Kongsi means clan or family group which in the wider interpretation would include professional, family or place of origin association. Each group (Kongsi) would build a communal meeting hall with dwellings in a single compound for security and substitute kinship for the families and friends left behind in China.
The Khoo Kongsi became the most famous of these communities due to its splendour when it was originally built. Unfortunately, the original Kongsi burnt to the ground almost as soon as it was completed. Upon the rebuilding the splendor was apparently scaled back somewhat and the impressive Kongsi we see today must have been stunning in its original glory. Khoo Kongsi features a magnificent hall embellished with extraordinarily intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams of the finest wood, each bearing the mark of the master craftsman from China who created these works of art.