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Lumut Lane, George Town, Penang

Lumut Lane, George Town

Lumut Lane is a narrow L-shaped lane within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It starts from Acheen Street to the northwest, bending about 90° to the southeast before joining Toh Aka Lane.

Formerly located within a Malay enclave of George Town centred around Acheen Street Mosque, the lane is home to a mainly Malay community since the start of the 19th. century. A smaller Indian community also has been co-existing here since the mid-19th. century.

The Muslim families that used to reside here include the Basheers, who owned commercial properties around the lane and served as agents brokering Haj pilgrimages.

Lumut Lane sign, George Town, Penang

A bilingual Lumut Lane sign, featuring its Chinese name.

Etymology

Lumut Lane was named after the coastal town of Lumut within the neighbouring Sultanate of Perak, 180 kilometres south of Penang Island.

The lane was also known as Kuan3 Lau3 Lor33 Thau2 in Penang Hokkien, meaning the 'tall house junction'. This was in reference to the tall wooden Malay houses along the lane.

History

Lumut Lane has been in existence since at least the early 19th. century. At the time, in its unpaved form, Lumut Lane began to be inhabited by Muslim Malays. The lane also served as the gateway into the now-extinct Kampung Wakaf, a Malay village built on endowment land around Acheen Street Mosque.

Since then, Muslim traders and pilgrim brokers have set up shop within the vicinity of the lane, which is close to Acheen Street Mosque. Pilgrim brokers are agents tasked with arranging religious trips to Mecca. One of the more successful families involved in these businesses was the Basheer family, led by Sheikh Omar Basheer al-Khalidy, who was also the imam of Acheen Street Mosque. The Basheers also owned warehouses and other commercial properties around the lane.

In the aftermath of the 1867 Penang Riots that pitted two Malay secret societies, the Red Flag and the White Flag, against each other, it was Sheikh Omar Basheer who issued a fatwa to prevent Muslims from getting involved in the underworld.

After Sheikh Omar Basheer's death in 1881, his son, Sheikh Zachariah, continued to lead the Muslim community around Acheen Street Mosque and founded a commission agency at Lumut Lane. By the 1920s, the agency was trading in various raw materials, including rubber, copra and nutmegs.

Another prominent Malay who used to reside here was Ahmad Rashid Talu, an author whose Malay novel, Iakah Salmah ?, was the first of its kind to feature a local setting and characters.

Sri Muthumariamman Temple, Lumut Lane, George Town, Penang

Sri Muthumariamman Temple now serves as a reminder of the small Hindu community at Lumut Lane.

Since the mid-19th. century, a smaller Indian community has also taken root at the lane, leading to the construction of the Sri Muthumariamman Temple.

Landmark

  • Sri Muthumariamman Temple
Born Novelist wrought iron sculpture, Lumut Lane, George Town, Penang

Born Novellist wrought iron sculpture at Lumut Lane

Street Art

The 'Born Novellist' wrought iron sculpture has been installed near the eastern junction with Toh Aka Lane. Made to commemorate the lane's past as the birthplace of Ahmad Rashid Talu, the famous Malay literati of the 1920s, its description is as follows.

The birthplace of Ahmad Rashid Talu, the first to write an original Malay novel with local setting and local characters.

Old Indian Woman mural, Lumut Lane, George Town, Penang

Old Indian Woman wall mural, at Lumut Lane, was painted by Julia Volchkova in 2015.

In addition, a wall mural drawn by Russian artist, Julia Volchkova, was completed in 2015. Featuring an old Indian woman in a praying posture, the mural was painted at an aptly chosen spot - right next to the trunk of a banyan tree.

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.28 Komtar State Assemblyman : Teh Lai Heng (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/lumut-lane.htm

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