Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Teo Kim Eng (Bukit Brown)

The large tomb and jovial picture of Mr Teo Kim Eng got me curious about him. His story is an interesting one. Teo Kim Eng (张金荣), a Hokkien businessman from Lam Ann, first came to Singapore at age of 12  and started working as a labourer and eventually earn enough to start in his own stall at the age of 17. By 20,  he was the owner of a thriving business and is the owner of Chop Guan Choon (源春号), a big tobacco wholesaler firm. He is the owner of a chain of rubber estates and houses.

Mr and Mrs Teo Kim Eng 

Philanthropist and "Kepala"

Prior to war, Teo Kim Eng contributed to the Malayan Patriotic Fund, London Air Raid Relief Fund and China Relief Fund. He is a millionaire but prefers to be known as a "kepala" of his 100-acre holiday resort in Tampenis. Mr. Teo Kim Eng was observed to be working with his labourers in his estate and was seen during weekends spending hours working under the hot sun, shirtless and armed with a changkol (hoe).  When a journalist who went down to his estate to interview Teo Kim Eng, the millionaire, he introduced himself as the kepala here.


Mr. Teo's estate of bungalows consist of various amenities such as a swimming pool and a dance hall and he opens it up freely to friends and picnic parties. It was reported in 1947 that he refused an offer of $14,400 a year to rent his bungalows in the estate.There are many articles of different groups (e.g Chinese YMCA, Eclipse B.P. , ) holding their events in Teo Kim Eng Villa in Punggol and Teo Guan Choon Villa in 10 mile off Tampenis Road.


Guan Choon & Co. 

Teo Kim Eng company is Guan Choo & Co. located at 149 Cross Street. There were many articles of his company renting out various seaside bungalows own by him. In 1956, 1 year after his death, Guan Choon & Co is associated with Teo Song Lian. If i follow the thread of Teo Song Lian  and the company, there was an article in the Business Times 1988, where Teo Song Lian as Chairman of Guan Choon & Company Pte Ltd sought for the company to be winded up voluntarily.




Death 

There was an acknowledgement notice in February 1942 by Teo Kim Eng of Chop Guan Choon, 149 Cross Street, thanking relatives and friends who attended the funeral of his wife. However the name of the wife was not mentioned.

Teo Kim Eng passed away in 12 April 1955 and is buried in Bukit Brown Hill 3 Division A

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Teo Kim Eng 

Legacy

There are roads named after him and his company, Teo Kim Eng Road and Jalan Guan Choon (expunged)
Jalan Guan Choon (Pasir Ris) -expunged

Teo Kim Eng Road 

(research on-going)


References

Acknowledgment. (1927, February 160. The Straits Times
This millionaire prefers to be known as a "Kepala". (1947). Sunday Tribune.


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