Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lim Kim Seng (Bukit Brown)

Lim Kim Seng, M.B.E, J.P. (1884-1967), his two wives; Teo Nghee Cheng and Sng Chew Lan together with his mother, Madam Sng Sye Chan were buried in a Teochew cluster of tombs located at Hill 2, Division D. While exploring that area, his tomb which was inscribed with the title M.B.E. and J.P caught my attention because M.B.E means Member of the British Empire and J.P. means he was a Justice of Peace, an indication that he was not an ordinary man but a Community leader for the Teochews.
Mr Lim Kim Seng wearing his M.B.E.
medal proudly.
photo courtesy of
Mdm Lim Soo Eng [his daughter]
and James  [his grandson] 
Impact in the Community - Ngee Ann connection
Lim Kim Seng sat in Licensing Board of Justices, which was a Board by the British Colonial government that granted and renew licenses for bars. He was also in the board for the Secretary of Chinese Affairs. Lim Kim Seng together with Mr Ching Kee Sun and Mr Chua Poh Chua were appointed in 1930 on the Committee of Po Leung Kuk (a Society for the Protection of Woman and Children ).

Ngee Ann Primary School has its roots in 1940 and was founded by Ngee Ann Kongsi's Board of Directors, Mr Lee Wee Nam, Mr Yeo Chan Boon and Mr Lim Kim Seng who set up a girls' school in a bungalow owned by a Kongsi member at River Valley Road. It's genesis was the Ngee Ann Girls' School. In 1967, it started accepting male pupils and eventually became its current namesake.

Lim Kim Seng was in the board of directors  in Overseas Assurance Corporation.

Ngee Ann School c.1971
(source: a2O )
The Singapore Free Press- 1926
(source: NewspaperSG)
Lim Kim Seng's M.B.E in 1954)
(source: London Gazette)
Death and uncertain future
Mr Lim Kim Seng, M.B.E , J.P.,  passed away at the age of 83 on 20th August 1967 at 45 Cuppage Road leaving behind his 2 wives (Teo Nghee Cheng and Sng Chew Lan) , 4 sons (Lim Eng Tong, Lim Eng Kee, Lim Eng Hock, Lim Eng Kiong), 1 adopted son and 4 daughters.

His mother (Madam Sng Sye Chan) died on 29th May 1925. His first wife (Madam Teo Nghee Cheng) died on 17th March 1971 while his 2nd wife (Madam Sng Chew Lan) died on 9th May 1971.

Madam Teo Ngee Cheng died on March 17, 1931 at the age of 85, leaving behind a sister, 4 sons  (Lim Eng Tong, Lim Eng Kee, Lim Eng Hock, Lim Eng Kiong), 1 adopted son (Harold Teo Thuang Quee), 4 daughters (Lim Guek Eng, Lim Luang Eng, Lim Kwee Eng and Lim Soo Eng).

Lim Kim Seng (top) Sng Chew Lan (wife no 2 -bottom)

Top Picture (left -1st wife Teo Nghee Cheng and right - Lim Kim Seng)
Bottom Picture - Mother- Sng Sye Chen 
Stakes are attached beside their tombs indicating they are slated for exhumation. Lim Kim Seng - no. 1930; Teo Nghee Cheng (first wife) - no. 1914; Sng Chew Lan (second wife) - no. 1926; Sng Sye Chen (mother of Lim Kim Seng) - no. 1931. His tomb was just above See Teong Wah, who has a family cluster of more than 10 tombs.

Corrections done: [21 Feb 2012]
A grandson of Mr Lim Kim Seng (James) highlighted to me i got the sequence of the first wife /2nd wife wrong. Teo Nghee Cheng is in fact the first wife, while Sng Chew Lan is the 2nd wife. (and of my spelling error to her name- Sng Chew Lan and not Liang).

James has also help confirmed that Lim Kim Seng did indeed worked in Overseas Chinese Assurance.
[This article has been updated on the 21st February with image and corrections made possible with help of Mr Lim Kim Seng's grandson, James] 

Advertisements. (1926, May 20). The Singapore Free Press, page 15
Mr Lim Kim Seng. (1940, October 8).The Singapore Free Press.
Visitors to Homes. (1952, January 9). The Singapore Free Press.
Untitled. ( 1930, March 10). The Singapore Free Press and Merchantile Advertiser
Colony to have 77 new bars. ( 1951, December 19). The Singapore Free Press
Deaths. (1967, August 21). The Straits Times, page 16
Deaths.(1971, March 18). The Straits Times, page 26
Ngee Ann Primary School [website].
Ngee Ann Kongsi. [website].
Supplement to London Gazette, January 1, 1951 [website].


Wei yip said...

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your research.
This was my grandfather. He was indeed on the board of directors for Overseas Assurance Corporation and is the same Lim Kim Seng . James Yip

Wei yip said...

Just some corrections on the facts
Madam Sng Chew Lan (typo) was Mr Lim Kim Seng second wife not first. Mdm Teo Nghee Cheng was the first wife. The dates are accurate. Many thanks.

Rojak Librarian said...

Dear James

oh my gosh! thanks so much for correcting me. I will update accordingly and also rewrite the portion on his relation to the Overseas Assurance Corporation. I am also going to email you once i have done that

Eugene Khoo said...


I'm currently compiling the list of British Honours to the Overseas Chinese in the Straits Settlements and British Malaya. I notice that Lim Kim Seng had received the MBE. Could you provide me any source of reference to support this statement. Thanks.

Rojak Librarian said...

Hi Eugene, refer:

Eugene Khoo said...

Thanks for the citing.

Although in the photograph shows LKS posing with the MBE badge and his obituary and tombstone written the post-nominal title, MBE. But the problem is I couldn't find his name in the Honours List, in which supposedly published in the
London Gazette or any other major newspapers in the Straits Settlements or British Malaya.

I wonder in what year he received the honour. So I could narrow down my research.

BTW, it's interesting to note that, it's very unusual to have a Chinese tombstone inscripted the British honours title, apart from Loke Yew's.

And thanks for your elaborate research on LKS.

Rojak Librarian said...

Hi Eugene, you are right. I could not find the year he was awarded. I try to check with Lim Kim Seng's descendants to see if they know.

Wei yip said...

Dear Eugene. My mother thinks it was in the early 1950s but she was only a teenager then. I sadly cannot give you more details. James

Eugene Khoo said...

Hello Wei Yip. Thanks a lot. Perhaps I need to look for other sources to verify it.

Rojak Librarian said...

Hi Eugene, see this as possible reference

Thks Wei Yip !

Eugene Khoo said...

Thanks a lot! It's truly a great discovery.

1954 - "Lim Kim Seng, J.P. For public services in Singapore"