SINGAPORE - It was built under the British rule in 1840 to help new immigrants from Kong Chow in Southern China to find lodging and employment in Singapore.
173 years later today, Kong Chow Wui Koon is still going strong with more than 500 members.
Originally located at Upper Chin Chew Street, the building relocated to New Bridge Road in 1924.
Mr Lawrence Sew, Secretary-General of Kong Chow Wui Koon said, "Those who came here early started businesses in provisions, such as soya, tobacco. These trades provide opportunities for the later wave of immigrants that come from the mainland.
"We were still under the British economy at that time, so we had to take care of ourselves. We built our own schools, Kong Chow School, we contributed to building Kwong Wai Shu Hospital, and also the graveyard. We took care of the sick, needy, elderly and the dead.
To celebrate the Singapore Heritage Festival's 10th anniversary, nine Chinese clan associations including Kong Chow Wui Koon are opening their doors to educate the public about Singapore's history, culture and tradition.
With changing times, the association no longer forms a social and business hub for new immigrants. Instead, it has taken on a new role, educating the young about their cultural heritage.
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