Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tan Kim Ching (Bukit Brown)

Tan Kim Ching (1829-1892) was the eldest son of the late Tan Tock Seng, a philanthropist and merchant. The name of Tan Tock Seng is immortalised because of his contributions to the hospital which bears his namesake today; Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Tan Kim Ching, inherited his father's business acumen and was also a wealthy chinese towkay and was the Consul General and Special Commissioner for Siam. A property owner, with businesses in plantations, tin mining in Southern Siam (Thailand) and rice-mills in Bangkok. He was also a steamship owner, the ships christian as "Siam" and "Singapore". He has also a large track of mining concessions not explored yet in Mount Ophir, Kampong Rusa, Patani among others.

He had cultivated good relationship with the King of Siam  and among the Chinese community, he was well respected- once a head of the Seh Tan's especially in the states bordering Siam. Tan Kim Ching was instrumental in helping the British resolve the succession conflict in Perak and also the mining concession wars between the two major secret societies of Hai San and Ghee Hin. Tan Kim Ching was a prominent member of the Ghee Hin Secret Society.

Family
He has two brothers, Tan Swee Lim and Tan Teck Guan. Tan Kim Ching had 3 sons; Tan Sen Kek, Tan Soon Tee and Tan Keh Jiang. All 3 son's predeceased him.

Death 
The remains of Tan Kim Ching moved from his town residence in North Bridge Road (junction of Coleman and North Bridge Road -formerly Hotel Hamburg) for his private burial ground in Changi. The funeral procession was a mile long starting from North Bridge Road, passed by Rochore Police Station and the Gas Works until finally arriving at the thirteen milestone in Changi Road.

Tan Kim Ching (1829 – 1892) was re-interned in Block 4 Division C. On his gravestone, it highlights his title of Consul of Siam ( Phya Anukul Siamketch Upanick Sit Siam Rath) , Chinese Kapitan and Qing Dynasty Imperial ranking. He was also a commander of the third class Order of the Rising Sun of Japan.

Tan Kim Ching's tomb at a private burial ground in Changi
before relocation to Bukit Brown (source: a20)

Tan Kim Ching's tomb at Bukit Brown
Anna and the King connection
If you are familiar with Anna and the King, he had a part in making the connections. It was because of him & his close ties with King Mongkut, King of Siam and the British, that he recommended Anna Leonowens to the King.

References
Tan Kim Ching. from Wikipedia.
Picturesque and Busy Singapore. (1886, December 13). Straits Times Weekly Issue.
Death of Tan Kim Ching. (1892, February 29). The Singapore Free Press
The late Mr Tan Kim Ching. (1892, April 20).The Singapore Free Press

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