Such a move will provide a platform for the younger clansmen to network, exchange views, organise activities and rejuvenate the clan association with new blood and ideas.
The Khoo Kongsi Graduates’ protem committee chairman Alex Khoo Poh Chye said the talent pool could be better utilised to benefit the clan and help to promote the clanhouse, a tou-rism attraction, worldwide.
“We can also help in exploring new directions for the clan in property and business management, development, investment, diversification and tour-ism,” he said.
The 33-year-old lawyer said the protem committee was in the midst of developing a website that would allow graduates to input their own data and pictures after confirming they came from the common ancestor from Sin Aun village in Haicang district, Xia-men.
“We are creating a database of re-gistered graduates and doing the groundwork for registration of the association that will probably take six months,” he added.
Committee member Frederick Khoo, 39, noted that annual clan activities such as traditional rituals and prayers could no longer attract the participation of younger clansmen.
“Many a time, new graduates go missing in action after attending the annual dinner,” said Frederick, IT ma-nager at Sheraton Hotel in Penang.
At the annual dinner to honour new graduates and clansmen who were conferred state awards, male and female graduates who return to pay homage to clan ancestors will re-ceive angpows of RM300 each.
Frederick said more youth activities such as sports and community service could be organised to attract young clansmen.
Khoo Kongsi vice-president Datuk Seri Khoo Keat Siew said the number of graduates today was large compared with the old days.
“There was only a handful of graduates when I completed my university studies in 1956 but today, the number has increased with an average of 40 male and female clansmen gradua-ting annually,” said Keat Siew.
In the clan's registry of new gradu-ates, he said, there were clansmen with expertise in various fields from environment to translation and interpretation, international relations, po-litical science, forensic science to ae-ronautical engineering.
However, he said, many young clansmen had unfortunately lost touch with the clan after pursuing their education overseas and seeking employment away from Penang.
“Forming an umbrella body for graduates to come together will instil a sense of belonging and affinity, and promote a sense of pride of being a member of the Khoo clan,” said Keat Siew, who is also the father of Alex.
He said the kongsi hoped to set an example for clan associations to play a bigger role by undertaking projects that would benefit society at large and not solely clansmen.
“Perhaps the younger generation can help to think how clan associa- tions could play a bigger role such as providing affordable housing, set up museums and build community halls to benefit the community,” he added.
(Note: On Dec 18, the 171-year-old Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi will ce-lebrate the centenary of its temple built in 1906.)