64 Club Street   Chinatown A social institution to assist early Indonesian Immigrants to

Singapore

 

The Pondok Peranakan Gelam Club at 64 Club Street in Chinatown was founded in 1932 by early settlers from Pulau Bawean.

There were pondoks in Blair Road,  Everton Road,  Spottiswoode Park,  Duxton Hill,  Serangoon Road and Jalan Besar,  some of them are still there. The Baweanese who established these pondoks come from an island north of Java and south of Kalimantan Indonesia.

They set up the pondok for the new migrants from their district or village. The migrants took on various jobs as gardeners, horse-carriage drivers and syces with assistance of those who had already settled in

Singapore

. 

The pondok was a social institution that helped the Baweanese to cope with life in a foreign land. It was based on the principle of mutual help and on strict sanctions to uphold the honour of the institution.

Pondoks were shophouses. Married couples used the bedrooms upstairs while singles and children slept downstairs on wooden platforms. Every couple had its own stove and when a misunderstanding arose the head of the pondok (pak lurah) would settle it. Meals were generally prepared by their kinsmen and the partakers paid for them. Rentals were paid to the head or his assistant. Even Government fines imposed on individuals were met by the pondok. Punishment was meted out to members who threatened other families; the pondok members would decide the punishment even expelling the member.

By 1860 there were about 3000 Javanese and Baweanese in

Singapore

. 

Very few pondoks are left in

Singapore

 as most of the occupants have moved into Housing and Development Board flats.

The early Baweanese lived in harmony with Chinese and Indians in early

Singapore

.