Peranakan Mansion

Peranakan’s, also known as the straits Chinese settled in Singapore, Malacca and Penang. They adopted Malay customs and created a unique culture, rich in diversity – religion, cuisine, and dress. This mansion was the home of an influential Chinese business man named Kaptain Cina Chung Keng Kwee. He learned English upon arriving to Penang and then allied with the British by providing them with translation services. After getting inserted with the British leadership, he then began importing Chinese laborers for the tin industry, and since he had ready access to shipping, he also began an opium trade. The British signed off on the sale of opium as a way to control the labor force, and thus he made a huge fortune as the legal opium dealer. We wonder how this wealth might have supported a new immigrant population vs acquisition of opulent and extravagant stuff. He certainly collected many fine gold objects and silk clothes. Here’s an artsy photo of some of his chairs. We saw this backdrop being used a background by a wedding photographer for a modern Chinese Penang wedding. image

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