Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wee Eng Cheng and Family (Bukit Brown)

Wee Eng Cheng (黄永清) was a Straits born Chinese from the prominent Wee family. He is the great grandson of Wee Bin of Wee Bin & Co , merchant and shipowners. Wee Eng Cheng was a Director in the Ho Hong Bank and Chinese Commercial Bank. He held partnership in the Eng Hoe Kongsi of No 19 Church Street which dealt with Sago manufacturers and dealers before he sold it to his managing partner in 1920 and was the Vice-President of the Jin Hua Kok Association (1923)
Wee Eng Cheng (source: NUS Museum-Dressing the Baba)
Death 
Wee Eng Cheng passed away on May 3, 1928 at the age of 34. Lim Peng Mau and Madam Goh Boh Tan (mother of Wee Eng Cheng ) were appointed the joint trustees of the estate in 1928. Wee Eng Cheng left behind valuable landed property in Singapore and cash in the sum of $97, 252 in Ho Hong Co and in the bank. His wife, Madam Ang Peng Neo passed away on May 1929.

His son, Wee Seck Hock was a beneficiary of the estate and took to court to remove Lim Peng Mau and Madam Goh Boh Tan as trustees and to appoint a new trustee. What exactly happen to the case is not known to me. Wee Seck Hock passed away January 12, 1972 at the age of 54. He is survived by his widow, 2 sons and mother. The cortege left from 157 Neil Road. His two sons, Wee Lin and Wee Sun later agreed to sell the family home to National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2005. With a memorial gift from Agnes Tan (the daughter of Tan Cheng Lock ) , NUS was able to purchase, restore and turn it to a museum today known as The Baba House.

Wee Eng Cheng (黄永清) (peg 1497) and Ang Peng Neo (洪平娘) (peg 1496) tombs have already been exhumed.
Wee Eng Cheng (Bukit Brown)
Ang Peng Neo 
Family
Great Grandfather: Wee Bin
Wee Bin was born in China in 1823 and began trading with various houses in Bali (under Dutch control) and became the biggest importer of products from that port that included all kind of earthware. It went on to built a substantial fleet vessel of over 20 for the Chinese and Dutch trade, and the merchant and shipowners business grew to become Wee Bin & Co, chop Hong Guan,located at Market Street. Wee Bin was twice married, once to the daughter of Kiong Kong Tuan.

He died in 1868 at the age of 45, leaving behind one son, Wee Boon Teck and one daughter, Mrs Lim Ho Phuah.
Wee Bin and Wee Boon Teck  
Grandfather: Wee Boon Teck
Wee Boon Teck continued to improved the business of Wee Bin & Co. and yet found time to contribute to society by being on the Committee of the Po Leung Kuk (Society of Protection of Women and Girls) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He generously donated $4,000 and had a ward in Tan Tock Seng Hospital named after him by the Colonial Government. He died on September 22, 1888 at the age of 38.

Mrs. Wee Boon Teck passed away at the age of 68 on January 18, 1920 at No. 56-13 Neil Road. She is buried at Alexandra Road Cemetery. Among those mourning her lost are her son-in-law's; Lee Choon Guan (married Wee Guat Kim )  and Lim Peng Siang (married Wee Guat Choo), grandsons ; Lee Pang Seng, Lim Seow Kiew and Wee Eng Cheng (son of the late Wee Siang Tat).

Father: Wee Siang Tat
Wee Siang Tat (son of Wee Boon Teck) continued the business together with Lim Ho Puah. It was said that Wee Siang Tat was the one responsible for building the Wee family home that is now No 157 Neil Road in 1895, that eventually became the Baba House.

Wee Siang Tat was fond of music and was one of the original members of the Chinese Philomathic Society, who consists of Straits born Chinese who practiced regularly under Mr. Salzmann at "Siam House", North Bridge Road, the house of the late Mr. Tan Kim Ching. Wee Siang Tat died at the age of 26 in the year 1901. His only son, Wee Eng Cheng was 7 years only when Wee Siang Tat passed away.

The demise of Wee Bin & Co
The death of Wee Siang Tat in 1901 marks the transfer of the company to Wee Bin's son-in-law, Lim Ho Puah,( who was born in Amoy in 1841 and join Wee Bin & Co at a young age. His business acumen attracted the attention of his Towkay, Wee Bin who made him in son-in-law and eventual partner )  the sole surviving partner. Wee Bin & Co was liquidated in 1911 when majority of the business and large steamers were transferred to the able hands of Lim Peng Siang, the son of Lim Ho Puah who founded the Ho Hong Company, which included The Ho Hong Steamship Co. Ltd, The Ho Hong Oil Mills Co. Ltd, The Ho Hong Bank Ltd, The Ho Hong Portlands Cement Works Ltd, etc.

Lim Ho Puah and Lim Peng Siang 
References
Death. (1921, January 21). The Straits Times
Ho Hong Bank Ltd. (1924, April 16). The Singapore Free Press
Chinese Will Beneficiary Wants two new Trustees. (1936, April 15). The Singapore Press
Deaths. (1972, January 14). The Straits Times
Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years' history of the Chinese in Singapore. E. Lee (Ed.). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
Knapp, R. (2013). Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia: The Eclectic Architecture of Sojourners and Settlers. Tuttle Publishing.
http://www.nus.edu.sg/museum/pdf/2012/Dressing_The_Baba.pdf
http://www.bukitbrown.info/documentation/details.php?recordID=1496
http://www.bukitbrown.info/documentation/details.php?recordID=1497
http://www.nus.edu.sg/cfa/museum/about.php
http://blog.bukitbrown.org/post/44373407395/a-house-for-the-wees

No comments: