Singapore Futsing (Fuqing) Association



The Singapore Futsing Association was established in 1910 with 1,200 members who hailed from the city of Fuqing in the northern part of Fujian province, China. It is closely associated with Poi Ching Primary School, and has experienced a resurgence since the 1980s.

Early Hockchia settlers
Early Fuqing (Futsing) or Hockchia1 settlers to the region came from the city of Fuqing in the northern part of Fujian province, China. Fuqing is one of the ten districts or counties in the province under the jurisdiction of the provincial capital of Fuzhou.2 The people speak the Fuqing dialect.3


The Singapore Futsing Association was set up in 1910.4 Membership was “open to those who came from Futsinghsien, a district south of Foochow in Fukien Province”.5

According to Kuo Kho-muo, then honorary secretary of the association, at its 25th anniversary in 1934, the objective of the association was “partly to foster friendship and partly to worship gods and ancestors”. The anniversary ceremony was traditionally held during the seventh lunar month for many years until 1929 when the superstitious practice made way for a more “civilised form of anniversary celebration”, and “the tables previously prepared for the spirits of departed gods and ancestors have since been reserved for the good of the living descendants”.6

The early Fuqing people who settled in Singapore were mainly labourers and trishaw riders who later found employment in public transport companies.7 Most of the owners of early bus companies such as Hock Lee, Green Bus and Tay Koh Yat were Fuqing.8

Poi Ching School
In 1919, Fuqing businessman Guok Koh Muo established Poi Ching School, a Chinese-language school, on Victoria Street. The Futsing Association subsequently took over the management of the school. The school moved to Queen Street in 1924, and thereafter to Toa Payoh in 1970.9


In 1992, the school was selected to become a Special Assistance Plan (SAP) school, offering both Chinese and English as a first language.10 The Futsing Association maintains close ties with the school. Clan leaders from the association regularly celebrate Teachers’ Day and Children’s Day with staff and students. Students have also put up performances at the association during festivals and celebrations. In 1997, the association organised and subsidised an educational tour to Fujian province for the school teachers.11 The school moved to its current location in Tampines in 2000.12

Post-war developments
In October 1988, the Futsing Association celebrated its 78th anniversary, the official opening of its new building as well as the 68th anniversary of Poi Ching School. The association moved from a decrepit office in Queen Street to a five-and-a-half-storey building named Futsing Plaza on Allenby Road in the Jalan Besar area.13 The association also organised a world meeting for about 1,700 clansmen (1,400 local and 300 from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Canada and the United States) from around the world. The chairman of the triple celebration committee was Liem Sioe Liong, a prominent banker and industrial magnate from Indonesia who was born in Fuqing. He donated $1 million for the construction of Futsing Plaza.14


During the celebrations, Liem said at the press briefing that the Futsing clan wished to make Singapore the centre for  clan members living outside of China due to Singapore’s stable environment and good communications infrastructure. According to Liem, there were 1.02 million Fuqing Chinese in mainland China and about 400,000 living overseas at the time. A large number of Fuqing lived in Southeast Asia, with 70,000 to 80,000 in Indonesia, about 20,000 in Singapore and many in Malaysia, especially in Perak. There were, however, no clan associations for the Fuqing in Indonesia.15

Between 1988 and 1997, association membership rose from 400 to 1,176, and included younger members who were also professionals. To attract new members, the association has organised events such as an annual delicacy festival featuring traditional Fuqing goodies as well as seminars and workshops with successful entrepreneurs who were also respected elders of the association.16

In October 2000, the association organised the Miss Fuqing World contest as part of its 90th anniversary celebrations. The beauty pageant was said to be the first held by a Chinese clan association in Singapore. The contestants hailed from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Britain and the United States, and were judged on their beauty as well as talent in song, dance, playing a musical instrument or Chinese calligraphy.17 Audrey Quek from Singapore was crowned the winner.18

Prominent Futsing in Singapore
Sam Goi Seng Hui was the chairman of the Singapore Futsing Association from 1988 to 1990, and is currently Honorary Chairman for the International Federation of Fuqing Association.19 He is  the executive chairman of Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing Pte Ltd, a global food and beverage company. Goi came to Singapore in 1956 with his family. His father was a labourer who opened a provision shop. Goi started out as a maintenance technician servicing machines at Tee Yih Jia in the 1970s. When the company ran into financial problems, Goi bought it and made it into a very profitable company with food products marketed worldwide.20


Peter S. S. Guok was a lawyer and chairman of Hock Lee  Bus Company from 1950 to 1978 in the last years of its eventful history in the public transport industry.21



Author
Gabriel Tan




References
1. Futsing is the old transliterated name in Mandarin for Hockchia. Fuqing is the hanyu pinyin form of Futsing. See T. F. Hwang takes you down memory lane. (1988, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Lee, H. S. (1988, October 8). Futsing clan making Singapore its centre. The Straits Times, p. 1; Leong W. K. (2000, May 300. Prettiest Hockchia girl gets to go home. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Chiang Y. P. (1993, April 24). S’pore’s edge in China ventures. The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Singapore Futsing Association. (2012). History. Retrieved 2016, September 27 from Singapore Futsing Association website: http://www.futsing.org/futsing_eng/index.php/about/history
5. Chinese topics in Malaya. (1934, September 18). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Chinese topics in Malaya. (1934, September 18). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. World meeting of Fuqing clan. (1988, October 8). The Straits Times, p. 17; Lee, H. S. (1988, October 8). Futsing clan making Singapore its centre. The Straits Times, p. 1; Leong W. K. (2000, May 300. Prettiest Hockchia girl gets to go home. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Clan gathers for anniversary. (1988, October 12). The Straits Times, p. 8; Leong W. K. (2000, May 300. Prettiest Hockchia girl gets to go home. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Wong, C. M. (1998, July 6). Poi Ching to get new building. The Straits Times, p. 20; Obituary: Mrs Guok Koh Muo nee Tan Loke Moi. The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Poi Ching to get new building. (1998, July 6). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Leong W. K. (1998, December 18). Cultivating a culture of school-clan ties. The Straits Times, p. 81. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Poi Ching to get new building. (1998, July 6). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. World meeting of Fuqing clan. (1988, October 8). The Straits Times, p. 17; Lively events help pull in the young. (1997, May 17). The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. World meeting of Fuqing clan. (1988, October 8). The Straits Times, p. 17; Lee, H. S. (1988, October 8). Futsing clan making Singapore its centre. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. World meeting of Fuqing clan. (1988, October 8). The Straits Times, p. 17; Lee, H. S. (1988, October 8). Futsing clan making Singapore its centre. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Lively events help pull in the young. (1997, May 17). The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Leong W. K. (2000, May 300. Prettiest Hockchia girl gets to go home. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Sim, A. (2000, November 28). Singapore Hockchia girl takes title. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Koh, L. (2005, December 16). Go beyond calligraphy, new chief tells clans. The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore University of Technology and Design (2011–2016). Mr Sam Goi. Retrieved 2016, September 27 from SUTD website: http://www.sutd.edu.sg/About-Us/People/Board-of-Trustees/Mr-Sam-Goi
20. Lim, T. (1988, October 12). Futsing Association clearly alive. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Bloomberg L. P. (2016). Seng Hui Goi. Retrieved 2016, September 27 from Bloomberg website: http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=90597539&privcapId=39281609
21. T. F. Hwang takes you down memory lane. (1988, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Singapore Futsing Association. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.futsing.org/futsing_eng/

《新加坡福清会馆七十周年纪念特刊 (1910–1980)》 [Singapore Futsing Association 70th anniversary souvenir (1910–1980)]. (1982). 新加坡: 该会馆.
(Call no.: Chinese RSING 369.25957 SIN)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Clans--Singapore
Associations, institutions, etc.--Singapore
Ethnic Communities
People and communities>>Social groups and communities
Organisations>>Associations
Heritage and Culture
Organisations