The true Bugis Pirates “inside” story & The Baweanese Walking Tour

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The true Bugis Pirates “inside” story & The Baweanese Walking Tour

Most of us are fairly familiar with Bugis Junction. But probably only some of us know that Bugis was once a flourishing community...

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Rochor MRT Station (DT13) 11 Rochor Canal Road Singapore, 188505 Singapore

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About this event

Most of us are fairly familiar with Bugis Junction. We mostly know it as a shopper’s paradise - and perhaps a little of the infamous vice industry (which is by now a little jaded). If history books and Singapore’s media were to delve a little deeper, more of us may be more acquainted with the once flourishing Bugis community. On the contrary, not all Bugis were pirates. Many were traders - with many more living off the seas. They were the very same people who satiate our love for sea foods and especially sea cucumbers during the early years. The arrival of the Dutch East India Company and the subsequent loss of Makassar changed the fate of many.

The Baweanese, on the other hand, are much lesser known. Both the Bugis and the Baweanese had their own natural skills which once served South East Asia well. Both arrived here from east of Indonesia. And both have their own stories to tell. Unfortunately, their population numbers are small, and factored with other matters that didn’t go too well with their history, we can hardly recognize a Bugis or a Baweanese today. But make no mistake, although their community may be small, they are still very much around.

The Baweanese, the older ones in particular, still make it a point to return back periodically to the Bawean Island – also popularly known as “Pulau Putri” (island of women). Most men have left the island in search of work. This history of the Bugis and Baweanese leaving their home country for work, date as far back as the Dutch East India Company.

On our tour today, we’ll visit the former village of the Baweanese. And we’ll also find out why the British referred to them as “Boyanese”. We’ll take a long hard look at the Bugis, and at the end of the tour, you will have to decide if the old saying about Buginese being pirates is true or merely an exaggerated half-truth. You will also understand why Bugis Street was once ensconced with the rather undesirable title of a “transvestite village”.

Meet me at 9am at Rochor MRT, Exit B (junction at Perak Road) on the 30th October 2022 (SUNDAY). This tour will end at Kampong Bugis.


  • We do the world wide practice of tipping at the end of the tour.
  • We also reserve the right to accept or reject habitual late cancellations and No Shows.