Friday, March 16, 2012

Ong Soon Tee (Bukit Brown)

Ong Soon Tee (Dec 1871-1946 ), was the son of Ong Ewe Hai, a merchant and proprietor of Ong Ewe Hai and Co, located at North Boat Quay, (a company that has extensive business dealings with Sarawak and agent for Singapore Steamship Co.). Ong Soon Tee took over his father's business together with his brother Ong Tiang Soon, after his father passed away in June 1895 at the age of 64. He was appointed Justice of Peace (J.P) by the Straits Settlement government in 1915.
Mr Ong Soon Tee
(same picture used for his tomb)

Ong Soon Tee was also in the board of directors of Eastern United Assurance Corporation Limited in 1926 at a time where See Teong Wah and Gaw Khek Khiam was the Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively. By 1936 he was the Chairman of the company. He also had businesses in tin mining and  bought various properties as well.

Anglo Chinese School Pioneer Student
Ong Soon Tee was one of the first batch of 13 Chinese students of Bishop Oldham (then Rev. W.Oldham)  founder of  Anglo Chinese School (ACS) in Malaya when it first started out in 1886 in Amoy Street.His fellow school mates included: Tan Cheng Tee /Tan Cheng Tit, Koh Kim Beng, Lim Tay Bee and Tan Cheng Kee. In 1914, Ong Soon Tee was also elected as the President of ACS Old Boy's Association.
Tribute to Bishop Oldham
(source: NewspaperSG) 
$45,000 for a 46,000 sq ft freehold property in No 39 Cairnhill
(source: NewspaperSG)

Pioneer in the formation of the Chinese Girl School 
Ong Soon Tee was elected Secretary of the Chinese Girl School (Sing Po Chung Kwo Hsio Tang) located at Hill Street in 1899.  The President then was Lew Yuk Lin (Chinese consul) and vice presidents; Khoo Seok Wan and Tan Hap Seng, Treasurer; Tan Boon Liat. He was an strong supporter of social and education reform especially for woman, so much so that despite his workload, he took over as Honoury Treasurer as well when Mr. Chia Hood Theam resigned from the position. He was a prominent member of the Chinese Philomathic Society and of Mr. Salzmann's Violin Party.

Chinese Girls School
(source: a2o)
He donated generously to various fund raising campaigns such as British Red Cross Fund (1916), Straits Chinese Decoration Fund (1922), Jubilee Fund Donations (1935), Malaya Patriotic Fund (1939), London Raid Relief Fund (1940),etc, but i must say that the one that shine the most was his contribution to the Singapore Chinese Girl School that enabled woman to be educated formally.

Mr Ong Soon Tee passed away on 10th February 1946 while Mrs Ong Soon Tee (nee Mdm Teo Choon Neo) passed away on 23rd Feb 1953 at 46 St Patrick's Road, both leaving behind 5 sons, Ong Siow San, Dr Ong Siow Hian, Ong Siow Kee, Ong Siow Giap and Ong Siow Hin. Both are buried in Bukit Brown, Block 4 Division A, plot 424.

His first wife, Madam Wee Ong Neo passed away in May 7 1912 at the age of 37.

Ong Siow San (Ong Siow Sian) volunteered in the Great War, while Dr Ong Siow Hian gained his medicine doctorate from Hong Kong University.
Ong Soon Tee and his wife Teo Choon Neo
Ong Soon Tee and his wife Teo Choon Neo 
Tomb of Mr and Mrs Ong Soon Tee
Bukit Brown Cemetery Connection
Ong Soo Tee's father is Mr Ong Ewe Hai. In 1872, three Ong Clan's men, Ong Kew Ho, Ong Ewe Hai and Ong Chong Chew bought land totalling 221 acres for the purpose for dwelling, farming and as burial grounds for $1,500. The land was named Seh Ong Sua. Around 1918, the Municipal Government acquired 98 acres of this land to become a public cemetery.
Ong Ewe Hai

Chinese Girls School (1899, April 24). The Singapore Free Press, page 1.
Chinese Girls School. (1908, March 26). The Straits Times, page 7.
Property Sales. (1919, May 13). The Singapore Free Press, page 10.
Advertisements. (1926, November 6).Malayan Saturday Post, page 27.
Eastern United Assurance. (1936, September 15). The Singapore Free Press, page 10.
Local Tribute to Bishop Oldham. (1937, April  12). The Straits Times, page 13.
Death. (1953, February 24). The Straits Times, page 7.
Song,Ong Siong.(1984). One hundred years' history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press


Unknown said...

Hi Hi,
Just to let you know that my grandfather's name is Ong Siow Giap (not Gap). Perhaps you would like to amend it? Thanks.
Rgds from Switzerland,
Andrea Ong

Rojak Librarian said...

Hi Andrea, thanks for your feedback, i have amended it already

limt said...


hi, please note there is a typo...Ong Ewe Hai, eldest son is Ong Tiang Soon and not Ong Tian Soon.

Ong Soon Tee - First wife is Wee Ong Neo died May 7 1912 at age 37.

Appreciate if you could amend...

Rojak Librarian said...

Hi limt

Thks for the input. Have added in.