Sunday, May 08, 2016

Chew Jetty 姓周桥

One of the main attractions of Penang Island aka Pearl of the Orient are the clan jetties. Of eight clan jetties, only six remain. Over a century old, each jetty belongs to a clan and are part of the area recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage. 

Chew Jetty is the biggest of of the seven clan jetties with the most stilt-homes, longest walkway and is the most tourist-friendly.

Wall art of Grandpa and Grandson
Tourism was evident from how many homes had their front verandah converted into souvenir shops or cafes.

There were also traces of props left behind by several movies. Two movies that immediately spring to mind are Ice Kacang Puppy Love (初恋红豆冰) directed by Ah-Niu (阿牛) and The Journey (一路有你) directed by Chiu .

There were many sampans and fishing equipment in sight, reminding visitors of one of the initial uses of the jetties as loading docks and to moor sampans. 

The Chew, Lim, Yeoh and Tan jetties are the older jetties while the Lee and Mixed Surname jetties are the newer additions.

Although the jetties are tourist-friendly, we have to be mindful when walking around in groups so as not to disrupt the daily lives of the residents there. After all, these are real homes that make up the water settlements.

Visiting Chew Jetty was my second experience of water settlements and I have say that I was greatly impressed by how clean the place was compare to my first experience at Pulau Ketam. I understand that the latter has a much bigger population and relies heavily on its fishing industry but first impressions matter, especially when it comes to the cleanliness of the place.

There was a network of narrow boardwalks connecting the different houses and I imagined a rather interesting childhood for the children living here.

Like our homes, they also had all the amenities and technology. Many, of not all homes had an Astro dish fixed outside.

A friend of mine asked me if they get taxed, as they live on water and not land. Frankly, I have no idea. Anyone does?

The clan jetties are situated a stone's throw away from the ferry terminal and are accessible by public transport, which I would recommend over driving. Of course, walking is the next best option, to help burn off all the extra pounds gained from Penang's notoriously irresistible street food.

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