Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Capitan China Wee Chim Yean (Bukit Brown)

Wee Chim Yean (1885-1926) is the Capitan China or Kapitan China of Bengkalis. Bengkalis is a place is the Riau archipelago off east coast Sumatra Islands.  He is the youngest son of Wee Leong Tan alias Wee Tan (1833- May 1913), who was once also the Capitan China of Bengkalis and brother of Ann Kee (died 1914) and Kim Cheng of chop Kim Hock Hoe which later become a limited liability company of the same name (Kim Hock Hoe Ltd).

There are not many stories about Chim Yean but more stories about his father and there's where i will start with first and add on later if i discover more.

Wee Leong Tan and chop Kim Hock Hoe.
His father came down from Amoy region at a young age and became an opium farmer under his company called chop Kim Hock Hoe. In his 29 years of service to the Dutch government, he was given the title Capitan and later Major China. In 1900 he received an Imperial Order and Gold medal from Queen Wihelmina.

His business expanded to shipping and also being commissioning agents. He handed over his company officially to his sons to manage on 27th January 1911. His sons, Kim Cheng and Ann Kee made it a limited company and the shipping business was acquired and incorporated in 1908 under the name of Wee Brothers Steamship Co. Ltd.

He was buried at the family vault in Bengkalis when he died in 1913 at the age of 78 (His wife died in 1909). The steamship of Wee Brothers provided free transport for mourners and free loaders from Singapore to Bengkalis to attend the funeral. In the evening after the elaborate and grand burial ceremonies, the fleet provided firework displays and then set sail back to Singapore with "Will o the Wisp" taking lead.

The "Majoor" Wee Boon Teng connection
Another thing i discovered during my research was that Wee Leong Tan and Wee Leong Hee are brothers. Leong Hee had a son by the name of Wee Boon Teng (Majoor Wee) born in 1865, who later joined his uncle in Sumatra. He went on to be a "Liutnant" of a place in east coast Sumatra called Selat Panjang. Subsequent promotions made him Kapitan China and silver and gold medals. Majoor Wee died in 1939 and was also buried in Bukit Brown.

The Capitan China's of Malaya
Capitan China or Kapitan Cina are titles bestowed upon by native rulers (Sultan) with agreement of the Colonial ruler and usually given to a person of high standing in the local chinese community. Helping to keep the peace among the local and collect poll taxes on behalf of the colonial government, they usually were allowed to prosper by taking a cut of this and maintain their own "police" force (i.e. their mini army).

The first of the Capitan's was said to be Tin Kap of Malacca/Melaka. His grave is located in Bukit Cina and said to be 400 years old providing links of early Chinese settlers to Malaya. In Malaya, the ones that one can think of immediately are Yap Ah Loy (1864-1884), Yap Kwan Seng (of Selangor) and for Perak (Towkay Chung Keng Quee and his son, Chung Thye Phin(1879-1935) ). This title is sometimes passed down from father to son, but not always.The last of the Capitans for Malaya is said to be Tan Kim Seng. Born in Melaka, he gained his wealth in Singapore through his business Kim Seng and Co.

For Indonesia, the Netherland Indies government continued this tradition until 1945. It was said there are three grades of Capitan's -Lieutanant/Luitenant, Capitan/Kapitan and Major/Majoor China, each with their respective duties and roles.

Wee Chim Yean died in the residences of his sister in law (Mrs Wee Ann Kee). He was reported to have died from typhoid fever and pneumonia. He died on 13 Aug 1926, age 41 and was buried in Bukit Brown, Blk 2, Division D. On his grave are the inscriptions 甲政 = (Captain) and 和国 = Holland 

Wee Chim Yean 

Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years' history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
The Last Capitan China of Selangor. (1950, December 13). The Straits Times.
Capitan China. (1953, October 25). The Straits Times.
The Capitan China's of Malaya. (1936,February 12). The Straits Times.
The Linggi Timber Trade. (1912, September 23). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser.
Death.(1926, August 16). The Straits Times.
Social and Personal. (1926, August 14). The Straits Times.
Benkalis Note. (1909, August 2). The Straits Times.
"Majoor" Wee Boon Teng. (1939, May 2 ). The Straits Times.
Kapitan Cina from Wikipedia website

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dr. Lee Choo Neo (Bukit Brown)

Dr Lee Choo Neo (1895-1947) is the daughter of Lee Hoon Leong. (Lee Hoon Leong is Mr Lee Kuan Yew's grandfather). Born in 1895, Dr. Lee Choo Neo received her education in Singapore Chinese Girls' School and later, 3 years in Raffles Girls School. Lee Choo Neo was the first Straits Settlement woman to obtain the Senior Cambridge Certificate in 1911. She excelled in school and was also active in organising plays in aid of the Chinese Red Cross Society

First Female Chinese Doctor and a Progressive Woman 
She joined the King Edward VII Medical School despite criticism and discouragement from outside her family circle and in 1919 became the first Chinese woman to graduate in Medicine and was appointed Lady Assistant Surgeon at the General Hospital. She was a progressive woman and was one of the founders of the Chinese Ladies Association of Malaya, promoting physical and social education of Chinese woman including outdoor sports such as lawn tennis and badminton. She was involved and volunteers in the Child Welfare Society as well.

Dr Lee Choo Neo
(this photo was the same one used for her tomb)
Dr. Lee Choo Neo married Teo Koon Lim (son of Teo Chye Hong) at 114 Emerald Hill on 21st September, 1922 and had 1 son (Teo Cheng Ann) and 2 daughters ( Eileen Teo Cheng Sim and Winnie Teo Cheng Kim) .After several years in the government service, she resigned and followed her husband  to Kuala Lumpur who had business there.  She returned to open her own clinic at 74-3 Bras Basah Road.

War Years
Before the war, their family neighbours were a Japanese dentist and his family (The Tsutadas). The children of the families were childhood playmates, but the Tsutada's return back to Japan before the start of the war. Just before the fall of Singapore, as Dr. Lee Choo Neo's clinic was at the heart of the city, she helped many war victims before the fall of Singapore. Amidst the chaos in the initial days after the fall of Singapore, Japanese soldiers came knocking on her door. It was one of Tsutada's son, Nachang, a lieutenant in the Japanese army.  Dr. Lee Choo Neo and family were spared further harassment and who knows, maybe even death.
Lee Dispensary at 74-3 Bras Basah Road
(photo courtesy of Sylvia Khoo)

Tsutada (the Dentist neighbour)

Straits Times 1912. The tickets where available from
who's who in Singapore. 

Lee Choo Neo 

Robbery and Funeral
Dr Lee Choo Neo passed away on 7 September 1947, after a short illness. During a pre-funeral rites at her home in Bras Basah road on the 11th, a gang of seven dashed in at 4 am in the morning and robbed the 20 people present. One brandished a gun while the rest of the thugs took cash and jewellery amounting to $250.  She was buried on the day itself in Block 1 Division B, Bukit Brown. Her father, Lee Hoon Leong is also buried in Bukit Brown. Her mother, Madam Mak Hup Sin is buried nearby.

(source: NewspaperSG)

Tomb of Dr Lee Choo Neo 

Dr Lee Choo Neo. (1935,November 24). The Straits Times.
Death. (1947, September 9). The Straits Times
Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years' history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
Gun man rob mourners. (1947,September 11). The Straits Times.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tan Huck Wan (Bukit Brown)

This is a sad and tragic story that was shared to me about Mr. Tan Huck Wan via the Bukit Brown facebook and inspired me to write further. Mr.Tan Huck Wan (1916-1944) is the the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Tan Chong Chew and grandson of Mr Tan Kheam Hock. Mr Tan Chong Chew is the main labour contractor for the Singapore Harbour Board. Tan Huck Wan studied in Anglo Chinese School and was gifted in sports. He played cricket, hockey and football for the SCRC and YMCA during 1935-1941.
Tan Huck Wan and Lim Chin Choo

$100,000 worth of Jewels 

Mr Tan Huck Wan married Miss Lim Chin Choo (third daughter of Mrs Lim Mah Seang from Penang) in 17 Sept 1939 in a very traditional but grand affair. During the wedding procession, they were escorted by police guards as the bride was wearing $100,000 worth of jewelry with the bridal clothing specially imported from Penang. The band of the 2nd Battalion, Loyal Regiment accompanied the procession and a ronggeng party capped the celebration at "Penang Cot", 317 River Valley Road. Two hundred people attended the tea party while four hundred people attended the dinner which followed later. Mr H.K. Rodgers, Chairman of the Singapore Harbour Board toasted to the health of the couple which was attended by the Who's Who of Singapore which include Dr.Lim Boon Keng, Tungku Mahkota of Johor, Mrs Lim Han Hoe, Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Pang, Sultan of Pahang, Lee Hoon Leong (grandfather of Lee Kuan Yew) among others. A film maker, a Mr Joe Fisher was even present to shoot the wedding procession using a cinema camera.

Wedding of Tan Huck Wan and Lim Chin Choo

Wedding Certificate of Tan Huck Wan and Lim Chin Choo

War and Double Tragedy 

Tan Huck Wan was a Corporal with the service number 38243 of the Singapore Voluntary Field Ambulance, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force. No details of how he died, but it is pretty certain he died much later, possibly as a prisoner of war on 31st May 1944. On his tomb, it is listed in English that he was born on 4th April 1916 and that he died on 31st May 1944 at the age of 28. He leaves behind his young widow, two sons Allan Tan Cheng Eng, Duke Tan Cheng Yew and a baby girl, Ruby Tan Suan Bee. Ruby Tan died on the 26th Oct 1944 and is buried beside her father. She was only 6 months old.

Tan Huck Wan and daughter, Ruby Tan
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

His wife, Lim Chin Choo later remarried in 1952 to a Mr. Khoo Ewe Thuan. Mr Khoo Ewe Thuan, a stockbroker based in Singapore is the eldest son of Mr. Neoh Say Eng, J.P. and Mrs Neoh Say Eng of Penang.

Ms Lim Chin Choo and Khoo Ewe Thuan
(source: NewspaperSG)

source: NewspaperSG
Lim Chin Choo

Mrs Khoo Ewe Thuan nee Lim Chin Choo passed away at the age of 66 on February 5, 1983, leaving behind her husband, 5 sons and 1 daughter.
Sons: Allan Tan Cheng Ean, Luke Tan Cheng Yew, Francis Khoo Guan Peng, Reynold Neoh-Khoo Kim Teik, Edmon Neoh-Khoo Kim Hock, Olivier Neoh-Khoo Kim Lye
Daughter: Doris Neoh-Khoo Geok See.

Future in Bukit Brown 

Both Tan Huck Wan and Ruby are buried at Block 1 Div A close by the roundabout. His marker is 1061A, which means both are affected by the road and are likely to be exhumed. [September 22, 2012] both Tan Huck Wan and Ruby were claimed and exhumed by descendants who came forward to claim them. They lie in rest together in Mandai.

Tan Huck Wan and daughter Ruby exhumed 

Resting place of Tan Huck Wan and Ruby Tan Suat Bee
(photo courtesy of Khoo Ee Hoon)

Police Escort for Bride.(1939,September 18). The Singapore Free Press,page 5
Chinese Bride wears $100,00 worth of jewels. (1939, September 18). The Straits Times, page 11
Chinese Wedding. (1939, September 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 3
Untitled. (1952, March 20). The Singapore Free Press, page 5
Untitled. ( 1983, February 8). The Straits Times, page 37
Casualty Details.[website] Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Singapore Memorial. Unmaintainable Graves
A story of one tomb and a grand wedding. Bukit Brown Cemetery

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tan Chor Lam (Bukit Brown)

Tan Lian Chye alias Tan Chor Lam  (1884-1971) is another important personality buried in Bukit Brown. His father, Tan Tye (died 1898) was a prominent Hokkien chinese merchant, that owned a timber-yard called Messrs Tan Tye and Co or  Hup Choon  located at 327 Beach Road. They also had businesses in rubber and pineapple plantations as well as numerous properties. The alias Chor Lam was said to be acquired has he wanted to go incognito initially when working with the Tung Meng Hui. He went on to be the first President of the Tung Meng Hui, Singapore chapter.

Tan Chor Nam's advertisement and tongkang for sale
(source: NewspaperSG)
Tan Chor Lam, Teo Eng Hock and Lim Nee Soon Connection
Although all were of different ages, Tan Chor Lam (then 18) and Eng Hock (then 30) were neighbors in Beach Road and were also proprietors of the Thoe Lam Jit Poh, a Chinese newspaper in Singapore in 1904 (The newspaper ceased to exist in 1905). Lim Nee Soon's (then 20) uncle is Teo Eng Hock and Lim Nee Soon's first job is with Messrs Tan Tye and Co. It all fell together nicely right !

Whispers of Revolution 
Teo Eng Hock loaned his home, (the Bin Chan House) for the holding of the Revolutionary meetings. The Tung Meng Hui first three local members were Tan Chor Lam, Teo Eng Hock and Li Chu Ch'ih. The following day Lim Nee Soon (nephew of Teo Eng Hock) and eleven others' joined. Tan Chor Lam was elected the President of Tung Meng Hui, Singapore.
Tung Meng Hui members at Bin Chan House.(Tan Chor Lam is seated third from the left).
(source: a2o ) 
It was from here that, Dr Sun Yat Sen and his members managed to get ex-royalist and/or reformist from Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, etc to join the movement. It can be said that Singapore was the base for the spread of this revolutionary movement. That been said, it also experienced various degrees of success in gathering funds from the Overseas Chinese here and at one stage, Penang overtook to be the key center where Dr. Sun planned some of the more important uprisings.

With the success of Dr Sun's movement and birth of the Republic of China, a political party was also born out of this movement - the Kuomintang. Formed in China in Aug 1912, its principal aim was the political and racial unity of the 5 races of China. It has to also into building up China's economy through industrialisation and modernisation.

Two individuals, Lu Chin I alias Lu Tien Nin and Chiu Chi Hsien were sent to Malaya for the purpose of forming a branch in Malaya. The Singapore's branch of the Kuomintang was registered under the Societies Ordinance on 18th Dec 1912. Formally, it was called the "Singapore Communication Lodge of the Kuomintang of Peking". The key officials were Tan Chay Yan, Teo Eng Hock, Lim Boon Keng, Wu Chin Sheng, Yin Hsueh Chun, Tan Boo Liat, Lim Nee Soon and finally Tan Chor Lam.

Although some of the members (such as Lim Boon Keng) have dual loyalities to both the Colonial government and China, the British government viewed this party with distrust and treated it as a subversive organisation whose aim is to colonise Malaya or to rid it of its Western occupiers. Suspicions increased due to the outlawing of the Kuomintang by President Yuan Shih Kai in 1913 and the infiltration of the Communist doctrines within the Kuomintang leftist members that were blamed for a series of labor strikes and riots that occurred.

The attempts of the Kuomintang in creating a China centric nationalism soon came to conflict with the Colonial Government's attempt to create a harmonious multiracial subjects loyal to the British. Despite being banned twice, it survived into the post war years until it was banned for the third time in 1949.However this is not the focus of this story  and i guess something you might want to read further if you are keen.

Suits and Bankruptcy woes
Going through the digital paper archives, we see him facing financial difficulties over the years. What happen i am not very sure myself but it could be because of his constant contributions and attention to the revolutionary causes that lead to this or the economic depression or both. What is pretty certain is that he overcame all this and still survived with a house and grandchildren to boast.
485 acres of land in Johor Bahru 
Strait Times 1933
Pictures over the years 

Tan Chor Lam over the years.  
The photo on the left shows Chor Lam as young revolutionist still sporting the Manchu queue hairstyle when he became a member of the Tung Meng Hui. It was said that he wore it out of respect to his late father's /mother's wishes and it was only much later that he cut it off. (I suspect after the fall of the Qing Dynasty). The photo on the top right shows him in the twilight years. That photo was used for his gravestone in Bukit Brown. The pictures above are taken from the exhibition at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Museum.

What happen to him in his later life is a blur to me at the moment. Hopefully with more research i am able to find out more. I really have new found respect for historians or budding historians who seem to be able to dig up endless stories. If you have time, do visit the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall .There, you will find out a bit more about the Tung Meng Hui members.

Bukit Brown Connection 
Tan Lian Chye alias Tan Chor Lam, died 1971 and is buried in Block 3, Division A, plot 1256. His grave his very close to the road and easy to visit.

The Kuomintang in Malaya, 1912-1941 ,Png Poh Seng
Journal of Southeast Asian History , Vol. 2, No. 1, The Chinese in Malaya (Mar., 1961), pp. 1-32
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of Department of History, National University of Singapore.
Yong, C.F.(1990) The Kuomintang Movement in British Malaya, 1912-1949, Singapore: Singapore University Press.
The Men who stood Surety. (1933,October 7). The Straits Times.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lim Nee Soon and family (Bukit Brown)

Mr. Lim Nee Soon's wife (Wee Pek Hay) and two of his son's (Lim Chong Kuo and Lim Chong Pang) tombs can be found in Bukit Brown, Block 4 Division B. Mr. Lim Nee Soon is not buried there but in Nanking, China. It is however difficult to write a story about Lim Nee Soon family members tomb cluster in Bukit Brown, without first introducing Mr. Lim Nee Soon first.

Pineapple King and Patriot

Mr. Lim Nee Soon (1879-1936) is the son of Mr Lim Peng Guan and was born in Kampong Glam, Beach Road in 1879. His father died when Lim Nee Soon was 8 years old and was left in the care of his maternal grandfather, Mr. Teo Lee (Mr Teo Eng Hock's father). Lim Nee Soon received his early education in both St. Joseph Institution and Anglo-Chinese School and therefore proficient in both English and Chinese languages. A Teochew, Lim Nee Soon started from scratch, working as a shopkeeper assistant at the age of 18 and from there he climbed the rungs by next working for timber merchant Tan Thye and his son Tan Chor Nam.  At 28 years of age, he was the Manager of United Singapore Rubber Estates and later Sembawang Estates (a company formed by Dr. Lim Boon Keng and Mr. Lee Choon Guan).

With enough savings and experience, he struck it on his own to form Thong Aik Shop and eventually became a rubber baron and a "pineapple king" with over 6000 acres in Singapore and 20,000 acres in Malaya. He was also a landbroker, rubber factory owner, merchant and propertier of Lim Nee Soon and Co.  He, together with other prominent Chinese pioneers had a hand in the founding of the following banks: Eastern United Assurance Co., Chinese Commercial Bank, Oversea-Chinese Bank and Oversea Assurance Co.
Lim Nee Soon
Mr Lim Nee Soon, together with Mr Teo Eng Hock and Mr Tan Chor Lam were the founders of the Tung Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary League), Singapore branch. This was a society created to fund the revolt against the Qing Dynasty and create a free Republic of China with democratic ideals. T'ung Meng Hui was also the precursor to the Kuomintang branch or Movement of Malaya.

His business declined with the Great Depressions of the 30's with rubber prices hitting rock bottom. However some of his wealth did manage to be passed on to his sons. Lim Nee Soon passed away at the age of 57 in Shanghai in 1936. He was recognised for his efforts and support for the Republic of China revolutionary causes. A memorial in Nanking, China was also erected for him close to where one of Sun Yat-Sen's memorial is. Unfortunately with the chaos of war, the actual location of his tomb is forgotten and was lost in the sands of time. 

Sun Yat-Sen with the members of Tung Meng Hui. A young Nee Soon is seated on the right.
Teo Eng Hock is seated 2nd from the left. Tan Chor Nam is 3rd from the left.
(source: a20)

State funeral of Mr Lim Nee Soon in Nanking, China.
picture shows Mr Lim Nee Soon's silver casket and inscriptions on the side that highlights his
contribution to China.
(source: NewspaperSG)

Special Committee formed in China to arrange for the State funeral.
Lim Chong Kuo, the eldest son is in the centre (with bow tie)
(source: NewspaperSG)

Family and the Bukit Brown Connection

Lim Nee Soon is survived by his wife, three sons (Lim Chong Kuo, Lim Chong Pang, Lim Chong Min) and 6 daughters (Lim Chit Geck, Lim Kheng Geck, Lim Soo Geck, Lim Mui Geck, Lim Leok Geck, Lim Seck Geck).

However during my research of the tomb, a fourth name was listed. The son's listed on Mrs Lim tomb but not mentioned in the papers was a Mr. Lim Chong Hsien. I wonder why? Further checks on Singapore Infopedia did not even list his name there. Did i uncover something new here? Further research uncovered that Lim Chong Hsien is the son from Lim Nee Soon's second wife.
Mrs Lim Nee Soon nee Wi Pek Hay (Wee Pek Hay)
Mrs Lim Nee Soon nee Wi Pek Hay's (Wee Pek Hay) tomb is at Bukit Brown, but if you look careful, there is no date of death inscribed, indicating she was not buried there. Where was then she buried? Read further to uncover that story.

Son: Lim Chong Kuo
Mr Lim Chong Kuo married Tan Lay Ho (second daughter of Mr and Mrs Tan Kah Kee). He passed away two years after his father on 23rd Feb 1938 at the age of 36. He is buried beside his mother in Bukit Brown. He left behind a son and a daughter.
Lim Chong Kuo's wedding with Tan Lay Ho in Garden Club, 1923 

Lim Chung Kuo (beside his mother's grave) 
Son: Lim Chong Pang 
Mr Lim Chong Pang was also a prominent leader among the Chinese community and was a well known horse owner. His horses won him over 100 races over the years. He also owned 3 cinemas - Garrick (formerly called Apollo), Sultan and Seletar and enjoys the game of tennis. He was appointed a Justice of Peace at the age of 35 in 1939, one of the youngest to be appointed so for Malaya and played important roles in various boards and committees (Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Rural Board, St Andrew's Old Boy's, Cinema Exhibitors' Association,etc ). He established the Southeast Asian Film Co in 1945. During his service for the Rural Board, a village in Sembawang was even named after him.

Lim Chong Pang died at the age of 52 on 21st July 1956 and his wife Lee Poh Neo died 8th Aug 1968. Both are buried in Bukit Brown close by to each other. Lee Poh Neo is the daughter of the famous banker Lee Choon Guan (李浚源 ). Lee Choon Guan was the chairman of Chinese Commercial Bank and one of the properties he owned was Mandalay Villa (Amber Road). Lim Chong Pang's second wife was Seow Meow Mui.

Wedding of Lim Chong Pang and Lee Poh Neo 

Graves of Lim Chong Pang and  Lee Poh Neo 

Son: Lim Chong Min
Lim Chong Min married Miss Chua Chit Nya, youngest daughter of Mr Chua Guan Chui and the late Mrs Chua Guan Chui on September 19, 1931 at the Garden Club, Tanah Merah. The bridge groom was Miss Lim Soo Geck (his sister) and the best man, Mr. Ong Seow Kee.

I don't have much information on  Lim Chong Hsien, but when i do, i will update this article accordingly.
Standing: Chong Min (right) Chong Pang (centre) Hu Mulan (Hu Han Min's daughter)
seating: Lim Nee Soon (left) Wu Hanming /Hu Han Min (right) a staff of former newspaper,
Zhong Xing  Ri Bao or Chung Shing Jit Pao
-picture taken in Hu Han Min's cabin in shipliner "Victoria" 
Daughter: Lim Chit Gek
On a recent visit to the National Museum (Jan 28, 2011), i came across pictures of Ms Lim Chit Geck in the gallery where the photos are located. Lim Chit Geck (Mrs Oei Tjong Tiong) is the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Lim Nee Soon and her photos shows her stunning beauty as well.

Lim Chit Geck [Top left]With her Armenian friend,Mary c1930
[Bottom left]with her sisters and foster daughter, Eva See,
on board ship Conti Verde c1936

In May 1926, she married Oei Tjong Tiong son of Mr and Mrs Oei Tiong Ham, Mayor of Semarang, Indonesian and a "sugar king" and shipping mechant. (Tiong Ham died 2 years later in 1924, left behind an estate worth $1 million !)
[Top] Wedding picture of Lim Chit Geck
[Bottom] Mr and Mrs Lim  Nee Soon and family
(source: a20)
Daughter: Lim Mui Gek
Lim Mui Gek married Tan Huck Khong.(Tan Huck Khong is the son of Tan Chong Lay and grandson of Tan Kheam Hock).

Daughter: Lim Soo Geok
Lim Soo Geok married Tan Huck Thoe. (Tan Huck Thoe is the son of Tan Chong Khee and grandson of Tan Kheam Hock).

Lim Chong Pang's daughter as bridesmaid
(source: NewspaperSG)

War Stories and heroes

On Feb 13,1942, while at sea in is fishing boat, fisherman Mr Tay Ah Soey and his two brothers, braving bombs, pulled out 62 people from the sea. This were the survivors from boats sunked by Japanese planes of people trying to escape Singapore. Among the people he saved was Lim Chong Pang and his brother. Declared a war hero and awarded the King George V medal in 1952, Mr Tay passed away  in Aug 2011 at the age of 97. In that very ship that was sunk, one of the person that was lost at sea was Mrs Lim Nee Soon (Wi Pek Hay).

The Lim Nee Soon family cluster is not affected by the 8-lane highway proposed, but i thought of writing about them because of the rich amount of material available online that has already been uncovered and some, waiting to be uncovered further! It also goes to show the wealth of history in this place called Bukit Brown.

Death,  (1932, Dec 24)The Straits Times. (Death notice of Mrs Teo Lee nee Tan Poh Neo)
Memorial at Nanking to Lim Nee Soon.(1936, April 19) The Straits Times.
Mr Lim Nee Soon.(1936, March 23).The Singapore Free Press and Merchantile Advertiser.
Mr Lim Nee Soon.(1935, August 25).The Straits Times,
Man behind the old Nee Soon Village.(1987,November 24). The Straits Times,
Turf Man dies-his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22 ).The Straits Times.
World War II hero Tay Ah Soey dies at age 97.(2011, August 10). The Straits Times.
Chinese Wedding. (1923, May 7). The Straits Times, page 10.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tok Cheng Tuan (Bukit Brown)

Tok Cheng Tuan's tomb (Block 2 Division B) is interesting and eye catching for its large size, benches and an A4 size picture of him and his wife. His tomb consists of sculptures flanking its right and left- eagles and jade maidens, tombstone and decorative shoulders. You can also make out the additional tombstone with their A4 pictures. What is out of this picture is two stone benches. The two pegs (no. 1947 and 1948) indicate that this graves are likely affected by the road.

Tomb of Tok Cheng Tuan 

Tok Cheng Tuan was a storekeeper at the Anglo French Trading Co. On February 11, 1926 while walking to work, he was shot by a bullet by an assailant by the name of Tan Kim Swee. By twist of faith, Mr Tok survived as he was wearing a leather belt and somehow the bullet was deflected away from his vital organs but was still embedded near his spine, without causing real harm (unfortunately Tok Cheng Tuan died a year later though, but whether it because of this wounds is unknown to me). The assailant, Mr Tan was sentenced to 7 years of hard labour and given 12 strokes of the whip.

As said, slightly more than a year later, on May 6, 1927, Mr Tok died at his house in 61 Club Street. He was only 38 years old, leaving behind his beloved wife Oon Tuan Cheng, 2 sons and 4 daughters.

Mrs Tok on the tombstone was said to have died on 28 Sept 1951 at age 61.

ST 9 May 1927
Picture of Mr and Mrs Tok 
Their tomb is now being cleared for ID by LTA contractors as they are in the buffer zone for the proposed 8 lane highway cutting through the cemetery to alleviate road congestion along Lornie Road.

Well-known storekeeper shot in the back. (1926, March 11). The Singapore Free Press, page 9
Death. (1927, May 9). The Straits Times, page 7

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Ubin Island - one of the World's most secret island

Nice headline from an online article featuring the world's top 10 most secret islands. That article was targeted towards US readers/travelers though, but i guess rather than secret, to me it's a magical island and when stepping on it, you are timed machine back in time to Singapore in the 60's-70's. It doesn't even fully like a part of urbanised, metropolitan Singapore but a rustic, laid back kampong lifestyle.

Making a trip on weekend means dealing with crowds as Ubin is definitely becoming a popular getaway, as i see increasingly a number of tourist wanting to see a part of Singapore so serene and yet so easily accessible. The bumboat ride itself adds to this "experience". I shudder at any suggestion to build a bridge to connect and provide ease of access. That will really destroy the experience.

What has somewhat disappeared from Ubin is the declining local population, now mostly moved to the main Singapore Island as practical conveniences such as school, healthcare are not available on this Island and the ban on local poultry (chickens, ducks, etc) makes self substance living more difficult. You will immediately notice it when passing by kampong house's you would not likely hear any longer the loud cracking sounds of chickens, etc.

Puaka Hill where you can see both Singapore and Malaysia. 

I made a trip on 30 Dec to check out Puaka Hill and was rewarded with this view. I thought of sharing this. So, what are you waiting for ? Do make a trip to this "secret island" if you have not.