Bukit Brown

Bukit Brown

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Lee Hoon Leong (Bukit Brown)

Lee Hoon Leong 
Lee Hoon Leong went to Raffles school and began his career as a pharmacist. He then joined Heap Eng Moh Steamship Co. Ltd and became a purser ( a person who manages money on board ship, and orders stores & supplies) making regular trips between Singapore and Semarang, Indonesia. It was in one of this trips, he married Ko Liem Neo in Semarang.

During his career, Lee Hoon Leong build a good relationship with Major Oei Tiong Ham of Semarang who is also known as the "Sugar King" and eventually held the power of attorney for him in 1914 for Heap Eng Moh and Co and Guan Guan Saw Mill. At his peak, Lee Hoon Leong was the managing director of the Heap Eng Moh Steamship Co. Ltd and his fortunes peak during then. The family wealth however suffered somewhat during the Depression of 1929-1932.
March 31,1914
Death
Lee Hoon Leong passed away at his residence, 74-3 Bras Basah Road on Saturday, August 22, 2602 at 6.45 pm Tokyo Time. 2602 is the Japanese koki calender when translated is 1942. He left behind his wife; Ko Lin Neo, 3 sons; Lee Chin Yam, Lee Chin Koon and Lee Chin Tong, 5 daughters ; Dr Lee Choo Neo ( Mrs Teo Koon Lim ), Lee Siok Neo, Lee Leng Neo (Mrs Teo Kim Kheng), Lee Wee Neo ( Mrs Tan Teng Ban ), Lee Kim Neo ( Mrs Chua Keng Hoe ) and 28 grandchildren to mourn his lost.

Lee Hoon Leong
Wife: Madam Mark Hup Sin
Lee Hoon Leong, Dr Lee Choo Neo, Mr Lee Chin Yam of Borneo Motors and Mrs Teo Kim Kheng thanked all who attended Madam Mark Hup Sin funeral on April 27,1939. She died on April  25 at the age of 68. On her tomb are listed her children; son; Lee Chin Yam and daughters Lee Choo Neo and Lee Leng Neo (Mrs Teo Kim Kheng). Dr Lee Choo Neo is also buried close to her mother. She has the honor of being the first female Chinese doctor in Singapore.
Tomb of Madam Mark Hup Sin
Wife: Ko Lin Neo
Lee Chin Koon and Lee Chin Tong thanked all who attended the funeral of Madam Ko Lin Neo who died at the age of 78 in May 1959. Lee Chin Koon married Chua Jim Neo and one of their children is Lee Kuan Yew.

The story of Lee Kuan Yew's parents, grandparents and great grandparents are well documented in his memoirs, to a certain extend. Extract from his memoirs of his childhood memories and of his great grandparent.

Life as a youth in Singapore was real tough
My earliest and most vivid recollection is of being held by my ears over a well in the compound of a house where my family was then living, at what is now Tembeling Road in Singapore. I was about 4 years old.

I had been mischievous and had messed up an expensive jar of my father's 4711 pale green scented brilliantine. My father had a violent temper, but that evening his rage went through the roof. He took me by the scruff of the neck from the house to this well and held me over it. How could my ears have been so tough that they were not ripped off, dropping me into that well? Fifty years later, in the 1970s, I read in the Scientific American an article explaining how pain and shock released neuropeptides in the brain, stamping the new experience into the brain cells and thus ensuring that the experience would be remembered for a long time afterwards.

I was born in Singapore on 16 September 1923, in a large two-storey bungalow at 92 Kampong Java Road. My mother, Chua Jim Neo, was then 16 years old. My father, Lee Chin Koon, was 20. Their parents had arranged the marriage a year previously. Both families must have thought it an excellent match, for they later married my father's younger sister to my mother's younger brother.

My father had been brought up a rich man's son. He used to boast to us that, when he was young, his father allowed him a limitless account at Robinsons and John Little, the two top department stores in Raffles Place, where he could charge to this account any suit or other items he fancied. He was educated in English at St. Joseph's Institution, a Catholic Mission School founded by the De La Salle Brothers in 1852. He said he completed his Junior School Certificate, after which he ended his formal education - to his and my mother's eternal regret. Being without a profession, he could only get a job as a storekeeper with the Shell Oil Company when the fortunes of both families were destroyed in the Great Depression.

My family history in Singapore began with my paternal great-grandfather, Lee Bok Boon, a Hakka. The Hakkas are Han Chinese from the northern and central plains of China who migrated to Fujian, Guangdong and other provinces in the south some 700 to 1,000 years ago, and as late comers were only able to squeeze themselves into the less fertile and more hilly areas unoccupied by the local inhabitants. According to the inscription on the tombstone on his grave behind the house he built in China, Lee Bok Boon was born in 1846 in the village of Tangxi in the Dabu. 


References
Colonial Rubber and Produce. (1914, March 21). The Singapore Free Press
Acknowledgement. (1939, April 29). Morning Tribune
Domestic Occurrence. (1942, August 25). Syonan Times
Why should other govern us. (1997, September 28). The Straits Times
Growing Up. (1998, September 20). The Straits Times
Yew, L. K. (1998). The Singapore Story. Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings.

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