I was not something usual to be visiting a cemetery but being the adventurous duo that we are, we decided to join the walk. The Protestant Cemetery is a site of great significance within the World Heritage Site of George Town.
There are close to 500 tombs here and it is only for the Protestants. There is also a catholic cemetery which was next to the Protestant.
This was the last resting place for people from all walks of life namely the Armenians, Chinese Germans, Americans. As you walk through the entrance, you will come across a plaque that gives you an idea on who are the selected Historic Personalities that are laid to rest there.
Based on the tomb, among the famous names are :-
- Captain Francis Light
- Michael Arratoon Anthony & Mariamjan Anthony
- James Richardson Logan
Among the famous tombs are the Armenian tombs. The Armenian came to Penang because of the massacre that was led under the Turkish Ottoman empire and there were many facing prosecution.
Another famous Armenians are the Sarkies Brothers who built the Eastern Oriental Hotel in 1885. They were born in Iran. They subsequently built Raffles Hotel Singapore in 1887.The best Eastern hotel is in Suez Canal. Charlie Chaplin went to the E & O Hotel in Penang.
Another notable tomb is the Hakka tomb. There are millions of Hakka Chinese in Penang and they all had to run away from their country and came to Penang. The Sunday service still in Hakka in Balik Pulau. If you are to look closely at a Chinese tomb, it can tell a lot on the family history.
This particular tomb is a tomb of a wife of a prominent German. As you can see from the tomb, It is broken to indicate that she never completed her life. We were amazed at how symbolic these tombs can be.
Francis Light joined the British navy and later joined East India Company. He did mostly trading with the Sultan of Kedah whereby at that time, Penang was a pirate island and there were a lot of fishermen.
He negotiated with Sultan Kedah if Penang was given to him, they will give protection to Penang if the Siam were to attack. Francis Light built Fort Cornwallis and also Georgetown during his time in Penang and when Penang was attacked, it was clearly an over commitment and Francis Light never offered any protection as promised. Francis Light instead offered money amounting to 6000 Spanish money every year to compensate. This contract honoured till today and a sum of RM10,000 is being paid till now.