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Jointly presented by the Singapore Chinese Culture Centre and Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Treasures of the Clans is Singapore’s first major exhibition featuring the art collections of local Chinese clan associations. This is an unparalleled opportunity to immerse in the cultural richness of more than 80 pieces of artworks.

Coming from 16 different clans, these artworks were not commercially motivated but intended as gifts by the artists to the clans. Through their images and inscriptions, these artworks truly reflect the warm kinship between artists and their respective clans and local communities, over the span of the last century.

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The Choo Clan Association was established 75 years ago, but its origin dates back to more than a hundred years ago when its pioneers came to Singapore from China. To stay connected and provide mutual support for one another, they met at a four-pillared pavilion on Tiong Bahru Hill every Qingming Festival, during which they offered prayers and paid respects to their ancestors.

Later, to facilitate a permanent meeting place, pioneers Mushun, Guolong, Wulie and Yongchun offered a site they bought in 1946 to the newly established Choo Clan Association at cost price. Officially registered with the Registry of Societies in 1947 and moving into its current address the following year, the association quickly expanded as it offered membership to other Choo descendants from different dialect groups.

To achieve its goals of building on past endeavours, strengthening relations, as well as to have a Choo representative in every Chinese organisation wherever possible, the Choo Clan Association strives to maintain good ties with the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations and its members, as well as other Choo clan organisations around the world.As a reflection of its purpose, the Choo Clan Association will be participating in the Treasures of the Clans with its late adviser Mr. Choo Keng Kwang’s painting, Goldfish.

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Most of the early Yongchun settlers in Singapore came from Malacca, of which the families of Tan Kim Seng and Lee Cheng Yan were most notable. As the clan grew in size and social unrest increased, the Eng Choon Hway Kuan was established in 1867 to protect the interest of their clansmen and foster closer relations. Over the next 150 glorious years, the clan association upheld its mission to love and help one another, connect ties, help the poor and needy, resolve disputes, as well as promote welfare work.

Besides being enterprising businessmen, the Yongchun people were actively involved in education. Tan Kim Seng’s son, Tan Beng Swee, founded two of Singapore’s earliest Chinese schools, Chongwen Ge and Chui Eng Free School. His grandson, Tan Jiak Kim, was instrumental in the establishment of the King Edward VII Medical School (now National University of Singapore) in 1905, after petitioning the colonial government and taking the lead in donating to its building cost. Father and son Lee Cheng Yan and Lee Choon Guan founded the Hong Joo Chinese Free School and Choon Guan School.

The seven paintings lent by Eng Choon Hway Kuan include works donated by Liu Kang, the Yongchun-born artist best known for creating the Nanyang Style. The collection also includes works of famous Yongchun artist Yu Chengyao and a painting by Shanghai Fine Arts Academy (now Nanjing University of the Arts) graduate Lee Kah Yeow.

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Foo Clan Association is the oldest Hainanese clan group in Southeast Asia. It was originally founded by pioneers sharing the Foo surname to establish a contact network, so as to help new immigrants find work, lodging, and even life partners.

In 1887, these pioneers pooled their resources to purchase a two-storey building in Middle Road so they could have a permanent place to worship their ancestors, as well as provide shelter for newly arrived immigrants or clansmen en route to Malaysia, Borneo, and Indonesia. As demand grew, they expanded across the street and established the Foo Clan Building in 1954. Due to government land requisition, they relocated to Geylang in 1996 and have remained there ever since.

Following the popularisation of roots-seeking movements in various parts of China, and the call to compile a 38 volume set of genealogical records, it is now the Foo Clan’s new mission to spread clan culture, help Foo families in need, as well as maintain ties with counterparts around the world. 

Paintings and calligraphies by artists such as  Yu Youren and Fu Shiren reflect the clan’s history, which is a microcosm of Singapore’s history.

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Pioneers from Kinmen County came to Singapore in the 1860s to earn a living. In 1876, they built Hoo Chay Beow (Fu Ji Temple) to worship Chen Yuan, the founder of Wuzhou, and formed the Kinmen Kongsi to manage temple matters under the direction of its first leader Li Shi Ta. Besides religious worship, the temple also undertook the responsibility of uniting fellow clansmen living in Nanyang. 

Kim Mui Hoey Kuan was officially registered in 1927 with its office set up along Smith Street. In 1986, it relocated to its present site at Keng Lee Road.

Kim Mui Hoey Kuan has actively contributed to their native hometown and local communities for over 150 years. In the early years, they petitioned for Kinmen to be upgraded to a county, started a steamship company, raised funds for disaster relief, apprehended pirates, built transport infrastructure, founded schools, and supported fellow immigrants. In recent years, Kim Mui Hoey Kuan aims to promote Chinese culture and conserve traditional values by preserving the temple’s heritage. Through ancestral worshipping events, it encourages its clansmen to connect with their roots and give to charity. Kim Mui Hoey Kuan is also a strong advocate of racial integration. 

Kim Mui Hoey Kuan will be displaying five artworks, created by fellow clansmen and artists Fu Zizhao, Xu Yunzhi, Qiu Shaohua, and Xue Yongmai. They truly reflect the cultural heritage of the Kinmen people.

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Formerly known as the “Sim Study Room” when it was established in 1923, its founding mission was to worship the Marquis of Military Virtue (Ancestor Shen). It aims to maintain harmony and seek welfare for its clansmen, thereby promoting the spirit of the Sim clan.     

At the same time, the association values and promotes education by giving out scholarships and bursaries every year. This way, the Sim descendants would strive to achieve good grades, and contribute to society after graduation. 

The association also participates in charitable acts and organises relevant educational seminars.

Their entry of Bamboo Blessings by Sun Yee and a calligraphy piece by Yang Zongsheng will add lustre to the Treasures of the Clans exhibition.

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Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan was founded in 1940 by a group of Puning clansmen to foster friendly relations, encourage cooperation, promote the welfare of its members, and serve the society and country with loyalty.   

The club was originally set up in a rented building along Rochor Road. With the joint efforts of its members, the clan association grew rapidly. However, it had to suspend all activities due to the outbreak of the Pacific War. Club activities resumed only in 1948, after relocating to a loaned unit in the Chinatown area. In 1953, it was officially named “Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan.” 

In 1968, an entourage of 10 led by the Building Committee Chairman Chen Qianming visited Malaysia to raise funds for the construction of a new clubhouse. On 15 November 1970, the Pho Leng Building was officially declared open by then Education Minister, Mr Lim Kim San.

Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan will be displaying two starkly different artworks: an acrylic painting by Grace Tan entitled Sincerity, Generosity, Kindheartedness, Comradeship, as well as Ma Peitong’s ink painting Sacred Dragon of Zhong Hua.

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At the end of the 19th Century, the Hing Hwa (also known as “Xinghua” or in the modern day, “Putian”) people came to Nanyang to earn a living. During the journey, they worshipped the Sea Goddess, Mazu, on the boat, and asked for her blessings and protection. Upon arrival, they would pray to Mazu in their new residences as a form of gratitude. Early Hing Hwa settlers mainly lived in the North Bridge Road area. In 1920, they built the Hin Ann Thain Hiaw Keng in Queen Street, as a main place of worship for Mazu, as well as a gathering place for clansmen to share feelings of homesickness and help one another when in need.

In 1952, the temple introduced a “Marina Club”, now known as the “Li Cheng Club”. In 1956, “Nanyang Putian Clan Association” was formed. It was renamed as “Singapore Putian Association” in 2004.

Hin Ann Thain Hiaw Keng relocated to Geylang in 1991, and reconstruction was completed in 2017. Since then, all three organisations, the temple, the clan association, and the members club all operate in the same building, so they can better serve their fellow clansmen and carry on the Putian cultural heritage while spreading Mazu’s spirit of universal love.

Representing them are the ink paintings Zhongkui, the invincible god, Quiet Path and Season’s Offerings. All three artists, Luo Zhongfan, Zhang Yushu and Fang Jilong, have Putian roots.

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Founded in 1938 during the turbulent times of the Double-Seven Incident and the Japanese invasion of Xiamen, the Singapore Amoy Association was set up to unite clansmen to provide emotional and financial support to their fellowmen back in China.

Activities were suspended between 1942 to 1945 during the Japanese Occupation. For the safety of their clansmen, the clan burnt many important documents, causing a gap in their historical records. 

After the Japanese Occupation ended, clan members chipped in to revive the group and the association prospered. After relocating four times, the association set up base at its current address in 1983. With support from the Singapore government, the association strives to carry on the pioneering spirits of its forefathers, and to take the association to greater heights. 

On this rare occasion, the Amoy Association showcases their treasured “heirlooms”, including calligraphy art from Reverend Song Nian, Weng Mingquan, and Khoo Seow Hwa, as well as ink paintings by Xie Hongzhi, Chen Wenzhi, and Lin Sheng. Be sure you won’t miss it!

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Singapore Ann Kway Association was founded in 1923 by Shi Mingde from Burma and a group of locals including Gao Mingren, Zhang Peigong, Hu Xusheng, Bai Qiyin, and Gao Shuixian. Their goal was to foster relationships and seek welfare for clansmen, as well as promote cultural, educational, and social causes.

Initially, they bought a place in Hokkien Street to set up a clubhouse and started the Zuoren School in 1924 to spread Chinese culture. When their new clubhouse Ann Kway Building was completed in 1960, they set up groups focusing on education, mutual aid, charity and recreation. In 1952, the first bursary was given to primary school students, and later, awards, grants, and university loans were given to secondary and tertiary students. The association supported the establishment of 22 schools, including Liqun, Huainan, Xingnan, and Zhongli. 

In 1977, after magnate Tang Yu became their chairman, the association expanded quickly into a well-respected organisation.

Ann Kway Association will be displaying seven art pieces for the exhibition, including Xu Beihong’s Galloping Horse and works of local artist and clansman Lim Tze Peng. These gifts from artists reflect their deep bonds with the clan. It also presents an excellent opportunity for those who are interested in local art.  

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Established in 1918 with the purpose of uniting their fellow folks, helping them resolve their difficulties and disputes, uniting folks and promoting the welfare of its members. The Clan built its clubhouse at Bukit Pasoh Road in 1928 on the land donated by its founding President, Mr Xiao Zhilai.

When World War II ended, Chin Kang Huay Kuan set up a Relief Section in 1946 to strengthen ties and take care of the interests of its members. In 1947, they founded the Chin Kang School for children whose education had been badly disrupted by the Japanese Occupation and offering night classes so that more students can receive education. After Singapore’s independence, education was adequately provided by the government. Chin Kang School was closed at the end of 1975. In the following year, the Clan set up the Recreation Section as part of its mission to promote cultural activities. In 2008, they set up a Youth Group to foster ties among Chin Kang’s youth globally, assist new immigrants to integrate, as well as to groom successors for the clan.

Chin Kang Huay Kuan is now constructing a “Chin Kang Gallery” to give its clubhouse a new facelift. The Gallery will incorporate the use of digital technology to create a unique experience for visitors to appreciate the contribution of the forefathers from Chin Kang and learn their values of unity and perseverance. The Gallery will also raise the awareness of clan associations and help to preserve the traditions and heritage. 

Two calligraphy pieces by Shen Muyu and Wu Zhongshan, both of Chin Kang descent, perfectly reflect the values of Integrity, Humanity, Unity and Hard Work of the clan and the strong bond between members tied by their roots.

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Singapore Foochow Association was established in 1909 by the Foochow people. Back then, Foochow clansmen built Thian Hock Keng in gratitude for Mazu’s protection. It then became a  place for clansmen to meet and catch up. This formed the basis for the founding of the association.

In the early stages, the association’s purpose was to connect and unite clansmen, resolve problems and seek welfare for them. It gradually expanded to include areas of public service such as education, culture, and charity. The association founded the San Shan School in 1925 and helped establish Nanyang University, contributing to the educational needs of the local population. They also worked with the Foochow Coffee Restaurant & Bar Merchants Association to raise funds for the construction of the Foochow Building, which was completed in 1977.

Apart from traditional Chinese customs, the association also supported various national campaigns. To better promote Chinese heritage, they started a youth group. At the same time, they valued their relations and connections with their clansmen, both locally and overseas.

To show their support for the Treasures of the Clans exhibition, the association has lent nine pieces of their treasured collection of calligraphy and ink paintings.

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In the early 19th century, many Chinese from China’s southern coastal townships saw opportunities in South East Asia and flocked to the region in search of better lives. Settling down in this area known as Nanyang, they set up respective clan associations to care for and support fellow immigrants. Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK) was founded against this backdrop within Thian Hong Keng temple at Telok Ayer in 1840.

Since its inception, Hokkien Huay Kuan has always been committed to uplifting the community as a whole, in addition to promoting fellowship and goodwill among Hokkien descendants. The clan  helped build and maintain the Tao Nan School, Ai Tong School, Chongfu School, Nan Chiau Primary School, Nan Chiau High School and Kong Hwa School between 1906 to 1953. In 1953, Hokkien Huay Kuan donated 523 acres of land for the construction of Nanyang University (now Nanyang Technological University). In the late 80s, Huay Kuan spearheaded Chinese speech and drama classes, and Chinese dance training for children. In 2012, the SHHK Cultural Academy became the first ever cultural academy set up by a clan association, with facilities like a bilingual kindergarten and an after-school care centre.

SHHK celebrated its 180th anniversary in 2020 with the 2-volume  publication Transcending Centuries: A Chronicle of SHHK 180 Years of Historical Articles, where Lim Tze Peng contributed his calligraphy for the title of the book. Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan will display the centenarian artist’s Transcending Centuries. Wish to catch a glimpse? Be sure not to miss Treasures of the Clans!

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The history of the Lam Ann Association is closely linked to the Hong San See Temple. In 1836, Lam Ann pioneers constructed the Hong San See Temple near Cheng San Teng. The temple underwent renovation in 1868. In 1907, the temple relocated to its current address at Mohamed Sultan Road due to urban redevelopment. By then, Hong San See Temple was already a common gathering place for the Nan’an people. So when the clan association started the Nan Ming School there, the temple became even more popular.

In 1926, Lam Ann pioneers initiated the building of a Lam Ann Clan Association. They purchased five shophouses on Ann Siang Hill, of which unit number 59 was used as their clubhouse while the remaining units were rented out to generate revenue to cover their expenses. During the Japanese invasion, the clubhouse became the headquarters for the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army, led by martyr Lim Bo Seng.

In 1950, Lam Ann Association was officially registered as a public company limited by guarantee; in 1958, the Mutual Help Committee was established; in 1970, the five-storey Lam Ann Building finished construction; and in 1988, the Youth Group was formed.

Lam Ann Association would be participating in this exhibition with four artworks, including paintings by the late Wu Tsai Yen, who was best known for his unique “Nanyang Style” finger painting, and calligraphy artwork by Pan Shou.

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As far as 100 years ago, many Chaoyang pioneers came to earn a living in Singapore. In 1926, they initiated the setting up of Teo Yeong Huai Kuan in High Street to unite fellow clansmen. They later acquired a piece of land in Clemenceau Avenue to build their own facility. Due to transportation issues, they rented a place in Tank Road as a temporary clubhouse. After moving into their own place in 1941, all activities were brought to a halt due to the Japanese invasion, resuming only in 1945 after the Japanese surrender.

In 1952, a new building was completed, and they started the Teo Yeong School (also known as the Chaoyang School) the following year. The school closed in 1982 as the need for Chinese-medium schools declined. Following the advice of the Ministry of Education, Teo Yeong Huai Kuan allowed Chao Yang Special School to use its premises, and the school is now known as the APSN Chaoyang School.

Apart from the groups that cover mutual aid, welfare, and recreation, the clan formed a youth wing in 2016 to groom successors to carry on their legacy.

Seven pieces from their collection will be on display, including three Chinese ink paintings by Nai Swee Leng, a painting by Choo Keng Kwang, and a calligraphy piece by Cai Mingchen.

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Established in 1929, Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan is a locality-based association for the Teochew-speaking community. Teochew, or Chaozhou, is a city in the eastern part of Guangdong province in China, whereas “Poit It” refers to the eight districts previously under its governance: Chao’an, Jieyang, Chenghai, Chaoyang, Puning, Huilai, Raoping and Nan’ao.

The association now has over 6,000 members from all walks of life, many of which are highly respected individuals. After Dr George Quek became President in 2013, the association focused more on the strengthening of ties among the Teochews. Backed by the historical significance of the Teochew Building in Tank Road, the clan association promotes Teochew culture through social, education, and economic means.

Making up one-fifth of our Chinese population, the Teochews have a profound impact on the development of Singapore. Many pioneers, like their founder Lim Nee Soon, were respectable businessmen and community leaders who made crucial contributions to Singapore’s economic growth.

The association will be lending pieces from its impressive collection, including an acrylic on canvas by Chen Liqing and five calligraphy pieces from Goh Toh Piow, Heng Wei Chia, Sim Soong Kee, Ma Shuanglu, and Wong Joon Tai.

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A locality-based group, Theng Hai Huay Kuan was set up in 1965 to fight for the welfare and interest of the Teochews. Over time, the clan grew and expanded its activities. In the spirit of serving the society, they began to reach out and look out for the other communities.

The clan association participates actively in national campaigns, including the promotion of cultural and recreational activities. This allows the younger generations to better understand the history and traditions of the Teochews, thereby passing down the core values of the Chinese people. Theng Hai Huay Kuan is also one of the earliest clan associations in Singapore to have its own website. With the help of technology, they can easily connect with clansmen around the world and reach out to the younger generations. 

Their displays, including paintings and eight calligraphy pieces, are bound to be an eye-opener.

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Acknowledgements:

  • Guest-of-Honour for opening ceremony:
  • Minister of State
  • Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • Ms Low Yen Ling
  • Selection Panel:
  • Mr Choo Thiam Siew
  • Mr Tan Ruirong
  • Mr Low Sze Wee
  • Mr Lee Ee Wurn
  • Clan Associations:
  • Choo Clan Association
  • Eng Choon Hway Kuan (Singapore)
  • Foo Clan Association (Singapore)
  • Kim Mui Hoey Kuan
  • Nanyang Sim Clan Association
  • Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan
  • Putian Association Singapore
  • Singapore Amoy Association
  • Singapore Ann Kway Association
  • Singapore Chin Kang Huay Kuan
  • Singapore Foochow Association
  • Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan
  • Singapore Lam Ann Association
  • Teo Yeong Huai Kuan
  • Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan
  • Theng Hai Huay Kuan
  • Co-organisers:
  • Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
  • Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations

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Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Multi-Purpose Hall, Level 7

title section

Jointly presented by the Singapore Chinese Culture Centre and Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Treasures of the Clans is Singapore’s first major exhibition featuring the art collections of local Chinese clan associations. This is an unparalleled opportunity to immerse in the cultural richness of more than 80 pieces of artworks.

Coming from 16 different clans, these artworks were not commercially motivated but intended as gifts by the artists to the clans. Through their images and inscriptions, these artworks truly reflect the warm kinship between artists and their respective clans and local communities, over the span of the last century.

1/16 Clans
title section

The Choo Clan Association was established 75 years ago, but its origin dates back to more than a hundred years ago when its pioneers came to Singapore from China. To stay connected and provide mutual support for one another, they met at a four-pillared pavilion on Tiong Bahru Hill every Qingming Festival, during which they offered prayers and paid respects to their ancestors.

Later, to facilitate a permanent meeting place, pioneers Mushun, Guolong, Wulie and Yongchun offered a site they bought in 1946 to the newly established Choo Clan Association at cost price. Officially registered with the Registry of Societies in 1947 and moving into its current address the following year, the association quickly expanded as it offered membership to other Choo descendants from different dialect groups.

To achieve its goals of building on past endeavours, strengthening relations, as well as to have a Choo representative in every Chinese organisation wherever possible, the Choo Clan Association strives to maintain good ties with the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations and its members, as well as other Choo clan organisations around the world.As a reflection of its purpose, the Choo Clan Association will be participating in the Treasures of the Clans with its late adviser Mr. Choo Keng Kwang’s painting, Goldfish.

image clan
2/16 Clans
title section

Most of the early Yongchun settlers in Singapore came from Malacca, of which the families of Tan Kim Seng and Lee Cheng Yan were most notable. As the clan grew in size and social unrest increased, the Eng Choon Hway Kuan was established in 1867 to protect the interest of their clansmen and foster closer relations. Over the next 150 glorious years, the clan association upheld its mission to love and help one another, connect ties, help the poor and needy, resolve disputes, as well as promote welfare work.

Besides being enterprising businessmen, the Yongchun people were actively involved in education. Tan Kim Seng’s son, Tan Beng Swee, founded two of Singapore’s earliest Chinese schools, Chongwen Ge and Chui Eng Free School. His grandson, Tan Jiak Kim, was instrumental in the establishment of the King Edward VII Medical School (now National University of Singapore) in 1905, after petitioning the colonial government and taking the lead in donating to its building cost. Father and son Lee Cheng Yan and Lee Choon Guan founded the Hong Joo Chinese Free School and Choon Guan School.

The seven paintings lent by Eng Choon Hway Kuan include works donated by Liu Kang, the Yongchun-born artist best known for creating the Nanyang Style. The collection also includes works of famous Yongchun artist Yu Chengyao and a painting by Shanghai Fine Arts Academy (now Nanjing University of the Arts) graduate Lee Kah Yeow.

image clan
3/16 Clans
title section

Foo Clan Association is the oldest Hainanese clan group in Southeast Asia. It was originally founded by pioneers sharing the Foo surname to establish a contact network, so as to help new immigrants find work, lodging, and even life partners.

In 1887, these pioneers pooled their resources to purchase a two-storey building in Middle Road so they could have a permanent place to worship their ancestors, as well as provide shelter for newly arrived immigrants or clansmen en route to Malaysia, Borneo, and Indonesia. As demand grew, they expanded across the street and established the Foo Clan Building in 1954. Due to government land requisition, they relocated to Geylang in 1996 and have remained there ever since.

Following the popularisation of roots-seeking movements in various parts of China, and the call to compile a 38 volume set of genealogical records, it is now the Foo Clan’s new mission to spread clan culture, help Foo families in need, as well as maintain ties with counterparts around the world. 

Paintings and calligraphies by artists such as  Yu Youren and Fu Shiren reflect the clan’s history, which is a microcosm of Singapore’s history.

image clan
4/16 Clans
title section

Pioneers from Kinmen County came to Singapore in the 1860s to earn a living. In 1876, they built Hoo Chay Beow (Fu Ji Temple) to worship Chen Yuan, the founder of Wuzhou, and formed the Kinmen Kongsi to manage temple matters under the direction of its first leader Li Shi Ta. Besides religious worship, the temple also undertook the responsibility of uniting fellow clansmen living in Nanyang. 

Kim Mui Hoey Kuan was officially registered in 1927 with its office set up along Smith Street. In 1986, it relocated to its present site at Keng Lee Road.

Kim Mui Hoey Kuan has actively contributed to their native hometown and local communities for over 150 years. In the early years, they petitioned for Kinmen to be upgraded to a county, started a steamship company, raised funds for disaster relief, apprehended pirates, built transport infrastructure, founded schools, and supported fellow immigrants. In recent years, Kim Mui Hoey Kuan aims to promote Chinese culture and conserve traditional values by preserving the temple’s heritage. Through ancestral worshipping events, it encourages its clansmen to connect with their roots and give to charity. Kim Mui Hoey Kuan is also a strong advocate of racial integration. 

Kim Mui Hoey Kuan will be displaying five artworks, created by fellow clansmen and artists Fu Zizhao, Xu Yunzhi, Qiu Shaohua, and Xue Yongmai. They truly reflect the cultural heritage of the Kinmen people.

image clan
5/16 Clans
title section

Formerly known as the “Sim Study Room” when it was established in 1923, its founding mission was to worship the Marquis of Military Virtue (Ancestor Shen). It aims to maintain harmony and seek welfare for its clansmen, thereby promoting the spirit of the Sim clan.     

At the same time, the association values and promotes education by giving out scholarships and bursaries every year. This way, the Sim descendants would strive to achieve good grades, and contribute to society after graduation. 

The association also participates in charitable acts and organises relevant educational seminars.

Their entry of Bamboo Blessings by Sun Yee and a calligraphy piece by Yang Zongsheng will add lustre to the Treasures of the Clans exhibition.

image clan
6/16 Clans
title section

Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan was founded in 1940 by a group of Puning clansmen to foster friendly relations, encourage cooperation, promote the welfare of its members, and serve the society and country with loyalty.   

The club was originally set up in a rented building along Rochor Road. With the joint efforts of its members, the clan association grew rapidly. However, it had to suspend all activities due to the outbreak of the Pacific War. Club activities resumed only in 1948, after relocating to a loaned unit in the Chinatown area. In 1953, it was officially named “Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan.” 

In 1968, an entourage of 10 led by the Building Committee Chairman Chen Qianming visited Malaysia to raise funds for the construction of a new clubhouse. On 15 November 1970, the Pho Leng Building was officially declared open by then Education Minister, Mr Lim Kim San.

Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan will be displaying two starkly different artworks: an acrylic painting by Grace Tan entitled Sincerity, Generosity, Kindheartedness, Comradeship, as well as Ma Peitong’s ink painting Sacred Dragon of Zhong Hua.

image clan
7/16 Clans
title section

At the end of the 19th Century, the Hing Hwa (also known as “Xinghua” or in the modern day, “Putian”) people came to Nanyang to earn a living. During the journey, they worshipped the Sea Goddess, Mazu, on the boat, and asked for her blessings and protection. Upon arrival, they would pray to Mazu in their new residences as a form of gratitude. Early Hing Hwa settlers mainly lived in the North Bridge Road area. In 1920, they built the Hin Ann Thain Hiaw Keng in Queen Street, as a main place of worship for Mazu, as well as a gathering place for clansmen to share feelings of homesickness and help one another when in need.

In 1952, the temple introduced a “Marina Club”, now known as the “Li Cheng Club”. In 1956, “Nanyang Putian Clan Association” was formed. It was renamed as “Singapore Putian Association” in 2004.

Hin Ann Thain Hiaw Keng relocated to Geylang in 1991, and reconstruction was completed in 2017. Since then, all three organisations, the temple, the clan association, and the members club all operate in the same building, so they can better serve their fellow clansmen and carry on the Putian cultural heritage while spreading Mazu’s spirit of universal love.

Representing them are the ink paintings Zhongkui, the invincible god, Quiet Path and Season’s Offerings. All three artists, Luo Zhongfan, Zhang Yushu and Fang Jilong, have Putian roots.

image clan
8/16 Clans
title section

Founded in 1938 during the turbulent times of the Double-Seven Incident and the Japanese invasion of Xiamen, the Singapore Amoy Association was set up to unite clansmen to provide emotional and financial support to their fellowmen back in China.

Activities were suspended between 1942 to 1945 during the Japanese Occupation. For the safety of their clansmen, the clan burnt many important documents, causing a gap in their historical records. 

After the Japanese Occupation ended, clan members chipped in to revive the group and the association prospered. After relocating four times, the association set up base at its current address in 1983. With support from the Singapore government, the association strives to carry on the pioneering spirits of its forefathers, and to take the association to greater heights. 

On this rare occasion, the Amoy Association showcases their treasured “heirlooms”, including calligraphy art from Reverend Song Nian, Weng Mingquan, and Khoo Seow Hwa, as well as ink paintings by Xie Hongzhi, Chen Wenzhi, and Lin Sheng. Be sure you won’t miss it!

image clan
9/16 Clans
title section

Singapore Ann Kway Association was founded in 1923 by Shi Mingde from Burma and a group of locals including Gao Mingren, Zhang Peigong, Hu Xusheng, Bai Qiyin, and Gao Shuixian. Their goal was to foster relationships and seek welfare for clansmen, as well as promote cultural, educational, and social causes.

Initially, they bought a place in Hokkien Street to set up a clubhouse and started the Zuoren School in 1924 to spread Chinese culture. When their new clubhouse Ann Kway Building was completed in 1960, they set up groups focusing on education, mutual aid, charity and recreation. In 1952, the first bursary was given to primary school students, and later, awards, grants, and university loans were given to secondary and tertiary students. The association supported the establishment of 22 schools, including Liqun, Huainan, Xingnan, and Zhongli. 

In 1977, after magnate Tang Yu became their chairman, the association expanded quickly into a well-respected organisation.

Ann Kway Association will be displaying seven art pieces for the exhibition, including Xu Beihong’s Galloping Horse and works of local artist and clansman Lim Tze Peng. These gifts from artists reflect their deep bonds with the clan. It also presents an excellent opportunity for those who are interested in local art.  

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Established in 1918 with the purpose of uniting their fellow folks, helping them resolve their difficulties and disputes, uniting folks and promoting the welfare of its members. The Clan built its clubhouse at Bukit Pasoh Road in 1928 on the land donated by its founding President, Mr Xiao Zhilai.

When World War II ended, Chin Kang Huay Kuan set up a Relief Section in 1946 to strengthen ties and take care of the interests of its members. In 1947, they founded the Chin Kang School for children whose education had been badly disrupted by the Japanese Occupation and offering night classes so that more students can receive education. After Singapore’s independence, education was adequately provided by the government. Chin Kang School was closed at the end of 1975. In the following year, the Clan set up the Recreation Section as part of its mission to promote cultural activities. In 2008, they set up a Youth Group to foster ties among Chin Kang’s youth globally, assist new immigrants to integrate, as well as to groom successors for the clan.

Chin Kang Huay Kuan is now constructing a “Chin Kang Gallery” to give its clubhouse a new facelift. The Gallery will incorporate the use of digital technology to create a unique experience for visitors to appreciate the contribution of the forefathers from Chin Kang and learn their values of unity and perseverance. The Gallery will also raise the awareness of clan associations and help to preserve the traditions and heritage. 

Two calligraphy pieces by Shen Muyu and Wu Zhongshan, both of Chin Kang descent, perfectly reflect the values of Integrity, Humanity, Unity and Hard Work of the clan and the strong bond between members tied by their roots.

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Singapore Foochow Association was established in 1909 by the Foochow people. Back then, Foochow clansmen built Thian Hock Keng in gratitude for Mazu’s protection. It then became a  place for clansmen to meet and catch up. This formed the basis for the founding of the association.

In the early stages, the association’s purpose was to connect and unite clansmen, resolve problems and seek welfare for them. It gradually expanded to include areas of public service such as education, culture, and charity. The association founded the San Shan School in 1925 and helped establish Nanyang University, contributing to the educational needs of the local population. They also worked with the Foochow Coffee Restaurant & Bar Merchants Association to raise funds for the construction of the Foochow Building, which was completed in 1977.

Apart from traditional Chinese customs, the association also supported various national campaigns. To better promote Chinese heritage, they started a youth group. At the same time, they valued their relations and connections with their clansmen, both locally and overseas.

To show their support for the Treasures of the Clans exhibition, the association has lent nine pieces of their treasured collection of calligraphy and ink paintings.

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In the early 19th century, many Chinese from China’s southern coastal townships saw opportunities in South East Asia and flocked to the region in search of better lives. Settling down in this area known as Nanyang, they set up respective clan associations to care for and support fellow immigrants. Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK) was founded against this backdrop within Thian Hong Keng temple at Telok Ayer in 1840.

Since its inception, Hokkien Huay Kuan has always been committed to uplifting the community as a whole, in addition to promoting fellowship and goodwill among Hokkien descendants. The clan  helped build and maintain the Tao Nan School, Ai Tong School, Chongfu School, Nan Chiau Primary School, Nan Chiau High School and Kong Hwa School between 1906 to 1953. In 1953, Hokkien Huay Kuan donated 523 acres of land for the construction of Nanyang University (now Nanyang Technological University). In the late 80s, Huay Kuan spearheaded Chinese speech and drama classes, and Chinese dance training for children. In 2012, the SHHK Cultural Academy became the first ever cultural academy set up by a clan association, with facilities like a bilingual kindergarten and an after-school care centre.

SHHK celebrated its 180th anniversary in 2020 with the 2-volume  publication Transcending Centuries: A Chronicle of SHHK 180 Years of Historical Articles, where Lim Tze Peng contributed his calligraphy for the title of the book. Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan will display the centenarian artist’s Transcending Centuries. Wish to catch a glimpse? Be sure not to miss Treasures of the Clans!

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The history of the Lam Ann Association is closely linked to the Hong San See Temple. In 1836, Lam Ann pioneers constructed the Hong San See Temple near Cheng San Teng. The temple underwent renovation in 1868. In 1907, the temple relocated to its current address at Mohamed Sultan Road due to urban redevelopment. By then, Hong San See Temple was already a common gathering place for the Nan’an people. So when the clan association started the Nan Ming School there, the temple became even more popular.

In 1926, Lam Ann pioneers initiated the building of a Lam Ann Clan Association. They purchased five shophouses on Ann Siang Hill, of which unit number 59 was used as their clubhouse while the remaining units were rented out to generate revenue to cover their expenses. During the Japanese invasion, the clubhouse became the headquarters for the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army, led by martyr Lim Bo Seng.

In 1950, Lam Ann Association was officially registered as a public company limited by guarantee; in 1958, the Mutual Help Committee was established; in 1970, the five-storey Lam Ann Building finished construction; and in 1988, the Youth Group was formed.

Lam Ann Association would be participating in this exhibition with four artworks, including paintings by the late Wu Tsai Yen, who was best known for his unique “Nanyang Style” finger painting, and calligraphy artwork by Pan Shou.

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As far as 100 years ago, many Chaoyang pioneers came to earn a living in Singapore. In 1926, they initiated the setting up of Teo Yeong Huai Kuan in High Street to unite fellow clansmen. They later acquired a piece of land in Clemenceau Avenue to build their own facility. Due to transportation issues, they rented a place in Tank Road as a temporary clubhouse. After moving into their own place in 1941, all activities were brought to a halt due to the Japanese invasion, resuming only in 1945 after the Japanese surrender.

In 1952, a new building was completed, and they started the Teo Yeong School (also known as the Chaoyang School) the following year. The school closed in 1982 as the need for Chinese-medium schools declined. Following the advice of the Ministry of Education, Teo Yeong Huai Kuan allowed Chao Yang Special School to use its premises, and the school is now known as the APSN Chaoyang School.

Apart from the groups that cover mutual aid, welfare, and recreation, the clan formed a youth wing in 2016 to groom successors to carry on their legacy.

Seven pieces from their collection will be on display, including three Chinese ink paintings by Nai Swee Leng, a painting by Choo Keng Kwang, and a calligraphy piece by Cai Mingchen.

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Established in 1929, Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan is a locality-based association for the Teochew-speaking community. Teochew, or Chaozhou, is a city in the eastern part of Guangdong province in China, whereas “Poit It” refers to the eight districts previously under its governance: Chao’an, Jieyang, Chenghai, Chaoyang, Puning, Huilai, Raoping and Nan’ao.

The association now has over 6,000 members from all walks of life, many of which are highly respected individuals. After Dr George Quek became President in 2013, the association focused more on the strengthening of ties among the Teochews. Backed by the historical significance of the Teochew Building in Tank Road, the clan association promotes Teochew culture through social, education, and economic means.

Making up one-fifth of our Chinese population, the Teochews have a profound impact on the development of Singapore. Many pioneers, like their founder Lim Nee Soon, were respectable businessmen and community leaders who made crucial contributions to Singapore’s economic growth.

The association will be lending pieces from its impressive collection, including an acrylic on canvas by Chen Liqing and five calligraphy pieces from Goh Toh Piow, Heng Wei Chia, Sim Soong Kee, Ma Shuanglu, and Wong Joon Tai.

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A locality-based group, Theng Hai Huay Kuan was set up in 1965 to fight for the welfare and interest of the Teochews. Over time, the clan grew and expanded its activities. In the spirit of serving the society, they began to reach out and look out for the other communities.

The clan association participates actively in national campaigns, including the promotion of cultural and recreational activities. This allows the younger generations to better understand the history and traditions of the Teochews, thereby passing down the core values of the Chinese people. Theng Hai Huay Kuan is also one of the earliest clan associations in Singapore to have its own website. With the help of technology, they can easily connect with clansmen around the world and reach out to the younger generations. 

Their displays, including paintings and eight calligraphy pieces, are bound to be an eye-opener.

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Acknowledgements:

  • Guest-of-Honour for opening ceremony:
  • Minister of State
  • Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • Ms Low Yen Ling
  • Selection Panel:
  • Mr Choo Thiam Siew
  • Mr Tan Ruirong
  • Mr Low Sze Wee
  • Mr Lee Ee Wurn
  • Clan Associations:
  • Choo Clan Association
  • Eng Choon Hway Kuan (Singapore)
  • Foo Clan Association (Singapore)
  • Kim Mui Hoey Kuan
  • Nanyang Sim Clan Association
  • Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan
  • Putian Association Singapore
  • Singapore Amoy Association
  • Singapore Ann Kway Association
  • Singapore Chin Kang Huay Kuan
  • Singapore Foochow Association
  • Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan
  • Singapore Lam Ann Association
  • Teo Yeong Huai Kuan
  • Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan
  • Theng Hai Huay Kuan
  • Co-organisers:
  • Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
  • Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations
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