Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Lee Kim Soo (Bukit Brown)

Lee Kim Soo 
Mr Lee Kim Soo (May 8, 1888-December 13, 1933) was an industrialist and proprietor of Elkayes. The company name was derived from the first initials of his name, L.K.S.  The company has factories in Singapore, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Port Swettenham. He had his early education in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. He worked for the Singapore Association of Engineers before finally striking out on his own in 1910 as a merchant providing estate supplies.

Mr Lee Kim Soo's company, Elkayes Work started producing latex cups and pottery products on large scale in line with the rubber plantation boom in Singapore and Malaya, and in no time became the largest. He became a packing manufacturer, producing the wooden cases in which rubber was stored. An industrialist and a man full of ideas, he expanded and pioneered the match manufacturing industry in Singapore. The Elkayes Match factory is modern in design, using modern equipment and operated by a European manager with over 400 Chinese employees.
Latex cups sold by Lee Kim Soo
In 1931 /1932 period, Mr Lee Kim Soo's match factory, moved to Johor after facing pressure from dumping of cheap matches from Japanese based companies that gave fierced competition and the lack of protective tariff made it difficult for Lee Kim Soo. In replacement, the former match factory in MacNair Road started producing nails as he felt his factory was able to produce them cheaper that those made in Europe and Japan.
The factory itself adopted an art deco look
In a 1932 Manufacturers Business Exhibition, Lee Kim Soo's steel chairs were popular with one of her first clients been Lady Clementi. At its prime, its office in High Street sold china clay manufactured goods, floorings, roofings, garden furniture, ornamental pottery, pipping, etc.
Lee Kim Soo and the range of products he sold
(source: NewspaperSG)
Community Contribution
Lee Kim Soo contributed to the community as well, by been a Municipal Commissioner representing the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, board member of Tan Tock Seng Hospital and a member of the Chinese Advisory Board. A Teochew, he was an official of several Teochew schools and clubs.

Death 
Mr Lee Kim Soo passed away at the age of 46 on December 13, 1933 at his residence in No 34 Newton Road. He leaves behind an aged mother and a large family. Sons: Lee Meng Kwang, Lee Meng Hwee, Lee Meng Khum, Lee Meng Cheow. Daughters: Lee Meng Siew, Lee Meng Lee, Lee Meng Sock, Lee Meng Ngee.
Lee Kim Soo's tomb 
Wife: Madam Quek Ah Nia
Madam Quek Ah Nia (Mrs Lee Kim Soo ) passed away at the age of 95 on June 17, 1993, leaving behind two sons, Lee Meng Hwee, Richard and Lee Yaw Song; two daughter-in-laws, Chua Geok Hoe, Maggie, Dorine Tay, two daughters, Lee Mui Eng, Lee Mui Choo, two son-in-laws, Dennis Tan and Quek Seow Quee. The cortege left from No 4 Happy Avenue Central.
Madam Quek Ah Nia
(source:NewspaperSG)

Wife: Madam Neo Bah Tak
Madam Neo Bah Tak passed away on November 8, 1998 at the age of 87. Based on the obituary notice, she remarried to Mr. Tan Peng Chuan after Mr Lee Kim Soo passed away. Her son's are Teddy Lee Meng Kum, Jimmy Lee Meng Chio and daughters; Peggy Lee Meng Lee, Lee Meng Siok, Lee Meng Ngie, Lee Meng Im.
Madam Neo Bah Tak
(source:NewspaperSG)
Unique Teochew Art Deco tomb 
Lee Kim Soo's tomb is one of the most unique and impressive tomb in terms of size and its modern Teochew Art deco structure in Bukit Brown, befitting of a modern forward looking industrialist.
Lee Kim Soo's art deco tomb

References
Nail Making. (1932, January 2). The Straits Times, page 19
Exhibition Business. (1932, January 5). The Straits Times, page 8
Early death of Mr. Lim Kim Soo. (1933, December 14). The Straits Times. page 9
60 years ago. (1993, December 17). The Straits Times, page 43
Deaths.(1993, June 19). The Straits Times, page 40
Deaths.(1998, November 9). The Straits Times, page 36

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