Pulau Tikus (GPS: 5.43165, 100.31181), (Traditional Chinese: 浮羅地滑; Simplified Chinese: 浮罗地滑; Pinyin: Fúluó Dìhuá) is the name of an affluent urban district on the north-west part of George Town. Pulau Tikus proper starts near the junction of Burmah Road with Edgecumbe Road, and ends just before the Bagan Jermal junction. Burmah Road forms the main artery through Pulau Tikus, with the heart of town at the intersection of Burmah Road with Cantonment Road.
Pulau Tikus is one of the most affluent suburbs of George Town. Much of the district continues to be leafy and quiet, with grand bungalows and high-priced residences. The following are some of the apartments and condominiums in Pulau Tikus.
There's a Shell petrol station along Burmah Road next to Midlands One-Stop.
Hospitals in Pulau Tikus
Penang Adventist Hospital was established as a hospital for the destitute and penniless. While it has long abandoned that mission, this private hospital continues to be one of the best and most affordable in Penang. Its bakery is famous in Penang for producing some of the healthiest (but not cheapest) breads.
Pulau Tikus, as seen from Tropics Eight (22 July, 2017)
Entrance of Yuen Yin Kong (Hor Kai Kong) Temple along Cantonment Road, Pulau Tikus (1 August 2008)
Stupa of Wat Chaiyamangkalaram in Pulau Tikus (15 February 2004)
The etymology of Pulau Tikus
The name Pulau Tikus means "rat island". It took its name from Pulau Tikus, the rocky outcrop off the north coast of Penang, which ironically is not within sight of Pulau Tikus district. When I wrote this passage back in 2004, I speculated over the name, saying that it was probably called Pulau Tikus because of some rodent infestation here. Since then, I have found the historical response to the toponym.
Location of Pulau Tikus on the map
Updates on Pulau Tikus
27 July, 2013: Kelawei Road and Burmah Road are made one way, with traffic on Kelawei Road going from east to west, while that of Burmah Road from west to east. Parts of Gurney Drive is also made one way, with traffic flowing west to east.
Update: 21 September, 2010
Over six years after this page was written, I found someone who explained to me how Pulau Tikus got its name. Click on the link to learn more.
Burmah Road, one of the main roads in Pulau Tikus (23 January 2005)
The Burmese and Eurasians were the earliest settlers in Pulau Tikus. The Burmese had formed a settlement here in the early 19th century, and their presence remained until the early part of the 20th century. At that time, there was a Burmese village here called Kampong Ava - probably named after the town of Ava (today Inwa) in Myanmar. When the British administrators created the main road here, they named it Burmah Road. Off shoots of Burmah Road were also named after places in Burma. Hence we now have road names that are of Burmese origin including Burmah, Irrawaddi, Mandalay, Moulmein, Salween, Tavoy and Thaton.
Pulau Tikus (9 May 2004)
Today, the Burmese presence in Pulau Tikus is best represented by the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple at Burmah Lane (Lorong Burma). It has been around since the beginning of the 19th century. The oldest part of the temple, the stupa, dates back to 1805.
The Eurasians were another early group to settle in Pulau Tikus. They are of mixed parentage, between the Portuguese and the Thais, and are Roman Catholics. The people of Portuguese descent had had no peace to practise their faith since the Dutch arrive in Malacca in 1641. Religious persecution drove them out of Malacca. They settled in various Malay states as well as in Phuket, which at that time was called Ujung Salang (corrupted in English to Junk Ceylon), an island claimed by the Kingdom of Kedah but ruled by Siam. By the late 18th century, the Eurasians were on the run again, this time due to a decree by the increasingly demented king of Siam, Phraya Taksin @ Phya Tak, who ordered all Christians in Siam to be massacred. The Eurasians fled to Kuala Kedah, and from there, they made their way to Penang.
The first Eurasian arrivals in Penang settled in town in the area bordered by Church Street, Bishop Street, Pitt Street and China Street, in rather rudimental housing, before moving with their church, the Church of Assumption (so named because they arrived in Penang on the day of the Catholic Feast of the Assumption), to the Farquhar Street area, settling along Argus Lane.
The Eurasian-founded Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus (23 January 2005)
College Square, a leafy neighbourhood in Pulau Tikus named after the College General founded by the Catholics (23 January 2005)
Catholic Cemetery of the Immaculate Conception Church (2 September 2008)
There were still remnants of Eurasian community in Phuket going into the 19th century, until the Phya Tak Massacre of 1810 forced another group to Penang. Pulau Tikus had become an attractive location to settle down. They were parishioners of the Church of Our Lady Free From Sin. They arrived in 1811, headed by Father John Baptist Pasqual. In Pulau Tikus they built their church which the pope later renamed The Immaculate Conception.
As George Town continues to grow, it eventually swallows up the village of Pulau Tikus, making it one of its suburbs. Gone are the Burmese and Eurasian villages. What remains are their temples and churches. A reminder that they were once here is etched in the names of the streets in this area.
To the south of Pulau Tikus, and often regarded as part of the district, is the affluent neighbourhood of Ayer Rajah. It is named after the Ayer Rajah Estate that once belonged to James Scott, who was a partner in business with David Brown, subsequently through intermarriage within the two families. Road names such as Brown Road and Scott Road commemorates these two pioneers.
Church of the Assumption: Church built by the first wave of Eurasians that came over with Father Arnaud-Antoine Garnault at the invitation of Captain Francis Light.
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