Monday, April 16, 2012

Chua Cheng Hock (Bukit Brown)

It started with a leisurely walk with Raymond Goh in Block 3 Division A on a sunny Sunday morning and we stumbled upon a Sikh Statue Guard barely visible in the thick undergrowth. This alerted me to find out who was the owner of this Sikh guard.

It was the tomb of  Mr. Chua Cheng Hock (1889-1951). Chua Cheng Hock was one of the directors of the Cycle and Carriage Company. He was also an avid tennis player and played many competitive matches. He contributed to the Malaysian Union Seminary (399-1 Upper Serangoon), Air Raid Relief Fund (via the Chinese Relief Fund Committee). Chua Cheng Hock was also a member of the Chee Yang (Chua Si) Kong So Association.
Mr and Mrs. Chua Cheng Hock and family
 (Chua Boon Hin (in dark coat) , Chua Boon Kim, Chua Hock Tay (Phyllis) )
(photo courtesy of Sharon Ong )

Cycle and Carriage Company 

Cycle and Carriage Company Ltd was founded in 1899 by the Chua brothers namely Chua Cheng Bok and Chua Cheng Tuan with brothers Chua Cheng Hee and Chua Cheng Hock and Chua Cheng Liat coming in to the business at different periods after that. Its business started in Kuala Lumpur in High Street and later Market Square by Cheng Bok. It business soon expanded to Ipoh in 1906 in Brewster Road and later in 1914, Penang. It's Penang office in Bishop Street even has an electric lift for cars to take it up to the top of its three storey building !
Cycle and Carriage -Kuala Lumpur
The Singapore branch was opened in 1916 in No 3 Orchard Road and it was a 3 storey building with an electric lift and equipped with the latest machinery for motor repairing. In May 1926 it listed as a public listed company with Cheng Bok as the Chairman. Chua Cheng Tuan, Chua Cheng Hee, Chua Cheng Hock and Chua Cheng Liat were directors of the company along with two other famous Malaccan's, Honory Tan Cheng Lock (rubber planter, member of Straits Settlement Legislative Council, and later on, founder and first President of the Malayan Chinese Association or MCA) and Lee Chim Tuan. John Middleton Sime who lived at Malacca at that time was the co-founder of Sime-Darby.

Directors of Cycle and Carriage Co Ltd 1926
The company was in 1926 the sole agency in Malaya for the following:

  • English Cars:  Crossley, Swift, Singer, Calthrope, Clement, Talbot, B.S.A.
  • American Cars: Overland, Willys-Knight, Oldsmobile and Cleveland
  • French Cars: De Dion, Darracq
  • German Cars: Opel
  • Italian Cars: Ansaldo
  • Motor Trucks: Federal-Knight, Brockway and Overland
  • Motorcycles: B.S.A, Chater-Les, Invieta, Monopole, O.E.C, Blackburne and James
  • Bicycles: B.S.A, Monopole, Invieta and Massey Harris

Some of the cars sold by Cycle and Carriage in 1926-1927
When listed in 1926, it had an authorised capital of $5 million. In spite of the difficulties it encountered in a number of years, (including the Great Depression, World War I and II ), the company continued to thrive. Cycle and Carriage is one of the major symbols of the vehicular transport growth in this region that still exist to-date.


Mr Chua Cheng Hock passed away on October 8, 1951 at the age of 62, in No 21 Scotts Road. He left behind his wife, 2 sons, Chua Boon Kim and Chua Boon Chin and 2 daughters,Chua Hock Tay and Chua Hock Choo. His first wife, Madam Ho Hian Goh died on May 14, 1935, leaving behind 2 sons and 1 daughter.

Sikh Guard and discovery of Chua Cheng Hock's tomb
Condition of tomb when we first discovered it

discovery of Chua Cheng Hock's tomb
Rediscovery of Chua Cheng Hock's tomb


Son: Chua Boon Hin
Chua Boon Hin (eldest son) married a daughter of a well-known Malacca resident, Mr Ho Eng Wah, in 1932.  Chua Boon Hin died in 20th January 1946 at the age of 36 at the Alexandra Military Hospital. He left behind his wife Madam Queenie Ho, 2 sons and a daughter.

Chua Boon Hin was a Lieutenant of the 2nd Singapore Volunteer Corps Bn, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force. He died likely on war wounds, but i am unable to verify further. What is for sure, he is remembered in Kranji War Memorial. He is buried close to his parent's grave in Bukit Brown.

Chua Boon Hin (photo courtesy of Sharon Ong)

Daughter Miss Chua Hock Tay (Phyllis)
Miss Chua Hock Tay (Phyllis) married Mr Ong Tiang Guan (Wallie), second son of Mr and Mrs Ong Boon Tat, J.P in 1940. (Ong Boon Tat if you recall is the eldest son of Mr Ong Sam Leong). At the brides house in Scotts Road, they were dressed in traditional Manchu wedding outfit with the groom wearing an elaborate jewelled head-dress and richly embroidered robes. Around her neck were many jewelled and gold necklets and she adorned diamond rings and bracelets. At the grooms place, more than 1,000 guest attended the lunch wedding reception given at the New World during the afternoon of September 20, 1940 and a wedding dinner that very night at Bukit Rose at Bukit Timah Road, family home of the Ong's.

Chua Hock Tay (Phyllis)
(photo courtesy of Sharon Ong)

[Left] Mr and Mrs Ong Tiang Guan greeted by Mrs Lim Boon Keng
[Right] Mr and Mrs Ong Tiang Guan in traditional Manchu outfit 

Son: Chua Boon Chin (Christopher)
Chua Boon Chin (Christopher) married Audrey Chionh Chai Meng, 2nd daughter of Mrs Chionh Doo Chee in 23 July 1961. Mrs Chioh Doo Chee (Ms Chan Keng Boon) was a famous competitive badminton player.
Mr and Mrs Chua Boon Chin
at St. Bernadette's Church, Zion Road

Chua family story  

Mr Chua Toh from Fukien (Fujian Province) made his way here as a young man to Malacca. He started out as a nutmeg dealer. He had five sons, Chua Cheng Tuan (eldest), Chua Cheng Bok, Chua Cheng Hee, Chua Cheng Hock and Chua Cheng Liat.  Chua Toh died in 1908 in Malacca and was buried in Bukit Cina.

Chua Cheng Tuan and Chua Cheng Bok as young man worked in Federated Engineering company to gain experience, and later they set up their own business, Federal Stores and later Cycle and Carriage -in High Street, Kuala Lumpur.

Chua Toh 

Chua Cheng Bok (left) Chua Cheng Liat (right) 

Chua Cheng Tuan died on March 27, 1912 after forming Cycle and Carriage and getting Chua Cheng Bok to partner him.

Chua Cheng Bok died at the age 61 on the April 25, 1940 in Ipoh, Malaysia. He was cremated at the Sam Poh Tong, temple. He was also a philanthropist, donating an entire entire maternity ward, named the Chua Cheng Bok ward of the Chinese Maternity Ward at Pudu Road

Chua Cheng Hee took over as Chairman after the death of  Chua Cheng Bok. Chua Cheng Liat was appointed managing director.

Chua Cheng Liat took over as Chairman after Chua Cheng Hee retired in 1949.  Cheng Liat died at the age of 64 in June 1957 in his residence at Lloyd Road, Singapore ending a generation of Chua brothers who toiled for Cycle and Carriage. The business was passed on to Chua Cheng Liat's eldest son, Chua Boon Peng.

My story ends here, for now.
Tomb of Chua Cheng Tuan in Kuala Lumpur Kwon tung Cemetery
(photo courtesy of Jonathan Siew)

[Last edited March 28, 2016]

Malaysian Union Seminary. (1924, July 24).
Advertisements. (1926, May 3). The Singapore Free Press, page 7
S.C.R.C Tournament. (1931, September 22).The Singapore Free Press,page 20
Mr. Ho Eng Wah. (1932, February 21). The Straits Times, page 13
Domestic Occurrences. (1935, May 16). The Straits Times, page 2
Chee Yang Association.(1938,January 21). The Singapore Free Press, page 2
Cremation of Mr.Chua Cheng Bok.(1940,April 26). The Singapore Free Press, page 2
Domestic Occurrences. (1940, May 30). The Singapore Free Press, page 3
Chinese Old Style Wedding.(1940, September 20). The Straits Times, page 11
Ong-Chua Wedding.(1940, September 13). The Straits Times, page 11
Wedding Reception. (1940, September 21).The Straits Times, page 10
Ong Boon Tat's son married.  (1940, September 19).The Straits Times, page 10
Chinese Gifts to London. (1940, December 9). The Singapore Free Press, page 7
Death. (1946, January 22). The Straits Time, page 2
Death. (1951, October 11).The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Motor Firm Man Takes Bride. (1961, July 24). The Straits Times, page 4
Through the Years: A story of growth and progress. (1974, June 15). The Straits Times, page 31
Motoring Archives-Cycle and Carriage [website] from Motoring Archives

No comments: