Spring Heritage Gifting Ceremony

Press Release

Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Donates More Than 4,300 Historical Documents to the National Library Board

The 181-year-old Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK) today celebrated the beginning of the Year of Ox with the gifting of more than 4,300 historical documents to the National Library Board (NLB), including land sales indentures dating back to 1828, older than the clan association itself. To symbolise the donation, a set of 2 indentures, relating to a piece of land sold to Mr Tan Tock Seng, who used the land to build Thian Hock Keng temple, was presented to NLB at the SHHK Spring Heritage Gifting Ceremony. Some 50 guests, including SHHK Board of Governors, Council and Honorary Council members, Committee members, Hokkien clan association leaders, along with SHHK members and clan representatives online, joined-in the celebrations and co-witnessed the gifting ceremony.

The gifting ceremony was witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and SHHK Immediate Past President Mr Chua Thian Poh. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Library Board, Mr Ng Cher Pong, received the original indentures from SHHK President, Mr Tan Cheng Gay.

In his speech, Mr Tan Cheng Gay, President of SHHK, said, “As one of the oldest clan associations in Singapore, SHHK has accumulated vast number of documents over the past 181 years of our operation, some of which are of significant historical values. We are grateful that the National Library Board recognises their importance and is willing to be entrusted with their restoration, preservation and digitisation for posterity so that future generations can benefit from learning about the history of the Hokkien community and the society at large in Singapore.”

The historical archives donated included the seven other original indentures relating to land parcels of Thian Hock Keng and Chong Wen Ge, land records, rental records, receipts dating back to the second world war, meeting minutes bearing original signatures of prominent council members, old business letters and old photographs, are amongst the total of more than 4,300 individual donated items. Some of the donated documents will be restored, preserved, categorised, digitalised and, in time, made accessible to researchers and members of the public at the library.

SHHK is also looking to collaborate with NLB to develop an online resource guide, which will enable members of public and researchers to access a comprehensive index of historical materials relating to the Hokkien community. This one-stop guide seeks to aggregate archival records, newspaper articles, write-ups in book chapters and commemorative magazines into a one-stop guide for easy search and reference.

CEO of NLB, Mr Ng Cher Pong said, “The National Library Board is grateful to the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan for its generous donation of primary documents, including many important land sales indentures. As one of the earliest clan associations in Singapore, this donation by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan significantly adds to our collection on Singapore’s clan associations and will help promote a better understanding of the history and contributions of the Chinese community in Singapore. We hope that this donation will also encourage many other organisations to donate their valuable materials to the National Library Board for safe-keeping so that the present and future generations will be able to access, learn and research. We are also happy to explore new ways to bring history closer to our patrons with the development of the resource guide and hope that it facilitates the public in having a better understanding of Singapore’s past.”

The Spring Heritage Gifting Ceremony is organised as part of SHHK’s annual event aimed at connecting members and renewing shared ties amongst leaders of the Chinese communities. In celebrating the theme of “heritage” this year, young children from six Hokkien clan associations – Chin Kang Huay Kuan, Singapore Foochow Association, Chang Chow General Association, Kim Mui Hoey Kuan, Singapore Eng Teng Association and Xing’an Huiguan – presented CNY well-wishes in their native dialects via a pre-recorded video, showcasing the rich heritage and vibrance of the Hokkien community in Singapore.

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