The Bangkok Lane is lined with two rows of beautiful linked townhouses, totalling 41 units which are all of similar design. The houses were built in 1928 by Cheah Leong Keah, who started out as maker and repair of horse carriages and pioneer the motor firm in Penang. All these colonial pre-war buildings belong to one family. In old days,only the family members of Cheah and Kee can lived in these houses. But it was reported that the grandchildren of the owner are now staying oversea, and they now rented out the buildings.
While walking along the road, you feel like you are now walking in one of the European town.
From the Burma Road end, there is famous Mee Goreng(Fried Noodles, mamak style) at the left of Burma Road/Bangkok Lane junction. It is located in the Chinese coffee shop, Seng Lee Cafe(胜利茶室), the owner of the mee stall is an Indian Muslim(or Mamak) who can speak Hokkian.
From the Kalawei Road, it started with two mansions at the frontage facing the road. On the right is the house once stayed by the former CEO of Sin Ping Jit Pau, who is my classmate Danny Goh's father. I have once visited the house during my sixth form days.
MR. CHEAH LEONG KEAH(谢永嘉局绅), J.P.(b1875~d1941)
1875 - He was born in 1875 in
It was in Penang that his first vision was realized. He was the pioneer of the horse and carriage business and thereafter his company Chin Seng & Co. was born. It was located at Kimberley Street, Penang. Subsequenthly Chin Seng was the first importer of motor cars in Penang. When the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward the Eighth, visited Penang, Mr Cheah Leong Keah, JP , took the Prince ceremonially sightseeing in his car.
He was an entrepreneur and from cars he expanded his vision to rubber planting. He developed rubber estates: Napoh Estate and Chang Loon in Jitra, near the Thai border. He amassed land in Transfer Road and Kelawai Road and also a substantial plot of land stretching from Gurney beach to Kelawai Road and part of Burmah Road. He built residential properties at Phuah Hin Leong and retail outlets in Pulau Tikus and also at Trusan Road.
1928 - he built houses which are now Heritage houses in Bangkok Lane and it was his aspiration that the houses would be for his descendants. True to his dream some of them are living there today or have a house to cherish his memory.
1931-1938 - he was one of the committee member(信理员) of Penang Teochew Association((source: http://www.penangteochew.org.my/viewpost.php?post=5)
1935 -he donated 22.5 acres of land in Sungai Dua for the Jubilee Home in honour of the anniversary of the coronation of King George V. He wanted to give 50 acres but it was considered too large a plot to handle at that time. He gave alms to various charities, the Buddhist association at Anson Road was one of them and also at Beow Hong Lim temple near the foot hill of Ayer Itam. There are a hundred and thirty one units of residential and commercial properties which are rented out or lived in at Bangkok Lane by his descendants.
He was decorous in manner and conduct and though Bangkok Lane could be named after him, it seemed he would rather remain anonymous and let Bangkok Lane be a historical name.
He was a philanthropist and in his lifetime helped finance the poor, young entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in business. He was awarded the very rare and highly honoured title, in those days, Justice of the Peace.
1940- He was giving a speech at Kek Lok Si Temple(一九四0年，太虛大師受重慶政府邀請，組織「國際佛教訪問團」， 以國府林森主席為名譽顧問，印光法師為名譽導師，他為團長，率領慈航、葦舫、等慈、惟幻諸師為團員，至印度、緬甸、越南等東南亞各國佈教。歸經星馬，曾來檳城數日，在極樂寺歡迎會演講佛法，參加的僑領有林耀椿、陳肇琪、謝永嘉、何如群、及會泉和尚，相繼演說)。(http://www.pohootoong.org/home/wenhuaxuehui/wenhuaxuehui/2009-05-26/77.html).He is active in Buddhist community in Penang, and donated graciously to temple and Buddhist associations.
1941- A great man of honour and integrity, he died on 25 March 1941, never suspecting that within a few months the Japanese would overrun his beloved Penang.
8-9-2003 09:19 PM