Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kway Mee Koo (Bukit Brown)

In a quiet corner in Block 2 Division B, lies the tomb of Mr and Mrs Kway Mee Koo. Mr Kway Mee Koo (1876-1940) owned Kway Mee Koo & Sons, with office in No 56-7, Neil Road. He and his son's were builder's of roads and drainage, one of the many pioneer's that helped in establishing the early road infrastructure in Singapore. The company also leases out its 6-ton steam road roller has part of its business.

In 1924, Kway Mee Koo was awarded a contract for the reconstruction of Woodlands Road. Out of a tender bid of 14 bidders ranging from $12,083 to $43,500, Kway Mee Koo won it for a bid of $12,790 for road portion of Kranji Road to Sungei Mandai Besar.

Not all contracts are won by Kway Mee Koo, but the records do provide an interesting trail of history of roadworks and sewage infrastructure development back in the past and that contracts were tendered out and announced in the papers by the then Municipal Commission.

He was also listed to have bought a leasehold land at West Bukit Timah of about 9 acres for $1,500.

He was one of the people mentioned in the papers who donated money in 1924 for the establishment of the Methodist Mission Recreational Building in Telok Ayer, built by architects Swan and Maclaren.

Death and tomb 
Mr Kway Mee Koo died in September, 1940 at the age of 64. On his it mention 17th generation. Not to sure what it means. He left behind 5 sons, Kway Ong Chin and Kway Ong Hin. 3 other sons are listed as Quek (Chua Koon, Kit Sian, Soon Seng). But why the clear distinction in surname Kway and Quek?

The tomb head is also slightly damage indicating probable exhumation. Kway Mee Koo's wife nee Tan Poh Choo does not have a death date indicated in her tomb, probably she was not buried here.

Mr Kway Mee Koo's tomb 
Mrs Kway Mee Koo nee Tan Poo Choo

If you have insights on what 17th Generation is on the tomb and the use of Kway and Quek in this tomb, do email me.

Afternote: I was informed that 17th Generation means that Mr Kway Mee Koo belongs to the 17th generation of the Kway clan. Kway and Quek are the same in terms of its chinese character but romanised differently that's all.

Advertisement. (1916, May 10). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Municipal Commissions. (1923, November 19).The Straits Times, page 12
Untitled. (1924, September 13). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Methodist Mission Recreation Building. (1924, November 14). The Singapore Free Press, page 7
Advertisement. (1927, August 18). The Strait Times, page 5
Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church Building. [website] from Infopedia

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