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 Division 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



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