Mr. Lim Nee Soon's wife and children ( Lim Chong Kuo and Lim Chong Pang) tomb can be found in Bukit Brown Block 4 Division B, while Mr Lim Nee Soon was not buried there. It is difficult to write a story about the Lim family members tomb cluster in Bukit Brown, without first talking about Mr. Lim Nee Soon first.
Pineapple King and Patriot
Mr. Lim Nee Soon (1879-1936) is the son of Mr Lim Peng Guan and was born in Kampong Glam, Beach Road in 1879. His father died when he was 8 and he was left in the care of his maternal grandfather -Mr. Teo Lee (Mr Teo Eng Hock's father). He received his early education in both St. Joseph Institution and Anglo-Chinese School therefore proficient in both English and Chinese languages. A Teochew, Lim Nee Soon started from scratch, working as a shopkeeper assistant at the age of 18 and from there he climbed the rungs by next working for timber merchant Tan Thye and his son Tan Chor Nam.
|Lim Nee Soon|
At 28 years of age, he was the Manager of United Singapore Rubber Estates and later Sembawang Estates (a company formed by Dr. Lim Boon Keng and Mr. Lee Choon Guan).With enough savings and experience, he struck it on his own to form Thong Aik Shop and eventually became a rubber baron and a "pineapple king" with over 6000 acres in Singapore and 20,000 acres in Malaya. He was also a landbroker, rubber factory owner, merchant and propertier of Lim Nee Soon and Co. He, together with other prominent Chinese pioneers had a hand in the founding of the following banks: Eastern United Assurance Co., Chinese Commercial Bank, Oversea-Chinese Bank and Oversea Assurance Co.
Mr Lim Nee Soon, together with Mr Teo Eng Hock and Mr Tan Chor Lam were the founders of the Tung Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary League), Singapore branch. This was a society created to fund the revolt against the Qing Dynasty and create a free Republic of China with democratic ideals. T'ung Meng Hui was also the precursor to the Kuomintang branch or Movement of Malaya.
|Sun Yat-Sen with the members of Tung Meng Hui. A young Nee Soon is seated on the right. |
Teo Eng Hock is seated 2nd from the left. Tan Chor Nam is 3rd from the left.
His business declined with the Great Depressions of the 30's with rubber prices hitting rock bottom. However some of his wealth did manage to be passed on to his sons. He passed away at the age of 57 in Shanghai in 1936. He was recognised for his efforts and support for the Republic of China revolutionary causes. A memorial in Nanking was also erected for him close to where one of Sun Yat-Sen's memorial is.
|State funeral of Mr Lim Nee Soon in Nanking, China.|
picture shows Mr Lim Nee Soon's silver casket and inscriptions on the side that highlights his
contribution to China.
|Special Committee formed in China to arrange for the State funeral.|
Lim Chong Kuo, the eldest son is in the centre (with bow tie)
His Family and the Bukit Brown Connection
He left behind his wife, three sons (Lim Chong Kuo, Lim Chong Pang, Lim Chong Min) and 6 daughters(Lim Chit Geck, Lim Kheng Geck, Lim Soo Geck, Lim Mui Geck, Lim Leok Geck, Lim Seck Geck).
However during my research of the tomb, a fourth was listed. The son's listed on Mrs Lim tomb but not mentioned in the papers was a Mr. Lim Chong Hsien. I wonder why? Further checks on Singapore Infopedia did not even list his name there. Did i uncover something new here? Further research uncovered that Lim Chong Hsien is the son from Lim Nee Soon's second wife.
|Mrs Lim Nee Soon nee Wi Pek Hay (Wee Pek Hay)|
Mrs Lim Nee Soon nee Wi Pek Hay's (Wee Pek Hay) tomb is at Bukit Brown, but if you look careful, there is no date of death inscribed, indicating she was not buried there. Where was then she buried? Read further to uncover that story.
Son: Lim Chong Kuo
Mr Lim Chong Kuo married Tan Lay Ho (second daughter of Mr and Mrs Tan Kah Kee). He passed away two years after his father on 23rd Feb 1938 at the age of 36. He is buried beside his mother in Bukit Brown. He left behind a son and a daughter.
|Lim Chong Kuo's wedding with Tan Lai Ho in Garden Club, 1923|
|Lim Chung Kuo (beside his mother's grave)|
Son: Lim Chong Pang
Mr Lim Chong Pang was also a prominent leader among the Chinese community and was a well known horse owner. His horses won him over 100 races over the years. He also owned 3 cinemas - Garrick(formerly called Apollo), Sultan and Seletar and enjoys the game of tennis. He was appointed a Justice of Peace at the age of 35 in 1939, one of the youngest to be appointed so for Malaya and played important roles in various boards and committees (Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Rural Board, St Andrew's Old Boy's, Cinema Exhibitors' Association,etc ). He established the Southeast Asian Film Co in 1945. During his service for the Rural Board, a village in Sembawang was even named after him.
Lim Chong Pang died at the age of 52 on 21st July 1956 and his wife Lee Poh Neo died 8th Aug 1968. Both are buried in Bukit Brown close by to each other. Lee Poh Neo is the daughter of the famous banker Lee Choon Guan (李浚源 ). Lee Choon Guan was the chairman of Chinese Commercial Bank and one of the properties he owned was Mandalay Villa (Amber Road). Chong Pang's second wife was Seow Meow Mui.
|Wedding of Lim Chong Pang and Lee Poh Neo|
|Graves of Lim Chong Pang and Lee Poh Neo|
|Lim Chong Pang's daughter as bridesmaid|
I don't have much information on Lim Chong Min and Lim Chong Hsien, but when i do, i will update this article accordingly.
On a recent visit to the National Museum (Jan 28, 2011), i came across pictures of Ms Lim Chit Geck in the gallery where the photos are located. Lim Chit Geck (Mrs Oei Tjong Tiong) is the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Lim Nee Soon and her photos shows her stunning beauty as well.
|Lim Chit Geck [Top left]With her Armenian friend,Mary c1930|
[Bottom left]with her sisters and foster daughter, Eva See,
on board ship Conti Verde c1936
In May 1926, she married Oei Tjong Tiong son of Mr and Mrs Oei Tiong Ham, Mayor of Semarang, Indonesian and a "sugar king" and shipping mechant. (Tiong Ham died 2 years later in 1924, left behind an estate worth $1 million !)
|[Top] Wedding picture of Lim Chit Geck|
[Bottom] Mr and Mrs Lim Nee Soon and family
Lim Mui Gek married Tan Huck Khong.(Tan Huck Khong is the son of Tan Chong Lay and grandson of Tan Kheam Hock).
Daughter: Lim Soo Geok
Lim Soo Geok married Tan Huck Thoe. (Tan Huck Thoe is the son of Tan Chong Khee and grandson of Tan Kheam Hock).
War Stories and heroes
On Feb 13,1942, while at sea in is fishing boat, fisherman Mr Tay Ah Soey and his two brothers, braving bombs, pulled out 62 people from the sea. This were the survivors from boats sunked by Japanese planes of people trying to escape Singapore. Among the people he saved was Lim Chong Pang and his brother. Declared a war hero and awarded the King George V medal in 1952, Mr Tay passed away in Aug 2011 at the age of 97. In that very ship that was sunk, one of the person that was lost at sea was Mrs Lim Nee Soon (Wi Pek Hay).
The Lim Nee Soon family cluster is not affected by the 8-lane highway proposed, but i thought of writing about them because of the rich amount of material available online that has already been uncovered and some, waiting to be uncovered further! It also goes to show the wealth of history in this place called Bukit Brown.
Death, (1932, Dec 24)The Straits Times. (Death notice of Mrs Teo Lee nee Tan Poh Neo)
Memorial at Nanking to Lim Nee Soon.(1936, April 19) The Straits Times.
Mr Lim Nee Soon.(1936, March 23).The Singapore Free Press and Merchantile Advertiser.
Mr Lim Nee Soon.(1935, August 25).The Straits Times,
Man behind the old Nee Soon Village.(1987,November 24). The Straits Times,
Turf Man dies-his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22 ).The Straits Times.
World War II hero Tay Ah Soey dies at age 97.(2011, August 10). The Straits Times.
Chinese Wedding. (1923, May 7). The Straits Times, page 10.