Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tan Kwee Wah and family (Bukit Brown)

Tan Kwee Wah (29 September 1880 - 21 April 1927) was born in 1880 and the son of Tan Soon Toh. He was educated at the Anglo-Chinese School , Anglo-Chinese Free School and finally at Raffles Institution. Tan Kwee Wah joined the firm of Kim Ching & Co and assisted in the management of the estate of the late Tan Kim Ching. Later, he and Tan Kwee Swee took out probate of the will of Tan Kim Ching and acted as trustees until the estate was finally wound up. Tan Kwee Wah made many investments in property and later rubber plantations. His company was called Tan Kwee Wah & Co. which in the article below describes its business and business address at 28, Boat Quay.

Tan Kwee Wah (photo courtesy of Pat Lin)
Tan Kwee Wah was a well-know patron of horse racing and member of the Singapore Sports Club. He was a President of the Straits Chinese Recreation Club and served in the Committee for the Straits Chinese British Association (SCBA) and member in the board of Management for Tan Tock Seng.

Advertisement, 1919 (source: NewspaperSG)



Chinese Millionaire Volunteers

Tan Kwee Wah was of the original members of the Chinese Co, Singapore Volunteer Infantry (SVI) and one of the Chinese representatives in the Coronation Contingent to London in 1902. He was a dedicated volunteer and received promotion to 1st Lieutenant in 1916.
Is Tan Kwee Wah in this picture? 
In an interesting article in 30th June 1902, it describes The Straits Contingent arrival in Alexandra Palace Grounds. For the first time in England, there is a unit which consists of Chinese Volunteers, British Born Chinese from Singapore (British subjects of Singapore). Within this unit are Chinese Millionaires and the journalist of the article draws parallel with Roosevelt's Roughriders in the Spanish-American War. Among the members are Dr. Lim Boon Keng (member of the Singapore Legislative Council), Song Ong Siang (Barrister-at-law). Other members of this small unit includes, Tan Boo Liat, (merchant prince of Singapore, a great sportsman, owner of Vanitas, which won the Calcutta Cup. It went on to describe the brother of Tan Boo Liat, Tan Kwee Wah and another wealthy Chinese, Tan Hood Guan.

The complete list of The Chinese Co. S.V.I. were Sergt. Lim Boon Keng, Corpl. Song Ong Siang, Lance-Corpl. Chia Keng Chin and Ptes. Tan Chew Kim, Seah Cheng Joo, Cheong Choon Beng and Tan Kwee Wah, while Ptes. Tan Boo Liat and Tan Hood Guan also went at their own expense. Mr. Tan Hup Leong paid a second visit to London in the  role of a sight-seer. The story of their life in camp on Alexandra Palace grounds has been chronicled in the Straits Chinese Magazine (Vol. vi, p.123).

Death

Tan Kwee Wah passed away at the age of 46 on April 21, 1927 at 18 Sophia Road. (On the tomb it states his age as 47). He is survived by his wife, Chew Gek Neo, a secondary wife (name ?), 1 son-in-law, Edward Chia, 7 sons, 7 daughters and 1 grandson. He is buried in Bukit Brown, Hill 2 Section C plot 51. From the tombstone of Mr and Mrs. Tan Kwee Wah, we know the names of the children:
Sons: Tan Teck Bee, Tan Joo Bee, Tan Swee Bee, Tan Hor Bee, Tan Teck Lee, Tan Teck Leng, Tan Teck  Hock
Daughters: Tan Kim Neo, Tan Peck Neo, Tan Keng Neo, Tan Hoon Neo



Chew Gek Neo  (18 March 1884 - 6 October 1964)
Madam Chew Gek Neo, daughter of Chew Boon Lay passed away on 6 October 1964 at the age 81. She is buried in Hill 2 Section B plot 50.



Family

Father: Tan Soon Toh (1854-1891)
Tan Soon Toh had 5 sons and 1 daughter. From geni.com and also the article on the death of Tan Kwee Swee, i gather the names that i know so far are as follows:
Son: Tan Boo Liat, Tan Cheow Pin, Tan Kwee Liang, Tan Kwee Swee, Tan Kwee Wah.
Daughter: ?
Tan Kwee Swee (middle) together with brothers; Tan Kwee Wah, Tan Kwee Liang
(Photo courtesy of Pat Lin)



Brother: Tan Boo Liat (1875-1934)
Tan Boo Liat described as the merchant prince of Singapore, a great sportsman, owner of Vanitas, which won the Calcutta Cup and like his grandfather, Tan Kim Ching, maintained ties with Thailand and was given the title of Phra Anakul Sayamkitch.
Tan Boo Liat (source: NAS)

Brother: Tan Kwee Swee (1879 -1937)
The fourth son of Tan Soon Toh and a great grandson of Tan Tock Seng, Tan Kwee Swee passed away on 29 January 1937  at his residence in No. 8 Swanage Road. In that article, it mentions Tan Kwee Swee as a prominent resident and father of two Queen's Scholar, Mr. Tan Thoon Lip and Miss Maggie Tan (nee Maggie Lim, first female school girl from Singapore to receive the award).
Tan Kwee Swee (source: NewspaperSG)


Son: Tan Teck Bee
Mr. Tan Teck Bee, (eldest son of the late Mr. Tan Kwee Wah and Mrs Tan Kwee Wah) married Miss Loh Seok Neo, (youngest daughter of the late Mr and Mrs, Loh Nee Jean and the youngest sister of Dr. Loh Poon Lip ). The marriage took place in August 1928.
Tan Teck Bee and Loh Seok Neo
Malayan Saturday Post August 4, 1928 (source: NewspaperSG)  

Daughter: Elsie Tan Kim Neo (1905-25th August 1939)
Miss Elsie Tan married Mr. Edward Chia (eldest son of Mr and Mrs Chia Lip Choon of 8 Pinangsia, Batavia) in April 1924. Elsie Tan passed away on 25th August 1939 at the age of  34. From the burial registrar i found out that an yet unnamed infant boy is buried together with Elsie. This is a tomb of a mother and her son (maybe died during child birth ). Listed on the tomb are the names of her sons; Chales / Charles Chia, Henry Chia, Frank Chia, Lewis Chia and daughters; Katharine Chia, Dorothy Chia, Angeline Chia, Annette Chia and Margaret Chia. The tomb is at Hill 4 Section C, plot 1371.

[research on-going]

References
The Straits Contingent. (1909, June 30). The Straits Times, page 5
Advertisements. (1919, September 3).The Straits Times, page 15
Advertisement. (1929, January 3 ). The Straits Times, page 12
Engagement.(1927, December 3)Malaya Tribune, page 8
Death of Tan Kwee Swee. (1937, January 30). Morning Tribune, page 23



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