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Cheah Kongsi PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator II   
Sunday, 11 July 2010 21:43

Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi



The Origin Of Surname And Background
The Sek Tong Cheah clan is the descendants of Yan Di Shen Nong. Jiang Zi Ya, the 56th generation grandson of Yan Di, assisted King Zhou Wu to defeat the Zhou of Shang Dynasty in 1122 B.C and he was appointed as “General In Battle and Premier In Court”. Ten generations later, Shen Bo was born. Shen Bo became the brother-in-law of King Zhou Xuan and he was awarded with Xie (Cheah), somewhere around Chen Liu in Henan (presently known as Wan Cheng in Nan Yang District of Henan). He adopted the name of his county as his surname and he became the first original ancestor of the Xie (Cheah) clan.

Cheah Beng Him also known as Cheah Tong San, one of the 85th generation grandsons of Shen Bo was born in 1233.  Towards the end of 13th century, he moved to settle down in Sek Tong Village in the subdivision of Sam Toh of Hai Teng District of Cheang Chew in Fukien (presently known as Shi Tang Village of Hai Cheng District, Xiamen City, Fujian Province, China) and he became the progenitor of the Sek Tong Cheah clan.

During the late period of Manchu Emperor Qian Long in the 18th century, due to economical stagnation in Southern Fukien including Sek Tong Village, the Cheah clansmen left their village and brave through the stormy seas to look for greener pastures overseas. From a partial record of the Cheah Genealogy compiled in the early reign of Manchu Emperor Tong Zhi, there were 110 clansmen buried in Penang between the 18th century during the reign of Manchu Emperor Qian Long and mid19th century during the reign of Manchu Emperor, Xian Feng. This reflects the sufferings encountered by the Cheahs during the early development of Penang and that Penang was the important destination of the Cheah clans in their emigration to South East Asia.

The Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi also known as Cheah Si Hock Haw Kong Kongsi or in short Cheah Kongsi was formed in 1810 by the Cheah clansmen of Sek Tong Village, Sam Toh Sub-division, Hai Teng District of Cheang Chew, Fukien, who have settled down overseas and their descendants in Penang, later, constructed the present magnificent clan temple.

Their clansmen in Penang, besides striving hard to accumulate personal wealth, did not forget the worshipping of their patron saints, the two Hock Haw Kong which they brought along from Liu She An Temple in their village and also at the same time did not forget to explore means to integrate their fellow clansmen for purpose of mutual assistance and self-defence. Initially, they purchased a landed property at T.S. 20 Georgetown in the name of “Jee Oui Hock How Kong” on May 25, 1810. Their pioneer leaders at that time were Cheah Chengin, Cheah Gnow Sooe, Cheah Pang and Cheah Yeam.

On 2nd July 1828, Cheah Chengin, Cheah Lye Yeam and Cheah (Tai) Pang as Trustees for “Cheah Kay Hock How Kong Kongsi” purchased the site of the present ancestral temple. Since then, under the leaderships of Cheah Yeam, Cheah Soye, Cheah Chow Phan and Cheah Oon Heap respectively until 1860, the Kongsi served as conveyor of traditional patriarchal clan rules in order to promote a rational social order of mutuality and harmony among the Cheah clan and at the same exercised the function of accumulating collective material wealth.

In 1858, under the leadership of Cheah Chow Phan, Cheah Teow Koh and Cheah Phaik Ee, the clansmen successfully united to erect the ancestral temple to worship their two territorial patron saints, the two Hock Haw Kong, with $12,367 from the common fund of the Kongsi, and it was called Chong Tek Tong Cheah Kay Beow then.

In 1891, Cheah Oon Heap officially registered the Cheah Kongsi with the Registrar of Society and the Board of Trustees was formed from 14 members from the ten sections namely Sai Suah, Chooi Thau, Eh Boey, Tcheng Kow, Ow Kow, Ho Boey, Teng Tang Kheh, Eh Tang Kheh, Eh Choo and Thaw Theah to handle its administration.

In 1912, the Board of Trustees chaired by Cheah Choo Yew successfully acquired the Cheah Sek Tong Family Cemetery and thenceforth the Sek Tong Cheah clansmen have their own land to rest after their passing away.

In 1919, Sek Tong Cheah Si Eok Chye School mooted by Cheah Soo Tuan and other clansmen was opened and in the same year, Sek Tong Cheah Si Hock Haw Kong Kongsi commenced to give scholarships and financial aids to the children of Sek Tong Cheah clan to study in Chinese and English Schools in Penang. This encouraged the children of the clan to study and benefit the society and to get ride of illiterateness.

In 1933, the ancestral temple underwent a major restoration work and it was named as Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi to standardize with the name of the original ancestral temple in the ancestral village.

In 2000, at the Annual General Meeting, the Rules and Regulations of Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi was revised and the number of Trustees have been increased to 20, two each from each sections and all transactions have to be approved at the Trustees’ Meetings.

The annual worshipping rituals are run on rotation among the 10 sections. At the Winter Solstice Festival normally on the 22nd day of Lunar 11th moon each year, the next trustee in charge of worshipping rituals will be appointed in front of Khong Hui Seng Ong by throwing the “poey”. The duty of the newly appointed trustee in charge of worshipping rituals will commence henceforth until the next Winter Solstice Day.

The Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi continues the many practices of clan laws, religion, education and welfare work as stipulated in its Rules and Regulations. It keeps up with the traditional system of nominating 4 Trustees each with Khoo,Yeoh, Lim and Tan Kongsi (known as the five big clan kongsis in early Penang) to sit on the Board of Trustees of Hokkien Kongsi. Their duties are to oversee the management of five temples namely, Cheng Hoon Giam Snake Temple, Seng Ong Beow, Cheng Leong Keong, Siew Thean Keong/Kim Hoe Keong and Chooi Bee Keong Temples.

Besides, Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi together with the Khoo clans and Yeoh clans, whose villages are at the foot of Sam Quaye Hill (San Kuai Ning) formed the Sam Quaye Tong Kongsi to settle any disputes, if any, among themselves amicably and also to strengthen their relationship since the 19th century until today. Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi has been nominating their trustees to represent the kongsi on the respective Boards of Trustees of Penang Recreation Club, Penang SamToh Bean Lok Keok and Kong Hock Keong Temple, an apex religious organization. This helped in the maintaining good relationship and inter-segmental interactions among the leaders of the Chinese society since the old days.

The Sek Tong Cheah Si Seh Tek Tong Hock Haw Kong Kongsi, established in 1810, is the oldest kongsi in Penang. With the esteemed status and experience of their past clansmen of Sek Tong Cheah clan in vitalizing themselves with the solid historical past, it is believed that their new generations of clansmen would be in a better position to explore much wider into the cultural aspect and also to work with other clan societies in achieving a wider social network.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 July 2010 21:54

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