11 Oct:- Discover the story of Five Great Clans with the rise of Penang


Let’s discover the story of Five Great Clans with the rise of Penang.
A “Talking Books” & Penang in History session in Mandarin: “The Rise of Penang and The Five Great Clans’ Business Networks in the 19th Century”

Date : Saturday, 11 October 2014
Time : 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Venue : George Town World Heritage Incorporated,
No.116 & 118, Lebuh Acheh, Penang.
Subject : “Talking Books” & Penang in History session: The Rise of Penang and The Five Great Clans’ Business Networks in the 19th Century/
Speaker : Dr. Wong Yee Tuan/黄裕端博士
Language: Mandarin/华语

It is prevalently believed that the legendary figure – Francis Light and his free trade and free port policies had contributed to the rise of Penang as an entrepot and business centre in the 19th century.

This success story of Penang, however, would be incomplete without making any reference to the Big Five families or the Five Great clans – the Khoo, the Cheah, the Yeoh, the Lim, and the Tan.

The Hokkien merchants of these Five Great Clans established themselves collectively as a leading and driving economic force in Penang and its region. They commanded a web of extensive, hybrid and fluid regional business networks which encompassed family relationships, sworn brotherhood hui, and strategic business partnerships.

With this regional business networks, the Hokkien merchants of the Five Great clans could cut across dialect, ethnic, class and state boundaries and establish their ultimate control of most of the major enterprises such as shipping, entrepot trade, revenue opium farms, and cash-crop planting. It is no exaggeration to say that the regional market economy and capitalism of the time were supported and driven by the Five Great clans’ business networks.


然而,若忽略当地五大家族 (邱、谢、杨、林和陈)的角色,槟城的故事则不能完整呈现。 五大家族的商人在当时的槟城区域组成最强大的经济集团。 他们掌控了一个广泛 、复杂但灵活的区域商业网络 — 包含了家族关系﹑帮会组织和生意伙伴的联系。


About the speakers/ 主讲人背景:
WONG Yee Tuan is a PhD graduate in History from the Australian National University. He was a post-doctoral research fellow in University of Malaya. Currently, he is the head of the History Studies in Penang Institute. Among his recent academic works are “Khean Guan Insurance Company and Penang’s Big Five Families, 1885-1911”, “Uncovering the Myths of Two 19th-century Hokkien Business Personalities in the Straits Settlements”, and “Aceh-Penang Maritime Trade and Chinese Mercantile Networks in the Nineteenth Century”.

黄裕端,澳洲国立大学历史学博士。过去任职於马来亚大学博士后研究员,目前担任槟州研究院历史研究组的主任。学术著作有《乾元保险公司与槟榔屿五大家族,1885-1911》、《十九世纪海峡殖民地的两位福建华商 –邱天保和邱忠波》、《十九世纪的亚齐-槟城贸易和华商的商业网络》。

** “Talking Books” is held as a related event to GTWHI Resource Centre’s “Books of the Month” programme. The “Books of the Month” programme aims to introduce heritage related books to readers, with associated talks and events to highlight the varied heritage elements of George Town World Heritage Site. GTWHI’s Resource Centre is available for public use, for both casual reading as well as research purposes, and is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

From September 2014, George Town World Heritage Incorporated is jointly organising a special series of “Talking Books” with the Penang Institute on the topic of “Penang in History”. This special sharing series, initiated by the History Studies research group of Penang Institute, aims to share the forgotten history of Penang with the public. As the present cannot be truly understood nor the future be predicted without a proper reference to the past, this series seeks to revisit and inspire new ways to understand the connections between the past and the present, which in turn, throws light on the social, economic, cultural and political changes in not only Penang but also Malaysia, Southeast Asia, and Asia as a whole.

“Talking Books” talks are free and all are welcomed, but do let us know if you’re coming in order for us to have enough snacks and coffee. Email us at annielee@gtwhi.com.my or contact our staff at 04 – 261 6606.

SPACE IS LIMITED to 50 people. Registration is required and on first come, first served basis. Please note that latecomers may be turned away.

For more info, visit : https://www.facebook.com/PenangInstitute/photos/a.255718807848369.63644.135664546520463/696010620485850/?type=1

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