ย 

The Koay Jetty's Muslim Ancestors

๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Š๐จ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ฐ-๐๐ž๐ฆ๐จ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ž๐ ๐Š๐จ๐š๐ฒ ๐‰๐ž๐ญ๐ญ๐ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐‡๐ฎ๐ข ๐‚๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐Œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฆ ๐—”๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜€?


๐ด๐‘๐‘๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘™ โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ, ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘Ž ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘›๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘‘ "๐ด๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘š๐‘ข๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘–๐‘˜๐‘ข๐‘š" ๐‘”๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ฃ๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘—๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘ฆ.



Miniatures of the wooden stilt houses on display at the Koay Jetty Memorial Hall in Gat Lebuh Macallum, Penang. โ€” Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star



Last to be built and first to be demolished, the Koay Jetty is home to a Hui (pronounced โ€œHoyโ€) community (specifically the Koays). [1]


The Hui people is a Muslim ethnic group from China who were one of the first Chinese to migrate and settle throughout South-east Asia. They are descendants of Arab and Persian traders who settled in Chinaโ€™s seaports between the 7th and 10th centuries.

In Penang, the Koay Jetty was the only remaining settlement in Malaysia of the ethnic group that first migrated here more than 700 years ago [1].


In Penang, they worked as traders, port coolies and boatmen. They were also in the charcoal business. They rented four houses and lived together as a clan commune at Noordin Street.

In the 1950s, they established a jetty at the end of Weld Quay-C.Y.Choy Road. It was the last clan jetty to be built. [2]


Here, the Koay clan community in Penang had problems communicating with the other Muslims in Penang (perhaps largely due to language barrier). They could not understand many of the latterโ€™s practices. For example, belief in the local kramats was something alien to them, and a mosque with an onion dome did not look or feel like a mosque to them.

Soon, the Koays realised that due to the shared language and culture with most Chinese immigrants from Fujian (the only difference was their religion), the Koays felt closer to the mainstream Chinese community and depended on the latter for support.


As a result, the whole group gradually reverted back to the 5th generation fatwa. [2]


๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐Ÿฑ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—™๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜„๐—ฎ?


The 5th generation descendants of Koay Tโ€™ng Hui (during the Ming dynasty, in 1376, Koay Tโ€™ng Hui was the leader of this Hui Muslim minority group with Arabian ancestors) found their village of Pek Kee (near the port of Quanzhou (pronounced โ€œChwen-Joeโ€) facing attacks by Han Chinese extremists. This is because a group of Hui Muslims had supported the Ming dynasty government to put down a rebellion in Fujian. In retaliation, the rebels attacked Hui villages all over Fujian. In order to safeguard their lives, the Koay clan villagers suppressed their Hui identity. As they had intermarried with Han women for generation, they allowed the Han women to rear pigs, so that the village would not be marked as a Hui village.


In this case of emergency, the amirs of the clan collectively made a fatwa: In life, one can eat pork. But in death, one must die as a Muslim and go back to the true religion. The deceasedโ€™s family and relatives must follow Muslim practice for at least 49 days, and even up to 3 years.


When a member of the Koay clan died, the imam would go the home of the deceased and place the Holy Qurโ€™an on a new piece cloth laid over the table in front of the coffin. He would read the Qurโ€™an from the first page to the last. He had to advise the deceasedโ€™s family not to eat pork for 49 days. [3]


๐—ก๐—ผ๐˜„, ๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜'๐˜€ ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ž๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐˜† ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ด.


With its culture facing drastic dilution, five Hui leaders in 1975 started a campaign to get every clansman to put up a notice at home that reminded them of their Muslim origins. The notice, which was to be framed and hung on the wall by every clansmen, provides the generational names to be followed by the Koay clan for forty generations.


The notice stated that since early times, the Koays have been Muslims. They have been steadfast in their prayer, and have not changed for generations. โ€ฆ After China became a Republic, many of their clan came to Southeast Asia and were scattered all over Singapore and Malaysia. However, due to the great differences in human relations and environment, they gradually departed from the Islamic teaching. However in the practice of remembering their ancestors, they will strictly observe halal food (no pork). This shows that they are following the fatwa of the past, and that they have not forgotten their origins. [2]


In an oral interview recorded by the George Town World Heritage Incorporated, Keh Siew Tiong, born in 1932 explains that they abstain from eating pork only when their family members pass away. According to their tradition, the abstinence period lasts for 49 days and requires them to use another tableware set, specially reserved for the occasion. [3]

The Koay Jetty was demolished in 2006. Photo Credit: Jack Leong (Facebook)


Although the Koay Jetty in Penang was demolished in 2006, people can still admire the once charming jetty through miniatures of the heritage stilt houses set up at the Koay Jetty Memorial Hall in Gat Lebuh Macallum. [4]



Koay Jetty Memorial Hall at Gat Lebuh Presgrave.



Ask a Koay (any Koay!) if they are still practicing this unique cultural tradition.


๐‘ณ๐’๐’—๐’† ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’„๐’๐’๐’•๐’†๐’๐’•? ๐‘ท๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’” ๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘บ๐’‰๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’”๐’‘๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’๐’๐’—๐’†!โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ”ฅ


Sources:

[1] http://www.xiao-en.org/system/magazine/pdf/b7-21_eng.pdf

[2]https://www.sinoptic.ch/.../2009_CSDS_200903_Graezer...

[3]http://www.penangstory.net.my/mino-content-paperong.html

[4] https://www.facebook.com/.../there-was.../2277552735642659/

[5]https://www.thestar.com.my/.../03/tiny-window-into-the-past


#penanghiddengems #KoayJetty #penanghiddenhistoricalgems #penanghiddenheritagegems #penanghistory #penangheritage #georgetown #ClanJetties

488 views0 comments
ย