Hye Kia Nam Li Tang Yeo Wui
On 24 October 2004, key members of Nam-Li made an important decision about the future of their organization. (See Hye Kia Nam Li Tang Yeo Wui)
12 members of Nam-Li voted at an Extraordinary General Meeting to wind-up the association officially on 30 November 2004.
Nam-Li had been in a gradual decline for many years. Its key members, including Father who was involved in the 1974 fund raising, had been performing their duties all these years. There were, however, no new members to take over these duties.
Nam-Li had 191 members in 1982, which declined to 110 in 2001 and then 100 by its final days in 2004. Whereas most of the members were middle-aged and active participating in Nam-Li in 1982, most of the members in 2004 were elderly and inactive. Hardly anyone joined in the last decade.
In fact, when the final letter announcing the dissolution of Nam-Li was sent out by registered post, 11 out of 64 of the letters sent out were returned due to change of address or unknown recipient, which showed how far Nam-Li’s fortunes had fallen.
As Father remarked, “Clan associations had completed their mission of an era, it’s time to be dissolved.” – 社团已完成时代使命，该是解散的时候。
On the notice announcing the decision, Father wrote this short poetry:
终年相处情淡淡 Relationships have become diluted in recent years;
一旦离别情依依 But upon farewell one becomes nostalgic;
无奈会所难维持 A pity the premises cannot be maintained;
祝愿我们好运来 Let’s hope good fortune comes our way.
On 21 November 2004, day of the farewell lunch, I turned up at Nam-Li - my parents had arrived earlier. Many elderly members were there too. All in all, about 40 odd members, although food was catered for 50. Authentic Hainanese buffet, including mutton soup and “Hainanese vegetables”.
Here I met many people I had seen as a child and realized how long it had been since I last saw them. For many of them, it was also a reunion with friends whom they hadn’t seen for a while.
On 25 November 2004, prayers were made to the statues of the three gods – Fu, Lu and Shou (幅碌寿) – who have protected Nam-Li for many years, after which they were “retired” to the Tua-Beh-Gong Temple 洛阳大伯公 at Loyang on the northeast coast of Singapore.
On 30 November 2004, the landlord (HDB) regained control of the premises at Waterloo Street. Hye Kia Nam Li Tang Yeo Wui, after seventy years of public service and focal point of an immigrant community, was dissolved.
This article is contributed by Mr. Tan Wee Cheng whose father is a key member in Nam-Li.