Freemasons’ Hall in Singapore. Front view of the building with their dark blue logo. Photo: Singapore Masonic Club
“Some of our members may not want to be known to be members, particularly in certain counties where it’s sensitive. It can affect their position, particularly, political positions and things like that.”
By Cheryl Frois
SINGAPORE: Freemasons in the region are celebrating 150 years of existence.
In Singapore, a brand new building, behind the current one along Coleman Street, is in the works to house the group’s growing activities.
Although they have been in existence in the region for more than a century, few people seem to know much about the Freemasons.
“I heard many conspiracy theories linking them with the illuminati, that they were bent on world domination, new world order. I never really believed all those notions,” said a member of the public.
“I thought that they were some kind of cult,” said another.
Such impressions come from the Freemasons’ rites and rituals.
Instruments used by them 100 years ago were for secret initiation ceremonies.
The group also has its own code of conduct.
Sir Stamford Raffles was a mason, so were Mozart and TS Elliot.
But most members want to remain anonymous.
“Some of our members may not want to be known to be members, particularly in certain counties where it’s sensitive. It can affect their business, it can affect their position, particularly, political positions and things like that,” said Dr Yao Poh Hong, an orthopaedic surgeon who is a Freemason Grandmaster, eastern region.
Members must have a religion, but even then they can join only if they have been introduced by current members.
“They were really good people and they were doing good work in the community. So they were people I wanted to be associated with,” said Nigel Brown, Grand Secretary of Freemason’s United Grand Lodge of England.
“The masons do a lot of charity work, although that is not our principle reason for existing,” said David Fok, a lawyer and senior consultant and Freemason District Grandmaster.
In essence, the Freemasons want to be known as a group of men in the fellowship of “brotherly love, charity and truth”.