Chui Huay Lim, a club for the Teochews here, is marking its 170th anniversary with a pledge to do more for the arts and culture, and the needy in the community.
Club president Roland Heng, 68, said its modern clubhouse in Keng Lee Road, completed four years ago at a cost of nearly $70 million, is now a cultural centre where talks and seminars on culture and the literary arts are held every fortnight.
"Our exhibition hall on the fourth level is also a popular venue for art exhibitions, especially those featuring Teochew artists," he told The Straits Times.
In conjunction with the anniversary celebrations, the club is also spending $200,000 to invite the 85-member Guangdong Teochew Opera Troupe 1 from China to give nine performances at the Kallang Theatre - nightly from tomorrow to Oct 11, and a Saturday matinee on Oct 10.
A gala dinner for about 600 guests, including Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, will be held at the club's ballroom today.
At the dinner, the club will present each of seven Teochew clan associations here with $8,000 as bursary money for needy students, up from the $6,000 it gave last year. The clan associations include Teo Ann Huay Kuan, Teo Yeonh Huai Kuan, Singapore Kityang Huay Kuan and Nanyang Pho Leng Hui Kuan.
"We will continue to do more to help the needy in our community," Mr Heng promised.
He said the club had also recently organised its first Teochew karaoke singing competition successfully and that he hoped to make it a biennial event from now.
Until four years ago, membership of the club was restricted to a select group of about 100 of the wealthiest Teochew business and community leaders here.
The tradition of membership by invitation and for men only was started when Teochew community leader Tan Seng Poh set up the club in 1845.
Since the completion of its new clubhouse in 2011, ordinary membership has been opened to all Teochews, irrespective of wealth and gender. However, ordinary members have no voting rights and are unable to become office-bearers in the club, unlike the 100 founding members.
"We have over 300 of these ordinary members now, including some women, and their number is still increasing," Mr Heng said.