Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cheang Jim Kong (Kopi Sua Cemetery)

A newspaper article dated 10th December 1949 announced the death of Cheang Jim Kong, (a son of the late Cheang Hong Lim) at his residence at No. 177 Havelock Road on 7th December 1949 at 12:05 am. He was survived by his wife, 7 sons, 1 daughter-in-law, 3 daughters, 3 son-in-laws and 1 granddaughter. Cheang Jim Kong was buried in Whitley Cemetery. From the tomb engraving, Cheang Jim Kong passed away on 7th December 1949 at the age of 70. The name of the children listed on his tomb are sons; Cheang Moh Yam, Cheang Moh Seng, Cheang Moh Chye, Cheang Moh Kim, Cheang Moh Hwa, Cheang Moh Hock, Cheang Moh Kee and daughters; Cheang Siew Neo, Cheang Chee Neo, Cheang Soo Neo, granddaughter; Cheang Siok Tin.

Cheang Jim Kong

Cheang Jim Kong's tomb unveiled after clearing
From past experience, we know that Whitley Cemetery was know "colloquially" as Kopi Sua, but it still a large cemetery system with parts of it cut of due to the construction of the Pan Island Expressway. Recently while exploring the section of Kopi Sua area that was cut of by the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) we rediscovered the tomb of Cheang Jim Kong which was covered by undergrowth. The entrance to this section of cemetery complex is via the long staircase just before St.Joseph Institution (along Whitley Road).


Father: Cheang Hong Lim
Cheang Hong Lim  章芳琳 ( 1841-1893),  J.P. was born in Singapore and is the eldest of 4 sons of Mr Cheang Sam Teo  who migrated from China and started his business in partnership with Mr. Tay Hong Long (father of Mr. Tay Ho Swee) under the name of chop Teang Wat, located at Telok Ayer Street. The main business were Opium and Sirih (Betel nut farm). After Cheang Sam Teo passed away in 1920, the company became Cheang Hong Lim and Co. or Chop Teang Wat Wan Kee and later Chop Wan Seng. Cheang Hong Lim passed away on February 11, 1893 leaving behind a large amount of property for distribution among his many children; which include sons: Cheang Jim HeanCheang Jim Chuan, Cheang Jim Kheng, Cheang Jim Khean, Cheang Jim Siew, Cheang Jim Ho, Cheang Jim Seong, Cheang Jim Eng, Cheang Jim Kwan, Cheang Jim Kong and Cheang Jim Khoon.
Cheang Hong Lim

Son: Cheang Moh Chye
Cheang Moh Chye (third son of the late Cheang Jim Kong) got engaged to Miss Khoo Chwee Hwa (eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Khoo Kay Tye) on 31 May 1952.

[research on-going- will update if i have more information]

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Tan Tee Chong (Bukit Brown)

Tan Tee Chong passed away on 20th February 1938 at the age of 68. On his tomb are a pair Punjabi guards that are considered rare not only in Bukit Brown, but in the world as for Chinese cemeteries. If you observe closely, the two statues are different- 1 statue (on the left ) has a moustache and the other (on the right) has a full beard. I do not have any information about Tan Tee Chong, but credit to Raymond Goh for helping translate the name of his children for me: sons; Tan Keng Hock, Tan Seng Kah; daughters : Tan Kang Chee ; grandsons; Tan Cheng Hoe, Tan Sam Teck, Tan Sam Chye, Tan Sam Eng, Tan Sam Siw ; granddaughter; Tan Poh Choo. Tan Tee Chong is buried in Hill 3 Division B, plot 626.
Tan Tee Chong 

The tomb of Tan Tee Chong flanked by a pair of Punjabi guards

The descendants of Tan Tee Chong 

Close-up of the Punjabi Guard on the left 

Close-up of the Punjabi Guard on the right 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Sng Chu Sien and family (Lao Sua)

Sng Chu Sien / Sng Choo Sian was a Chinese Accountant in the Official Assignee's office were he served for over 20 years. He was also a member of many clubs, including a club called E Lam Teng. Sng Chu Sien passed away on 29th November 1915 at the age of 58 at his residence in No. 63, Club Street. He is survived by his widow, 3 sons (among them; Sng Tiong Geok, Sng Soo Geok ) and 9 grandchildren to mourn his loss. A large procession of people attended and this included representatives of A.D.A (Amateur Drawing Association), Y.M.F.S. , the White Suit Party,  the Hock Yew Whay Kuan, the Chinese staff of the P. and O. , the District Court and the Official Assignee's office. He was buried in a Chinese Cemetery in Bukit Timah. The tomb is located in Lao Sua and is one of the larger ones we seen in this area but unfortunately a huge tree has fallen on it. The tomb has beautiful decorative tiles and lion statues.The names on the tomb that can be deciphered (with the help from Raymond Goh)
Sons : Sng Tiong Geok, Sng Soo Geok, Sng Puay Geok
Grandsons : Sng Yew Hee (Son of Soo Geok), Sng Yew Lim, Sng Yew Koon, Sng Yew Min

Sng Chu Sien / Sng Choo Sian 

Sng Chu Sien tomb with the fallen tree blocking its courtyard


Wife: Madam Chia Swee Eng 
Madam Chia Swee Eng passed away at her residence at 105 Pasir Panjang on 26 March 1933 at the age of 77. She is survived by Sng Soo Geok, Compradore of the P. & O. Banking Corporation, Sng Puay Geok, 9 grandsons, 4 granddaughters, 3 grand-son-in-laws, 12 great grandchildren.

Son: Sng Tiong Geok / Sng Teong Geok
Sng Teong Geok joined the Government Service as an Interpreter after he finished his education and work there for 20 years. At the establishment of P. &.O Banking Corporation, Sng Teong Geok joined and became the Compradore of the P. & O. Banking Corporation. He passed away due to cancer of the liver on 2nd March 1927 at the age of 43 at his residence in No. 63 Club Street. He is survived by his widow, 5 sons and a daughter and a brother Sng Soon Geok. He was buried in Bukit Brown and the tomb was affected by the 8 lane highway.  Their only daughter, Miss Sng Eng Neo  married See Boon Leong (the eldest son of Mr and Mrs. See Teong Wah, J.P, M.C., Compradore of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation ) the managing director of Lat Pau on 11 May 1927. Both Sng Eng Neo and See Boon Leong's tomb are also affected by the highway and no longer exist.

Mr and Mrs Sng Teong Geok (Bukit Brown)
See Boon Leong and wife Sng Eng Neo (Bukit Brown)

Sng Eng Neo (daughter of Sng Teong Geok)

Son: Sng Soo Geok 
Sng Soo Geok was the Compradore of the P. & O. Banking Corporation, just like his brother. He was a avid ping pong player when he was with Amateur Drawing Association. Unfortunately, i am yet to find out more information about Sng Soo Geok and when he passed away and the names of his children.

There was a notice of marriage on May 27, 1932 between Miss Sng (second daughter of Mr and Mrs Sng Soo Geok) and Mr. Ee Han Swee of A.P. Co. Central Laboratory (youngest son of the late Mr. Ee Chuan Hin formerly store keeper of Messrs. Paterson Simons Ltd. The wedding took place at 105 Pasir Panjang.

Sng Yew Koon (nephew of Mr and Mrs Sng Soo Geok) married Miss Tok Beng Choo, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Tok Hong Kiat. In the photo below, Mr and Mrs Sng Yew Koon are flanked by Mr. Tan Yong Poh (the best man) and Miss Tan Mui Hiang.

Sng Yew Koon and Tok Bing Choo
An interesting note, Sng Yew Koon father-in-law, Tok Hong Kiat was one of the many people who went missing after the fall of Singapore. He was last seen being taken away to the holding area in Jalan Besar and likely a victim of Sook Ching. His mother-in-law, Madam Tan Chim Neo who died in 1st January 1938 is buried in Bukit Brown in Hill 3 Division C, plot 170.
Likely victim of Sook Ching

[research on-going]


Social and Personal. (1915, November 30). The Straits Times, page 6
Untitled. (1915, December 6). The Straits Times, page 10
Death. (1927, March 5). Malayan Tribune, page 7
Domestic Occurrences. (1927, May 13). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Advertisement. (1929, May 9). The Straits Times, page 16
Advertisement. (1932, June 2). The Straits Times, page 10
Madame Chia Swee Eng. (1936, March 27). Malaya Tribune, page 19

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Madam Tan Jit Neo (Lao Sua)

Madam Tan Jit Neo (1888-1914) was born on 13th August 1888 and passed away on 15th May 1914. She was 26 years old when she passed away. She is survived by 1 son, Quah Peng Gam and 1 daughter, Quah Peck Hay. Her tomb headstone although is bad condition, is a tomb that is beautifully decorated with decorative tiles that look like Delft tiles.

Madam Tan Jit Neo

Decorative tiles 

"Delft like" Decorative tiles 

Overview of Madam Tan Jit Neo's tomb with lovely decorative tiles 

I do not have much information about the family of Madam Tan Jit Neo. In fact, i don't even have the name of Madam Tan Jit Neo's husband. As for her children, there was an article dated 25 April 1949 that mention's the engagement of Miss Nonce Quah (the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Quah Peng Gam )with Mr. Quek Too Mong (third son of Madam Tan Kah Jeu and the late Mr. Quek Peng Kim). But without knowing more details of the family tree,it is now speculation that this Quah Peng Gam is indeed the son of Madam Tan Jit Neo.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Mrs. Wee Ek and Family (Lao Sua)

Mrs. Wee Ek passed away on 28th May 1911. On her tomb are the names of her son; Wee Leok Jim, Wee Whatt Whay, Wee Whay Seo, Wee Chye Kim, daughter; Wee Kim Heok, grandson; Wee Cheng Hock, grand daughter; Wee Cheng Lian.
Mrs. Wee Ek 
While exploring another part of the same hill on a different day, we came across the tomb of Wee Leok Jim who passed away less than a month after the death of her mother. He passed away on 14th June 1911. He is survived by 1 son, Wee Cheng Lock and 1 daughter, Wee Cheng Lian.

Wee Leok Jim 
That's all the information i have right now.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Hawker Culture - Singapore's first nomination for UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage

Food unites us all ! I was invited and attended on 2 April 2018, a Focus Group Discussion organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB). There was a lively and passionate discussion of many cultural heritages from the different racial groups and communities but eventually the topic tend to gravitate to food and the eventual consensus was that food, especially Hawker Food is something we could all agree upon that unites our differences and something we are passionate about. I had my list that i shared during the focus group discussion as well which was not just about food of course !

So it was no surprise, when the decision to nominate Hawker Culture was announced by the Prime Minister during National Day Rally on 19 Aug 2018 and that National Heritage Board (NHB), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Federation of Merchants' Associations (FMAS) will in a committee submit the nomination forms to UNESCO in March 2019 for Singapore’s Hawker Culture to be registered in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The results are expected to be announced sometime in end 2020. I for one, look forward for the preservation of Singapore's Hawker Culture in a time where mounting rental and manpower cost are the major concern's often raised by the younger generation of hawkers working in an environment where major private sector players and REITs are taking over hawker spaces (e.g. foodcourts, coffee shops and even hawker centers ). If that happens, the unique food culture will go the way of Singapore's retail malls suffering the same fate of having the same things being sold everywhere with no uniqueness, very much like a franchise model.

"Car Park" Hawker Centre at Orchard Road 1970 (source: National Archives)

Maxwell Market (source: National Library Board)

Crowd at a Hawker Centre (source: National Archives)
Keeping the barrier of entry low for all Singaporean's who are willing to work hard and make good and affordable food should be the policy and decision makers main focus, if they are serious on keeping this Hawker Culture alive and truly vibrant ! National Heritage Board (NHB) has launched an informative website about Singapore's Hawker Culture and there is even a call to action to pledge our for this nomination. The website is https://www.oursgheritage.sg/

What is UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Extracted from the UNESCO website, this includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.  This elements include:
  • Traditional, contemporary and living at the same time: intangible cultural heritage does not only represent inherited traditions from the past but also contemporary rural and urban practices in which diverse cultural groups take part.
  • Inclusive: It promotes and contributes to social cohesion, encouraging a sense of identity and responsibility which helps individuals to feel part of one or different communities and to feel part of society at large;
  • Representative: It thrives on its basis in communities and depends on those whose knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community, from generation to generation, or to other communities;
  • Community-based: It is recognised as such by the communities that create, maintain and transmit it.

Singapore's Intangible Cultural Heritage.(website). Rojak Librarian, posted on March 11, 2018
UNESCO Intangilbe Culture Heritage. (website).

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lee Boon Beck and family (Bukit Brown)

Mr. Lee Boon Beck (1885-1935) came to Malaya 30 years ago and have since been connected with Ho Hong especially in the shipping and oil department. When he passed away on 27th October 1935 at his residence in 53 Tras Street, he was the Manager of Ho Hong Oil Mills. As a mark of respect, the town office and factory of Ho Hong Oil Mills (1931) Ltd was closed on 31st October 1935 as a mark of respect. Lee Boon Beck was survived by a widow (Madam Lim Geok Tin), 3 sons (Lee Teow Lian, Lee Teow Hong, Lee Teow Siong),  7 daughters (Lee Siew Luan, Lee Siew Hong, Lee Siew Leng, Lee Siew Kim, Lee Siew Sian, Lee Siew Gin, Lee Siew Sin), 3 son-in-law (Yeo Tiam Siew, Yeo Hock Beng and Tan Tock Seng) and 7 grandchildren (two names listed at the tomb- Lee Beng Chye, Lee Beng Thuan). Lee Boon Beck is the brother-in-law of Lim Peng Siang, J.P

Madam Lim Geok Tin nee Mrs. Lee Boon Beck passed away at the age of 59 at her residence in No. 17 Ceylon Road on 26th July 1952 leaving behind 3 sons (Lee Teow Lian, Lee Teow Hong, Lee Teow Siong), 1 daughter-in-law, 7 daughters (Lee Siew Luan, Lee Siew Hong, Lee Siew Leng, Lee Siew Kim, Lee Siew Sian, Lee Siew Gin, Lee Siew Sin) , 5 son-in-law (Yeo Tiam Siew, Yeo Hock Beng, Yeo Chiang Hai, Kng Hwa Eng and Tan Tock Seng) and 21 grandchildren. Lim Geok Tin is a sister of Lim Peng Siang. 

Tomb of Lee Boon Beck 

Tomb of Madam Lim Geok Tin

Children and grandchilren of Lee Boon Beck 
Lee Boon Beck and Lim Geok Tin are buried in Hill 4 Division A, plot 382 and 389.


Son: Lee Teow Lian
There was an engagement notice between Lee Teow Lian and Miss Chia Choo See (younger daughter of Mr and Mrs. Chia Kim Siong) on 10 June 1946

Daughter: Lee Siew Gin
There was an engagement notice between Kng Hwa Eng (son of  Mrs. Kng Har Wen and the late Mr. Kng Har Wen) with Miss Lee Siew Gin on August 9, 2604 (1944).

[research on-going]


Death. (1935, October 30). Malayan Tribune, page 12
Death. (1935, October 30). The Straits Times, page 2
Advertisment. (1944, August 11). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Death. (1952, July 27). The Straits Times, page 10