Neo-tribalism has taken hold of our culture these days with the need for human connection greater than ever as people scramble to find their “tribe”.

The Straits Clan – a private club that opened in Singapore this year – is a response to this hunger for community.

Housed in a refurbished row of shophouses along Bukit Pasoh Road, it sits handsomely among the other heritage buildings, looking regal and welcoming.

Yet Straits Clan is meant to be more just a pretty facade, Pauline Wee, the club’s director of content and communication, says.

“We serve as the catalyst, providing an exclusive environment where people will feel at ease to strike up a conversation with each other,” she says.

“At the same time, the people we bring together have a common goal – they are people who are curious, interesting and driving change – who want to grow and be inspired.”

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To achieve this vision, Straits Clan wants to attract the “new generation of movers and shakers, regardless of industry, age or economics”, she says.

This includes those who might not typically be able to afford a private club membership.

“[Our membership] fee is lower for those under 30 and those under the non-profit sector,” Wee says.

“This has helped us create 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 have been able to] create 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
Pauline Wee

The result is an eclectic mix of creatives, businesspeople and movers and shakers across all industries.

“We’ve got members who are corporate lawyers by day and poets by lunch, hedge fund managers who are art patrons[and] architects with a passion for politics,” Wee says.

“What they have in common is shared passions and an entrepreneurial mindset, and when you bring a group of like-minded people together great conversations and connections happen.”

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Given its tropical vibe, bright interiors and bold design elements, Straits Clan could easily be mistaken for a beach resort.

Designed with help from Singapore-based design firm Takenouchi Webb, the club features many nods to Southeast Asian and Singaporean culture, from the use of rattan and onyx to the cheeky meeting room that converts into a mahjong room.

The club also boasts a boutique gym that offers small group classes and private trainers, a foot reflexology spa where you can also get your nails done, party rooms for karaoke or cocktails (one of the rooms even has a pole dancing platform), three dining concepts, including a bar stocked with rare whiskies and wines, and a cosy co-working space.

“It’s a home away from home as well as an office away from the office,” Wee says.

Members are put at ease, primed for a great time. That’s when the magic happens.

Thoughtful programming keeps the community engaged

Straits Clan offers many opportunities for its members to meet and socialise.

This includes a rotating roster of talks, showcase events, performances and workshops.

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Members also get to network with leaders in business and other sectors of society during talks that cover topics such as culture, well-being and philanthropic causes.

Wee says these include a sharing session over breakfast about building teams with famed New York restaurateur Danny Meyer, a heartfelt speech by French writer and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard on how altruism can change businesses and the world, an off-the-record conversation on building brand loyalty with Bruce Rockowitz, Pure Group’s co-founder and CEO of Global Brands Group, and an evening at the bar with signature snacks served by Isaac McHale of the British restaurant The Clove Club.

What [our members] have in common is shared passions and an entrepreneurial mindset, and when you bring a group of like-minded people together great conversations and connections happen
Pauline Wee

One event that left a lasting impression on her was an intimate acoustic performance and sharing by American singer-songwriter Sam Beam, better known as Iron & Wine.

“He has a rich repertoire of stories that he tells with humility and sincerity,” Wee says.

“His acoustic session at Straits Clan gave him the space and freedom for his personality to shine through in a genuine and heartfelt way.”

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The club also hosts regular dialogue sessions for members to tackle complex issues such as making impact investing scalable, how the arts can be a platform for changing mindsets about the elderly and the influence of popular culture on local food businesses.

“Many of [our members] continue the conversation beyond these events,” Wee says.

“It’s a fulfilling way for them to contribute to a shared cause and explore their creative energy which also enables them to build their personal and professional network meaningfully.”

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This article originally appeared on Wanderluxe by The Luxe Nomad.