The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Centre, is a reading club which started by the Tung Meng Hooi, a political party started in Tokyo in 1905 with the intention of turning Qing Dynasty into a Republic of China. His achievements were recognized and admired not only by the local and overseas Chinese, but also by the global community. It is open to public who wish to learn more about the historical leader and his activities in Penang.
Refer to the Sun Yat-Sen Penang Base at 120 Armenian Street, the building was originally the Sio Lan Teng, a Chinese merchant's club. This was where Dr Sun Yat-Sen delivered his first speech in Penang. At that time, the Penang audience took to his speech with yawning indifference, little knowing that this English-educated physician will one day bring down imperial China.
The reason for their indifference was that the Chinese community in Penang was torn between the idea of setting up a constitutional monarchy and the establishment of a republic. The Canton Uprising of 1911 gravitated them to a single decision, which was, to support the revolutionaries for a republic.
Furthermore to its part in Dr Sun Yat-Sen's movement, the Penang Philomatic Society also played a vital role in starting the modern Chinese Education in Penang. The premises were used as the "cradle" for two famous Chinese schools in Penang, namely Chung Ling High School as well as the Fukien Girls' School - today's Penang Chinese Girls' High School.
These schools were set up by the followers of Dr Sun Yat-Sen, namely Tan Sin Cheng and other key members of Tung Meng Hooi in Penang as they believed that proper education was the only way of overcoming the backwardness of Chinese community. The Kwong Wah Jit Poh, one of the world’s oldest Chinese newspaper was started by Dr. Sun and his Penang supporters at these premises.
The Penang Philomatic Union was renovated in 2002 to house the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Centre. This includes a museum to preserve and commemorate the activities that happened in Penang that was so significant to the history of China in the beginning of the 20th Century. On the grounds of the memorial centre are the recently erected statues of Dr Sun Yat-Sen and two of his devoteed Penang followers, Goh Say Eng and Ooi Kim Kheng.
For your info, there is also a library and they have programs which provide teaching on traditional Chinese calligraphy, painting and training in performance arts. If you are interested to visit the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Centre, please call 04-2296118 for further information, entrance fees RM3.