The Baweanese presence in Singapore has been recorded as early as 1837, and their migration into Singapore intensified at the turn 20th century. Bawean migration is often said to be motivated by an indigenous ethos referred to as merantau. This video series will give insights to the factors influencing the migration of the Baweanese to Singapore and their integration with the various local communities to form one of the significant sub-ethnic Malay communities in Singapore today.
This first webisode provides a brief history on the migration of the Baweanese to Singapore; and snippets early Baweanese settlements (Kampong Boyan and Kampong Kapor) where many Bawean ponthuk were found.
“Do not get married
Before you have been on a sojourn
Do not go on a sojourn
Before making sure you have enough provisions”
-Bawean Merantau Philosophy
This webisode will be available on this page from 1 Aug, Sat, 9am and available throughout the event.
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- Production: Co-presented by The Arts House and Persatuan Bawean Singapura
- Event venue: Online
- Event price: FREE
- Event duration:
- Event Date(s): 2020-08-01 00:00:00 | 2020-08-02 00:00:00
- Event start date: 2020-08-01 09:00
- Event end date: 2020-12-31 12:00
- Custom Event Date(s): Premiere on 1 Aug 2020, SAT
- Custom Event Time(s): 9am
- Additional information:
The merantau is a seen as a cultural ideal and expectation of a Baweanese male, in the process of dhedhi oreng (gaining adulthood), to seek knowledge, skills, and gain experience to obtain a respectable social standing in his community upon his return. It is also an economic and religious ideal to overcome Pulau Bawean’s geographical and socio-economic limitations. As part of the merantau, Baweanese men would usually make commercial journeys beyond his homeland.
The Baweanese have a long history of trade and migratory routes dating back to the mid-18th century that link the Pulau Bawean to various trading cities in Nusa Tenggara, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, East Java, Riau and the Malay peninsula. One of the critical reasons that Singapore was the destination of choice was that the island was a stopover for the voyage to Mecca for those who wanted to perform the Haj pilgrimage.
The ponthuk was an institution that characterised Baweanese commercial operations. It facilitated commercial journeys and operations, providing temporary lodging, employment and even assistance with travel arrangements for the Bawean perantau. The ponthuk provided support and moral security for the Bawean perantau facilitating their transition into life in cities such as Singapore.
Singapore, a rapidly developing maritime port in Southeast Asia at that time provided economic opportunities among the Baweanese, thus, further attracting them to migrate to Singapore to amass savings before embarking on the pilgrimage journey. These opportunities had also sparked economic favours for them, further motivating them to settle permanently (menetap) in Singapore together with their family members from Pulau Bawean.
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