The ancestors of the Teochews in Singapore came from China and to meet the needs then, they formed clan associations to socialise with and offer mutual help to fellow clansmen.
The Teochews came from Southern Guangdong, China, i.e.: Chao'an (Teo Ann), Puning (Pho Leng), Jieyang (Kit Yang), Chenghai (Theng Hai), Huilai, Chaoyang, Raoping counties, Nan'ao and Dapo (Hakka district). Language differences led to Dapo being separated from the Teochew region, leaving the Teochew region with only eight districts, commonly known as "Bayi" or "Poit Ip". However, after the 19th century, the Chinese government further divided the eight districts into 11, whereby Jieyang was divided into Jiedong and Jiexi; and Chaoyang into three district, namely, Chaoyang , Chaonan and Haojiang. Nevertheless, in Singapore, Teochew organisations were already set up based on the initial eight districts. Thus, up till today, the number of Teochew clan association and guilds remain unchanged.
The first Teochew society set up by the early immigrants is "Ngee Ann Kongsi". Its main objective is to contribute to the community through charitable works and education. At the same time, in addition to the clan associations that represent the eight districts, there are subsidiary clan associations according to towns and surnames (family name).
All along, clan associations only work with their respective subsidiary clan associations and there is little contact among the clan associations, which are usually autonomous, working relentlessly for their members, while contributing to society in their own ways.
As the social landscape changes, a common platform for Teochew descendants is seen as a catalyst for the promotion of certain projects; therefore, many notable Teochew individuals believe that it is necessary to have an organisation that various clan associations can identify with. Hence, the Teochew Federation (Singapore) was founded by Mr Ku Kun Kee, Mr Tan Kien Lip, Mr Lee Sew-Iam, Mr Teo Chiang Long, and Mr Ang Hoon Seng. Mr Lie Kee Pong, a lawyer, who drafted the constitution for the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, was engaged to do the same for Teochew Federation (Singapore) and register it with the Registry of Societies. Approval for registration was granted by the Registrar of Societies on 15th June 2011 with UEN : T11SS0109D. The registration was published in the Government Gazette No. 1691 on 23rd June 2011.
In addition to fostering friendship and co-operation among members of the Singapore Teochew community, Teochew Federation (Singapore) aims to enhance contact and co-operation between local Teochew commercial and industrial establishments and other bodies, and at the same time, assist members in tracing their roots by setting up a genealogical system for future reference.
Unlike other clan associations, the council of Teochew Federation (Singapore) is not appointed by election. It comprises four representatives each appointed by the various Teochew clan associations. According to the Constitution, these appointees shall be holding the positions of President, Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the clan association that they are representing. Together with the five representatives from Ngee Ann Kongsi, the Council comprises 41 members. The Council shall also co-opt such number of persons to make up 41 members. The Principal members include President, Deputy President, Vice- Presidents, Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, Treasurer, Deputy Treasurer and two Internal Auditors. The President will only serve a term of two years. Thereafter, the Deputy President will take over as President for the new term. The other Principal Members assume the positions of Vice-President. Presidency is rotated among the representatives of the various clan associations in the best interests of the Teochews in Singapore.
By Mr Baey Theng Mong+ Chinese Version