View Full Version : Ee Hoe Hean Club : reconstruction
March 5th, 2005, 07:20 AM
Ee Hoe Hean Club
During WW2, the club raised funds to support China.
March 5th, 2005, 07:57 AM
There's this huge lattice thingy propping up the side wall... :eek: :runaway:
March 5th, 2005, 08:09 AM
huh? the side of the wall looks very plain
March 5th, 2005, 08:15 AM
Yah, very plain AND precarious..... :eek: :runaway:
March 5th, 2005, 08:17 AM
eh? you have a shot of the back! :cool:
January 7th, 2007, 12:58 PM
Discovered that the club building was torn down...must have been structurally unsound.
But as it is a conservation building, it seems that it is being rebuilt.
Taken in June 06 by hyacinthus
7 Jan 07
January 7th, 2007, 12:59 PM
The 3-storey building next to it is also getting a makeover:
January 7th, 2007, 03:32 PM
could be structurally unsound.
January 10th, 2007, 08:40 AM
Hope they rebuild the old Eng Wah Building..
January 13th, 2007, 08:23 AM
Hey, this is thrilling news! :)
I'm truly glad the reconstruction is happening. :banana:
And thanks, Raffi & redstone, for keeping track of such wonderful turn of events. :okay:
It's great that such threads were around way back then, and that they're still here, to be updated so much later! And the greatest thing is that there are forumers who notice and care about such things. :grouphug:
January 13th, 2007, 02:42 PM
Actually SEAFan, I didnt realise that the unsound structure was demolished...I just discovered it by chance, and then remembered the pictures from way back...and decided that this should be an interesting restoration project to follow, and could be a topic in its own right....well I guess know more people would know of the existence of this little building :D
January 13th, 2007, 08:36 PM
^^ That's amazing! So it was by sheer accident that you found out about the demolition ...
So yes please! :) It would be great if you'd go there every once in a while and snap a picture of the reconstruction progress.
Thanks to you and redstone!
July 4th, 2007, 04:25 PM
The reconstructed structure is nearing completion, but is still hidden behind netting.
July 4th, 2007, 05:00 PM
Is it still a millionaire club now?
September 19th, 2007, 04:18 PM
19 Sep 2007
September 19th, 2007, 04:25 PM
Its so nice to see it faithfully restored following the URA conservation guidelines :yes:
Must have been damn hot today??? ;)
September 19th, 2007, 04:34 PM
yes... good idea to take train back. :)
September 21st, 2007, 11:32 PM
Great to see it reborn!
But... the friezes look kinda different. But 95% the same. :lol:
September 22nd, 2007, 12:58 AM
Oh what a wonderful sight! :banana:
Both buildings were restored. Thanks for going there to take the photo for us, Hya! :hug:
But please! Why restore the EE Hoe Hean Club and then use it for parking? :bash:
September 23rd, 2007, 05:37 AM
Good point...or maybe the owners wanted some practicalities?
Either that or planning guidelines stipulate that parking provision is a must. But, I doubt it since this is a conservation zone...so maybe its the owners...but importantly, the reconstruction looks quite faithful.
September 23rd, 2007, 07:25 AM
The parking is only for the porch area
September 23rd, 2007, 02:21 PM
It still has this modern toush to it that bars it from being linked to the past.
October 19th, 2008, 11:20 AM
Theres an article about the club today.
October 22nd, 2008, 10:48 AM
Where? Could you perhaps give a link to the article, redstone? :)
*** Photo by Hyacinthus***
Does the Club still operate out of the now restored building?
During WW2, the club raised funds to support China.
What are they doing these days? I mean WW2 is over by now ... ;)
I think they did an excellent job btw ... very nice colors, and I guess over time the white will have become less bright.
October 22nd, 2008, 12:22 PM
Oct 19, 2008
Men's club opens its doors
It's all change for 113-year-old Ee Hoe Hean Club, where tycoons once caroused
By Leong Weng Kam
It is the Singaporean equivalent of a gentlemen's club. Membership is by invitation and restricted to men only.
For the longest time, few really knew what went on inside the 113-year-old Ee Hoe Hean Club, housed in a three-storey building at Bukit Pasoh Road, a stone's throw from Chinatown.
But it was obviously an exclusive club for wealthy towkays, judging by the fleet of limousines parked outside - many with drivers waiting - since the days of pioneers such as Lim Nee Soon and later the Haw Par Brothers early last century.
Rumours abounded that it was a place where the rich wined, dined, played mahjong and took their mistresses. After all, wives were discouraged from entering its premises.
However, more than just a place where the wealthy congregate to carouse and make merry, it was also where some of the most important events affecting the Chinese community here and abroad took place.
For instance, it was the headquarters of the overseas anti-Japanese campaign during the Sino-Japanese war years. India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the club in 1946, and the Chinese community's idea to set up Nanyang University (Nantah) was also mooted there in the early 1950s.
Besides pioneers such as Gan Eng Seng, Lim Chwee Chian and Lim Boon Keng, who were among those who founded the club in 1895, leading members of the Ee Hoe Hean included several generations of Chinese community and business leaders.
Its membership is no less distinguished today. Its list of honorary presidents and advisers include Foreign Minister George Yeo, United Overseas Bank chairman Wee Cho Yaw, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Chua Thian Poh, Nominated MP Tay Beng Chuan and City Developments managing director Kwek Leng Joo, among others.
Many Singaporeans were surprised when the club opened its doors to the public with a regular series of monthly public forums and talks in March this year. The topics ranged from the US sub-prime crisis and the rise of China as a superpower to music appreciation and traditional Chinese medicine.
And next month, a pioneers' memorial hall there featuring mostly past generations of Chinese community leaders associated with the club, including Tan Kah Kee, will also be opened to the public.
The decision to throw open its once hallowed doors is a deliberate one.
It came about after cracks started to appear on the walls of the clubhouse in 1999, apparently affected by the construction of the Mass Rapid Transit's Circle Line, which went under it.
In 2002, the building - erected in 1927 - was declared unsafe, and had to be demolished. As it had been marked a historic site by the National Heritage board since 1995, an identical building had to be reconstructed.
Retired lawyer and current club president Lim Chin Joo, 71, recalled it was then that he and other leaders deliberated on the club's future: to continue as a private club for members' leisure activities or to do more.
Many proposals were thrown up.
One, from honorary president K.C. Tan, 89, even called for the club to be converted into a museum for his late uncle Tan Kah Kee.
The latter, a long-time president of the club from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, is one of Singapore's most illustrious pioneers.
Born in China in 1874, he came to Singapore when he was 16 in 1890. He founded The Chinese High School in 1919 and the now-defunct Chinese language daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, in 1923. He returned to his native home in Fujian province after the war and died in Beijing in 1961, aged 88.
Mr K.C. Tan told The Sunday Times that the Ee Hoe Hean was his late uncle's headquarters for his China relief and salvation campaign from the 1920s to the 1940s during the Sino-Japanese war years.
'During my uncle's time, this was more than just a social club. It was where history was made, and we should remember it as such.
'There are so many other places where one can gamble or play mahjong,' he said, referring to the game that is a popular pastime with club members.
New lease of life
But most of the club's 160 members then did not want to see the club go as it was still an important place for Chinese businessmen to meet, network and contribute to society.
A simple porridge lunch is still provided free for members and their guests at the club daily.
Members have also donated generously to charitable causes both here and in China over the years. For example, they gave $170,000 to the Sichuan quake victims in China recently.
A compromise was struck on the club's future.
The Tan Kah Kee Foundation - a non-profit organisation set up in 1982 - contributed $1 million towards the clubhouse's reconstruction, which was completed about a year ago at a cost of more than $2.5 million.
In return, the ground floor of the building has been turned into a 2,000 sq ft memorial hall for pioneers including Tan Kah Kee, his son-in-law Lee Kong Chian, Lim Nee Soon, Lim Chwee Chian, Tan Lark Sye and Soon Peng Yam.
Tan Lark Sye, for instance, was the Chinese community leader who initiated the formation of Nantah in 1955. He donated $5 million to launch a mass fund-raising campaign that gained support from even trishaw riders and dance hostesses.
Nantah merged with the University of Singapore to become the National University of Singapore in 1980.
Professor K.K. Phua, 65, a vice-president of the club and chairman of the Tan Kah Kee Foundation, said the memorial hall helps to provide a historical element to the club.
'Those who want to know the club's past can visit the memorial hall now,' he said.
Current president Mr Lim explained: 'As we preserve the status of the club as a social club, we are also keeping a jealous eye on its traditions and history.
He added: 'At our 100th anniversary celebrations in 1995, then club president Soon Peng Yam had already proposed the setting up of a mini museum within the club's premises to show our history. His wish has now being fulfilled.'
A resurrected building also deserves a new lease of life, so Mr Lim and his team of leaders have gone on a membership drive since the new Ee Hoe Hean reopened last November.
'Most of our members were in their 60s and 70s, and we needed younger members, or we will become another old folks' club,' Mr Lim quipped.
Lawyer Lee Boon Leong, 62, and a vice-president of the club, agreed.
He said it was necessary to diversify the club's activities to attract more young members.
Hence the talks and forums that Mr Lim believes can engage the community, and which shows the Ee Hoe Hean has its pulse on events happening around the world.
They are usually organised jointly with another community or business group, such as the Association of Nantah Graduates and the Singapore-China Business Association, to strengthen the club's networking efforts with other organisations.
They have proved to be a draw.
For instance, a recent forum on political changes taking place in Malaysia attracted more than 200 people, both members and non-members.
The club hopes to organise one public forum or talk every fortnight.
Mr Lim said some people may still think the club is a place where the rich take their mistresses to entertain because members' wives were not encouraged to go to the club in the past.
'But this is no longer so as some members are bringing their wives to our Saturday dinner gatherings at the club every fortnight,' he explained.
Some first-time visitors to the club still ask him to show them the bedrooms in the club, even though he did not see any around himself when he joined the club back in the 1970s.
'They would have disappeared long ago even if they had existed because the clubhouse had undergone major renovations in 1968, 1975 and in 1995, before it was totally torn down a few years ago,' he said.
There are 240 members now, up from about 160 a year ago. The youngest is 36, and the oldest 92.
Developer Melvin Poh, 36, said he heard little about the Ee Hoe Hean before he became a member last year at the invitation of a business partner.
He said: 'I am very impressed by the club's past history and feel privileged to be among some of Singapore's most successful businessmen, though many of them are of my father's or grandfather's generations. But I learnt a lot by talking and interacting with them.'
Meanwhile, Mr Lim believes the club may one day take in women members as well.
He said: 'Since time immemorial, it has been a men's-only club. There is no myth to that. Our ancestors had preferred it, and their wishes have so far been respected.
'My own reading is that our Constitution is not against admitting women members. When will we take them in? It can be any time.'
Madam Lin Dengli, 59, managing director of Golden Travel, hopes to be the first woman to join the club.
'In the past, there were few or no woman entrepreneurs, but there are so many around today. It is time the club includes them as members. I am sure they can contribute to the club's success.'
The name in Chinese is 怡和轩
Yup, they've moved back to their new club building after it was rebuilt. I'm glad the ugly soffit below the balconies are no more. There used to be a huge lattice propping up the side walls. Here are some pictures from Wikipedia just before the original clubhouse was torn down. The lattice goes over the old transformer building next door:
Here's what it looked like just prior to demolition:
A very small building, but nevertheless it played a significant part in our cultural and social history. :)
October 23rd, 2008, 09:48 AM
Oh thank you so much, redstone! :hug:
That article really puts the Club, its building, and its illustrious history into context.
May the Ee Hoe Hean Club long continue to play a significant part in Singapore's cultural and social history! :angel1: