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The First Teochews in Singapore: Part 3 – The Teochew Store 潮舖
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Despite uncertainty on his part, Phua did not relent on the existence of a Mazu shrine before the end of the 18th century. His insistence appears to be based on knowledge of oral traditions tied to Ban See Soon Kongsi. Chart of the south side of the island Byntang with the track of the Royal George in January Accordingly, it would not be unreasonable to conjecture that the oral traditions speak of two separate Mazu attap shrines.
An important point in relation to this, is the often overlooked fact that Raffles himself was bound for Riau to set up an EIC station when he set sail from Calcutta on 7 December , and he only re-directed his course to Singapore after receiving news from Farquhar in Penang that the principal port of Johor had fallen under Dutch control. Yet, one question remains: What made the Teochew gambier planters move to Singapore before the British came, especially if they knew the Malays there had previously slain their kinsmen?
The timing exposes a relationship to another key event, which was the conclusion of a treaty on 28 November by which Raja Jaafar permitted the Dutch to re-occupy Riau. Besides Tengku Long, Temenggong Abdul Rahman was said to be the most vocal in opposing this agreement.
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A plausible explanation for this situation is that Raja Jaafar had struck a bargain with Temenggong Abdul Rahman, permitting him to commence gambier planting in Singapore in return for rubber stamping his own deal with Melaka. This episode was referred in Raffles' report to the EIC government on his signing of the Singapore Treaty, albeit with stress on the Temenggong's ties with the Dutch. He wrote:. His Name and that of Singapore is not mentioned in it to his knowledge, he did not then nor has he since received any Copy nor has he had any communication verbal or written from the Dutch regarding it.
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The struggle Temenggong Abdul Rahman was bent on was not military, but trade through the creation of a rival port in Singapore. However an old Teochew oral account, validated by a body of evidences from multiple sources, including the earliest British reports about Singapore by Raffles, no less, now shines light that it was the coming together of many, and not just the brilliance of one man, that sparked the Singapore miracle. Chinese epigraphic materials in Indonesia Vol.
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Singapore: South Seas Society. In Bleeker, P.
Tijdschrift voor Indische taal-, land-, en volkenkunde, II p. Lao Pun Tao Kong Shrine. About The Shrine.
Chinese Epigraphic Materials in Thailand. Taipei: Xinwenfeng Chuban Gongsi]. Population of Singapore in Singapore: Oxford University Press. Original work published Call no. Original work published