[Above: Fu-Ling Tample in LuKang鹿港福靈宮]
Were there Taiwanese in Penang in the late 1700s? It appears so. Fung-yin provided one fairly prominent example:
In short, a Gu family member, 辜宗, migrated to Taiwan in 1775 and settled in LuKang. One of 辜宗's four sons, 辜礼欢 then moved south to Penang to seek and in fact found more fortune. He became the first Kapitan of the British Malaya and raised a large family with 8 sons and 3 daughters. One of them 辜安平 was sent back to China to study who eventually returned to LuKang. And in 1895, one of his grandsons 辜顯榮 (1866－1937) invited the Japanese invading force to enter Taipei to keep peace as Taipei was then being looted by the retreating Qing soldiers. In return, the Japanese rewarded him with various trading rights. Gu became immensely wealthy as a result. And this branch continues on, active in Taiwan banking and commerce to this day. It is, however, unclear as to the fate of the branch in Penang, most likely as wealthy and influential as the Taiwan branch. In stark contrast, those who stayed behind in China did not fare so well.
It should be noted that LuKang was the stronghold of 洪門天地會Hong-Men Heaven and Earth Society rebels led by Lin Shuang-Wen林爽文 (1756-1788). The 福靈宮 (pictured above) honors one of Lin's generals, Wang Shun平海大將軍“王勳”.
The activities of 洪門天地會 in Penang, reported by the British Admin in 1799, now appears a matter of course.