Khoo Kong Si, a Hokkien term which means Khoo Clan Association, is a historical temple situated in Cannon Square, George Town, Penang. This temple and museum was initially built in the 1850’s and funded by 102 businessman of the Khoo origin. Upon its completion, rumour has it that it burned down without a known reason. In the 1900’s, the Khoo Kong Si was rebuilt by highly skilled Chinese artists, craftsmen and sculptors that were employed from China. Since construction works ended in 1906, the building lasted until today despite restoration works (after World War II) and some minor renovation. The current building is now a temple and a museum for visitors to learn more about the history of the Khoo Kong Si.
The architecture of this building is fascinating inside out, with intricate carvings on the roofs, poles and walls of the temple. Standing in front of the Khoo Kong Si and looking at it from the outside, evokes a feeling of historical grandiosity, especially if you see it at night. Its beautiful structure is a reflection of how rich and powerful the Khoo Kong Si was in the past. Two stone lions at the courtyard of the Khoo Kong Si act as guardians of the temple. Upon entering the temple, symbolic carvings line the wall, in gold and in stones as well. Aside from carvings, mural art depicting people’s lives in olden China also make up parts of the wall. In the museum, you will be able to learn more about the meanings behind these artworks.
The reason for the construction of Khoo Kong Si is to hold important discussions regarding the Khoo clan in regards to their welfare, children’s education, handle disagreements and other matters. The Kong Si was a place where the Khoo community seeked solidarity, improved communication and maintained relationships among the Khoo community. At present, festivals are still held at this temple, where the crowds gather and the atmosphere gets merry.