Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lee Hong Neo (Bukit Brown)

Madam Lee Hong Neo passed away at the age of 80 on March 25, 1940 and is buried in Block 4 Section C plot 2014. The names of two sons are mentioned in her tomb, Koh Eng Hoe and Koh Eng Tiong. Also visible are names of  her grandchildren, Koh Choon Hong and Koh Chew Bock.

Madam Lee Hong Neo 

Madam Lee Hong Neo's tomb being enveloped by a Banyan Tree

Names of son and some of the grandchildren still visible

Death

The death notice is the first evidence and the names of the sons match. So do the year of death of Madam Lee Hong Neo matches the Year and Month of the notice below as well in the Bukit Brown burial registrar.


Burial registrar entry matches the location and plot number


Family

I will start with the family members of Madam Lee Hong Neo that were easily discernible from reading the names of her son and grandson. One of her grandson scored many first in the legal domain, being the colony first Chinese District Judge and Deputy Public Prosecutor.

Son: Koh Eng Tiong 
I do not have much information about Koh Eng Tiong, but interesting enough, Koh Eng Tiong's son, Koh Choon Hong whose name appears at the tomb as the grandson of Madam Lee Hong Neo scores many mentions. Koh Choon Hong, born in Malaya, studied in Anglo Chinese School, Singapore. He went on to study law in Emanuel College, Cambridge in 1925. Called to Bar in June 1929, Koh Choon Hong was admitted to the Colony Bar in 1932. He went on to be an Assistant Official Assignee. He became the colony first Chinese District Judge and in July 1940, Koh Choon Hong was appointed Deputy Public Prosecutor in 1940, the first Chinese to receive this position.

Koh Choon Hong was appointed Referee of Titles by the Perak Government during the Dinding retro-cession back to Perak and was the Custodian of Enemy Property during World War II. In 1945, he served as a Major in the Intelligence Section of the British Army, Commissioner in Malayanisation Commission; Secretary-General, Labour Party (1954);  the Vice-President of the Singapore People's Alliance (1956). He stood for elections in the 1959 Singapore Legislative Assembly Elections and won for the Joo Chiat Constituency.

Singapore Free Press November 13, 1925 , p 8. 

Koh Choon Hong 


Straits Tmes July 1, 1937
Another interesting note was that Koh Choon Hong stood for the 1957 Legislative Assembly By- Elections as an Independent Candidate. He lost to Lee Kuan Yew of the People's Action Party.



Koh Siok Puay and Koh Siok Tian, daughters of Koh Choon Hong
Koh Siok Puay and Koh Siok Tian 



Son: Koh Eng Hoe
<still researching>







References
Chinese Dinner For Singapore's New Knight.(1937, July 1)The Straits Times. Page 20
Mainly About Malayan. (1940, July 28). The Straits Times, Page 8
S'pore Assemblyman's daughter wins Perth beauty title. (1961, October 25). The Singapore Free Press, page 4

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