I never knew the existence of Pinang Peranakan Mansion until I read in entertainment news many years ago that it was one of the filming locations for Channel 8’s 2008 drama, The Little Nyonya. Never did follow the drama then but I briefly caught a few episodes of the rerun and remembered seeing this green building with gold trimmings. Everything inside was just so grand and elaborate. I actually thought Mediacorp recreated the whole place just for filming, lol.
Heard from my folks that my late paternal great grandmother was a true-blue Nyonya. No wonder my late grandmother knew how to cook Peranakan dishes as she had mastered her mum’s recipes. And it was also why I was told to address my grandmother as ‘Ma Ma’ since I was little. All made sense now.
Does that mean I also have Peranakan ancestry in my DNA?😆
Is that why the Peranakan culture has always piqued my interest?🤓
Ok, I’m going to keep this post as brief as possible and have the pics up in a plog format instead. So do take note, there are……
*** SPOILERS AHEAD! ***
If you’re planning to visit the Pinang Peranakan Mansion soon, you may want to skip reading this. Otherwise you’ll just be seeing the same stuffs when there.
Brief History of the Pinang Peranakan Mansion
This more-than-a-century-old mansion was built by a famous historical personality and tycoon, Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee, who wasn’t a Baba himself. He died in 1901 and left the mansion to his descendants.
The mansion was a Chinese courtyard house that looked a lot like a Baba home because of its eclectic design and architecture.
In the 1990s, a Baba, Peter Soon, bought over the property and restored it to its former glory after years of neglect. His extensive collection of antiques, artefacts and collectibles were housed in the mansion, thus turning it into this unique Baba-Nyonya Museum today.
There is an admission fee of RM20 per adult. Children under 6 years old can enter for free.
Complimentary Guided Tour
Daily guided tours are held at 11.30am and 3.30pm. Duration of each tour will take approximately 45 minutes. The tour will only run when there is a group of 5 or more people.
We were lucky as a tour was about to begin when we arrived. Had a really fun and humourous guide who spoke fluent English. Overall, I felt that joining the tour totally made the difference because I was able to get a deeper understanding on how the Peranakan lifestyle and culture was like in the olden days. There was so much to see and so much to learn about. Truly an eye opening experience.
This 2-storey mansion has tons of rooms – all with different displays, exhibits and purposes.
For example, this is the Recreation Room where the tai-tais would play mahjong and Cherki.
Opulent lifestyle of the Peranakans
Plenty of showcases with antique jewellery, trinkets, accessories, beaded shoes as well as clothing pieces that are framed up and put up on the wall. From all these, we could really tell how opulent their lifestyle was. These are not ordinary stuffs you’d see as the workmanship is really exquisite – there are just so many intricate details.
The guide told us that the mirrors in the dining room were placed at strategic positions on the wall so that the head of the family who would be seated at the inner end of the table would be able to see people coming from either side of the room. I tried it myself and it was indeed true. Ingenious.
That S-shaped antique chair was meant as a love seat for couples. Imagine the husband would be reading a book and the wife would be doing some sewing work – both could look at each other every now and then. How sweet, lol! That shows how romantic people in the past were!
The inner courtyard is so big, spacious and bright. I can imagine how people in the past would sit here, sip on tea and chit chat about mundane things.
These pictures were not all that I had taken because there were really a lot of exhibits and antiques to check out. Be prepared to spend about 2 hours here including the tour.
If you’re visiting Penang, you definitely have to include Pinang Peranakan Mansion in your must-see list. Of all the attractions I visited, I thought this was one of the best. And like I mentioned earlier, the guided tour really made a huge difference. The tour guide managed to bring us back into history so that we could relive the lives of the Peranakans hence making the tour a really fun, entertaining and enriching one.
And there, I finally got to see the filming site of The Little Nyonya. Woohoo!