I found at least 4 Chinese associations along one stretch of Carpenter Street.
Chinese associations can go by dialects or by surname. For example, dialect clan associations are Hainan Association, Hokkien Association, Foochow Association, Teochew Association etc. We hardly find a surname clan associations in Kuching, but a lot can be found in Singapore and Penang.
Clan associations were formed when Chinese from mainland China migrated down to the South Sea in the late 1800s. They established these associations to look after their own members’ welfare and provide community support. New comers from China would registered themselves with their respective clan associations, thus the ‘club house’ has became a meeting place for clansmen.
Unfortunately in this modern age and time, memberships of these associations have dwindled. Younger generation didn’t seem to look for ‘community support’ here when they have cyber cafes.
Sadly these days, clan associations have very little activities, except for a few mahjong tables or a place for the older folks to read newspaper or have a cuppa with their comrades.