Gan Heritage Centre, Singapore

Gan Clan Singapore (formerly known as The Gan Clan Association) is a non-profit organization with roots that dates back to the pre-war days of Singapore in 1926. Today, the growing association has about 700 members and is increasingly acknowledged by both local and overseas associations for its various achievements and breakthroughs.

Gan Heritage Centre seek to honour and preserve the rich heritage of the Gan Clan; to celebrate the historic and cultural significance of the Gan ancestry; to connect the younger generation to their genealogical roots; and last but not least, to uphold the clanship spirit and promote its relevance in a modern, changing world.

A comprehensive clan archive, the Centre presents an illustration and documentation of the story of the Gan Clan from the etymological origins of the Gan surname to its present status. Above all, Gan Heritage Centre is a living museum that encourages interaction with its visitors, particularly the younger audience in quest of their ancestral roots and cultural identity.

As early as 1986, Gan Clan Singapore is the very first overseas Chinese group to establish a commemorative monument for their ancestors since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, of which the process was filmed in a Japan movie Yellow Sea. They visited Qufu, the hometown of ancestor Yan Zi who is known as the best disciple of Confucius.

Stronger overseas relations were forged in 1991, when the association hosted the first World Gan Clan conference. The conference was attended by more than 300 delegates from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, United States, Canada and Malaysia. During the conference, apart from organizing academic forums and talks and forming the cyber center of the international Gan clan, the association has also established and raised S$200,000 for World Gan Clan Cultural and Educational Fund.

Currently, our President Dr Gan See Khem is the Executive Chairman and Managing Director of Health Management International Ltd. She holds the distinctions of being the first female president in history of associations in Singapore, and most notably known as one of the first two women to step into the male domain of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) in 1995.

This year, the greatest highlight of Gan Clan Singapore is the unveiling of a strategic launch of Gan Heritage Centre. It is the first heritage centre in Singapore that narrates on both Confucius and his best disciple, Yan Zi, as well as the interesting stories of Gan community in historical context. It involves collaboration with National Heritage Board that aims to widely promote Chinese cultural awareness in a relevant and engaging way.

The Gan (Yan) immigrants have a long history in Singapore. According to epigraphic evidence, a pioneer Yan Lin had acquired land and made contributions to the Thian Hock Keng temple and a cemetery for Gan clansmen.

Prior to World War Two there was a Lu Guo Tang Gan Clan Association which organised ancestral worship at the Gan’s public tomb in Leng Kee Hill during the Qingming Festival, but there is no record of its establishment. It ceased to operate during the Japanese Occupation.

On June 3, 1948, the Lu Guo Tang was re-registered under the Societies Ordinance. However, it was forced to dissolve due to weak organisational structure. Nevetheless, the Gan clansmen never gave up the idea of forming a clan association.

In 1965, Gan Yue Cheng hosted a banquet in the Imperial Room Restaurant, the host proposed the formation of the Gan Clan Association Singapore, which received an overwhelming response from the clansmen. A pro-tem committee comprising Gan Yue Cheng (co-ordinator), Gan Kee Cheow, Gan Hui Chong, Gan Kok Hua, Gan Teng Chek and Yan Song Xu was set up, with a temporary office at No. 142, Cross Street.

The first preparatory meeting was held in the Guan Chong Bee Tea Co. Ltd. The meeting resolved to draft a constitution for a clan association and to apply to the government for registration.

On April 6, 1966, the application was approved and the Gan Clan Association was officially formed. The first president was Gan Yue Cheng. Initially, it had less than a hundred members. Besides recruiting members, it initiated a fund-raising drive to buy premises. With the hence the association building in No.18 and 20 Bukit Pasoh Road was purchased at a cost of $135,000.

In 1976, Gan Yue Cheng, Gan Kee Chow (颜期巢), Gan Hui Chong(颜辉宗) and Gan Boon Siong (颜文祥) went to visit the Philippines Gan Clan. They received a donation of S$30,000 from Gan Qi Dang (颜期党), a fellow Gan from the Philippines. As a gesture of appreciation for his generosity, one of the halls in Gan Clan Association’s premises was named “Chun Zhi Tang” (纯治堂) as 纯治 was his mother’s maiden name. Another hall was named “Yee Hoon Ting (诒云厅)” as Yee Hoon was the father of Gan Yue Cheng. Gan Yue Cheng also donated $30,000. With the generous donations from these members, Gan Clan Association was able to own a permanent home for fellow Clan members in 18-20 Bukit Pasoh Road without incurring any financial debt.

To build a Gan Clan community with pride in our heritage and shared values of humanity and service.

The objective of the Association is to extend networking and connectivity amongst Gan Clan members, promote traditional Chinese values and language, and contribute to the development of multi-cultural Singapore.

We promote the values of humanity, filial piety, integrity and compassion. We encourage a family orientation with respect for the individual and the elderly. We nurture and care for our young to become exemplary citizens of Singapore.