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Yeap Chor Ee Building, Weld Quay, George Town, Penang

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee in George Town was used as a set for the 2008 film, Lust, Caution, and now houses the Penang Science Cluster.

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee is a colonial building at Weld Quay, within the heart of George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1922, it used to house its namesake's business interests, being located strategically next to the Port of Penang.

Situated at the junction between Weld Quay and China Street Ghaut, Wisma Yeap Chor Ee occupies an area of 3,939.27m2. At the time of its construction, the southern side of China Street Ghaut belonged to Yeap Chor Ee, who also built two more buildings next to Wisma Yeap Chor Ee.

The building was famously used as a set for the 2008 movie directed by Ang Lee, Lust, Caution. After a recent renovation, it now houses the Penang Science Cluster, a science centre established by the Penang state government.

History

Penang 1900

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee can be seen to the far left of this 1900s postcard of George Town.

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, built in 1922, was the first of the three buildings along the southern side of China Street Ghaut that were constructed by Yeap Chor Ee, a Chinese tycoon with business interests in various industries, including tin mining, rubber and sugar. At the time of its construction, Yeap was 55.

As with most buildings built by Chinese businessmen of the colonial era, its design is more European. The three-storey building has a whitewashed and rusticated exterior façade, enabling it to blend in with the colonial architecture that was prevalent along Weld Quay.

The building, part of which faces the Port of Penang, was originally used to house Yeap's offices. Over the decades that followed, Wisma Yeap Chor Ee continued to house several other mercantile offices that dealt primarily with the booming entrepôt trade.

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, Weld Quay, George Town, Penang

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee as seen from across Weld Quay.

However, the building was also a witness of the decline of Penang's entrepôt trade. After the revocation of Penang's free port status in the 1960s, Wisma Yeap Chor Ee became derelict, suffering the same fate that befell several other colonial buildings within George Town as the city declined during the late 20th. century.

For a while, Wisma Yeap Chor Ee housed the Rainbow Art Gallery, one of the few arts galleries in Penang at the time. The colonial-style building was then utilised as a set for the famous movie produced by Ang Lee, Lust, Caution in 2006.

After the film was shot, the building underwent restoration works. At that point, it still belonged to the Yeap Chor Ee Endowment Trust, which leased the building to Wawasan Open University. The renovation of Wisma Yeap Chor Ee cost RM5 million (Ringgit Malaysia), carried out by the Penang Development Corporation.

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee now houses the Penang Science Cluster, a science-themed cafe founded by the Penang state government. The Penang Science Cluster was opened in 2016 upon the completion of the renovation works.

Appearances in Media

  • Lust, Caution
    • Genre : Espionage thriller film
    • Country of Origin : China, United States
    • Year : 2008

Wisma Yeap Chor Ee was chosen as a set due to its colonial architecture that resembles those in Hong Kong in the 1940s, during the height of the Second World War.

Opening Hours

The Penang Science Cluster opens daily between 0900 hours and 1800 hours.

 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. Langdon, M. A Guide to George Town's Historic Commercial and Civic Precints. Penang : George Town World Heritage Incorporated.
  2. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/wisma-yeap-chor-ee.htm
  3. http://english.sina.com/taiwan_hk/1/2006/0907/88439.html
  4. http://www.pscpen.com/

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