Penang Hainan Temple
The land and construction cost for the new temples was raised through public donations. The new temple continued to serve religious and social needs of the Hainan community.
In 1925, the temple became a clan association through a name change from “Temple of the Heavenly Queen” to “Penang Qiong Zhou Clan Association”, 槟城琼州会馆. The clan association continued to function till the fall of Penang to the Japanese in 1941 and was only able to resume activity in 1945 after the end of World War Two.
In the post war period, the clan association established hospitals, scholarship funds, schools and economic development projects to serve their community. The clan association also worked with other Chinese groups to establish the Penang Chinese Conference Hall located next to the oldest temple in Penang, the Kong Hock Keong, 广福宫, also know as the Guan Yin temple.
In 1991, the clan association was renamed as Hainan Clan Association, 海南会馆, embracing a wider ethnic identity. By this time, the temple was almost a hundred years old and had weathered world wars and major social change.
To celebrate this historical milestone, a committee was formed to oversee a major restoration of the temple. Expert craftsmen were from China were invited to participate in the restoration work. The project was completed in 1997 and the restored temple is decorated with stone carvings depicting stories of Mazu and popular legends.
The central shrine is dedicated to Mazu, the sea goddess, and to her left is a shrine dedicated to Goddess of the Waterfront 水尾娘娘, a deity from Hainan Island in China. The right shrine is dedicated to 108 brothers.
The clan association continues to serve the community by organizing social and cultural events, supporting education and also serve as a major tourist attraction in Penang.
The Clan Association and Mazu Temple have served the community for more than a century and successfully responded to changing social needs while embracing a wider identity and new functions. It’s successful restoration and its continued popularity in turn shows the importance of this institution to the local community.