Trishaw Men's Lodge (Lang Chia Keng), Penang





          
Trishaw Men's Lodge (Lang Chia Keng), Burmah Road, George Town (29 September, 2012)





Trishaw Men's Lodge, or Lang Chia Keng, is one of the few community houses that are still standing in George Town. Officially called Sun Coon Heng, it is located along Burmah Road, a short distance from Ariffin Court. The house plaque reads "Sun Goon Heng". It represents a remnant of the village houses that were erected when George Town was still semi rural.

Community houses like this one once provided lodging to the poor working class of George Town. Trishaw Men's Lodge got its name because it used to harbour trishaw paddlers who were too poor to afford better accommodation. It is like the "clan jetty on dry land" or "Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion before the restoration". Today most of these houses have disappeared, and Trishaw Men's Lodge stands as a legacy of generations past.

Trishaw Men's Lodge (23 June, 2011)


Even today, dozens of families are still sharing crammed living quarters at Trishaw Men's Lodge. Most of them are not trishaw paddlers (that itself is a dying breed!), but a good many are hawkers. Members of different families come and go as they please. Depending on how you look at it, life at Trishaw Men's Lodge can be described as "charmingly full of character" or "absolute squalor". Certainly, given a choice, most of the tenants would rather be staying elsewhere.

Should Trishaw Men's Lodge be saved? Just as much energy and time is spent in highlighting the history of the clan jetties, we should also appreciate the history of community houses, because they disappear in their entirety. I'm not saying that we should (or could) freeze time by forcing the tenants to stay there perpetually. If these people can afford to live elsewhere, I certainly would not be stopping them. However, if the tenants should one day move out, effort should be taken to preserve Trishaw Men's Lodge as a museum of life in the city, something similar to Tenement Museum in New York City.

Lang Chia Keng, Penang (28 January, 2013)


Judging from the architecture of Trishaw Men's Lodge, it would have been erected at the later part of the 19th century. My hope is that, as I document this site in Penang Travel Tips, the history and beauty of Trishaw Men's Lodge will be recognized, appreciated and promoted.

Visiting Trishaw Men's Lodge

From the Komtar Bus Terminal, walk along Tek Soon Street heading west until Penang Road. Cross Penang Road and head north until Burmah Road. Head down Burmah Road and you will arrive at Trishaw Men's Lodge on your left, after Halaman Ariffin.

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