Sun Yat Sen Museum reopens

Full of history: Khoo addressing the invited guests at the reopening ceremony of the Sun Yat Sen Museum in Armenian Street in George Town, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Sun Yat Sen Museum in Lebuh Armenian has reopened after being closed for over three years since the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

The museum, featuring various collections and records of the first provisional president of modern China, including his networks with the local clans and tradesmen, is now back on public exhibit in the Unesco World Heritage Site here.

At the opening, its director Khoo Salma Nasution said it was exactly 30 years ago when she restored the house where Dr Sun Yat Sen lived in Penang for a few months and held important meetings in 1910 to plan the Second Guangzhou Uprising.

“When he became the first president of post-monarchic China, everyone could see that Dr Sun desired neither power nor money.

“In 2001, we opened the house to visitors but had to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This year, we slowly tidied up the house and scheduled it for opening now,” she said at the ceremony yesterday.

Khoo said she was glad to be given another chance to present the historic house to the public.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who officiated the opening, said it is a great honour for Penang to receive guests such as those from the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Soong Ching Ling Former Residence Management Centre and Sun Yat Sen Museum Penang.

“I understand that this house is a popular site to visit by many important dignitaries from China due to its historical significance and connection to Dr Sun.

“It is most timely that this house is turned into a museum with proper conservation efforts to protect and care for this historic relic in the heart of George Town.

“Although Dr Sun only stayed in Penang for a few months between July and December in 1910, he inspired a local movement among the Malaysian Chinese in education and social improvement.

“Dr Sun’s supporters started schools such as Chung Ling and Peng Hwa which are Penang’s most important Chinese schools today, as well as associations such as Hu Yew Seah, Min Sin Seah and Li Teik Seah, which has their own schools.

“He inspired patriotism and the need for one to be firm and to do the right thing against all forms of aggression.

“In fact, Dr Sun was at one time even banned from Penang due to his criticism against British colonial rule,” said Chow.

Also present were China Soong Ching Ling Foundation president Li Bin, Consul-General of China in Penang Zhou Youbin as well as Sun Yat Sen Cultural Foundation president Alexandra Sun who is also Dr Sun’s great-grandniece.

Born in 1866 in Guangdong province in China, Dr Sun studied medicine in Hong Kong and became a doctor.

He started his revolutionary career in 1894 and staged his first uprising in China a year later after forming Xing Zhong Hui in Honolulu.

He travelled around the world in search of support and came to Penang five times from 1906 to 1912.

The museum is open from 9am to 5pm daily except Sundays.

Entry fee is RM10 per person.

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