Born 1878 in Penang, Gan Teong Tat was educated at the Penang Free School and St. Xavier's Institution where he distinguished himself by winning numerous medals and even the Centenary Scholarship in 1896. He married Miss Kam Chooi Lean, fourth daughter of Mr Kam Beng Chan in 1897. For 2 years after leaving school, he worked in the Chartered Bank and after that joined Mr. Gan Ngoh Bee as an assistant in the the Pinang Farm (Penang Opium and Spirits Farm). In 1901, he was the managing partner of the Singapore Opium and Spirit Farm and from 1904-1906, similar positions for the Pinang Farm. He also held a commission as 2nd lieutenant in No 2 Penang Volunteer Corps up to 1916.
|Gan Teong Tat and family|
His residence in Penang was called "Roseland" at Farquhar Street.
|Gan Teong Tat's residence|
From Opium and Spirits to Diamonds
Gan Teong Tat subsequently rooted himself in Singapore and quickly established himself in Singapore as a well known diamond merchant representative of the famous firm Henri Adler of Antwerp, Amsterdam and New York.
In a well known story that happened in 1928, Gan Teong Tat walked into an office in Ipoh carrying over $100,000 worth of diamonds of the finest quality in an attache case that he wanted to sell to the rich folks of Ipoh. (Kinta Valley and Ipoh were full of rich towkays who made it big via tin mining at that time).
Gan Teong Tat passed away on November 5, 1969 at the age of 91.
|Madam Kam Chooi Lian (stake: 1191) and Mr Gan Teong Tat (stake: 1190)|
Mrs. Gan Teong Tat nee Kam Chooi Lian, passed away at the age of 62 in 1941 at No 25, Lorong M, Teluk Kurau, leaving behind her husband, 2 sons, Gan Hock Hye and Gan Hock Huat, 3 daughters (Gan Keng Looi, Gan Keng Wah and Gan Keng Eam) and 3 sons-in-laws ( Messrs. Khoo Soon Keong, Khaw Bian Hoe and Dr. K.C. Cheam ).
Gan Teong Tat was the eldest son of Mr. Gan Hong Kee, himself a native of Penang having born there in 1856. Mr Gan Hong Kee was educated at James school and later St. Xavier's Institution. Gan Hong Kee went on to partner Mr Gan Kim Swee as general and produce merchants under the name of Eng Joo and Co, Penang as well as Eng Joo and Co, Calcutta. For more than 5 years, Gan Hong Kee represented the Calcutta branch before returning to Penang to become the managing farmer of the Opium and Spirit Farm. He passed away in 1895.
|Family of the late Mr Gan Hong Kee|
Gan Teong Tat has also a brother named Mr. Gan Teong Teik, who was born in Calcutta in 1881, educated in Penang Free School and St Xavier's Institution as well. After passing his Cambridge Junior Local examination, Gan Teong Teik join Chartered Bank before becoming a managing partner of a pepper firm called Messers. Ban Eng Seng & Co, of Presgrave Street. He was also the hon. secretary of the Chinese Recreation club and member of the Turf Club.
|Gan Teong Teik and family|
Both Gan Teong Tat and Kam Chooi Lian's tomb located at Hill 5 Division B are affected by the 8-lane highway and their stake no's are 1190 and 1191.The tombs have recently been exhumed and i was given the permission by their descendant to witness the pre-exhumation ceremony. It is my first time witnessing such a ceremony in person.
|Offerings to the earth deity|
|Offerings at Madam Kam Chooi Lian's tomb|
|Offerings at Mr Gan Teong Tat's tomb|
|In Memory of Mr and Mrs Gan Teong Tat, whose resting place have "moved house".|
Advertisements. (1907, May 8). The Singapore Free Press, page 4
Untitled. (1908, September 28). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Local and Personal. (1916, May 13). The Straits Times
Comment of the Week. (1928, October 8). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Deaths. (1941, May 3). The Straits Times, page 2
Wright, Arnold (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. Graham Brash, pages 777,779