Singapore Foochow Association



The Singapore Foochow Association was registered on 28 December 1909. It has contributed to education in Singapore through the San Shan School, and has been promoting Chinese culture through organising related activities. Identified as one of the seven largest clan associations in Singapore,1 it received the inaugural “Clan of the Year” award from the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations in 2012 for its efforts in promoting Chinese culture.2

Background
The city of Foochow (or Fuzhou in hanyu pinyin) is located in the eastern part of Fujian province, China. The Foochow people (also known as Hockchews) arrived in Singapore during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.3 They were not among the earliest Chinese immigrants, and in 1921, it was estimated that there were 12,863 Foochow people – this was only 4 percent of the total Chinese population here then.4 In the early days, Foochow people were known for having ‘three knives’ – a tailor’s pair of scissors, a barber’s shaving blade and a coffee shop worker’s bread knife – because of the occupations commonly taken up by them.5 By 2015, they only made up about 2 percent of the resident Chinese population.6

Establishment
The intention to form an association was first mentioned in 1907 when the founder and first chairman, Sun Zishan7 (孙子善), and fellow Foochow acquaintances came together to raise funds to support flood relief efforts in Fuzhou.8 The Singapore Foochow Association was registered on 28 December 1909, and located at 20 Craig Road.9

San Shan School
The association first set up a school in 1924 but it only lasted for two years due to insufficient funds.10 After the Japanese Occupation, there were high demands for education so the association started a school again within their building.11 Eventually in 1947, it established San Shan Primary School at Sophia Road, next to the Istana grounds.12

With urban redevelopment, the school saw a decline in enrolment from 1964 till when the school was closed in 1982, when it only had over 190 students.13 In the same year, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts moved in and rented the school premises from the association at a nominal fee of S$120 a year for 12 years.14

Teachers and pupils of the school were relocated to a new school at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, and it was named San Shan Primary School by the Ministry of Education to commemorate the association’s contributions to education.15 In 1996, the school building at Sophia Road was acquired by the government and the association received S$14 million in compensation.16 On 2 January 2002, San Shan Primary School merged with Braddell, First Toa Payoh and Westlake Primary Schools to form the First Toa Payoh Primary School.17 In order to connect former students of the school, the San Shan Primary School Alumni was formed in 1997.18

Properties
The association is currently housed in Foochow Building at Tyrwhitt Road. Completed in 1977, Foochow Building was jointly built by the association and the Singapore Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association at a cost of almost $4 million.19 In 2010, it was reported that the association acquired a three-storey pre-war shophouse in Temple Street in 2009 and redeveloped two houses in Lorong 18 Geylang into an office block.20

Activities
During the initial years, the association was the key centre looking after the welfare of fellow clansmen and mediating disputes.21 The association also contributed greatly to fund-raising efforts to support China during the Sino-Japanese war in 1937,22 and to assist Fuzhou in 1948 when it suffered from the worst flood in history.23

After Singapore’s independence, the association has been active in promoting Chinese culture through activities organised during major Chinese festivals like Chinese New Year and the Mid-autumn Festival, and through special events such as the Foozhou Food Festival.24 The promotion of Chinese language is also a major focus. The clan organised several Chinese creative writing competitions for primary school students, started a junior Chinese writers club with training sessions, and organised Chinese poetry competitions.25 They also organised well-attended business seminars with Fuzhou entrepreneurs from various business sectors as guest speakers.26

Major milestones
1924: Sets up San Shan School within the association building.
1937: Raises funds to support China during the Sino-Japanese war.27
1947: Re-establishes San Shan Primary School at Sophia Road.
1948: Raises funds for Fuzhou flood victims.28
1962: Purchases land at Lim Chu Kang for the Foochow clan cemetery. It is taken over by the government 30 years later in 1992.29
1971: Works with the Singapore Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association to build Foochow Building.30
1977: Foochow Building is ready.31
1985: Founds the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations together with six other major clan associations.32
1990: Jointly organises the inaugural International Foochow Conference with the Federation of Foochow Associations of Malaysia.  Forms the World Federation of Fuzhou Associations.33
2012: Receives inaugural “Clan of the Year” award.34

Presidents and chairmen35
1910–1911: Sun Zishan (孙子善)
1912–1913: Lin Yunfan (林云藩)
1914–1917: Xu Jijun (徐季钧)
1918: Kang Yanqiu (康研秋)
1919–1922: Xu Jijun (徐季钧)
1923–1928: Lin Qianzeng (林乾增)
1929: Guo Yongquan (郭永铨)
1930: Jiang Xiuqi (江秀琦)
1931: Zheng Baoluo (郑保罗)
1932–1935: Lin Yunhe (林韵龢)
1936–1940: Chen Ziying (陈子英)
1941: Xu Boliang (徐伯良)
1945: Zheng Guangyu (郑光宇)
1946–1951: Yang Renyue (杨人月)
1952–1978: Jiang Kewu (江克武)
1979–2006: Lin Lihua (林理化)
2007–2010: Zhang Daibiao/Diong Tai Pew36 (张代彪)
2011–2014: Hong Baoxin (洪宝兴)
2015–2018: Cheng Wenluan (程文銮)



Author
Ang Seow Leng



References
1. 会馆从服务乡亲转变为效忠国家. (1985, November 4). 联合早报, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Tan, W. (2012, January 26). Chinese clan associations play important role in integration: PM. Today, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Leong, W. K. (2010, November 7). Foochow Association still growing at 100. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. 郑炳端 (主编); 陈莉玲 (副主编). (2010). 《百年筚路》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 13.  (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 BNB)
5. Leong, W. K. (2010, November 7). Foochow Association still growing at 100. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Ng, C. (2017, May 5). Singapore talking: Hock Chew: a secret, cherished language. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
7. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK)
8. 郑炳端(主编); 陈莉玲(副主编). (2010). 《百年筚路》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 15. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 BNB)
9. Colony of Singapore. Government gazette. (1951, June 15). List of existing societies registered in the Colony of Singapore. Singapore: [s.n.], p. 933. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 SGG)
10. Leong, W. K. (2010, November 7). Foochow Association still growing at 100. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. 陈正 (主编); 林佑璋, 叶松英 (副编). (1995). 《地灵人杰: 新加坡福州会馆八十五周年纪念特刊: 1910–1995》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 30. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 DLR)
12. Chua, L. K. (1981, February 25). Nanyang Academy to move into school. The Straits Times, p. 8; Leong, W. K. (2010, November 7). Foochow Association still growing at 100. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Singapore Foochow Association. (2018). 三山学校简介. Retrieved 2018, September 26 from Singapore Foochow Association website: http://foochow.org/site/关于我们/会员团体/三山校友会/
14. Plan for foreign lecturers to up arts standards. (1982, March 1). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Academy plans to offer two new subjects. (1981, February 28). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Leong, W. K. (2010, November 7). Foochow Association still growing at 100. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. First Toa Payoh Primary School. (2016). School history. Retrieved 2018, September 26 from First Toa Payoh Primary School website: http://firsttoapayohpri.moe.edu.sg/about-us/school-history
18. 《三山校友会成立十周年纪念特刊》. (2007). Singapore: 三山校友会, p. 18. (Call No. RSING 372.95957 SSX)
19. 福州大厦已落成二十日举行开幕礼林金山部长受邀主持仪式. (1977, November 7). 南洋商报, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Leong, W. K. (2010, November 7). Foochow Association still growing at 100. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. 郑炳端 (主编); 陈莉玲 (副主编). (2010). 《百年筚路》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 BNB)
22. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK)
23. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK); 1,000 die, 200,000 lose homes in flood. (1948, June 21). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. 郑炳端 (主编); 陈莉玲 (副主编). (2010). 《百年筚路》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, pp. 91–102. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 BNB)
25. 郑炳端 (主编); 陈莉玲 (副主编). (2010). 《百年筚路》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, pp. 104–110. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 BNB)
26. 郑炳端 (主编); 陈莉玲 (副主编). (2010). 《百年筚路》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, pp. 112–114. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 BNB)
27. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK)
28. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK); 1,000 die, 200,000 lose homes in flood. (1948, June 21). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK)
30. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK)
31. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK)
32. 会馆从服务乡亲转变为效忠国家. (1985, November 4). 联合早报, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. 新加坡福州会馆. (2015). 《105期颐添五大庆特辑: 新加坡福州会馆105周年纪念》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, p. 16. (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 SSJK); Chinese clans’ role still vital, says PM Lee. (2012, January 25). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
34. Tan, W. (2012, January 26). Chinese clan associations play important role in integration: PM. Today, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. 郑炳端 (主编); 陈莉玲 (副主编). (2010). 《百年筚路》. 新加坡: 新加坡福州会馆, pp. 142–160.  (Call No.: RSING 369.25957 BNB); Singapore Foochow Association. (2018). 三山学校简介. Retrieved 2018, September 26 from Singapore Foochow Association website: http://foochow.org/site/关于我们/现任理事/
36. Leong, W. K. (2010, November 7). Foochow Association still growing at 100. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 5 January 2019 and correct as far as we are able to 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
Chinese clans and associations
Chinese—Singapore--Societies, etc.
Singapore Foochow Association
Organisations>>Associations>>Chinese Clans