Timothy Tye
Penang Teochew People


Penang Teochew People, also known as the Chaozhou people elsewhere in the world, forms a minority dialect group among the Chinese in Penang. They speak a language that is closely related to Hokkien, hence it is possible for Penang Hokkien people to understand a Penang Teochew even when each speaks his own dialect.

The Teochew originates in the Henan and Shanxi provinces, but settled in southern China, primarily the Fujian province. Due to poverty and economic hardship during the 18th and 19th century, many moved again, settling in small pockets of villages as farmers, in Bukit Mertajam and Batu Kawan, as well as other parts of the peninsula and Singapore.

The Teochew has established their presence in George Town since the mid 19th century, when Teochew immigrants formed the Penang Teochew Association. This is the association that today manages the award-winning Teochew Hanjiang Ancestral Temple. They are also instrumental in establishing the Han Chiang High School. The most famous Teochew is Lim Lean Teng.

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