Sejarah Bawean Di Singapura

The Boyanese Community

By early 1860, there were 3000 Javanese and Baweanese in Singapore. Pulau Bawean is a small island north of Java and south of Kalimantan. It is estimated that about 20% of Singaporean Malay population are of Baweanese origin. The Baweanese had a tradition of migrating to other
lands to seek a better livelihood although their island was not poverty-stricken (Singapore Heritage p54; Tanjung Pagar: Singapore’s Cradle of Development ).The Boyanese were generally employed as plantation workers, drivers and gardeners during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Kampong Boyan

A Boyanese Kampong existed during the 1900s on the Rochor River between Jalan Besar and Syed Alwi Road. It formed the nucleus of the Boyanese settlers in the early days of their migration (Abadi, Geylang Serai, 1986, p. 15).

Living in Pondoks

Traditionally, the Boyanese had organized themselves in pondoks. A pondok was more than just a communal space. It was also a communal structure. Each pondok was headed by a pak lurah (headman). The pak lurah and the committee that was responsible for the welfare of the pondok were nominated through a yearly election and held office for a one-year term. The pak lurah settled differences, enforced the rules of the pondok and determined the punishment to be meted out. He could also be called upon to settled differences between occupants of different pondoks with his counterpart. The pak lurah also made arrangements for new migrants who were interested in coming to Singapore for work. The pondok is a social-mutual aid institution that was most invaluable to new arriving Baweanese. (Singapore Heritage p54; Tanjung Pagar: Singapore Cradle of Development)

Occupants of the pondok paid monthly fees which were collected by the pak lurah with the help of the assistant pak lurah and the secretary. Government fines imposed on individuals were settled by the pondok as a community. At times when a pondok was in need of money, the funds could come from a neighbouring pondok. (Tanjung Pagar: Singapore’s Cradle of Development)

There was a system which physically separated the single and married occupants. Married couples occupied the rooms upstairs while children and singles slept on the ground floor. The rooms upstairs were partitioned by curtains to form smaller “rooms” for the couples. Each couple owned a stove which was placed in the communal kitchen. (Tanjung Pagar: Singapore’s Cradle of Development)

Many of Singapore’s early pondoks were found mainly around Blair Road, Everton Road, Spottiswood Park, Duxton Hill, Serangoon Road and Jalan Besar. Today, there are still several of these pondoks still in existence in these places. (Singapore Heritage, p54) Very few pondoks have survived as most occupants have moved into Housing Board flats. Despite having left the physical confines of the lodging house, some occupants still see themselves as members of the same pondok and gather to render assistance during wedding ceremonies. (Tanjung Pagar: Singapore’s Cradle of Development)
The pondok house at Club Street, founded in 1932 by settlers from Pulau Bawean, is today, considered a heritage site. (Singapore Heritage, p.54). A search of for the building plans of 64 Club Street turned up a plan that records the owner and builder of the pondok to be a Chinese man, Lau Chong. Apparently, the house was erected in 1923. It is probable the pondok was set up here in 1932 on a rental basis. (Building Plans, CBS 99, BP165). In the pre-war days, it was a common sight to see the Boyanese of this pondok seated all along Club Street weaving rattan baskets.

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