Thursday, February 20, 2020

Terence Khoo (Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery)

Terence Khoo (born 21st November 1936 - died 20th July 1972) was a former Straits Times photgrapher from 1954-1956 before leaving to freelance and later work for Agence-France Presse staff before joining American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 1964 to cover the Vietnam War where he met his untimely death. Two Singapore photographers were killed in action in the battle in Quan Tri. Terence Khoo (35) and Sam Kai Faye (48) were killed while covering the battle for American Broadcasting Corporation on  20 July 1972.  Sam was shot by a sniper near Quang Tri. Terence stayed behind to help. His last know words to a Korean soundman who manage to escape were; "I'm Ok", Moments later, he too was shot. Their bodies were recovered a few days later. Terence Khoo's brother, John Khoo flew to Saigon (now known as Ho Chin Minh ) to bring the body back. Terence Khoo's fiancee, Miss Winnie Ng (of Hong Kong), John Khoo (his brother and a police photographer) accompanied the body that was placed in an aluminium coffin. A memorial service was held at Khoo's home at 23-A Lincoln Road before burial at Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery. Sam Kai Faye was buried at Peck San Teng Buddhist Cemetery, off 4th mile Thomson Road.
Tomb of Terence Khoo (Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery)

The epitaph for him reads;  A fine and courageous journalist who died as he lived, tenacious yet compassionate, his selfless concern others put him in dangers path many a time on the battlefield. He went beyond his duties as a journalist, risking his life helping U.S and South Vietnamese forces to evacuate wounded civilians. He died in action on the war-torn battlefield in Quan Tri. Truly a man with courage of soul. A son so valiant and noble-hearted, whose filial piety, kindness, loving cate and thoughtfulness will always be remembered. Survived by his mother, Sim Geok Kee ,sister-in-law, Wong Lai Kuan and brother, Khoo Kiam Soon.
Terence Khoo's mother (Madam Sim Geok Kee) and fiancee (Miss Winnie Ng)
The coffins of Terence Khoo and Sam Kai Faye
Funeral of Mr. Terence Khoo - i can recognise his mother and his fiancee in the picture  (source: National Archives)

Terry the front line hero

Terence Khoo received a certificate of appreciation from 9th Infantry Division Commander, Major General Julian J. Ewell. He was commended for his bravery in helping rescue casualties from a rice field while under heavy enemy fire. Terence was filming the evacuation and realising the seriousness of the situation, put aside his camera and helped in the rescue.

His Legacy

Terence Khoo has bequeathed one-third of his insurance money of $62,500 to the University of Singapore. Yearly awards of $1,300 were given to the medical research for good students from not well to do families. The first award went to Lim Meng Kin, a final year medical student who went on to become a Brigadier General and later after retirement, the Chief Executive Officer of Health Corporation of Singapore.

Terence Khoo 

[research on-going]


References
Terry the front line hero. (1969, March 23). The Straits Times, page 9
2 jurugambar S'pura terbunoh di-Vietnam. (1972, July 22). Berita Harian, page 1
To varsity from Terence-a cash surprise. (1972, August 1). The Straits Times, page 15
"I' am OK." Moments later, he was shot. (1997, December 6). The Straits Times, page 28












Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Jacobe Low Kiok Chiang (Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery)

Low Kiok Chiang was the founder of the firm Kiam Hoa Heng and Co. Born in China, he left there as a poor man in a junk headed for Singapore, and through sheer hard work managed to be successful. At about the age of 20 years old, he converted to the Roman Catholic faith. He also set up business in Penang and later came to Bangkok to do business.  He was one of the benefactors for the building of the Church of the Holy Rosary and Cheong Quee Theam, Low Kok Chiang and Chan Teck Hee were named principal benefactors for the building of The Church of Sacred Heart at Tank Road. Low Kiok Chiang passed away on 12th March 1911 at Bangkok at the age of 69. He is survived by a large family of relatives including 3 brothers in China, 3 sons, 4 daughters, 18 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. The remains were brought back to Singapore for interment. Today his tomb resides in Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery at the former Bidadari exhumed section.
Jacobe Low Kiok Chiang 
Tombstone of Jacobe Low Kiok Chiang
From Jacobe Low Khiok Chiang's beautiful marble tomb it is engraved that he was born in China in 1843 and died in Siam (Thailand) on 12th March 1911. He is survived by his children;
Low Gek Seng, Low Meng Seng, Low Kwang Seng, Low Gek Luan, Low Kim Luan, Low Siew Luan, Low Pek Luan and grandchildren; Low Choon Hong, Low Hoa Mong, Low Song Mong, Low Soo Noi, Low Soo Mui, Loo Soo Choo, Low Soo Kio.

Family

Son: Philip Julian Low Gek Seng (1870-1945)
Philip Julian Low Gek Seng passed away on 7th February 1945 at Valreas, France at the age of 75. His body was sealed in oaken lead-lined coffin in a French mausoleum until 1948 when he shipped back via a passenger ship from Marseilles to Singapore. His coffin was placed at his residence at No. 54 Waterloo Street before burial at Bidadari Cemetery following Roman Catholic rites.

Mounumental Mason / Memorial Mason 

While inspection the tomb of Jacobe Low Kiok Chiang, i came across the tomb mason who commissioned the tombstone. It reads; A.Canessa Scultore Genova. Italia. Researching further, the tomb is likely imported from Italy and is from the mason company of  Achille Canessa (1856-1905) who was a prominent sculptor whose work features prominently at Staglieno Cemetery,Genova. His work can be found also around the world. After Canessa's death, his wife and son kept the business open, producing works in his name for at least another 15 years.


[research on-going]

References
Jacob Low Kiok Chiang. History of the Catholic Church in Singapore. The virtual exhibition.(website). Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2019/19th-and-20th-century-sculpture/achille-canessa-torchbearer

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Ronnie Lee and family - a tragic motor accident (Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery)

A large rectangle marble tomb stands out clearly among the many other tombs in Choa Chu Kang Cemetery (Protestant Section) and that got us curious and on closer inspection of the inscription, it reads:
In loving memory of my father, mother, sister and brother who departed together in motor accident on 26th November 1972. 
A bitter grief, a shock severe-to part with all i cherished so dear missing all their love i once had-brings endless tears i  lonely shed - Desmond Lee Meng Soon
Sadly missed but always remembered by all who loved them so dearly. 
R.I.P

Rectangle Marble Headstone of 4 Family Members who died in tragic motor accident 

Ronnie Lee, Janey Goh and their children, Lionel Lee and Esther Lee (source: NewspaperSG)
The tragic accident that happened 48 years ago was well reported in the newspaper and therefore i am able to piece together bits and pieces of what happened on that day. The family which consist of parents, Ronnie Lee Lye Hock and Madam Janey Goh Siok Hiang and their 3 children, Desmond Lee Meng Soon, Esther Lee Kim Lian and Lionel Lee Meng Heng,  was said to returning home after a swim at the sea and a meal of mee siam at Katong, when they had an accident on a  Sunday afternoon on 26th November 1972 at Bartley Road (close to Ramakrishna Mission) in an accident that involved their Austin 1100 and a PUB truck and a Shell tanker at 1:30 pm. The car was crushed in between the two vehicles. Janey (32 years old) and Esther (8 years old) were killed instantly while Ronnie (37 years old) and Lionel (7 years old) died at the Outram Hospital. Desmond Lee Meng Soon was the sole survivor and became an orphan that day at the age of 11 and is under the care of his grandfather, Mr. Robert Lee (59 years old and a Sales Manager).  In a follow-up interview with Robert Lee at his residence at Sunshine Terrace, Bartley Rise Estate on December 11, 1972,  Desmond survival from the car crash was describes by the doctors as nothing short of a miracle. He was discharged with stitches on his face and body and at the time of report, Desmond might have to undergo eye surgery and plastic surgery for a damage tear duct. 

Picture from Berita Harian of the family car in its horrific state (source: NewspaperSG)

Ronnie Lee was a senior teacher at Ahmad Ibrahim Integrated School while his wife Janey Goh was teaching at Sembawang Hill Primary School where her daughter Esther Lee was in Primary 2. Desmond Lee and Lionel Lee were studying at St. Andrew's Primary School. 
Desmond Lee with his grandfather, Robert Lee (source: NewspaperSG)
Desmond Lee would have been 59 years of age today. I wish him well and good health.
Desmond Lee (source: NewspaperSG)

References 
Orphan Overnight-Grandpa Shileds Young Desmond from Tragic News. (1972, November 18). The Straits Times, page 19
Nahas ngeri ini menyebabkan 4 maut yg antara-nya dua kanak2. (1972, November 27). Berita Harian, page 10
Desmond cheritakan tentang nahas yang menimpa keluarga-nya. (1972, November 28). Berita Harian, page 10
Desmond the Sole Survivor takes it calmly. (1972, December 11). The Straits Times, page 8
A black year.. on our roads. (1972, December 16). New Nation, page 6

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Filial Piety -He Tasted His Father's Faeces and Worried about His Father (Stories from the Stones)

Yu Qianlou was appointed as the magistrate of Chanling County. One day, after he held office for less than ten days, he suddenly had a feeling that something had happened at home, so he resigned and went home. When he reached home, he learnt that his father was seriously ill for two days. The physician told him that the way to check his father's condition was to taste his faeces. If they tasted bitter, it meant that his father was fine. Yu then tasted his father's faeces and found that they tasted sweet, so he became very worried. At night, he prayed to the gods and expressed his willingness to die in his father's place. However, his father still died a few days later. Yu buried his father and mourned for three years. The picture below was taken from Ong Sam Leong's tomb.

Filial Piety -He Tasted His Father's Faeces and Worried about His Father


References
The Twenty-four Filial Exemplars. Website: Wikipedia
https://pages.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/chin/shiaw/FilialExemplarsEnglish.pdf

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Philip Julian Low Gek Seng and family (former Bidadari Cemetery )

A series of pictures on PictureSG on tombstones at the former Bidadari Cemetery got me curious and interested to research further. It was a series of pictures which included the tomb of Philip Julian Low Gek Seng and his family. Philip Julian Low Gek Seng / P.J. Low Gek Seng  /Low Gek Seng was the managing director of the old established firm Messrs. Kiam Hoa Heng & Co of Bangkok.. Born in Singapore on 1st May 1870, he was the son of Mr. Low Kiok Chiang, Manager of Messrs. Kiam Hoa Heng and Co. Ltd.  Philip Julian Low Gek Seng was labelled as one of the pioneers of the rubber industry in Malaya. Reading further, both father and son were prominent Roman Catholic church philanthropists. Philip Julian Low Gek Seng passed away on 7th February 1945 at Valreas, France at the age of 75. His body was sealed in oaken lead-lined coffin in a French mausoleum until 1948 when he shipped back via a passenger ship from Marseilles to Singapore. His coffin was placed at his residence at No. 54 Waterloo Street before burial at Bidadari Cemetery following Roman Catholic rites.
Philip Julian Low Gek Seng (source: National Archives)

Tomb of Philip Julian Low Gek Seng at Bidadari (source: PictureSG)

At the tomb of Philip Julian Low Gek Seng, the names of his surviving children are listed as; Low Choon Mong, Low Hoa Choon Mong, Low Hoa Mong, Loo Soo Mui, Low Soo Keow.

Family 

Father: Low Kiok Chiang / Jacob Low Kiok Chiang /Jacobe Low Khok Chiang (died 1911)
Low Kiok Chiang was the founder of the firm Kiam Hoa Heng and Co. Born in China, he left there as a poor man in a junk headed for Singapore, and through sheer hard work managed to be successful. At about the age of 20 years old, he converted to the Roman Catholic faith. He also set up business in Penang and later came to Bangkok to do business.  He was one of the benefactors for the building of the Church of the Holy Rosary and Cheong Quee Theam, Low Kok Chiang and Chan Teck Hee were named principal benefactors for the building of The Church of Sacred Heart at Tank Road. Low Kiok Chiang passed away on 12th March 1911 at Bangkok at the age of 69. He is survived by a large family of relatives including 3 brothers in China, 3 sons, 4 daughters, 18 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. The remains were brought back to Singapore for interment. Today his tomb resides in Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.

Jacobe Low Khiok Chiang 

Mother-in-law: Magdalene Lee Gek Hiok (died 1928)
Magdalene Lee Gek Hiok wife of Joseph Teo Ting Chew  is the mother of Mary Teo Ah-Phang. Magdalene Lee Geok Hiok passed away at the age of 87 on 29th January 1928. The tomb was erected by P.J. Low Gek Seng (his son-in-law) / Philip Julian Low Gek Seng in 1934.
Tomb of Magdalene Lee Gee Hiok (source: PictureSG)

Wife: Mary Teo Ah-Phang / Teo Ah Phang /Teo An Phang (1868-1918)
Mary Teo Ah-Phang, wife of Philip Julian Low Gek Seng was born in Singapore on 16th July 1868 and passed away at Brighton on 3rd October 1918. She is survived by (from the engraving on the tomb), her sons; Joseph Low Choon Mong , Anthony Low Hoa Mong, Thomas Low Song Mong, daughters; Anastasia Low Soo Noi, Veronica Low Soo Mooi, Rosa Low Soo Keo. The name of son-in-laws listed are: Tan Cheow Wah, Lee Keng Tye, Chan Chin Kwang

Mary Teo Ah Phang's tomb (source: PictureSG)

Son: Low Hoa Mong / Anthony Low Hoa Mong
Anthony Low Hoa Mong (younger son of Mr. P.J. Low Gek Seng of Singapore and Brighton) married Miss Cecilia Wee Sai Cheng (eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Wee Cheng Soon of Singapore. The wedding was solemnised at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Queen Street by the Right Rev. Father Mariette, Vicar-General. The reception was held at the residence of the bridegroom at 54 Waterloo Street. Below is the wedding photo of Anthony Low Hua Mong (son of Philip Julian Low Gek Seng and Mary Teo Ah Phang). The bride is Cecilia Wee Sai Cheng. She is the daughter of Wee Cheng Soon and Regina Tan. The man with the foldable hand fan is Philip Julian Low Gek Seng, father of the groom. The little girl on the extreme right is Mary Low. Mary Low is the niece of the groom and granddaughter of the groom's father. (This National Archives photo was described by researcher, Marc Rerceretnam on 12 April 2019).

Anthony Low Hoa Mong passed away on 11th December 1959 at 4 Oakland Avenue, Esther, Surrey, England. He is survived by his wife, 5 sons, 4 daughters and 1 son-in-law.

Wedding Photo of Anthony Low Hua Mong and Cecilia Wee Sai Cheng

Son: Low Song Mong / Thomas Low Song Mong  (1903-1920) 
Low Song Mong was born in Bangkok on 2nd March 1903 and passed away at Brighton on 8th June 1920. This means that he was 17 years when he passed away. His tomb at the former Bidadari Cemetery also mentions that he is the youngest son of Philip Julian Low Gek Seng and Mary Teo An Phang.
Thomas Low Song Mong (source: PictureSG) 

Daughter: Low Soo Mui / Veronica Low Soo Mui
Veronica Low Soo Mui passed away on 21st January 1968 at the age of 76. From the obituary notice, its list the name of his 2 sons; Phillip and Tommy, 2 daughter-in-laws; Margaret and Lily, grandchildren; Phillis, Peter,Marianne and Timothy.

Veronica Low Soo Mui 
Daughter: Low Soo Choo / Mrs. Chan Chin Kwang (died 1914)
Low Soo Choo, wife of Mr. Chan Chin Kwang, 3rd daughter of Mr and Mrs. P.J. Low Gek Seng of Brighton, England, grand-daughter-in-law of Mr and Mrs. Chan Teck Hee, daughter-in-law of Mr and Mrs. Chan Yong Seng of Singapore, passed away after a prolonged illness at 169 Middle Road on 29th June 1914 at the age of 23. She leaves behind her husband, 2 sons and 1 daughter to mourn her loss.

Daughter: Low Soo Keow /Rosa Low Soo Keow /Rosa Chan Chin Kwang (died 1950)
Rosa Low Soo Keow of 54 Waterloo St. passed away at the age of 52 on 21st November 1950. Interment was at Bidadari Cemetery.  From an 1948 article, Rosa is mentioned to be Mrs. Chan Chin Kwang. ( It is possible that Chan Chin Kwang married Low Soo Keow after her sister Low Soo Choo passed away ? )


Grand-niece: Nangsao Vani Laohakiarti 
Miss Bangkok, 16 year Nangsao Vani Laohakiarti was crowned Miss Siam in a beauty queen contest in 1935. She is the daughter of retired police officer, Capt. Bun Chin . Her grandmother is a sister of Mr. Low Gek Seng, a former well-known resident of Bangkok.


54 Waterloo Street
Constructed in the early 1900s along Waterloo Street, the units were initially built as residences. Number. 54 was home to Philip Julian Low Gek Seng and his family from the 1920s to 1950s.
54-58 Waterloo Street (source: Roots.sg) 

Post-note

With Bidadari Cemetery gone, Philip Julian Low Gek Seng, Mary Teo Ah-Phang, Magdalene Lee Gek Hiok and Low Song Mong are now at at rest at the columbarium of Church of St.Teresa in Kampong Bahru. 




[research on-going]

References
Untitled. (1906, March 16). Eastern Daily Mail and Straits Morning Tribune, page 3
Death of Mr. Low Kiok Chiang. (1911, March 22). The Straits Times, page 9
Death. (1914, July 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 6
Untitled. (1926, March 23). The Singapore Free Press, page 16
Social and Personal. ( 1923, September 22). The Straits Times, page 8
Society and Personal. (1926, July 30). Malaya Tribune, page 6
Siam's Beauty Queen. (1935, December 18). Malaya Tribune, page 14
An exile returns for last rest. (1948, February 10). The Straits Times, page 7
Death. (1950, November 22). The Straits Times, page 9
Death. (1968, January 22). The Straits Times, page 22
Tans-Chan-Low-Chia Connection. Tans of Makepeace Road. (Pdf).Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
Studio Portrait of a wedding Party. Lee Brothers Studio. National Archives of Singapore.
54-58 Waterloo Street. Roots. (website). Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
Jacob Low Kiok Chiang. History of the Catholic Church in Singapore. The virtual exhibition.(website). Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
David Wee Cheng Soon. History of the Catholic Church in Singapore. The virtual exhibition.(website). Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
Bidadari Cemetery grave stone: close-up [5]. (website). PictureSG. Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
Bidadari Cemetery grave stone: close-up [3]. (website). PictureSG. Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
Bidadari Cemetery grave stone: close-up [1]. (website). PictureSG. Last accessed 5 Feb 2020
Bidadari Cemetery grave stone: close-up [4]. (website). PictureSG. Last accessed 5 Feb 2020

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Madam Tan Mary (Bukit Brown)

Madam Tan Mary or Mary Tan  nee Mrs. Wan Boon Seng passed away on 21st March 1947 at the age of 47. Listed on her tomb are the names of her children; son: Wan Seng Kim daughter: Wan Chwee Neo. Her tomb is located in Hill 1 Division D plot 76.


Father: Lieutenant China Tan Tjap Ngoan
Mary Tan is one of the daughters of Mr. Tan Tjap Ngoan, a Lieutenant China of Dutch held Batam , an appointment he held at the age of 22. He went on to hold the position for almost 40 years. Born in Batam, he was also a produce merchant and rubber estate owner. At the time of death in July 1931 at the age of 77, his residence was list as 10-4, Lorong 1, Teluk Kurau. He is survived by 1 son, Tan Seah Juay, 4 daughters, 1 daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law, Wan Boon Seng of "Bintang Pranakan" and Nah Miah Seng, 2 nephews, Koh Peng Kwang and Tan Teck Juay, 1 grandson-in-law, Yeo Buck Lim and 26 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. In the article, he was said to have been buried in Upper Road Serangoon Cemetery.

source: NewspaperSG

1891 (source: Deplher Kranten)

Husband: Wan Boon Seng

Wan Boon Seng died on June 23, 1957 at 27, Lorong 104 Changi Road. His father was Wan Eng Kiat .Wan Boon Seng was the most prolific translator of chinese classics to Baba Malay. He alone translated 21 titles between 1930-1939 and translated Botan Kingchoo in 1950. His pseudonym was Panah Peranakan. Not only did he translate and publish books, he also published Baba magazines, Bintang Pranakan, Sri Pranakan and Story Teller and two Baba newspapers, Kabar Slalu and Kabar Ucapan Baru.

source: NewspaperSG


"Lek Bohtan" translated by Wan Boon Seng
(at Peranakan Museum)

Magazine called Storyteller  by Wan Boon Seng
(at Peranakan Museum)
References
Deaths. (1931, July 20). The Straits Times, page 10
Wan Eng Kiat 范英吉 . (Website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Teigh Soon Whatt and family (Bukit Brown)

A broken marble headstone caught my attention. After piecing the two broken piece together, and placing it at the altar platform table, i noticed the unique surname of the person buried there. The marble stone was carved all in English and the surname was Teigh. The marble headstone reads;
In loving memory of the late Mr. Teigh Soon Whatt 
age 58. 
Died on 7th September 1936
Wife: Madam Cheong Choo Neo
Sons:
Teigh Heng Poon
Teigh Heng Kim
Daughters:
Teigh Leng Neo
Teigh Hock Neo
Grandsons
Oh Kwee Leong 

From the obituary notice, i managed to gather additional information: Teigh Soon Watt passed away at his residence, No 410A Yio Chu Kang Road on 6th Sept 1936 at the age of 58. He leaves behind his wife, a son-Teigh Heng Poon, one adopted son, Mr. Lim Hock Swee, 2 daughters and one son-in-law, Mr. Lim Chea Ding. Teigh Soon Whatt was the hon. assistant treasurer of the Bukit Sembawang Recreational Club in 1917. Teigh Soon Whatt was the hon. assistant treasurer of the Bukit Sembawang Recreational Club in 1917. He is buried in Block 4 Section A, plot 480.



Trying to trace further, the only possible lead i have is on the obituary notices of Teigh Heng Poon (passed away at the age of 84 on 7 April 2000) and his wife Madam Seah Mui Kiang (passed away at the age of 80 on 30 December 2008.

Son; Teigh Heng Poon Jr.  Daughter-in-law; Melenia A. Bisonaya
Daughter" Doreen Teigh Wha Eng, Son-in-law; Edmund Wong
Granddaughters: Dr. Petrina Wong, Jacinda Wong, Clarissa Wong, Carmella Teigh, Cassandra Teigh, Grandson: Ryan Teigh
Grandson-in-law: Dr. Keith Ho

References
Untitled. (1917, August 13). The Straits Times, page 8