Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Lim Chong Pang (Bukit Brown)

Lim Chong Pang is the second son of Mr Lim Nee Soon. He received his early education in St. Andrew's School and later St Stephen's College, Hong Kong before returning to Singapore in 1920 and joining his father's firm, Nee Soon and Sons Ltd, one of the leading rubber and miller merchants of the time.
Lim Chong Pang 

Community leader and youngest Justice of Peace
Lim Chong Pang had the honour of being one of the youngest Justice of Peace when he took oath  before the first Magistrate, J. L. McFall in June 1939. Among the same batch of people sworn in were Mr Lee Kong Chian and Mr Tan Chong Chew, both prominent chinese leaders. Lim Chong Pang was elected as member of the Board of Licensing Justices in 1940 and also a member of the Rural Board which he served for 10 years.

He was the Vice President of St. Andrew's Old Boy Association and committee member at St. Hilda's school. He was a director of the Overseas Assurance Corporation, trustee of a Chinese temple and sits on the committee of many public chinese bodies, including the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. He is also a Teochew community leader and a committee member in the Teochew Poi Ip Huay Kwan.

As a Justice of Peace, Lim Chong Pang also conducted or officiated marriages as well, such as the marriage of Mr Kwa Soen Kwie, third son of Mr and Mrs Kwa Sioe Djien to Miss Tan Mui Kiang, third daughter of Mr and Mrs Tan Yew Yiang at 355 Bukit Timah Road in May, 1940.

Singapore Race horse owner and Cinema magnate
Lim Chong Pang was a Committee member of Malayan Racehorse Owners Association during time when Runme Shaw was the Vice-President. His horses over the years won him over 100 races. Another less known fact was his contributions to the Singapore movie industry especially the tamil and hindi film industry. He is the Proprietor of the South East Asia Film Co, President of the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association of Malaya and President of the Indian Motion Picture Distributors' Association of Singapore and Malaya. Lim Chong Pang owned a number of cinemas including Nee Soon (formerly Seletar Talkies), Sultan and Garrick Theatres (formerly Apollo).
A happy Lim Chong Pang with his winning horse, NEWMARKET
in Bukit Timah racecourse, January 19, 1952. 
Tragedy and a family separated
Just before the fall of Singapore in February 15, 1942, Lim Chong Pang and family boarded the SS Kuala. In this ship were also 500 evacuees that included men, woman and children together with nurses and officers. The ship reached Pompong Island in the Rhio Archipelago before it was hit by Japanese bombs. Mr. Lim Chong Pang and some of his family members were rescued by fisherman Mr Tay Ah Soey and his two brothers, who braving bombs, pulled out 62 people from the sea. (Mr Tay Ah Soey was declared a war hero and awarded the King George V medal in 1952. He passed away  in Aug 2011 at the age of 97).

In that very ship, one of the person that was lost at sea was his mother, Mrs Lim Nee Soon (Wi Pek Hay). It remains a mystery to me who else from the Lim family perished. Some records indicate a Lim Chin Hiong, ( a person part of Lim Chong Pang family), but i am unsure who this person is. Some of the survivors of SS Kuala were picked up by another ship SS Tanjong Pinang, but there was no happy ending for this group of survivors when SS Tanjong Pinang was also sunk, this time by a Japanese submarine with many woman and children losing their lives.

A Japanese Collaborator?
Lim Chong Pang eventually returned to Singapore as a prisoner of war in Changi Prison, but was eventually released by the Japanese, probably on the promise that he will need to support the Japanese fund effort, like many of the prominent Chinese leaders left behind by their colonial masters to fend for themselves. To avoid total massacre of the Chinese community, self preservation through collaboration was probably the only option available.

It was no different for Lim Chong Pang. He became a council member of the Overseas-Chinese Association of Syonan. (O.C.A) and vice-chairman of the propaganda department. He was one of the forty four local residents given a Certificate of Honour in December 8, 1943 by the Mayor, Mr. Kanichi Naito at the Dai Toa Gekijo. Other recipients include Dr. Lim Boon Keng and Mr. S. Q. Wong.

After the surrender of Japan, the British Military Administrative took over and not surprisingly, Lim Chong Pang was arrested, imprisoned and accused of collaborating with the Japanese. Those were difficult moments for him and his family. They had to hire a lawyer to defend Lim Chong Pang. He was later released and eventually exonerated.
Lim Chong Pang's 51st birthday 
Post war years 
For his 51st birthday, 150 guest were present in his house in Amber Road. The cake presented was a model of the Bukit Timah race which he won many a race. He continued spending time in his movie business and was the President of the Indian Motion Picture Distributiors' Association and Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association of Singapore and the Federation of Malaya.

Death and Legacy
Lim Chong Pang passed away on July 21, 1956 at the age of 52. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons, 2 daughters, 2 son-in-laws, 1 daughter-in-law and 4 grandchildren. Although a Teochew, his tomb followed the style of Hokkien, after his wife. He is buried in Block IV Section A, plot 633.
In memory of Lim Chong Pang 
In 1957, West Hill Estate, near Singapore Naval Base was renamed as Chong Pang Village and the road as Chong Pang Road by the Singapore Rural Board. The village used to be part of the late Mr Lim Chong Pang's rubber estate.

Family 
Wife: Lee Poh Neo (Mrs Lim Chong Pang)
Lee Poh Neo, youngest daughter of the late Hon. Mr Lee Choon Guan and Mrs Lee Choon Guan, M.B.E. married Lim Chong Pang, second son of Mr and Mrs Lim Nee Soon at Mandalay Villa in October 12, 1924. Because of the recent death of Mr Lee Choon Guan. the wedding was more subdued out of respect of the late Mr Lee Choon Guan.  That being said, a handsome cake, 15 feet high was laid out and dinner catered for 200 well wishes. Lee Poh Neo passed away in  August 8, 1968.
Lim Chong Pang and Lee Poh Neo in traditional chinese wedding outfit
(photo at Mandalay Villa)

 Mr Lim Chong Pang and Miss Lee Poh Neo at Mandalay Villa
(in western wedding outfit

A family picture 

Death of Mrs Lim Chong Pang nee Lee Poh Neo 


Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Pang 

Wife: Chia Meow Moey (Moya)
In October 17, 1944, Lim Chong Pang married Miss Chia Meow Moey (Moya), second daughter of Mr and Mrs Chia Hock Chwee of Syonan  (Singapore during Japanese occupation). On August 9, 2605 (1945), Mrs Lim Chong Pang nee Moya Chia Meow Moey gave birth to a baby girl, Moileen Lim Seok Lin. Her father, Chia Hock Chwee made his money as a "fisherman". But i believe he probably owned a fleet of fishing ships. There was also a on-going story that Lim Chong Pang married a fisherman's daughter out of gratitude for him saving his life during the sinking of the S.S. Kuala, but i think that story was stretched a bit too much.

Together, they had 4 daughters and 1 son. Lim Eng Jin (Robert Lim) and 4 daughters, Lim Seok Lin, Lim Seok Lek, Lim Seok Lan and Lim Seok Loon. Robert Lim had 2 boys, Ralph and Ryan.

Children 
Daughter: Lucy Lim Seok Hui nee Lucy Chen Nee Sian 
Lucy Lim Seok Hui was born on July 10, 1925 in Singapore in Mandalay Villa. Like her sibilings, she was delivered at home. Lucy Lim Seok Hui (eldest daughter) married Mr Chen Nee Sian, son of Mr and Mrs Chen Yick Ming at Wesley Church in 1952.
Miss Lucy Lim and Mr Chen Nee Sian , October 1952
(source: NewspaperSG)
She was holidaying in Ceylon when the war broke out in Singapore. She was fortunate not to experience what her father and his family experienced bombing and were shipwrecked while trying to escape. Like her brother, Herbert, who signed up to join the army, Lucy volunteered in the Women Voluntary Service.

In an oral interview with National Archives, Lucy Lim gave recollections of how her family would go to the movies on Friday nights. and her father, Mr. Lim Chong Pang, was a strict disciplinarian would impart good morals in the children and  mother, Lee Poh Neo embodied love in her. Her schooling years  were in Raffles Girls' School. She managed to find a temporary teaching post in St Hilda's and also worked as a part-time accounts clerk at her father's Southeast Asia Film Company.

Daughter: Ivy Lim Seok Cheng (Ivy Kwa)
On June 27, 1926, a daughter was born to Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Pang at Mandalay Villa, Katong. Ivy Lim Seok Cheng (second daughter) got engaged with Mr Kwa Soon Chuan, fourth son of Mr Kwa Siew Tee in 1949.

Son: Herbert Lim Eng Kwan (Herbie Lim)
On June 28, 1927, a son was born to Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Pang at Mandalay Villa, Katong. Educated at St. Andrew's School, he was evacuated to Bangalore, India in 1942. In 1945 he joined Force Z as a paratrooper and participate in the liberation of Malaya. He held the rank of Captain in the British Army.

He married Miss Mavis Chew Seok Pei, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Chew Hock Leong on June 3, 1950.
Herbert Lim was the Manager of South-east Asia film company, Chairman of Singapore Tourist Association, director of Jackie Bowl. Herbert Lim Eng Kwan passed away on November 23, 2002 at the age of 75. He is survived by wife, Doris Lim, daughters Linda Lim and Karen Chung Shaker.

Lim Eng Kwan and Mavis Chew Seok Pei

Lim Eng Kwan and the famous belly dancer Samia Gamal
Son: Roland Lim Eng Ser
Roland Lim Eng Ser was a Queen Scout at the age of 17 in 1952, one of the 9 scouts to received Queen Scouts Certificates from the Governor of Singapore, Mr. J. F. Nicoll at the Boy Scouts Headquarters in Armenian Street.  (His brother Lim Eng Kwang was a King Scout in his school days). In November 1953, while taking a walk at the Marine Parade beach, he saw a woman drowning. He quickly jumped in and saved the unconscious woman and gave her artificial respiration.
Roland Lim Eng Ser [left] His sister, Lucy Lim wishing his brother bon voyage
in his Jamboree trip to Australia in 1952 
Roland married Lucy Lim and they had 2 sons (Vincent Lim, Alvin Lim ) and 1 daughter (Monica Lim).
Vincent Lim passed away on October 28, 2007 at the age of 37 while Alvin Lim passed away on November 6, 2009 at the age of 44.

Chong Pang Village 

Old video of Chong Pang Villlage



[May 1, 2013- research still on-going]

References
Domestic occurrences birth. (1926, June 29). The Straits Times, page 8
Advertisement. (1927, June 29). The Straits Times, page 8 
New Justices of the Peace appointed.(1939, June 8). The Straits Times, page 13
Appointment of New Justices. (1939, June 8). The Singapore Free Press, page 
St.Andrew's O.B.A. (1939, July 9).The Straits Times, page 2
Two nominations for Commission Vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, page 11
Chinese Marriage.(1940, May 28). The Straits Times, page 12
Alleged collaborator refused bail. (1945, November 2). The Straits Times, page 3
Untitled. (1948, July 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 5
Engagement. (1949, October 4). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Advertisement.(1952, May 10). The Straits Times, page 10
50 candles for Mr Lim. (1953, June 13). The Singapore Free Press, page 12
Film Exhibitors Assn. officers. (1955, July 4).The Singapore Free Press, page 7
Lim Chong Pang again President.(1955, February 26). The Straits Times, page 8
Turf Man dies -his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, page 11
Chong Pang Village.(1957, July 18). The Straits Times, page 5
Advertisement.(1968, August 14). The Straits Times, page 17 
In memoriam.(1979, July 21). The Straits Times, page 26
Movie magnate who gave 25 years of service.(1985, February 1). The Straits Times, page 21
Family treasure given to Sun Yat Sen Memorial. (2002, January 15). The Strait Times, page 5
A century of cinema. [website] Remember Singapore
Forgotten with time: Chong Pang village. [website] The Long and Winding Road
The Genealogy of the Lim Family of Marsi Village" written by Kua Bak Lim
http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/evacuation_ships/html/ss_kuala_jkl.htm

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My late grandmother was the sister of Lim Chong Pang. She told me that her youngest sister was on that SS Kuala ship, and had perished with their mother Wi Peck Hay on that fateful day.

Rojak Librarian said...

Thank you for the insight ! Would you happen to know her name? Is it Lim Seok Gek ?