily

5. Roti Benggali (Benggali Bread) at Bakery Shop - Ismalia Bakery

Ismalia Bakery, No 114, Transfer Road. Operations hours (8.00am - 2.00pm, everyday)

Roti Benggali goes very well with local coffee. It's white bread, freshly baked daily and sent out to most coffeeshops around Georgetown. Roti Benggali actually derived its name from the word ,' Penggali' which means 'shareholders' in tamil. Sheik Mohd Ismail an Indian Muslim came over from Madras, India in 1932 to pursue his livelihood in this new land of opportunities. As soon as he settled down in Georgetown, he set up a business with his group of friends and called the co-op - 'roti penggali'. Local residents mistook the name to be 'Roti Benggali' and has been called such since. In 1964, the bakery was renamed 'Ismalia Bakery' from 'Penggalis' and is now run by Vanisay Mohd - the founder's grandson.

Bread delivery man
For as little as RM1.20, you can get a gigantic loaf of freshly baked Roti Benggali at Ismalia Bakery. However, if you ever do get to see the travelling breadman, a sort of bakery on wheels, going on their evening route round the older neighbourhood, do stop him. He usually sells Roti Benggali and if you wish, he'd whip out his slicing board, cut a few slices for you and even spread a thick layer of the delicious coconut jam and margarine for you to take with you.

Reference and Related articles
1.Singapore Kadayanallur Muslim League - Historical Background, http://skml.net/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=1
2. Jawi Peranakan, the Malays of Penang, Utusan Malaysia, http://e-malabari.net/culture/jawiperanakan20040527.htm
3. Roots of Penang Malay, by Ong Ju Lynn, http://www.mandailing.org/Eng/rootsofpenmal.html

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