Penang Heritage Tip :: Dr Sun Yat Sen’s Penang Base


Address: 120 Armenian Street Penang.

Follow the graceful curve of Lebuh Armenian. The low and rickety shophouses on your right survive from the early 19th century, when this area was a village composed mainly of Malays and Sumatrans. In the mid-19th centry, the Straits Chinese moved into the area and built residential shophouses which were of a fine standard for their time. You will come to a blue shophouse on your right, No. 120 Lebuh Armenian, which dates from the 1870s. The first owner was a Straits Chinese named Cheah Joo Seang, a trustee of the Cheah Kongsi. The shophouse has kept its original historic interior, with carved timber screens and air wells.

From 1909-1911, it was the base of Dr Sun Yat Sen, leadr of the historic Chinese Revolution, and the headquarters of the Southeast Asian branch of the Tung Meng Hooi. The local Chinese of that time supported Dr Sun Yat Sen in the great movement against the Manchu government and the foreign imperialsits in Chinia. In 1911, China became the first republic in Asia and Dr Sun Yat Sen became its first provisional president.

The Penang Conference

Staged on April 27, 1911, in Guangzhou, the “Second Guangzhou Uprising” (commonly known as Yellow Flower Mound Revolt) was one of the largest in scale of Dr Sun’s ten failed uprisings. Its significance went beyond its predecessors for it was the spark that ignited the successful “Wuchang Uprising” on October 10, 1911. Planned in Penang, many overseas Chinese from Singapore and Malaya participated in the “Yellow Flower Mound Revolt.” It was one of the most violent episodes of the revolution.

On November 13, 1910, Dr Sun held the important “Penang Conference” at 120 Armenian Street (Chng Eng Joo) in Penang, Malaya. Comrades such as his elder brother Sun Mei, Huang Xing, Hu Hanmin, Zhao Sheng and Dai Jitao attended the secret meeting. Other attendees included Goh Say Eng, Chen Xinzheng and Huang Jinqing from Penang; Zheng Luosheng and Lee Guan Swee from Ipoh; and Deng Zeru from Kuala Pilah.

During the meeting, Dr Sun stressed that they had to launch another uprising of a bigger scale in Guangzhou. However, due to the many previous failures, which led to heavy financial losses and casualties, most of his disappointed supporters were reluctant to sacrifice more of their resources.

In desperation, the teary-eyed Dr Sun beseeched them to finance the revolution one last time. He promised them that if this last uprising did not succeed, he would retire into oblivion forever.

Moved by Dr Sun’s sincerity, his Malayan comrades donated 8000 Malayan dollars on the spot. After the Penang Conference, fundraising drives were conducted all throughout the peninsula, leading to the launch of the “Second Guangzhou Uprising” (Yellow Flower Mound Revolt) as scheduled.

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GPS Coordinates: 5°24’56.02″N, 100°20’10.08″E Geotag Icon Show on map

The meeting in Penang is re-played in the movie “Road to Dawn”.