Sungei Road

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What future for our past ? Revealing the sacred places voted by Singaporean's

On June 3, Straits Times ran a poll asking for people to vote for the top 3 structures and sites they think are worthy of preservation and gives people a sense of identity and belonging plus provides a good representation of the Singapore story (see my article on this).  The results of the poll is finally today out and the top buildings and sites voted by Singaporean residents as "sacred" are:

Buildings

  1. HDB's first public housing developments in Queenstown 
  2. Early housing developments in Redhill Close and Dakota Crescent
  3. Changi Airport Control Tower
  4. Pearl Bank Apartments
  5. Golden Mile Complex
Places

  1. Pulau Ubin
  2. Singapore Botanic Gardens
  3. What's left of Bukit Brown
  4. The Padang
  5. Wessex Estate off Porstdown Road (black and white colonial houses)
I am happy that the vast number of respondents have Bukit Brown and Pulau Ubin in their heartstrings as places they hold dear too and possibly worthy of preservation. The efforts put in by the community of volunteers who called themselves Brownies, got together to help create awareness of Bukit Brown as a heritage park by conducting tours, documenting graves, connecting with descendants, exhibitions and social media did help to increase awareness that an important site rich in stories of the Chinese diaspora as well and the story of our early pioneers and thus our Singapore story is threaten by the 8 lane highway that will destroy 16% of Bukit Brown. The area closer to Mount Pleasant and the Thomson Old Police Academy will in the immediate future make way for residential development as well.

Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew Public Policy called for a list of sacred spaces and places to foster a love for Singapore, to help it fully become a true city. He went to highlight that Singapore already has the aspects of "busyness" and being "safe", but was lacking in "sacred" in which American Urban Geographer, Joel Kotkin define as any unique institution or spot that makes one feel an irrational commitment to a place. I must say, the academics have a nice way of defining and rationalising societal behavior and i hope with time, more people will find Bukit Brown and Ubin to be sacred places that society will think it is rational and right to commit on its preservation for the nation's identity and story.
Ubin is waiting for you
This report ironically came out on a day that i was visiting Ubin Island with friends. On a scorching Saturday morning i am hearten to see many local and foreign visitors making their way to this "sacred" place and having a good time. I do hope Ubin's rustic environment will be conserved for generations to come just like the continuous efforts to win over the hearts of many people who visit Bukit Brown and to change the mindset of our government leaders towards sacred places like Bukit Brown and Ubin.

This part of Bukit Brown area is all cleared and no longer exist
 
Save our sacred place from becoming a Memory


Reference
Melody Zaccheus. (2014, June 21). What future for our past? Saturday Insights, The Straits Times

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Koh Eng Watt and Yamada Ofuni (Bukit Brown)

In a corner of Hill 4 Section A in Bukit Brown overlooking Lornie Road, i encountered a pair of tombs, one belonging to Mr Koh Eng Watt, Esquire and the second, a blank tomb prepared for his wife but never engraved or used. Behind the tomb, is the tomb of a Japanese lady by the name of Yamada Ofuni. It is unique to find non-Chinese being buried in a Chinese cemetery and Madam Yamada Ofuni in this case is a good example.

Further research discloses to me that Madam Yamada Ofuni is one of Mr Koh Eng Watt's wife. Mr. Koh Eng Watt, Justice of Peace, Labuan was appointed as member of the Board of Visiting Justice for the Settlement of Labuan in 1936. He is a director of the Jesselton Ice and Power Company in 1925 and was a tax assessor in 1912. He was appointed as Justice of Peace on February 8, 1904. Koh Eng Watt owned land in Labuan that was for the growing of rubber. In 1920, Koh Eng Watt was granted a certificate of naturalisation making him a British subject.

Straits Settlement of Labuan
Labuan is made up of the main Labuan Island and six smaller islands (Burung, Daat, Kuraman, Papan, Rusukan Kecil and Rusukan Besar). Labuan became part of Singapore Settlement in 1907 until 1912 when it was constituted as a fourth separate Crown Colony settlement  in 1912. It became part of Malaysia, but under Sabah when Malaysia was form in September 16, 1963. In April 16, 1984 it was administered under Federal Territory.
Labuan 

Towchang cutting ceremony
There was a story of a party held in February 1912 at the Chinese Club of Labuan where Mr. Chua Kwee Hin, son of Mr. Chua Cheng Hee entertained his friends over dinner and ronggeng music. The occasion was a towchang cutting ceremony (cutting of queue, symbolic of subservience to the Qing dynasty that was by 1911 deposed ).  Koh Yew Teck, Koh Yew Keng and Choa Choo Liong were among the well known peranakans who removed their towchang. The first two, are sons of Koh Eng Watt and the last,  a nephew.

Koh Eng Watt
Death
Mr. Koh Eng Watt passed away at his Singapore residence in No 24, Tiverton Road. He passed away on the afternoon of March 8, 1937 and is survived by two widows, three daughters, 2 grandchildren and 12 grandchildren. Listed on the tomb are the name of his daughters: Koh Hoon Lian, Koh Chit Lee, Koh Siok Choo and Grandson: Koh Kian Poh  Granddaughter: Koh Oen Neo.
source: NewspaperSG
Probate of his was granted to Koh Yew Seng, Chua Choo Liong (nephew), Tham Ying Yin (son-in-law) and Yamada Ofuni (wife).

Wife: Yamada Ofuni (Mrs Koh Eng Watt)
Yamada Ofuni , a Japanese lady passed away at the age of 72 on April 13, 1941. There was an acknowledgement of thanks by her family members to Bhikkhu Mahaweera and the English section of the Singapore Buddhist Association for the sutras and religious chants. Her tomb typical of a Chinese tomb, but that doesn't take away the fact that she is a Japanese woman in a Chinese cemetery.
Madam Yamada Ofuni 
Daughter: Koh Chit Lee 
Koh Chit Lee, the second daughter of Mr Koh Eng Watt married Mr Tham Ying Yin, youngest son of the late Mr. Tham Heng Wan, J.P. of Singapore at Labuan in March 21, 1931. Their residence was called Labuan Villa. In 1955, in a house in Siang Kuan Avenue, off Sennett Estate, a mahjong was underway at 11 pm. However it was a mahjong under duress whereby two robbers armed with revolvers asked the unfortunate mahjong players to play while the house was ransacked. One of the players was Mrs Tham Ying Yin whose concern was her 3 grown up daughters sleeping on the first floor would not be harmed and fortunately the robbers left without harming them. (the 3 daughters of Mrs Tham Ying Yin were still fast asleep unaware of the robbery). They took away $85, two wristwatch, a gold ring, gold locket and gold coin. The ring was her wedding ring she has worn for almost 25 years.

For those who were interested, Mrs Tham Ying Yin was the sole winner of the mahjong game.

Other non-Chinese name tombs in Bukit Brown
Wiseje De Haay
Nek Mina


References
Untitled. (1907, November 18). Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Advertiser
Labuan Note. (1912, February 12). The Straits Times
Jesselton Ice and Power Company. (1925, June 16). The Singapore Free Press
Domestic Occurrences. (1931, April 2). The Singapore Free Press
Untitled. (1936, January 8). The Singapore Free Press
Advertisement. (1937, March 9). The Straits Times
Acknowledgement. (1941, April 17). The Straits Times
Mahjong Played- At Pistol Point. (1955, October 12)
Crown Colony of Labuan. [website]. Wikipedia

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cheong Choon Kim and family (Bukit Brown)

Cheong Choon Kim and Cheong Choon Beng established Yap Whatt & Co, in d'Almeida Street in 1893, which was the first Straits born Chinese firm engaged in commission, import and export trade. The company became well known as an intermediary between Chinese dealers and shopkeepers and the European manufacturers. When Cheong Choon Kim passed away in 1905 due to apoplectic stroke, his brother Cheong Choon Beng took over.

Cheong Choon Kim was one of the founding members of the Straits Chinese British Association in 1900 during the time where it's President was Mr. Tan Jiak Kim, Vice-president Seah Liang Seah, Treasurer: Mr. Seah Peck Seah, Secretary: Song Ong Siang. Prominent Committee members included Dr. Lim Boon Keng, Wee Theam Tew, Tan Hap Seng, Tan Boo Liat, etc.

Death
Cheong Choon Kim passed away at his residence in 92, Kampong Java on October 1904 and his remains were interned in Bukit Timah Cemetery. Madam Lim Chit Neo (Mrs Cheong Choon Kim) passed away 1926 and is buried in Bukit Brown Cemetery Hill 2, close to Boey Chuan Poh's tomb.
Mrs Cheong Choon Kim's tomb in Hill 2
Children of Madam Lim Chit Neo (Mrs Cheong Choon Kim)

Erected by son, Cheong Chee Yang, daughters, Cheong Swat Kim, Cheong Swat Loh (?)
In loving memory of Mrs Cheong Choon Kim nee Lim Chit Neo
Family

Grandfather: Cheong Ann Jan
Cheong Ann Jan (1818-1881) came to Singapore in 1844 and worked for Hamilton, Padday & Co. (later Hamilton, Gray & Co. ) in Battery Road and rose up to the ranks to Storekeeper in which he served till his death in 1881. Of his fives sons, Cheong Swee Kiat was the Camprodore of Merchantile Bank until he passed away in 1891. His other son was Cheong Swee Whatt. Cheong Ann Jan's only daughter married Tan Hoon Soon and was the mother of Tan Gin Hock, managing partner of firm Hoon Keat & Co, general provision merchants in Raffles Place.

Father: Cheong Swee Whatt
Cheong Swee Whatt was the Camprodore of Banque de L'Indo-Chine until his death in 1907. His sons, Cheong Choon Kim and Cheong Choon Beng became propertiers of Yap Whatt & Co, which was established in 1893 as Commissioning Agents and Import and Export Merchants.

Brother: Cheong Choon Beng
Mr Cheong Choong Beng was one of the original members of the Singapore Voluntary Infantry (S.V.I.). In 1909, he was a N.C.O. Corporal. In 1902, he was one of the Singapore Contingent who went to England for the Coronation Ceremony. Cheong Choon Kim and Cheong Choon Beng established Yap Whatt & Co, in d'Almeida Street, which was the first Straits born Chinese firm engaged in commission, import and export trade. The company became well known as an intermediary between Chinese dealers and shopkeepers and the European manufacturers. When his brother, Cheong Choon Kim passed away in 1905 due to apoplectic stroke, Cheong Choon Beng took over.

Son: Cheong Chee Koon
Cheong Chee Koon studied in Raffles Institution and among his schoolmates were Lim Kim Seng and Chia Keng Tye. Cheong Chee Koon passed way in May 1917 while he was being mobilise and doing his duty as a Lance Corporal for the Singapore Voluntary Infantry. He was given a military funeral on May 18, 1917.
Cheong Chee Koon memorial stone in Kranji


References
Straits Chinese British Association. (1900, August 18). The Straits Times
Advertisement. (1904, October 22). The Straits Times
His Excellency on Local Education. (1905, December 22). Eastern Daily and Straits Morning Advertiser
Picture Shows. (1917, May 21). The Singapore Free Press
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Batik for Peranakan Altars (Peranakan Museum)

On Sunday (8th June), I had the pleasure of being invited to join a tour led by Alvin Yapp, the collector and donor of the Peranakan Museum's current and latest exhibition titled Auspicious Designs - Batik for Peranakan Altars. Alvin Yapp who is an avid collector of all things Peranakan had, over 7 years accumulated 72 unique batik cloth (mostly from Java, Indonesia) that are used in Peranakan Altars. He went one step further by bequesting this entire collection to the Peranakan Museum and named the primary donors as his parents, Matthew and Alice Yapp.  

Batik cloths are usually associated with Malay or Javanese clothing but rarely as materials used to adorn the altars of the household deity. To me this is another lovely example of how Overseas Chinese has evolved, adapt and amalgamate the local culture and materials and created their own unique styles. One must not forgot the local artisans commissioned for the Batik creation who may not have seen how deities such as the 8 immortals and Fu, Lu and Shou would have looked like other than through pictures or the beaded altar cloths made in China. The collection on display are mostly from the mid-20th century period. 

Auspicious Designs- Batok for Peranakan Altars (a special tour by Alvin Yapp)
Altar cloth
Other than for day to day use, the altar (Sam Kai) cloths were used for various deity celebrations and for funeral mourning purposes. The ones that were brought in from China were via either export or together with the migration of Chinese that came to this region. The materials were made with silk /cotton and depending on the cost, embroidered. The colors of choice during celebrations would have been auspicious red while the colors during mourning for the peranakans will likely to be blue, green and white.
For celebrations and Mourning
It is fascinating indeed to see on display a subset of this unique collection. Unfortunately, the rest of the donated collection are either undergoing restoration, still being research on, or in storage. Below are some of my favorite pieces that depict various Chinese auspicious symbols such as dragons, qilin, phoenixes, lions, etc. There is one batik that even depict's Red Riding Hood and instead of a wolf, a lion is shown instead !

The other a batik that caught my eye, shows figures holding the Republic of China flag and on top right corner is inscribed in reverse the Batik maker, which when translated, indicates its from the Tjang Ing batik workshop, Yogyarkarta which was a famous Peranakan trader in Batik.
Montage of batik altar cloth
Little Red Riding Hood and a Lion 
Figures with flag of the Republic of China 
The exhibition is slated to end in December 28, 2014, so make time and visit the exhibition. 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Cheong Choon Beng and family (Bukit Brown)

Mr Cheong Choong Beng (son of Cheong Swee Whatt) was one of the original members of the Singapore Voluntary Infantry (S.V.I.). In 1909, he was a N.C.O. Corporal. In 1902, he was one of the Singapore Contingent who went to England for the Coronation Ceremony. Cheong Choon Kim and Cheong Choon Beng established Yap Whatt & Co, in d'Almeida Street, which was the first Straits born Chinese firm engaged in commission, import and export trade. The company became well known as an intermediary between Chinese dealers and shopkeepers and the European manufacturers. When his brother, Cheong Choon Kim passed away in 1905 due to apoplectic stroke, Cheong Choon Beng took over.
Cheong Choon Beng
source: NewspaperSG
Cheong Choon Beng was a trustee of Anglo Chinese Free School, Cecil Street in 1912 ( together with Song Ong Siang, Dr. Lim Boon Keng, See Tiong Wah, Wee Swee Teow, Soh Kim Lian, Lim Sin Tat, etc).  He was also a committee member of the Straits Chinese British Association. Cheong Choon Beng was also a  key Straits Chinese member in many social gatherings and activities which involved the community leaders of various races and their colonial masters such as the Straits Coronation Dinner (1902) and the Straits Chinese Pagoda erection in conjunction with the Royal Visit (1901)

Death
Mr. Cheong Choon Beng passed away on March 25, 1913 at the age of 44, also due to apoplectic stroke. He was travelling with his eldest son, Cheong Chee Hai visiting rubber estates in Seremban and Kuala Lumpur and were returning to Singapore via a night mail train when he had a stroke around 6:45 pm and died. His remains left his residence in 8, Thomson Road for internment at Bukit Timah Cemetery on March 29, 1913.

Wife: Madam Song Boey Neo
Mrs Cheong Choon Beng nee Madam Song Boey Neo / Song Buay Neo,  passed away on December 11, 1935 at the age of 50 at 777 Grove Road. She is buried in Bukit Brown Hill 4 Division A.


Son: Dr.Cheong Chee Hai, Cheong Chee Tong, Cheong Chee Lim, Cheong Chee Joey, Cheong Chee Soon and Cheong Chee Hock
Daughter: Mrs. Wee Mah Cheow, Mrs Tan Soo Hai / Tan Soo Whye, Mrs. R. Lee Pang Chuan, Miss Cheong Swat Eng, Miss Cheong Swat Neo.

Family

Grandfather: Cheong Ann Jan
Cheong Ann Jan (1818-1881) came to Singapore in 1844 and worked for Hamilton, Padday & Co. (later Hamilton, Gray & Co. ) in Battery Road and rose up to the ranks to Storekeeper in which he served till his death in 1881. Of his fives sons, Cheong Swee Kiat was the Camprodore of Merchantile Bank until he passed away in 1891. His other son was Cheong Swee Whatt. Cheong Ann Jan's only daughter married Tan Hoon Soon and was the mother of Tan Gin Hock, managing partner of firm Hoon Keat & Co, general provision merchants in Raffles Place.

Father: Cheong Swee Whatt
Cheong Swee Whatt was the Camprodore of Banque de L'Indo-Chine until his death in 1907. His sons, Cheong Choon Kim and Cheong Choon Beng became propertiers of Yap Whatt & Co, which was established in 1893 as Commissioning Agents and Import and Export Merchants.

Son: Dr. Cheong Chee Hai
Dr. Cheong Chee Hai was born on May 29, 1893 and educated in Raffles Institution. A talented student, he was for 3 years running (1907-1909), a Cecil Smith scholar. He join the local medical school and later Hong Kong University and graduated in 1916 in M.B. , B.S. He returned to Singapore the same year and joined Dr Lim Boon Keng. He took over Dr. Lim Boon Keng's practice when Dr. Lim went to China to become the President of Amoy University. He is a member of the Straits Chinese British Association and President of the Straits Chinese Recreational Club. He was a Justice of Peace in 1924 and also a Municipal Commissioner in 1932. He holds the rank of Captain (retired) in S.V.C.
Dr Cheong Chee Hai 
Dr. Cheong Chee Hai is married to the eldest daughter of Mrs. Cheang Jim Chuan ( Alice Cheang Siok Cheow Neo). Mrs. Cheang Chee Hai nee Alice Cheang Siok Cheow Neo passed away on August 27, 1989 at the age of 93. Listed in her obituary are:
Sons: Cheong Eng Han (deceased) , Cheong Eng Leong.
Grandsons: Maj. Joseph Cheong , Lucky Cheong
Granddaughters: Margaret Cheong, Betsy Cheong, Kymmi Cheong

References
The Straits Coronation Dinner. (1902, July 17). The Singapore Free Press
S.V.C. Orders. (1909, March 3). The Straits Times
Anglo Chinese Free School. (1912, February 15). The Singapore Free Press
Death. (1913, March 26). The Straits Times
Towkay's sudden death. (1913, March 27). The Straits Times
Dr Cheong Chee Hai. (1935, October 6). The Straits Times
Domestic Occurrences Death. (December 14, 1935). The Singapore Free Press
Deaths. (1989, August 28). The Straits Times
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Vote for your sacred Singaporean Structures and Sites

The Straits Times is running an online poll of the top 3 structures and sites that projects or gives a sense of belonging to Singapore residents and help tell the Singapore story. 45 sites were identified by a panel of heritage experts and enthusiast. However, participants are welcomed to recommend other sites that may not be in the list. The Straits Time poll list some of the structures or sites which include popular favourites such as the Botanic Gardens, Kampong Lorong Buangkok, Pulau Ubin and more. I am glad to note that Bukit Brown, Jalan Kubor Cemetery, Keramat Bukit Kasita and Seah Eu Chin's tomb in Grave Hill were also mentioned.

Whichever is your choices, i do hope you can also vote for Bukit Brown which is in serious threat of total destruction despite its intrinsic heritage and habitat value. So do vote today!

Sacred Singaporean Places
Ranking them to only top 3 will be very difficult and when it came to me, it was very difficult ! I have visited and blogged about some of this sacred sites including of course; Bukit Brown, Pulau UbinChangi Village and Kampong Lorong Buangkok and visited and wrote intensively about Ubin and Bukit Brown as not only a heritage site but one with rich flora and fauna as well.

Bukit Brown: a sacred place and resting place of Singapore Pioneers 

Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin
Kampong Lorong Buangkok

Changi Village Colonial Barracks

Sacred Singaporean Structures
Such structures are to me equally as subjective. What came to my mind were the clusters of pre-war houses in Emerald Hill, Joo Chiat and many other sites. It is impossible to name them all. The recent conservation of Tanjong Pagar Railway Stations are symbols of a period where Singapore and Malaysia were united and shared a common transportation heritage. 

Whichever building that hold's dear to you, i wish you all the best !

The train at Bukit Timah

Tanjong Pagar Station 

Further Reading
Bukit Brown, a UNESCO World Heritage site, posted on April 2, 2013
Sikh Guards of Bukit Brown, posted on December 11, 2011
Art deco tomb of Lee Kim Soo, posted on March 6, 2013
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, posted on May16, 2012
Nature Ramble with Dr Ho at Bukit Brown, posted on Feb 21, 2012
Birdwatching at Bukit Brown with Dr Ho Hua Chew, posted on Dec 4, 2011
Birding in Bukit Brown , posted on Oct 2, 2010
Birding with the experts, posted on Jan 17, 2011
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Sunbathing on the road, posted on July 19, 2011


Monday, June 02, 2014

Cheang Jim Hean (Bukit Brown)

Cheang Jim Hean (1873-1901) is the eldest son of Mr. Cheang Hong Lim and his residence was at No 99 River Valley Road also known as Annan Bank. He had owned numerous property and also rented out property and equipment such as a rice mill.
Khoo Ek Neo and Cheang Jim Hean
Khoo Ek Neo and Cheang Jim Hean
1886 advertisment 
Cheang Jim Hean Free School
Cheang Jim Hean and his father, Cheang Hong Lim founded this bilingual school in the 1892 in Havelock Road. Cheang Jim Hean manage the school which he contributed  $1200-2000 every year to its operation. On November 7, 1900 during an annual inspection, the inspectors concluded that after the school standards of teaching was good after examining performance of 97 boys. Unfortunately the school was closed suddenly after the death of Cheang Jim Hean in 1901 with at least 216 students affected.
Ad for teacher

Cheang Jim Hean Street 
There was a street named Cheang Jim Hean Street which was renamed to Calcutta Road on January 1, 1915.

Death
Cheang Jim Hean passed away on April 1, 1901 at the age of 28 after a short illness at his residence, No 99 River Valley Road alias Annan Road. He was buried in the family private cemetery in Alexandra Road before being re-interred to Bukit Brown in 1961 together with his father, Cheang Hong Lim.

Wife: Madam Lim / 林智慧
From Raymond Goh's research, i found out the first wife of Cheang Jim Hean was a Madam Lim who passed away in 1895. She is the mother of Cheang Kok Boe / Cheang Kah Boe
Madam Lim (peg 2718) 
Wife: Madam Khoo Ek Neo 
Mrs Cheang Jim Hean nee Khoo Ek Neo passed away on October 16, 1961 at the age of 87 and is buried in Bukit Brown.
They are survived by their daughter: Cheang Tew Muey,
Grandsons: Loh Cheng Chye, Loh Cheng Ban, Loh Cheng Ann.
Grand daughters: Loh Cheng Kim, Loh Cheng Hor
Mr and Mrs Cheang Jim Hean in Bukit Brown
Attempted grave robbery
A month after Cheang Jim Hean's death, there was an attempted grave robbery attempt at his tomb in Alexandra. The grave robbers manage to dig about two feet deep before being discovered.

Family
Son: Cheang Kok Boe / Cheang Kah Boe 章甲懋
Cheang Kok Boe was mentioned in an court case in 1907, whereby her stepmother, Madam Khoo Ek Neo petitioned for extra allowance for the boy who just reach 12 years of age. The article went on to highlight that Cheang Kok Boe passed away on February 1907.
Cheang Kok Boe (peg 2719) 章甲懋
Daughter: Miss Cheang Tew Muey (Muriel) nee Mrs H.H. Loh
Miss Cheang Tew Muey (Muriel), only daughter of the late Mr Cheang Jim Hean and Mrs Cheang Jim Hean (nee Khoo Ek Neo) engaged with Mr. Loh Hean Heng (H.H. Loh ). The marriage took place in 32-1 Pasir Panjang on  October 9, 1922.
Madam Cheang Tew Muey with her new car 1931
Madam Cheang Tew Muey 
Mrs. H.H. Loh was a socialite that helped contribute to the China Relief Fund. She helped organised a successful dance at the Aldephi Hotel in aid of the China Relief Fund.

Mr H.H. Loh passed away after a long illness in his residence, Lions Gate, Pasir Panjang on September 1929. He was one time a prominent member of the Singapore Turf Club and owner of several well known horses. He leaves behind 1 widow, 6 sons and 3 daughters. He was buried in Bidadari.

Madam Cheang Tew Muey passed away on October 21, 1987 at the age of 89. She is survived by 3 sons: Albert, Francis, Andre and 2 daughters: Catherine, Honey.
Madam Cheang Tew Muey 

[research on-going]

References
Advertisements. (1886, September 15). The Straits Times
"Cheang Jim Hean" School. (1897, November 12). The Straits Times
U.S Revenue. (1900, November 14). The Singapore Free Press
Untitled. (1901, May 5). The Straits Times
Price 15 cents. (1901, July 5). The Straits Times
Advertisements. (1901, August 14). The Singapore Free Press
Supreme Court. (1907, February 26). The Singapore Free Press
Advertisements. (1914, August 15). The Singapore Free Press
Announcements. (1922, May 6). The Straits Times
Tras Street Chinese Kindergarten.(1929, August 3). Malayan Saturday Tribune
Death of Mr H.H. Loh (1929, September 27). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1931, May 2). The Malayan Saturday Post
Mrs. H. H Loh. (1932, March 19). The Malayan Saturday Post
Death. (1987, October 22). The Straits Times
9th generations down to Hong Lim Park. [website] Bukit Brown: Our Roots, Our Future
林智慧 grave number 2718.[website] Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project
章甲懋 grave number 2719.[website] Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Tan Ean Teck (Bukit Brown)

Tan Ean Teck was a prominent merchant and brother of Tan Ean Kiam. He was also a shareholder of the OCBC Bank. I don't have much information of what he did as a merchant, but during the Japanese occupation, he played an important role in keeping the local Chinese community who were resettled out of Singapore into a new settlement called Endau.Unfortunately, this involvement lead to his eventual demise as well.
Tan Ean Teck
New Settlement / New Syonan
As a large portion of Singapore's food supply was imported, this created food shortages and in August 1943, the Japanese decided to evacuate about 300,000 Singaporeans (or 40% of the Singapore population) and to resettle them north of Singapore to cultivate the land there. Another theory was as Singapore island as a large concentration of Chinese, sending part of this to a new settlement may reduce the threat of an uprising.

Two new settlements were established, one in Endau (Johore) for all Chinese and the other, Bahau (Negeri Sembilan) for Eurasians and Roman Catholics. Under the scheme, the Singapore population were encouraged to resettle outside Singapore, in areas where they could farm and live off the land. It was also known as New Syonan Model Farm. The person put in charge was Mamoru Shinozaki, Head of Welfare Department in the Syonan Municipality, who sought the co-operation of the Overseas Chinese Association (OCA) to build a settlement for Chinese in Endau. Each settlement would have a place of worship, a school, a hospital and an assembly hall. Each "settlers" were to be provided with 2-3 acres of land, tools for farming and food supply until they are able to sustain themselves. Tan Ean Teck was appointed as the vice chairman of the Agriculture Committee. The chairman was Tan Hoon Siang.

Ambush and Death of Tan Ean Teck 
Yap Pheng Geck in his autobiography recounted the story of how he, as one of the pioneers who help build the Endau Settlement paid a visit to this settlement in an entourage together with other OCA members and Japanese authorities. He broke off from the convey in Kota Tinggi to rest before trying to catch up with the convey. About 10 miles after Kota Tinggi, he was shocked to see bodies lying by the side of the road (but the convoy of vehicles not within sight). Stopping his vehicle, Yap Pheng Geck rushed out to first see, Lee Choon Seng with a bloodied face and an unhurt but shocked Teochew shopkeeper from Endau. Two lifeless body was also discovered; a gentleman later identified as Mr. Tay Nee Ai and the other who was recognised immediately as Tan Ean Teck, a prominent Hokkien merchant and brother of Tan Ean Kiam, managing director of OCBC.

 The Teochew shopkeeper recounted the story that the convoy was shot at by guerillas (likely the Malayan Anti-Japanese Army) and the vehicle owned by Shinozaki targeted at. Lee Choon Seng survived as a bullet was said to have hit the Vice-Chairman of Overseas Chinese Association (O.C.A) tin badge that he had to wear to identify him as a member and grazed his face. Another story has it that, Lee Choon Seng survived because it was said that a bullet hit a Buddhist medallion on his chest. This incident had a tremendous impact later on in his life as he went on to set up the Singapore Buddhist Federation and Singapore Buddhist Lodge and played an important role in the formation of Maha Bodhi School and spread of Buddhism in Singapore.

Syonan's First Public Funeral
Tan Ean Teck passed away that faith day on April 19, 1944 at the age of 42. It was reported in Syonan Times that the memorial service, touted as Syonan's first public funeral was held on April 23, 1944  for Tan Ean Teck and Tay Nee Ai and attended by Colonel Koichi Okubo (Mayor), Mr. Kanichi Naito (Deputy Mayor), Mr. K. Toyoda (Minsei-bu Cho), Mr. M. Nakata (Kosei-ka Cho), Mr. M. Shinzoaki (Keimu-bo Cho) and other high officials of the Tokubetu-si.

Prior to the hearse leaving for Bukit Brown cemetery, a memorial service was held at the O.C.A and the service was led by Mr Lu Thien Poh, Chairman of the O.C.A Propaganda Committee.
Tan Ean Teck's tomb in Bukit Brown Block 3 Division D, plot 204
Tay Ee Ai is buried in Block 3 Division D, plot 222

References
Chinese Association forms 10 Bureaux. (1943, November 29). Syonan Times
Syonan's first Public Cemetery. (1944, April 24). Syonan Times
Advertisements. (1950, April 22). The Straits Times
Yap, Pheng Geck. Scholar, Banker, Gentleman Soldier: The Reminiscences of Dr. Yap Pheng Geck. Vol. 2. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1982.
Kratoska, Paul H. The Japanese occupation of Malaya: a social and economic history. University of Hawaii Press, 1997.