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Fish Lane, George Town, Penang

Fish Lane, within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site, was where salted fish would be dried under the Sun in the olden days.

Fish Lane is a short narrow lane within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It runs diagonally from northeast to southwest, linking Malay Street to the north with Prangin Lane to the south.

As its name implies, Fish Lane was where fish caught in the sea would be dried under the Sun. It was located close to the now-defunct Sia Boey Market, and the working-class neighbourhood of Fish Lane at the time provided the manpower for the drying of salted fish.

Fish Lane sign, George Town, Penang

Fish Lane sign

Etymology

Fish Lane, or Lorong Ikan in Malay, was obviously named due to the drying of salted fish conducted along the lane.

The Chinese also called this lane Kiam3 Hu3 Hang2 in Hokkien and Ham Yu Hong in Cantonese, both meaning the 'Alley of Salted Fish'. In addition, the lane was also known as Kiam3 hu3 Tnia2 in Hokkien, meaning the 'Salted Fish Yard'.

History

Fish Lane has been in existence since at least the mid-19th. century, when the fish-drying industry began to take root along the lane. A small working-class community along Fish Lane provided the manpower for the drying of salted fish, which were then sent to the nearby Sia Boey Market.

Cow & Fish wrought iron sculpture, Fish Lane, George Town, Penang

Cow and Fish iron sculpture, Fish Lane

Street Art

A wrought iron sculpture titled 'Cows and Fishes' has been installed near the northern junction with Malay Street to commemorate the lane's past. Its description is as follows.

Not only were hapless cows bred and slaughtered here, but you could also smell the fish hung out to dry.
The sculpture also alluded to the slaughtering of cows during Muslim celebrations at the adjoining Malay Street, which was once home to a Malay-Muslim community.

Political Representation

Penang State Government

Western side

N.28 Komtar State Assemblyman : Teh Lai Heng (Democratic Action Party)

Eastern side

N.27 Pengkalan Kota State Assemblyman : Lau Keng Ee (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, Penang.
  2. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/fish-lane.htm
  3. https://travel2penang.wordpress.com/tag/fish-lane/

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