Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chua Keh Hai (Bukit Brown)

Chua Keh Hai (1889-1939) was born in Singapore and studied in Raffles Institution. He came from a distinguished family and one of his early ancestors was Prime Minister in China during the Chung dynasty. He entered into Government Service and with the Land Office for about 15 years. He then left and joined the Ho Hong Bank Group. He later joined the Overseas Chinese Bank as Exchange Manager for many years including a stint in Hong Kong. He returned to Singapore and joined the United Chinese Bank.  Chua Keh Wai was a secretary of Ho Hong Bank and a shareholder of United Chinese Bank  (precursor of United Overseas Bank). He also held various positions such as:
  • Honorary Secretary of Straits Chinese British Association in 1924
  • President of Lion City Club (clubhouse at 54 Nelson Road), 1927,1929
  • Chinese Chamber of Commerce
  • Committee Member, Singapore Chinese Girls School
  • Vice-President, Chinese Association Committee, 1938
  • President, Singapore Badminton Association, 1938
  • Sehnh Chua (Surname Chua) of the Hokkien Community in charge of the Sehnh Chua burial ground in Silat Road.
He was a Municipal Commissioner (1935) and during his time as Commissioner, he was involved in many of the early nation development changes. An example, in 1936, he made a earnest plea for cheaper piped water as this was a basic necessity for all. He was appointed a Justice of Peace in 1937 and received the Coronation Medal in 1937.

Lee Swee Har and Chua Keh Hai

Death

Mr. Chua Keh Hai, J.P, M.C. passed away on January 28, 1939 at his residence in No 13 Adam Road off 4th Mile Dunearn Road at 3:30 pm. The cause of death was believe to be heart failure. He leaves behind his wife, Madam Lee Swe Har (alias Annie Lee), one son, Edward Chua Cheng Hoe, 3 daughters, Chua Poh Neo (Polly), Chua Poh Luan (Dolly) and Poh Ai (Alice). In the tomb, another son was mentioned: Chua Jin Tee. He is also survived by his brother, Dr Chua Chow Teck (son-in law of Mr & Mrs Lim Peng Siang) and a sister Mrs Low Chew Kee /Lau Chew Kee.


Wife: Madam Lee Swee Har (1907-1952)
Madam Lee Swee Har is the daughter of Mr Lee Peck Hock, M.B.E. and Madam Yeo Kim Neo. Madam Lee Swee Har passed away at the age of 45 at her residence in No. 13 Adam Road on 24th September 1952. She is the sister-in-law of Dr. Chua Chow Teck and leaves behind 2 sons (Edward and Jeen Tee) and 4 daughters (Polly, Dolly, Alice and Jessie) and grandchildren.

Wife: Madam Lee Swee Neo 
In an article dated 3 December 1920, there was a mention of another Mrs. Chua Keh Hai nee Lee Swee Neo who died 28th November 1920. Her funeral took place on the 30th and the cortege left from 98-1 Orchard Road and she was buried in Alexandra Road Burial Ground. (Sang Kow Tian).

Unique Tomb Panel

Chua Keh Hai's tomb was one of the rare few if not the only one in Bukit Brown, in which the side panels are inscribed the condolence message from the British Colonial Government, the Secretary for Chinese Affairs, A.B. Jordan and on another corner, the Municipal Secretary, J.H. Goldie. His tomb is located in Hill 4, Section C.

Secretary for Chinese Affairs, Malaya (A.B. Jordan)


Municipal Secretary, J.H. Goldie 

Mr and Mrs Chua Keh Hai (pictures faded) tomb prior to clean up
Mr and Mrs Chua Keh Hai's tomb (picture changed) after clean up 

Family


Father: Chua Low Cheak
Chua Low Cheak passed away at the age of 71 on 25th July 1925 (5th day of 6th Moon Chinese Republic 14th year) at 5am at No. 497 Kampong Bahru Road. He is survived by his sons, Chua Keh Hai and Chua Chow Teck, 4 daughters, 1 son-in-law. He is buried in "Siang-Kow Tian", Alexandra Road.

Brother: Dr. Chua Chow Teck
Dr. Chua Chow Teck (younger brother of Chua Keh Hai) married Miss Lim Siew Leng ( second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lim Peng Siang) on 27 November 1931.




Reference
Untitled.(1924, October 29). The Straits Times, page 8
Death. (1925, July 31). The Singapore Free Pres, page 6
Deaths. (1927, January 28). The Singapore Fress Press, page 8
Municipal Boards.  (1935, November, 9).The Straits Times, page 13
Coronation Medals for Malayans. (1937, May 26). The Singapore Fress Press, page 6
New J.P's for the Colony. (1937, June 10). The Singapore Fress Press, page 6
Chinese Association Committee.(1938, March 13). The Straits Times, page 10
Death.(1939, February 1). The Straits Times, page 2
Death of Mr. Chua Keh Hai. (1939. January 29). Sunday Tribune, page 22

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