Features, Highlights, MCS FOCUS

PMC’s Peranakan Ministry turns 87

The worship team, accompanied by the Kawan Uke-ta Melody band, leading in the singing

On 26 Oct 2019, the Peranakan Ministry of Pentecost Methodist Church (PMC) at Pasir Ris celebrated its 87th anniversary. PMC’s Pastor-in-Charge, the Rev Dr Jonathan Seet, welcomed the guests and opened the celebration with a prayer.

The afternoon event attracted about 250 guests, which included babas and nyonyas from other churches, many of whom looked smart in their neat batik shirts and resplendent sarong kebaya.

Mrs Jenny Phuah, chairperson of the Peranakan Ministry, gave a short account of the ministry’s historical background (see box) while the master of ceremonies, Mr Edwin Teo, showcased Peranakan tableware, attire and intricate wearable accessories such as the kerosang (hairpin). Both presentations invoked a sense of nostalgia among some of the seniors in the audience.

The highlight of the event were the two skits about parental love that shared the colloquial title “Biji Mata Mak” (Apple of Mother’s Eye), and were both allegories of our Heavenly Father’s love for us His children. Presented in a Christian setting, the skits focused on Peranakan adults whose trials and tribulations became key issues to their concerned parents. In true Peranakan fashion, the characters on stage amused the audience with light-hearted patois unique to the Straits-born Chinese.

Then there was a time of music and joget (dance), which is part of Peranakan culture. The worship team, accompanied by the Kawan Uke-tar Melody band, led the audience with a repertoire of gospel favourites, all sung in Baba Malay.

The event ended with a closing prayer by Pastor Jimmy Wong.

Mrs Phuah said, “Through its fellowship meetings and anniversary celebration, the Peranakan Ministry hopes to convey to pre-believers the message of God’s goodness and mercy to all mankind, and also to help preserve Peranakan culture.”

PMC’s Peranakan service is conducted at 7.45 a.m. on Sundays and its Peranakan/Indonesian Fellowship is held on the fourth Saturday of the month.

The early years of the Peranakan Ministry

The 87-year-old Peranakan Ministry has its roots in a church that was then known as Geylang Straits Chinese Methodist Church (GSCMC). On Pentecost Sunday, 15 May 1932, the church held its first Peranakan worship service, which was conducted by the Rev Chew Hock Hin, and attended by 12 people the service.

In 1964, GSCMC relocated to Koon Seng Road and was renamed Pentecost Methodist Church. The church has been at its current premises at Pasir Ris Drive 6 since 1994.

Jenny Phuah recalling the early years of Peranakan Miniistry
Edwin Teo detailing a traditional Peranakan wedding

Harry Tan is a member of Faith Methodist Church.


Photos courtesy of Harry Tan