Friday, March 11, 2016

Choa Joon Hean and family (Bukit Brown)

In Hill 2, now forever scarred by the 8 lane highway, the tomb of Mrs. Choa Joon Hean ( nee Cheong Swat Leh ) is a unique tomb which is guarded or flanked by a pair of angels which looks like angels you would likely find in a Christian Cemetery rather than a Chinese one. Both husband and wife are buried side by side. The name Choa Joon Hean may not ring a bell to everyone, but the name Kim Keat might. Do read on if you are keen to find out more.

Mrs Choa Joo Hean 

Close up of the Angel 

Mr. Choa Joon Hean worked for many years with the Overseas Assurance Corporation. He was the son of Choa Kim Keat. Choa Joo Hean was also the Patron of the The Lunar Athletic and Musical Party. Mr. Choa Joon Hean passed away at age of 51 at 149 Neil Road on September 14, 1945. He is survived by:
Sons: Choa Watt Chiang (Eric), Choa Watt Seng (Walter),
Daughters: Choa Kwee Neo (Jean), Choa Kim Neo (Nancy)
Grandson: Choa Choon Eng (Victor)

Choa Joon Hean, President of the Lunar Athletic 


Mr Choa Joon Hean 
Mrs. Choa Joon Hean nee Cheong Swat Leh ; born January 18, 1896 - passed away September 19, 1929. She is survived by 2 sons and 2 daughters.
Sons: Choa Watt Chiang (Eric), Choa Watt Seng (Walter),
Daughters: Choa Quee Neo (Jeanne), Choa Kim Neo (Nancy)

Mrs Choa Joo Hean nee Cheong Swat Leh 

Family 

Father: Choa Kim Keat
Choa Kim Keat was the only son of Choa Kai Hoon who came down from Malacca to Singapore and joined Choa Boon Buan & Co. (chop Khye Guan Tong), a Commission Agent in Boat Quay. Choa Kai Hoon eventually succeeded his brother Choa Chuan Ghio as the Manager ( branch of Leack, Ching Seng & Co) in Rangoon and eventually died there in 1865.

Choa Kim Keat started as a salesman to Lim Tiang Wah & Sons and after the formation of the Straits Trading Co. Ltd, he was the company tin salesman, a position he held till his death on January 5,1907 at the age of 48. He also managed the large rice business of Kim Ching & Co and married a daughter of Mr. Tan Kim Ching ( Miss Tan Hoon Neo). He was the owner of the residence called "Fairyland" in Pasir Panjang and was a well known lover of orchids and rare plants, having won many prizes. When he passed away, his cortege left Neil Road and proceeded to the Alexandra Cemetery.

Choa Kim Keat





Mother: Madam Tan Hoon Neo (Mrs. Choa Kim Keat)
Madam Tan Hoon Neo,  wife of Mr Choa Kim Keat, passed away peacefully at the age of 77 on February 1, 1935 in 149 Neil Road. She is survived by 1 son, Choa Joon Hean, 2 daughters, 1 adopted daughter and 25 grandchildren. She is buried in Bukit Brown (Block I Division B plot 64).
Tan Hoon Neo is the daughter of Mr. Tan Kim Ching, grand daughter of Mr. Tan Tock Seng.
The names of the daughters listed on the tomb are: Choa Yong Neo, Choa Poh Neo, Choa Hah Neo.
Mrs Choa Kim Keat nee Madam Tan Hoon Neo (daughter of  Tan Kim Ching)



Son: Eric Choa Watt Chiang (March 26 , 1916 - November 7, 2009)
Eric Choa Watt Chiang was the eldest son of  Mr and Mrs. Choa Joon Hean, He had his early education at Outram School and at Raffles Institution. He graduated with a law degree from Cambridge University and became an accomplished Chancery Lawyer. He was married to Hoo Yan Meng (grand-daughter of Hoo Ah Kay also known as Whampoa ) and they have three children Victor, Adrienne and Dennise. He passed at the age of 93 on the November 7, 2009 leaving his widow and children to mourn his loss.

Daughter: Choa Kwee Neo (Jeanne)
Jeanne Choa Kwee Neo married Chi Swan Chiang, son of Mr and the late Mrs Chi Sun Cheng of Malacca in March 14, 1936. The wedding dinner was held at Mr. Chi residence in No. 121 Heeren Street.

Daughter: Choa Kim Neo (Nancy)
Nancy Choa Kim Neo got engaged to Mr. Wong Yam Hin, second son of Mr and Mrs Wong Yoon Yean of Malacca in 1939 but eventually was broken by mutual consent in a notice published in the Straits Times in 1940.  (I have no further insight on what happened to her)

Legacy

Choa Kim Keat (the father of Choa Joon Hean) is remembered via various roads (Kim Keat Road, Kim Keat Lane, Kim Keat Close) named after him off Balestier Road.

Seabreeze Lodge, the villa built by Choa Kim Keat was one of a number of homes he owned including the "Fairyland" in Pasir Panjang and 56-9 Neil Road (later 149 Neil Road). Seabreeze Lodge was in the news in 2011, when the then owner, Victor Choa (son of Eric Choa Watt Chiang) sold the villa for $104 million to developer Far East Organization. One of the nugget shared by Victor Choa was that Sea Breeze lodge was occupied by Japanese officers during World War II.

Sea Breeze Lodge (source: PictureSG)

Sea Breeze No 37 

Mr and Mrs Choa Joon Hean are buried in Hill 2, in front of Lee Kim Soo.


References
Death of Mr. Choa Kim Keat. (1907, January 8). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
The late Mr. Choa Kim Keat. (1907, January 10). The Straits Times, page 7
Deaths. (1929, September 20 ). The Singapore Free Press, page 8.
Untitled. (1930, March 28). The Straits Times
The Lunar Athletic and Musical Party. (1932, February 7). Malayan Saturday Post, page 24
Domestic Occurences. (1935, February 2). The Straits Times, page 2
Malayan Items. (1936, March 17). The Straits Times, page 17
Singapore Today. (1989, February 8). The New Paper, Irene Hoe, page 7
Seabreeze lodge: general view 2. PictureSG, URL: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/pictures/Details/1230618b-a5b6-4bac-843b-388668514375
Notices in Memoriam-Eric Choa. Law Gazette, URL:  http://www.lawgazette.com.sg/2009-12/Memoriam.htm




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