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Argus Lane, George Town, Penang

Argus Lane, George Town

Argus Lane, within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a narrow lane that zig-zags between Love Lane to the west and Pitt Street to the east. The lane that stretches across the rear of the Church of the Assumption is still home to a number of Eurasian Catholic families.

Argus Lane sign, George Town, Penang

A bilingual Argus Lane sign, featuring its Chinese name.

Etymology

To this day, it is still unknown how Argus Lane got its name. What is known is that the lane has been populated by Eurasian Catholics since the mid-19th. century.

The Hokkiens also called the lane Serani Leh1pai1 Tng2-eh3 Hang2a1, meaning 'the lane behind the Eurasian church', in reference to the Church of the Assumption.

Notably, Serani (a corruption of Nazarene) is a Malay term that was once used to refer to Christians. It is now officially used within Malaysia to refer to a person of mixed Eurasian descent.

History

The Eurasian Catholic community has been living along this lane since the 1860s, when the Church of the Assumption was moved from Church Street to its present premises. Initially, the first Eurasian settlers lived in a kampung (village) of bungalows.

It was here that Penang's first independent English newspaper was published. Between 1867 and 1873, Argus House, one of the Eurasian bungalows at the lane, printed the Pinang Argus.

The Eurasian Catholic community at Argus Lane survives to this day. One can still spot pictures of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary at the front doors of some of the old houses.

Modernity has also been creeping into this quiet lane, with a number of shophouses being converted into trendy cafes and boutique hotels.

Notable Landmarks

  • Church of the Assumption
  • Hutchings School

Accommodation

Seven Terraces

Food

Budan's Brew Coffee Bar

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.26 Padang Kota State Assemblyman : Chow Kon Yeow (Democratic Action Party)

Malaysian Federal Parliament

P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)

References

  1. Khoo S.N., 2007. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books.
  2. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/argus-lane.htm
  3. http://wongchunwai.com/2013/12/penang-is-home-to-many-of-malaysias-earliest-english-newspapers/

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