Chp 3 Immigrants – What part did they play in Singapore’s development?
Their lives and contributions…
Who were the immigrants?
Europeans – British, Portuguese, Dutch
Arabia – Some could trace origins to Yamen
India and Ceylon – Tamils, Punjabis, Bengalis, Gujeratis and Parsees. Sinhalese from Ceylon.
Malay Archipelago – Javanese, Boyanese and Bugis
Melaka and Penang – Straits Chinese
China – Hokkiens, Cantonese, Teochews, Hainanese, Hakkas. Mostly from Southern China.
An old postcard of Singapore
Why did they come to Singapore?
Push Factors: unfavourable conditions in their homeland e.g. war, natural disasters
Pull Factors: favourable conditions that attract people to migrate e.g. jobs were abundant, better opportunities, peace, etc.
Change and Continuity:
Were the reasons that attracted the early immigrants to migrate to Singapore similar to the ones that attract foreigners to come to Singapore now?
Singapore at its early days
Characteristics of early immigrants
Did not intend to stay for long – sojourners
Some decided to stay
Some married locals, others sent their families over
Malays were the majority till the mid-19 th century when the Chinese took over
Different ethnic groups were segregated – divide and rule
Each group had a kapitan to take charge
Japanese in Singapore – Karayuki-san
Singapore Town Plan 1822
Where did they reside?
Chinese – Chinatown (Kereta Ayer) and different areas for different dialect groups
Indians- Chulia Kampong (Church Street) and later Serangoon Road
Europeans – North Bridge Road
Malays – Kampong Glam
Arabs – Arab Street
Bugis – Bugis Campong
Commercial Square (Raffles Square today) – centre of commerce for all traders
How did the immigrants contribute to Singapore as a trading centre?
Entrepot trade: 1. importing and exporting goods; 2. providing capital; 3. serving as middlemen and 4. providing goods and services for daily living
Providing support services: 1. construction sites; 2. dockyards; 3. plantations; 4. factories and 5. provision of daily necessities
Singapore – A free port
This meant that traders and ships from all nations could trade freely with one another and they did not have to pay custom duties or taxes on the goods they carried to and from the port.
Entrepot trade is also known as re-exportation, which is when a member of a customs union charges lower tariffs to external nations to win trade, and then re-exports the same product within the customs union, but tariff-free.
Traders often engaged Chinese middlemen to buy and sell goods.
Other services were also provided for traders…
Services provided by different ethnic groups
Chinese – unskilled labourers, coolies working at docks and construction sites
Indians – banking and transportation, construction works by convicts
Malays – providing basic necessities like firewood and foodstuff, shipbuilders etc.
Others – services to all these new immigrants, e.g. barbers, tailors, entertainers, plantation workers, rickshaw riders, dhobi men, etc.
What Social impact did the immigrants have on Singapore?
Acts of philanthropy by rich businessmen e.g. Tan Tock Seng > building hospital, Govindasamy Pillay > building of Hindu temples
Building of schools by businessmen and Christian missionaries e.g. St Margaret’s Sch aimed at saving girls slavery
Crimes committed by the immigrants e.g. slave trade, abuse of coolies, secret societies etc.
Social vices e.g. prostitution, gambling, opium smoking