Thursday, March 21, 2019

Neo Pee Teck (Bukit Brown)

Neo Pee Teck residence was listed at No 305 Neo Pee Teck Lane. He was associated with the Anglo-French & Bendixsens Ltd and has partnerships in chop Hiap Heng & Co (benzaine lubricating oil and tyre dealers commissioning agents) and Chiang Hup Rubber Smoking (a Rubber Smoking and Commissioning Agent). Neo Pee Teck's simple tomb is rich in history, as it carries 3 different type of calendars that mark his passing. The Minguo Calendar, The Japanese Koki Calendar and finally the Gregorian Calendar. The marble tablet on Neo Pee Teck's table features clearly the Japanese Koki Calender, (died 13-12-2602). Listed on Neo Pee Teck are the name of his sons; Neo Hock Lim, Neo Hock Kee, Neo Hock Beng, Neo Hock Huat. Neo Pee Teck passed away at the age 57 and is buried in Hill 1 Division G, plot P19.

Neo Pee Teck 

Neo Pee Teck's tomb at Bukit Brown 

In 1947, there was an auction to sell various freehold land belonging to the estate of the late Neo Pee Teck. This freehold land and houses were located at Neo Teck Pee Lane off Pasir Panjang Road and included houses No 286 and 205 Neo Pee Teck Lane.

source: NewspaperSG

source: NewspaperSG

Auction of the late Neo Pee Teck's property
(source: NewspaperSG)

My grandfather's road

Theatre-maker and producer Neo Kim Seng's production, My Grandfather's Road, is inspired by Neo Pee Teck Lane in Pasir Panjang, which was named after his late paternal grandfather. The production is a storytelling project tying together what Neo Kim Seng knows of his family history (his late grandfather was a businessman, who died 10 months into the Japanese Occupation of Singapore during World War II) to its present-day relationships. He knows that

Advertisement. (1941, February 26). The Straits Times, page 2
Advertisement. (1947, November 25). The Straits Times, page 2
Akshita Nanda. Play on Family History a labour of love. (2018, June 12). The Straits Times (Online)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Madam Ang Chwee Neo nee Mrs Kee Yew Chye (Bukit Brown)

Madam Ang Chwee Neo's (Mrs. Kee Yew Chye) tomb caught my attention, as inscribed on the tomb are the words; In loving memory of Madam Ang Chwee Neo, age 28 years who passed away 30.3.1936. Leaves behind her beloved husband, Kee Yew Chye and her only daughter Kee Swan Neo (age 3 years) "Gone not forgotten". I was able to find the corresponding obituary notice which also gives insight that her husband was Mr. Kee Yew Chye of the Asiatic Petroleum Co. (S.S) Ltd. Pulau Bukom. Madam Ang Chwee Neo passed away at the General Hospital and the funeral cortege left from No 26-H Everton Road to Bukit Brown Hill 4 A, plot 185.
Madam Ang Chwee Neo 

Obituary notice of Madam Ang Chwee Neo
(source: NewspaperSG)

Mr. Kee Yew Chye

A Straits-born Chinese, Kee Yew Chye was a employee of the Asiatic Petroleum Co. Straits Settlement, and held appointments in various unions and clubs such as the Bukom Clerk Club, Bukom, Chinese Sports Club, Boustead Union (Singapore Business Houses Employees Union, Union Benevolent Society. In July 1937, Mr. Kee Yew Chye remarried to Miss Tan Choo Neo (daughter of Mr and Mrs Tan Boon Chuan) and their wedding picture (after their marriage at the Chinese Consulate) was featured in the Malaya Tribune.

Mr and Mrs Kee Yew Chye (source: NewspaperSG) 
Mr. Kee Yew Chye passed away at the age of 76 on 21st July 1983. In his obituary notice are the names of  his 4 sons (Richard Kee Chin Hin, Dr. Freddie Kee Chin Bong, Dr. Patrick Kee Chin Wah, Robert Kee Chin Swee), 2 daughters ( Rosalind Kee Swan Neo, Katherine Kee Guat Beng), 4 daughter-in-laws ( Marjorie Chu Ching Hsi, Eunice Chan Chye Tin, Mary Goh Liat Khoon) , 2 son-in-laws (Dr. Tow Siang Yeow, William Guoh Chin Nguong) 15 grandchildren.

Obituary notice of Mr. Kee Yew Chye
(source: NewspaperSG)
If you recalled, Kee Swan Neo is the name mentioned at Madam Ang Chwee Neo's tomb at Bukit Brown. Rosalind Kee Swan Neo married Dr Tow Siang Yeow and from what i can gather had, 1 son; Anthony Tow Shen Nen and 3 daughters; Julie Tow Li Chen, Eileen Tow Li Min and Grace Tow Li Hui. 

[research on-going]


Domestic Occcurrences. (1936, April 2). Malaya Tribune, page 10
Topic of the Day. (1936, March 31). Malaya Tribune, page 10
Pulau Bukom People Wed in Singapore. (1937, July 18). Malaya Tribune, page 24
Untitled. (1983, July 22). The Straits Times, page 43
Pulau Bukom. Infopedia.
People of Pulau Bukom. Island Nation Sg.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Pompelon Marginata Marginata (Bukit Brown)

Pompelon Marginata Marginata (a day flying moth) was spotted on 10th March 2019 at Bukit Brown, Hill 4 Division A at 9:15 am. It's beautiful striking blue caught my eye and as it landed, i notice it does flap its wings as what butterflies usually do, making me guess that it is possibly a moth. Reading further i found indeed it was a day flying moth called Popmpelon Marginata Marginata (Singapore subspecies) and it seems to be attracted to Wild Cinnamon trees ( Cinnamomum iners) which from the leave below, indeed it was !

Pompelon Marginata Marginata (a day flying moth) 

Pompelon Marginata. Nature in Singapore, pg 319-328 , NUS (accessible online)

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Caretaker's Death: Murder, say Police (Bukit Brown)

While researching about Bukit Brown Cemetery, i came across this tragic story in the Straits Times, dated 5 May 1980. Cemetery tomb keeper /care-taker and part-time gardener, Mr. Pasiman bin Sadikan, 70 years of age was found dead with his hands tied and mouth gagged. He suffocated to death and his body was found in his wooden and zinc hut on the fringe of Bukit Brown Cemetery, near Wallace Way off Lornie Road. His 15 years' life savings was missing. Police have classified the case as murder. Mr. Pasiman bin Sadikan, a bachelor, was a care-taker for the graves at Bukit Brown for the past 15 years and earns about $400 a month tending graves and gardening work for the residents in the area. On 2nd May 1980, at around 9 pm, robbers went to his secluded hut and then gagged and tied him. They took Mr. Pasiman's money ($1,235) and his grass cutting equipment and left. His body was found at about 8 am by one of his friend, Mr. Sarip bin Haji Nawawi, 62, a pump attendant. Another friend who declined to be named, said that the deceased have been saving with the intent of visiting his relatives in Java, Indonesia and recently obtained a Singapore International Passport for his first trip. It was a trip that was never meant to be.
Caretaker/ Tombkeeper Pasiman bin Sadikan
(source: NewspaperSG)
There were no signs of injury marks on the deceased body and police spokesperson, Supt. Au-Yong Weng Wah believe that the death was result of suffocation. This also was the same conclusion when the perpetrator of the crime was caught and charged at Court.


Busroh (Pusroh) bin Katimon was charged in the magistrate court on 27 May 1980 for the murder of Mr. Pasimon bin Sadikan. Pusroh bin Katimon, 23 years old, a factory worker was initially charge with murder, but at the High Courts, the sentence was later reduced to robbery with the intent of hurt. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 10 strokes of the cane. What about the other robbers? I am unable to find more information on whether the rest of the robbers were caught or whether the sentencing implied that there was only in fact 1 perpetrator of the crime.

Tombkeeper murdered (source: NewspaperSG)

Slain man was saving for a trip. (1980, May 4). The Straits Times, page 10
Caretaker's Death: Murder Say's Police. (1980, May 5). The Straits Times, page 11
Pekebun mati tercekek di pondok. (1980, May 4). Berita Minggu, page 1
On murder charge. (1980, May 28). The Straits Times, page 11
Leiaki yg rompak, cederakan mangsa dihukum. (1981, January 27). Berita Harian, page 8

Monday, March 04, 2019

Ong Kong Guan and family (Bukit Brown)

Ong Kong Guan passed away at the ripe old age of 90 on May 13, 1925 at 5 pm at his residence No 24, Mohamed Sultan Road. He leaves behind to mourn his loss, a widow, 2 sons (Messrs. Ong Soon Hee, Ong Bah Chee), 3 daughters, sons-in-law (Messrs. Tan Teck Chuan, Seow Tiong Lin, Lee Guan Chuan, 7 grandsons (elders Messrs. Ong Beng Seng, Ong Beng Gwat), 7 granddaughter and 7 great grandchildren. The burial took place at Bukit Brown on Sunday, 17th May 1935 at Hill 1 B, plots 154 & 155.

On his grave are listed the name of his sons and daughters;
Ong Soon Hee, Ong Soo Seng, Ong Choon Neo, Ong Yang Neo, Ong Kok Neo
Grandsons; Ong Beng Seng, Ong Beng Watt, Ong Beng Hoe, Ong Peck Koon
Granddaughter: Ong Guek Neo, Ong Cheng Poh, Ong Cheng Kim,
Great grandsons: Ong Poh Tin, Ong Poh Choo,

Wife: Goh Poon Neo
There was an article in the Malaya Tribune, 28 July 1930, which requested members of the Gaylads Minstrels to pay respects to Mr. Ong Soon Hee's mother who passed away at 24 Mohamed Sultan Road. Madam Goh Poh Neo passed away at the age of 78 on 26th July 1930.

Estate of Ong Kong Guan
I read with interest that eventually Ong Kuan's Guan estate was auction off in 1951 (26 years after his death). It must have been held in trust by the family for many years including the house that he lived and died in; No 24 Mohamed Sultan Road.

[research on-going]

Death. (1925, May 16). The Straits Times, page 8.
Untitled. (1930, July 28). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Advertisement. (1951, November 12). The Straits Times, page 2

Friday, February 22, 2019

Sng Puah Neo and its battle-scarred tomb (Bukit Brown)

Madam Sng Puah Neo passed away at the age of 80 on 8th March 1925. She is survived by two sons, Koh Cho Beng and Koh Cho Heng. Madam Sng Puah Neo is buried in Hill 1 F, plot 305. From the little information i have, his son Koh Cheng Beng worked for the Mercantile Bank Ltd.

Madam Sng Puah Neo

Malayan Tribune 5 May 1828 (source: NewspaperSG)

Battle scarred tombs

Madam Sng Puah Neo's tomb is adorned with beautiful decorative tiles but part of her marble headstone was partially destroyed (for reasons unknown yet) and on the side of her tomb, there are clear signs of possible small artillery shell impact. The neighbouring tomb (tomb of Chia Hock Watt)  to her also shows possible signs of small caliber bullet shell impact on the tomb shoulder. The battle scarred tombs of Bukit Brown as a result of the fierce battle that took place here between the retreating British and its Allied forces and the invading Japanese soldiers on the final days before the fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942 were not well documented, but thanks to visible signs and oral account of descendants, we are fortunate to be able to mark out some of this tombs.

Madam Sng Puah Neo battle scarred tomb 

tomb shoulder of Chia Hock Watt with small calibre shell impact

Another tomb that came to mind was Mr Oei Bok Sien's tomb at Hill 3 Division A used to have a gashing hole in the middle of the tomb. From oral accounts, it was hit by shrapnel of a mortar shell. However evidence of that is no longer visible as descendants have since renovated it.

Oei Bok Sien's tomb with a hole in the headstone. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Mrs. Koh Cheng Kiat and family (Bukit Brown)

Madam Lim Keok Neo alias Lim Swee Neo nee Mrs Koh Cheng Kiat passed away at the age of 73 on July 3, 1939 at 24, Lorong 24A, Geylang. She leaves behind 4 sons; Koh Soon Yee, Koh Soon Huat, Koh Soon Poh and  1 daughter ( Koh Tan Neo), 1 son-in-law; Yeo Siew Chuan, several daughter-in-laws and grandchildren to mourn her lost. ( Grandsons: Koh Tiong Wah, Koh Tiong Hoe, Koh Tiong Sim, Koh Chwee Seng, Koh Hock Seng, Koh Kim Seng). Madam Lim Keok Neo came from an old and prominent family. Her grandfather was the late Mr. Lim Pye Lan and her father Mr. Lim Eng Keng (a former Municipal Commissioner).

Grandfather: Lim Lan alias Lim Pye Lan
Lim Lan passed away in July 1875. The firm Lim Lian & Co was already well known in 1869 and had branches at Palembang and Sarawak. Lim Lan was known to his friends by the nickname of "Pai Lan" because he was lame on one foot.

Father: Lim Eng Keng
Lim Eng Keng J.P. (1837-1892) was the eldest of the 3 sons of Lim Lan. (His other brothers are Lim Eng Wan and Lim Eng Yong. He was a managing partner of the firm, Lim Lan & Co, Director of the Singapore Insurance Co and Singapore Land Co. Lim Eng Keng was elected a Municipal Commissioner and served until his death on 27th January 1892 at the age of 55.

Son: Koh Soon Huat
Koh Soon Huat of Borneo Co. Ltd (son of Mrs. Koh Cheng Kiat and grandson of the late Mr. Lim Eng Keng) engaged to Miss Baby Lee (daughter of  Mr. Lee Chim Bong and the late Mrs Lee Chim Bong of Amoy Street).

[research on-going]

Announcement. (1925, November 13). The Straits Times, page 8
Death. (1939, July 5). The Straits Times, page 2
Funeral of Mrs. Koh Cheng Kiat. (1939, July 11). The Straits Times, page 14