Arts & Culture

Straits Clan: An Idea Made Tangible

How does a space so exclusive remain inclusive?

Words by
b-side staff
Location
Singapore

In 19th century Singapore, clans formed the backbone of society, as they provided support to new immigrants. By laying the foundation of human-to-human connections, the clans spurred the growth of societal advancements beyond individual goals. This is the inspiration behind Straits Clan, a project by The Lo & Behold Group.

Encompassed within 22,000 sq ft is a celebration to take you through living, eating, working and playing. Easy on the eyes and definitely built to fulfil one’s innermost indulgences, Straits Clan might just be what dreams are made of. Memberships and promises aside, what exactly makes this space one to bring the community together? B-Side learns more about the clan from Pauline Wee, director of content and community at Straits Clan.

How does Straits Clan ensure that the club remains exclusive yet inclusive?

The community we have fostered is distinctive and diverse. We have a community of individuals who want to venture outside their social circles or professions. We serve as the catalyst, providing an exclusive environment where people will feel at ease to strike up a conversation with one another. At the same time, the people we bring together have a common goal. They are people who are curious, interesting and driving change. They want to grow and be inspired.

We also have a diverse programming calendar with a variety of talks, showcases, performances and workshops, giving members access to a variety of exclusive experiences and world-class content. Across culture, business, well-being and causes, our events feature globally renowned individuals, including Matthieu Ricard, Danny Meyer, Isaac McHale, Ivan Heng and Iron & Wine. Members can gather at the Attic, the club’s event hall, for an inspiring sharing session, have a drink at the bar with a celebrity chef, or take part in an enlightening panel discussion on how technology is changing the retail industry.

Our range of membership categories helps to create accessibility regardless of industry, age or economics. The fee is lower for those under 30 and those in the non-profit sector because we recognise that there are individuals in these categories who could contribute greatly to our vision. Essentially, Straits Clan revolves around the meeting of minds, mindsets and a common vision. We want to bring together a community of socially and intellectually curious individuals who want to venture outside their circles or professions and build connections in a genuine and meaningful way.

“We want to bring together a community of socially and intellectually curious individuals who want to venture outside their circles or professions and build connections in a genuine and meaningful way.”

Globally, it is rare to achieve a near equal male-to-female representation as clubs tend to tilt towards male representation. What steps did Straits Clan take to achieve this? Why is it important to Straits Clan to have near equal male-to-female representation, local-to-non-local representation, as well as ensure that no single industry dominates?

Our founding members are a diverse community of innovation leaders, change makers and passionate architects of possibilities. We have worked to create a balance across genders, nationalities, age and professions, which will truly build a unique social network in Singapore. Best of all, there is not one majority industry that dominates. The highest percentage comes from the arts, culture, design and creative industries combined, followed by those in the consulting, finance and banking sectors. We are well on our way to building a modern-day clan based on passion, creativity and entrepreneurial zeal, rather than something based on profession, gender, economic or background. These serve as our criteria to become a member of Straits Clan, not anything else.

We have also created different membership categories to make for an accessible platform regardless of industry, age, gender, background or economics. Essentially, Straits Clan revolves around the meeting of minds, mindsets and a common vision. We want to bring together a community of socially and emotionally curious individuals who want to venture outside their circles or professions and build connections in a genuine and meaningful way. We hope this community is one that is entrepreneurial, creative and interested in seeing social change happen. We will create an environment where people will feel at ease striking up conversation with one another, regardless of who they are and what they represent.

“Straits Clan, in its very essence, is an idea.” 

In other words, it need not be rooted geographically to a single country and in this case, Singapore. Can we expect to see a Straits Clan elsewhere in the world any time soon?

The club has recently opened and we will, for now, remain focused on delivering an experience premised on distinctive content, community and hospitality for members. There is no place in Singapore that brings such a unique community together daily. We envision this to be a safe space where new friendships are made, ideas conceptualised and meaningful change driven through new initiatives, projects and businesses. In time, we could expand this community regionally by building clans in other cities.

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