Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Choa Eng Wan (Bukit Brown)

Choa Eng Wan (1887-1954) was the manager of  investment department of Lee Cheng Yan & Co , (Lee Cheng Yan is the father of Mr Lee Choon Guan) before eventually becoming a Director in various companies. This includes Directorship of Tiang Guan Brick and Tile company, Sungei Gau Tin mining company Ltd, Malaka Pinda Rubber Estate (seating for Mr Lee Choon Guan, his father-in-law), Central Engine Works Ltd.
Choa Eng Wan and Lee Poh Lian 
Choa Eng Wan married the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Lee Choon Guan in 1907 at the age of 17. Mr Lee Choon Guan and Choa Eng Wan's father, Mr Choa Giang Tye were both retired Municipal Commissioners. The marriage took place at the "York House" at Scotts Road, the home of Mr Choa Giang Tye which was reported lighted with electricity. Choa Eng Wan served in the ranks of the Chinese Company, S.V.I (Singapore Volunteer Infantry) during the Great War. He was also an avid tennis player.

Family 
Choa Eng Wan died on October 18, 1941 at the age of 54. Madam Lee Poh Lian died on May 31, 1961 at the age of 72. 
Tomb of Mr Choa Eng Wan 
Tomb of Madam Lee Poh Lian

Their daughter Choa York Neo (Mrs Lim Choon Tee) passed away in 1938. Their only son, Choa Siew Jin passed away in 1940 at his residence in No 37 Kiliney Road leaving behind a wife and son. He is buried in Bukit Brown. They were survived by one daughter and 2 grandchildren.

Choa family story
Choa Eng Wan's  father is Choa Giang Thye. Mr Choa Giang Thye himself is the second son of Choa Chuan Ghiok. We will start the story with Chua Eng Wah's grandfather.

Mr Chua Chuan Ghiok was born in Malacca and came to Singapore at an early age and work as clerk in Jose D'Almedia and Sons. Opportunity called and eventually he went to Rangoon, Burma to work for Leack, Chin Seng & Co and there he stayed for 40 years. After establishing himself as one of the leading chinese merchants, he came back and eventually died in Singapore in 1900.
Left- Choa Giang Tye (father)   Right- Choa Chuan Ghiok (grandfather) 
Mr Choa Giang Thye was born in Malacca in 1865, and at age of 12 came to Singapore. He was educated privately in English and spoke fluently in it. He and his brother, Giang Whee were commissioning agents for "Giang Bros". Mr Choa Giang Thye also ran a sawmill company called the Singapore Steam Saw Mill. He served as a Municipal Commissioner for eight years and was elected to be the successor of Mr Seah Liang Seah in the Municipal Board introducing a new generation of chinese proficient in the English language and was in the Chinese Advisory Board and also the Po Leung Kuk (Society of protection of woman and girls).

Awarded the Justice of Peace in 1910, he eventually died in 1911 leaving behind his only son, Choa Eng Wan. Mrs. Choa Giang Thye died on Feb 28 1934 at the age of 70 at her residence in No. 37 Killiney Road. She is also buried in Bukit Brown.

Choa Eng Wan's father in -law is Mr Lee Choon Guan, also a notable person in the Chinese community and wealthy banker. He founded the Chinese Commercial Bank in 1912. He was in the Chinese Advisory Board and a committee of Straits Chinese British Association and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was also a Justice of the Peace for his support and donations to the colonial government including a war plane during World War I called "Malaya No 6". Lee Choon Guan's eldest daughter (Ms Lee Poh Lian) from his first wife married Mr Choa Eng Wan.

The tomb of Mr Choa Eng Wan and Madam Lee Poh Lian are located in Hill 5 Division B and are affected by the 8 lane highway and the peg number is 1209 and 1210.


Reference
China's Transition. (1907, September 25). The Straits Times, page 7
Malaka Pinda Rubber Estate. (1914, December 14). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Central Engine Works. (1917, May 15). The Singapore Free Press, page 3
Tiang Guan Brick and Tile Company. (1920, May 29). The Straits Times, page 9
Sungai Gau Tin Mine.(1921, March 21). The Singapore Free Press, page 16
Mr. Lee Choon Guan. (1924, September 13). The Malayan Saturday Post, page 13
Death of Mr. Lee Choon Guan. (1924, August 28). The Straits Times, page 9
Death. (1934, March 2). The Straits Times, page 10
Advertisement. (1938, September 26).The Singapore Free Press, page 4
Deaths. (1940, March 7). The Straits Times, page 2
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press

3 comments:

limsoonhoe said...

Choa Chuan Geok (Giock) was a partner of Leack Chin Seng & Co
http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Article.aspx?articleid=singfreepressb18991019-1.2.12.4&sessionid=558d2f786bba43ef9fdc0b5e4db46279&keyword=%22choa+chuan+Geok%22&token=geok%2cchuan%2cchoa

Leack Chin Seng & Co has a branch in Malacca Tek Hee, Keng Hoon & Co. In the 1869 Almanack, Choa Keng Hoon was a partner. Could he be related to Choa Chuan Ghiok since companies are usually held in family hands?

Lim Soon Hoe

limsoonhoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
limsoonhoe said...

It seems that Chua Chuan Ghiock has 2 wives, 3 children:http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Article.aspx?articleid=straitstimes19211221-1.2.80&sessionid=59b65faa82a94905b4028015ee6d96d8&keyword=%22choo+bin+lee%22&token=lee%2cbin%2cchoo