Monday, December 23, 2013

Quek Guan Kiat (Bukit Brown)

Quek Guan Kiat
While exploring Hill 4, Section C, in an area heavily pegged (i.e.affected by the 8 lane highway), i came across this marble tomb belonging to Mr Quek Guan Kiat. On his tomb, it says

In Loving Memory of Quek Guan Kiat
8th June 1938 
Age 22 Years
Specially erected by
The Golden Bell Minstrels 
In appreciation of his services to the party

In 1935, a variety entertainment organised by the Straits Chinese Reading Club, a branch of the Chinese Christian Association in honor of its President Rev. William Murray, O.B.E, M.A (on his forthcoming departure from Malaya on his retirement ) was held at Y.M.C.A Hall Orchard Road. Quek Guan Kiat was one of the performer that danced the Hula-hula in "Twilight in Honolulu".

Quek Guan Kiat must have been so well loved by the Golden Bell Minstrels group that they came together to erect this tomb for him when he passed away at the young age of 22.  The below is a picture of him taken in 1937, a year before he passed away. He is in the back row, standing, 1st from right.
Quek Guan Kiat (standing, 1st from right) in a Golden Bell Minstrels photo 1937

The Golden Bell Minstrels
In 1935 The Patron was Hon. Dr Chen Chang Lok (Chinese Consul General), Wong Siew Teng and Tan Laung Kia. The President was Tan Teck Guan, Vice-Presidents, Ng Peng Kim, Yeo Soy Bah, Tan Hong Kee. The hon secretary; Tan Chin Guan.

There were many groups or minstrel bands that played old-time English classics and performed using stringed instruments and costumes. This bands or troupe mushroomed in 1930s wherever Peranakans lived. Some of the well-known bands include: Cornwall Minstrels, Wales Minstrels, Merrilads, Springdale and Forget-me-not. Members usually met regularly in patrons' or members' houses. The Minstrel bands performed at social parties. They also put up sketches and stage shows, sometimes for charity. Minstrel activities came to a halt before the World War 2.

The Golden Bell Minstrels 

Quek Guan Kiat (peg 2707)
References
The Golden Minstrels. (1932, September 25). The Straits Times
Farewell to Rev. W. Murray. (1935, September 17). The Straits Times
A Prosperous New Year to Clubs ! (1935, February 3). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1937, November 21). The Straits Times

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