Penang people are more diverse than you think…

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Pulau Tikus is known for its Burmese and Siamese communities that settled there almost two centuries ago. But one should not forget its colourful Eurasian community either; it has sadly all but disappeared from the confines of Pulau Tikus. Then, there are those that continue to exist in thriving villages – almost anomalies in a landscape
otherwise peppered with condominiums, shopping malls and offices. Penang Monthly takes a look at the past, present and future of three communities…

A community of faith

Among the earliest settlers in Pulau Tikus were the Catholic Portuguese- Eurasians who were fleeing religious persecution in Phuket. They founded the Church of Immaculate Conception along Jalan Burmah, adjacent to Bellisa Row, and soon grew in number, creating a settlement in the area around the church that stretches all the way to Persiaran Gurney, where Gurney Plaza is today, and from Bagan Jermal to Jalan Cantonment.

The community flourished, and the area became known as Kampung Serani.

The village used to be surrounded with greenery – a stark contrast to the modern commercial hub it is today. “It was very serene,” says Datuk Dr Anthony E. Sibert, 76, speaking from his home at Gerbang Midlands.


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