Sunday, January 27, 2013

Soh Koon Eng remembered (Bukit Brown)

On December 8, 1941 at around four in the morning, the first bombs were dropped on Singapore. 61 people died and more than 700 were injured. By late January 1942, Singapore was already under constant attack by Japanese planes and an estimated 150-200 people was said to have died each day as direct result of the constant air harassment.

Soh Koon Eng, 19 years old
It was January 27, 1942, the air-raid siren was already becoming a frightening yet familiar sound and the population under blitz braced itself for further devastation. A young 19 year old girl by the name of Soh Koon Eng was at a friends place in Lorong 18, off Geylang Road when the siren went off. She decided to hurry home to her house at no 48, Lorong 20, despite her friend telling her to wait for the "all-clear".

Soh Koon Eng
(photo courtesy of Geraldine Soh)
Miss Soh Koon Eng did manage to get home and sought shelter under the altar table of their family /ancestral temple together with the rest of the family ( including her mother), when one of the bomb's dropped by the Japanese planes fell and hit the house. A few splinters hit Miss Soh Koon Eng and she cried out in pain "ma gua si !". (Hokkien for mom, i am dead) She was taken by ambulance to Kandang Kerbau Hospital where she died, never recovering from her wounds.
Death Certificate of Miss Soh Koon Eng
(photo courtesy of Geraldine Soh)

No longer forgotten
Miss Soh Koon Eng is buried in Bukit Brown, Hill 5E, plot 142. Today is the 71st death anniversary of Miss Soh Koon Eng. If alive, she would have been 90 years old. Raymond Goh was present at her tomb to pay respects and to confirm that the tomb is unaffected by the impending 8 lane highway.
Tomb of Soh Koon Eng
(photo courtesy of Raymond Goh)
An 18 year old Soh Koon Eng with boyfriend, Mr.Charles Dias
(photo courtesy of Geraldine Soh)

This story was shared to the Bukit Brown facebook community by Miss Soh's niece, Geraldine, whose father is the younger brother of Miss Soh.

Walter Lim and Raymond Goh responded to Geraldine's query quickly and took on the task of locating the whereabouts of Miss Soh Koon Eng' s tomb and to confirm that it was not affected by the 8 lane highway.

Related articles with war stories
During the air raids or the last days before the fall of Singapore, i would have imagined Corporal Tan Huck Wan of the Singapore Voluntary Field Ambulance, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force playing an important role in saving lives, before he himself becoming a Prisoner of War or the over 10,000 Chinese volunteers that answered the call of Mr Tay Koh Yat to serve and help maintain order and eventually getting killed during the Sook Ching masacre for their defiance. This story also reminds of me the many, many nameless war victims buried in communal war trenches the earlier months after the fall of Singapore, brought in by the truck loads to Bukit Brown.

A video from Youtube:

Liu, G. (2001). Singapore-A Pictorial History 1819-2000. RoutledgeCurzon.
First bomb raid on Singapore. [website]. Infopedia.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chia Hood Theam and family (Bukit Brown)

Chia Hood Theam was a Straits-born Chinese and was the son of Chia Leong Chuan. He studied in Raffles Institution and followed in his father's footsteps and went on to serve in the Merchantile Bank for 57 years and became the head shroff since 1889 (shroff is a hindi word that describes a banker in the Far East). His father, Chia Leong Chuan served for 34 years, from 1856. The Merchantile Bank itself was formed in 1855. Chia Hood Theam's sons also served in the Merchantile Bank. Chia Keng Tye served for 34 years from 1907 and finally Chia Keng Chin served for 45 years from 1906.

Chia Hood Theam 
Social Education Reformist 
Chia Hood Theam was a forward looking man, actively supporting the education of Chinese woman in Singapore by being one of the pioneers in the formation of the Singapore Chinese Girl School. He was the Honory Treasurer for the Chinese Girls School until a time where work commitments overwhelmed him. He resigned and Mr. Ong Soo Tee gallantly took the dual role as Secretary and Treasurer. Chia Hood Theam contributed to War Relief Fund and was a supporter of the Straits Chinese role in supporting the British Colonial Government during the Great War.
The Merchantile Bank
(source: a2o )
Property Owner
His house was called Rosedale and it was located at St Thomas Walk /Killiney Road. Some of the properties Chia Hood Theam bought or owned included:
1906- Coconut and pineapple plantation at Payah Lebar, with bungalow about 24 acres for $7,000
1911- Freehold land and house at No 676 Geylang Road, 30,210 square feet for $3,100.
1915 - 5 pieces of agriculture land in Pongol (Punggol) , about 8 acres for $850.
1918- 6 pieces of freehold building allotments together with an attap house known as No 19, Lorong 25 off Geylang Road, area of 9,840 sq ft bought by Chia Hood Theam for a Nyonya Lim Kim Neo for $1,850. Lim Kim Neo is his daughter-in-law (wife of Chia Keng Chin)
Rosedale and family 
Chia Hood Theam, born on February 6, 1863, passed away on July 10, 1938, at age of 75 years. He is buried in Bukit Brown, Hill 1 Division B together with his wife, Madam Yeo Lan Neo.
Mr Chia Hood Theam's tomb in Bukit Brown
Madam Yeo Lan Neo, (Nonya Tawee) born March 10, 1865, passed away on July 21, 1949 at the age of 88 at 148 Killiney Road. She is survived by 4 sons (Chia Keng Tye, Chia Keng Chin, Dr Chia Keng Hoe and Chia Keng Boon ) and 4 daughters.
Madam Yeo Lan Neo (Nonya Tawee) 's tomb in Bukit Brown
Sons: Chia Keng Tye, Chia Keng Chin, Chia Keng Hoe, Chia Keng Boon,
Daughters: Chia Siew Gek, Chia Siew Lian , Chia Siew Hong, Chia Siew Tin, Chia Siew Lay, Chia Siew Choo, Chia Siew Yean
(source: Chia Family Tree)


Brother: Chia Hood Sang 
Chia Hood Sang (1864 -1925) was a cashier at Boustead & Co. Ltd. He married the eldest daughter of Mr. Lee Keng Keat (partner of the firm Keng Yong Brothers ) . Chia Hood Sang passed away at his residence in No 46 Emerald Hill on April 14, 1925 at the age of 58. He leaves behind a widow, 2 sons (Chia How Ghee, Chia Kip Kong), 3 daughters, 1 son-in-law (Yeo Boo Lat). One of his daughters married Mr. Tan Hong Beng, grandson of Tan Swee Lim and great-grandson of Tan Tock Seng.

He is buried in Bukit Brown. An interesting thing to note as well: 46 Emerald Hill Road is close to the house of Mr and Mrs Goh Kee Hoon of 41 Emerald Hill Road.
Chia Hood Sang
Brother: Chia Hood Teck
Chia Hood Teck was a champion tennis player for the Straits Chinese Recreational Club. Born in July 21, 1872, he passed away on November 3, 1918. He is buried in Lao Sua, close to Madam Song Chit Neo. 
Chia Hood Teck
Aunt: Madam Tay Beng Neo.
Madam Tay Beng Neo passed away on January 13, 1927 at the age of 76. Her husband is Chia Leong Kiat and her son is Chia Hood Lye. She is buried in Hill 2 Division D and her peg no is 1863.
Madam Tay Beng Neo ( Mrs Chia Leong Kiat)
Step mother: Song Chit Neo
The second wife of Chia Leong Chuan, Madam Song Chit Neo passed away at the age of 62 on January 23, 1921. Listed in her tomb is the name of her daughter, Chia Lim Neo and her grandsons ( Ong Swee Chew, Ong Swee Gam, Ong Swee Hock, Ong Swee Chiang) and grand daughter; Ong Swee Neo.
Madam Song Chit Neo ( Mrs Chia Leong Chuan)

Son: Chia Keng Tye
Chia Keng Tye was a Campradore of Merchantile Bank, a musician, violinist, a sports man and a professional tennis player in which he played till the age of 70. In the 1920's, Straits Chinese pioneers such as Chia Keng Tye , Tay Lian Teck, Lim Hock San, Tan Hock San and Choo Beng Lim led the way in western classical music. Self-taught musician, Chia Keng Tye formed and financed Chia Keng Tye Orchestra and from humble beginnings of only 4 members and attracted by a desire to play Malay pantuns with his violin, he and his friends played at his house in Killiney road. The group slowly grew and one of it earliest performance was in 1916 in a variety concert by the Straits Chinese British Association in aid of the Red Cross. From then, it played for many causes (e.g. Swatow Relief 1922, Singapore Chinese Girl School Building Fund 1925) all the way to 1928. His conductor for the orchestra, Tay Lian Teck, J.P, was an excellent violinist was also the conductor. He went on to be the first Asian to play in an all-Caucasian group, the Singapore Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a legislative council member and as known as the "father of chinese football").

In an interview in 1939, Chia Keng Tye told that he has spent over $12,00 in the period of 30 years to buy music for the orchestra and refreshments during rehearsal.
Mr and Mrs Chia Keng Tye
Mr and Mrs Chia Keng Tye 
Mrs Chia Keng Tye (nee Lim Tuan Neo) died on April 11, 1948 after a long illness and is survived by her husband. 2 sons (Dr Chia Chin Tiong, Chia Chin Siang), 3 daughters (Elsie, Maggie, Daisy). Mr Chia Keng Tye passed away at the age of 77 on June 9, 1961 at his house in Killiney Road.
Mr and Mrs Chia Keng Tye
Tomb of Mr and Mrs Chia Keng Tye at Bukit Brown
Son: Chia Keng Chin (No 7 St. Thomas Walk / No 24 Elite Park Avenue )
Chia Keng Chin retired as Campradore of Merchantile Bank after 45 years of service at the age of 65 in 1951. Good in sports, he played tennis and competed in swimming. Chia Keng Chin passed away at the age of 88 on September 19, 1975 leaving behind his wife Lim Kim Neo, son George Chia Boon Swee, daughters: Molly Chia (Mrs Tan Teow Bok), Rosie Chia Siew Neo and Ivy Chia Keok Neo.  Madam Lim Kim Neo passed away at the age of 92 on April 26, 1984.
Mr and Mrs Chia Keng Chin on their diamond anniversary
(source: NewspaperSG)
Son: Dr. Chia Keng Hoe
Patron of Eclipse Badminton Party, President of Merrilads Musical Association, Honory Doctor Singapore Amateur Football Association. Eastern Dispensary, 149 New Bridge Road. Chia Keng Hoe married Yeo Hoe Neo (daughter of Yeo Ban Choon). Dr Chia Keng Hoe died in May 1980.
Dr Chia Keng Hoe
(source: NewspaperSG)
Son: Chia Keng Boon
Chia Keng Boon was the shroff of Merchantile Bank of India in Kuantan until he developed appendictis in 1937 and had to return to Singapore. He managed to recover and return to Kuantan in 1937.

Daughter: Chia Siew Hong (third daughter)
Miss Chia Siew Hong married Mr Tan Kim Siew. Chia Siew Hong died at the age of 31 on May 3, 1924 at 28, Lorong 17 off Geylang Road. She is buried in Bukit Brown.
Chia Siew Hong's tomb at Bukit Brown
Chia Siew Hong 
Daughter: Chia Siew Tin
Miss Chia Siew Tin married Cheong Koon Seng. Cheong Koon Seng was a famous auctioneer and owned a namesake property evaluation and auction. Chia Siew Tin died in 1953
Chia Siew Tin tomb at Bukit Brown
Chia Siew Tin 's tomb at Bukit Brown

Chia Siew Tin and children listed on her tomb
Daughter: Chia Siew Lay
Miss Chia Siew Lay married Mr Ong Siow Sian (son of Mr and Mrs Ong Soo Tee). Chia Siew Lay died at the age of 45 on March 11, 1941. She is buried in Bukit Brown and both are affected by the 8 lane highway.

Chia Siew Lay and Ong Siow San 
Grandsons and Grand-daughters
Mr and Mrs Chia Keng Tye (Killiney Road) children
Mr Chia Chin Siang (second son) married the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Tan Soon Keng in November 1941. The bridesmaid in the ceremony were 2 daughters of Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Pang.

Miss Chia Chim Neo (eldest daughter) married Dr Tan Chong Yan, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Tan Hoon Siang in 1929.

Miss Elsie Chia (second daughter) married Mr Tan Jin Hoe (only son of Mr Tan Chong Lek, J.P. Malacca, Campradore of the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, Malacca). Mr Tan Jin Hoe was a cashier of the bank and a member of the Malacca Literary Club. The wedding took place on September 24, 1933 at No 140 Tanjong Rhu.

National Library received a gift of 253 orchestral music belonging to Chia Keng Tye who formed an orchestra based on his namesake and himself played the violin. His son's Dr Chia Chin Tiong and Mr Chia Chin Siong donated it to be made available to all music lovers.

Dr. Chia Keng Hoe (25 Sea Avenue,Katong) children
Harry Chia Chin Hock (youngest son) married Miss Lee Hung Kwai, fourth daughter of Mr and Mrs Lee Mun Foo of Kampar. Harry Chia was a Singapore Press reporter and the wedding took place in Kampar, Perak.
Harry Chia Chin Hock and Miss Lee Hung Kwai
Miss Chia Suat Neo (second daughter) married Mr Willie Yeo, second son of Mr and Mrs Yeo Tiang Swee in April 1934

Mr Chia Keng Chin (No 7 St. Thomas Walk) children
Miss Chia Guat Neo (fourth daughter) married Mr Tan Teow Bok, a Kuala Lumpur lawyer and son of Mr Tan Loy Kow in April 1936.

Miss Nancy Mary Chia Yew Neo (Mrs Chan Kok Chye), second daughter passed away on December 23, 1948 at the age of 38 at No 38 Hindoo Road. She is survived by her husband, 3 sons, (Harold, Herbert, Henry) and 2 daughters.

Dr. Chia Keng Boon children
Henry Chia Chin Lock (second son) married Cherry Tan Yong Sim, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Tan Chooi Leong.

George Chia Chin Hong(third son) married Miss Lim Pheck Lian, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Lim Chu Yan on December 22, 1950

Freddie Chia Chin Hian (youngest son) married Miss Patricia Ang Kim Hay (youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs Ang Boon Tuan).
Freddie Chia Chin Hian and Patricia Ang Kim Hay
(source: NewspaperSG) 
[will be updating as i get more information]

Advertisement. (1911, March 15). The Straits Times, page 8
Property Sale.(1918, May 30). The Singapore Free Press. page 341
Death. (1924, May 5). The Straits Times, page 8
Death. (1925, April 16). The Straits Times, page 8
Untitled. (1929, April 4). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Untitled. (1933, September 11, 1933). The Straits Times, page 2
Chinese wedding.(May 1, 1934). The Singapore Free Press, page 11
Malayan Items. (April 13, 1936). The Straits Times, page 13
Mainly about Malayans. (1938, July 17). The Straits Times, page 18
Amateur orchestra which only plays classical music. (1939, April 16). The Straits Times, page 10
Untitled. (1941, November 16). The Straits Times, page 7
Deaths. (1948, April 12). The Straits Times, page 6
Death. (1949, July 22). The Straits Times, page 8
Advertisements. (1950, December 24). The Straits Times, page 10
Mr Chia say i will miss my bank. (1951, September 30). The Straits Times, page 11
Air Traffic controller weds. (1956, February 15). The Straits Times, page 4
Married in Kampar. (1959, December 18). Singapore Free Press, page 3
Veteren dies. (1961, June 10). The Straits Times, page 15
Music Gift to S'pore by Chia Family. (1967, March 8 ). The Straits Times, page 6
The happy marriage recipe that has stood the test of time. (1967, March 7). The Straits Times, page 10
Obituary. (1975, September 21). The Straits Times, page 21
82 years in tune.(1982, August 9). The Straits Times, page 45
About Bt Brown, Chia family members who are buried there. [website]. Chia family.
Liu, G. (2001). Singapore-A Pictorial History 1819-2000. RoutledgeCurzon.
Lee Kip Lin. (1984) Emerald Hill, The Story of a Street in Words and Pictures. National Museum, Singapore 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Remembering Bukit Brown

In today's Business Times, there was a nicely written article by Cheah Ui-Hoon titled "Remembering Bukit Brown". The photograph in the article features the tomb of Mr and Mrs Poh Cheng Tee.
Source: Business Times, January 18, 2013
The article also shared the fact the over the course of one year, a small but active community group had sprung up Bukit Brown – as they started documenting the cemetery and giving tours, maintaining an active Facebook page as well as a blog. It has in fact grown into one of the biggest interest groups to save a cemetery – a first in Singapore.

Dr Chua Ai Lin, Vice-President of the Singapore Heritage Society and a History lecturer at the National University of Singapore shared her thoughts: “I think it’s partly due to the fact that Singaporeans are more aware now of their heritage and the role that history plays in our life. Because of the rapid changes in society, we wonder more about our roots and identity".

There will be a half day event, titled "Celebrating Bukit Brown: Rediscovering the Past" at the Substation this coming Sunday, January 20th. Artist, volunteers and experts will be present to share around the theme of Bukit Brown. There will be also a film screening on the Qing Ming rights in Bukit Brown.

Do try to make it if you have time. I will definitely be going down to help out.
Celebrating Bukit Brown

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tan Yong Thian (Bukit Brown)

Tan Yong Thian (Tan Ah Tian ) was born in 1855 in the district of Chaoyang, Swatow in the province of Kwangtung (Guangdong). He came to Singapore at the age of 27 and became a building contractor. In 1895 (at the age of 40), at the pinnacle of his career  and having thoughts of retirement, Tan Yong Thian nevertheless went into the produce industry investing in various plantations such as gambier, pepper, citronella, coconut and rubber.

Patchouli Oil and Chua Seng Heng & Co
His foray into the produce/plantation business proved successful and with this new born energy,  Tan Yong Thian decided to expand into the distillation and refining of the raw materials from his plantation. The distillation of patchouli oil (an essential oil used in making perfume) was what he was remembered for and he even managed to expand its export to other countries and its quality was parallel to the ones in Europe.  The firm, Chua Seng Heng & Co became one of the largest producers of essential oils in the Straits Settlement. Two of his sons , Tan Kim Chua and Tan Guan Chua are joint partners in business together with a son-in-law.

In 1923, Chua Seng Heng & Co bought through an auction, a power distilling plant suitable for essential oil at 87 Kim Kiat Road. They also bought a new oil distilling plant for $2,000. Their office is listed to be at No 46 Armenian Street.
Trademark of Chua Seng Heng & Co
(source: NewspaperSG 1931)

Tan Heng Chua taking ownership
(source: NewspaperSG 1935) 
71st birthday celebration
Tan Kim Chua and his brothers were reported to have issued invitations to many of their friends from various communities that was held at their residence in No. 535 East Coast Road (6th milestone) in celebration of their father's 71 birthday in 1925. This was to be Tan Yong Thian's last birthday celebration.

Mr Tan Yong Thian passed away on April 9, 1926 at the age of 72 years. Mrs Tan Yong Thian nee Ng Hean Neo passed away on March 1, 1926 at the age of 59 years old. When Mrs Tan passed away, the newspaper list the number of children as 4 sons and 2 daughters: Tan Kim Chua, Tan Guan Chua, Tan Choon Chua, Tan Heng Chua , Mdam Kwek Noy Chia, Madam Lee Keng Jin

On the tombstone list 5 sons and 2 daughters:
Sons: Tan Khim Chua, Tan Guan Chua, Tan Kim Chua, Tan Choon Chua and Tan Heng Chua
Daughters: Tan Kim Kee, Tan Nie Kee

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Tan Yong Thian 
Mr and Mrs Tan Yong Thian are buried in Hill 2, Division D. The tomb is almost impacted by the 8 lane highway but fortunately remains safe.

Untitled. (1923, April 26). The Straits Times, page 8
Matters Chinese. (1925, October 16). The Singapore Free Press, page 16
Death. (1926, March 2). The Straits Times, page 8
Advertisement. (1931, December 15). The Straits Times, page 4
Patchouli Oil. (1933, January 2). The Straits Times, page 11
Advertisement. (1935, November 29). The Straits Times, page 2
Patchouli. [website] Wikipedia.
Burt, A. R. (1920). Biographies of Prominent Chinese. J. B. Powell, & C. Crow (Eds.). Biographical Publishing Company.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Yeo Hung Teo (traditional lantern painter)

Tucked away within Toa Payoh's light industrial park at Lorong 8 is the Yeo Swee Huat Paper Agency. The owner of this company, Mr Yeo Hung Teo is one the last few remaining traditional paper lantern painters in Singapore. I was given the great opportunity to pay a visit to his shop and see the man personally at work.

Yeo Swee Huat makes paper paraphernalia used in temple festivities, funeral offerings and of course lanterns.Traditional paper lanterns (once common in the past), can still be seen in temples, clan associations, traditional peranakans houses and sometimes, though rarely now in houses of rich towkays.
Hanging from the shop
(paper horses and lanterns)
paper clothes

Mr Yeo  learned the arts from his father, but also added his only personal touch and creative flair that he perfected over the years thus differentiating his works from other artisans.

The hands of sifu Yeo Hung Teo at work

sifu Yeo Hung Teo  with 2 brushes at hand make
painting the lantern seem effortless

Holding a large lantern and painting it
at same time is not easy

While sifu Yeo Hung Teo was explaining that the chinese characters of the lantern was painted up to 7 layers to give it a consistent feel and look better when illuminated from inside, Mrs Yeo's iphone rang and she was frantically taking instructions and making sure the orders are correct.

Materials used
They needed paper, bamboo, paint and glue. The glue used i found out is made from a seaweed based and prior to been used, vinegar is added to give it a smoother texture when applied on paper.

Mr Yeo Hung Teo's business is located at: Block 6 Toa Payoh Industrial Park Lorong 8 #01-1307 Singapore 319058

 Video by Singapore Heritage Board of Mr Yeo Hung Teo

Soon Cheng Liam (Bukit Brown)

This attractive tomb located at Hill 5 belongs to Mr and Mrs Soon Cheng Liam. They came to Singapore from Tong An District near the port of Amoy. He owned a Sundry goods shop, but eventually decided to bring his family of 7 including him and his wife to Singapore for better prospects and Soon Cheng Liam worked as a hawker while living in Weld Road. One of his son was a clerk in one of Tan Kah Kee's factory and the other 2 worked in sundary good shops. Eventually the brothers came together to form a timber trading business under the name of  Sim Lim.

Mr Soon Cheng Liam died at the age of 66 on  July 24, 1951 at his residence in No 3 Balmoral Crescent. He left behind three sons, Soon Hoe Chew, Soon Peng Leong and Soon Peng Yam, 2 daughters: Soon Ah Poo and Soon Bee Hwa, 2 daughters-in- law and 2 son-in-laws. Madam Ang Kim Kiok passed away at the age of 62 on April 5, 1948 at her residence in 844 Geylang Road.

One of their sons, Soon Peng Yam was an important Chinese pioneer.

Mr and Mrs Soon Cheng Liam 

Son: Soon Peng Yam
Soon Peng Yam was a leading industrialist, a self-made Hokkien tycoon and a pioneer Chinese community leader during Singapore's formative years He started work at 14 years old as a $2-a month worker when he first arrived to join his parents with his two other brothers and 2 sisters from his village in Tung Ann, Fujian Province China in 1926 with only a few years of education from his village school. In 1932, at the age of 20, he went to be the sole proprietor of Sim Lim company, dealing in building materials at no 3, Jalan Besar and 839 Geylang.

The company went on to expand it wings to other companies in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Two of his companies under Sim Lim Group were listed in the Singapore Stock Exchange. He retired as Chairman of Sim Lian Group in 1988.

Soon Peng Yam was very active and influential in the Chinese community as well and for a number of years was the President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) and Singapore Swimming Club (President from 1963-2000). As President of SCCC, he was instrumental in many projects including committee chairman to fund the building of the Memorial for Civilian Victims of the Japanese Occupation (Civilian War Memorial). He was also the President of Ee Hoe Hean Club (the Millionaires club) and the Tung Ann District Guild. He was nicknamed "Mr Fund Raiser" for his ability to raise funds for the community.
Soon Peng Yam ( montage of him at various times)
He was a champion of Chinese culture and education. He passed away on April 30, 2002 at 23 Gilstead Road. He left behind his wife, Madam Chang Yoke Ling, 6 sons, 3 daughters. (i have only the name of one of his sons: Soon Choo Teck, who succeeded his father after he stepped down as Chairman of Sim Lim) , Andrew Soon, Soon Kah Teck were two other names mentioned to me later after this article was written.

His wife, a Madam Poh Chew Pheng  died on July 2, 1997 at the age 75.

Son: Soon Hoe Chew
Soon Hoe Chew married Chua Poo Toh (died January 13, 1996 age 83). They had 3 sons (Soon Hong Teck, Soon Eng Teck, Soon Hong Teck) and 5 daughters (Soon Chua Tee, Soon Imm Tee, Soon Lay Tee, Soon Lay Kim, Soon Lay Moi).

Son: Soon Peng Leong
Soon Peng Leong (died December 1, 1995 age 88 ) married Lim Ah Poh. They had 3 sons (Soon Beng Teck, Chin Teck, Thiam Teck) and 5 daughters (Kang Tee, Lam Tee, Mui Tee, Wah Tee, Lay Khin)

Deaths. (948, April 10). The Straits Times, page 6
Deaths. (1951, July 26). The Straits Times, page 6
Memorial for war victims, plea for gifts. (May, 13, 1966). The Straits Times, page 6
Chairman of Sim Lian Group steps down. (1988, January 1). The Straits Times, page 23
Deaths. (1996, January 15). The Straits Times, page 37
Pioneer Community Leader Soon Peng Yam dies, age 90. (2002, May 2). The Straits Times, page 3

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Goh Seck Tim and family (Bukit Brown)

Goh Seck Tim was a Cashier for William and Jacks and Chief Cashier of the Singapore Turf Club. The Singapore Turf Club is the oldest existing club in Singapore. It was founded by Scottish merchant William Henry Macleod Read and began as the Singapore Sporting Club on October 4, 1842 with the first races held in Farrer Park on February 1843 to mark the 24th anniversary of the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles.

Goh Seck Tim passed away on May 29, 1940 at the age of 59 at his residence in 42, Kovan Road off Hillside Drive, Upper Serangoon. He is survived by his wife (Lim Chai Wee),  2 sons ( Goh Peng Sian and Goh Tian Chye), 2 daughters (Goh Aik Neo, Goh Gek Neo) , 1 daughter-in-law, 2 son-in-laws (Mr Lim Huay Hoon and Mr Charlie Chiew Geok Seng) and 9 grandchildren.

Mr Goh Seck Tim's wife, Madam Lim Chai Wee died in October 25, 1972 at the age of 88. Madam Lim Chai Wee is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Lim Koh Seng. Her mother, Mrs Lim Koh Seng nee Chia Peck Neo died on August 22, 1935 at the age of 75. Her residence was at 115 Koon Seng Road. She is also buried in Bukit Brown. Madam Lim Chai Wee's tomb has a large cross behind.
Madam Lim Chai Wee
(photo courtesy of Hercules Lim)

42 Kovan Road
(photo courtesy of Hercules Lim)

Madam Lim Chai Wee with one her daughters
(photo courtesy of Hercules Lim )

Mr Goh Seck Tim 
Madam Lim Chai Wee
(note the marble cross behind)

Both tombs, located at Hill 1 are affected by the 8 lane highway. Their peg numbers are 963 and 964.

The granchildren listed their tomb includes: Grandsons, Goh Chin Joo, Goh Chin Chiang, Goh Chin Ann and Grand-daughters, Goh Kim Lian, Goh Kim Kee, Goh Kim Hiok, Goh Kim Liew

Both Goh Peng Sian and Goh Tian Chye were talented badminton players and played in their early days for Joybells, Badminton Party.
Brothers Goh Tian Chye and Gan Peng Sian (1937)
In 1968, a government acquisition of a land known as Lot 31-2 Mukim I in Tiong Bahru belonging to the estate of the late Goh Seck Tim and compensation distributed based on the wishes of Madam Lim Chai Wee and his son Goh Peng Sian.

Goh Peng Sian  married Ee Koon Neo (alias Tengah). His wife died at the age of 86 on August 4, 2001 while Mr Goh Peng Sian passed away on  August 28, 1976.

Sons and Daughters of Mr and Mrs Goh Peng Sian :
Son: Mr Stephen Goh Chin Joo
Daughters: Miss Molly Goh Kim Lian, Ms Dolly Goh Kim Kee, Ms Rosie Goh Kim Hiok, Ruby Goh Kim Liew and Amy Goh Kim Khuan.

Molly Goh Kim Lian (eldest) married Mr Lum Loo Kong in 1962. Rosie Goh Kim Hiok married Mr Tjio Hai Siong in 1960.

Deaths. (1935, August 23). The Straits Times, page 2
Untitled. (1937, June 20). The Straits Times, page 26
Death. (1940, June 1). The Straits Times, page 2
Advertisement. (1968, June 21). The Straits Times, page 18
In Memoriam. (1986, August 28). The Straits Times, page 28
Obituaries. (2001, August 5). The Straits Times, page 38
Singapore Turf Club. [Website]. Infopedia

Friday, January 04, 2013

Oon Chim Neo (Seh Ong)

Madam Oon Chim Neo was the wife of Mr Ong Boon Tat, J.P, Municipal Commissioner and only daughter of Mr and Mrs Oon Chin Soon. She was one of the earlier batches of chinese ladies to receive western education and graduated top of her class from the Singapore Chinese Girls School. Madam Oon's father,  Mr Oon Chin Soon was the chief cashier at Messrs. Katz Bros. Ltd. (Mr Oon passed away in April 1929 and is buried in Bukit Brown). Ong Boon Tat's parents are Mr and Mrs Ong Sam Leong. Oon Chim Neo married Ong Boon Tat in 1908.

Tomb of Madam Oon Chim Neo 

Tomb of Madam Oon Chim Neo, peg 77

After Madam Oon Chim Neo passed away at the age of 31 on March 12, 1917 at her father's house in 6 Balmoral Road , a beautiful and large tomb was erected  by her son, Mr Ong Tiang Wee.

Ong Tiang Wee

Mr Ong Tiang Wee (T.W. Ong), M.A. was a prominent lawyer both in Singapore and Malaya. Ong Tiang Wee won the Guthrie Scholarship in Raffles Institution and went on to study in Magdalene College, Cambridge and called to Bar after reading law in Middle Temple, London. In 1932, he married Miss Getrude Chung Tiam Fook (the only daughter of Mr and Mrs William Chung Tiam Fook, a diamond merchant in British Guiana, South America. Getrude herself was awarded the M.B.E and a Certificate of Honor for her contributions in the Blood Transfusion Service. In 1939, Mr Ong Tiang Wee received military training with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scot of England. He was an officer in the British Army when Singapore fell and was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese Kempeitai
Ong Tiang Wee

Ong Tiang Wee was a Municipal Commissioner from 1939 -1948. He was also in Overseas Assurance, the Malay Tribune Press Ltd and New World Limited. Ong Tiang Wee was a partner in the firm called Messers. Chan, Laycock and Ong. (This was the firm that Lee Kuan Yew joined after passing Bar and returning to practice in Singapore in 1950) and Honorary Life President of the Peranakan Association.

Bukit Rose and novel "Tanamera" 
Bukit Rose at 259 Bukit Timah Road, the family home of the Ong's was sold by its last owner, Ong Tiang Wee in 1981. The house which stood on a 25,914 sq m land was bought by City Development for a reported $27.27 million. In its place was a 114 condominium estate called Casa Rosita. The author of bestselling book Tanamera, Noel Barber was said to have gotten his inspiration after a visit to Bukit Rose in 1938 for a party, but was disappointed to find out the house he wanted to use for the movie version of his book was long gone 40 years later. Barber was an editor for the Malayan Tribune in the 1930's, during the time where Ong Boon Tat was its director.

Bukit Rose in Tanamera

The real Bukit Rose (with mourners and hearse in front)
Bukit Brown connection
Ong Boon Tat, Ong Sam Leong, Oon Chin Soon are buried in Bukit Brown. Madam Oon Chim Neo's tomb is technically located in the Seh Ong cemetery which is across the gates of Bukit Brown, along Kheam Hock road. Her peg number is no 77 which means her tomb is affected by the 8 lane highway.

Death.(1917, March 13). The Straits Times, page 6
The late Mrs Ong Boon Tat. (1917, March 19). The Straits Times, page 10
Straits Chinese Married. (1932, October 9). The Straits Times, page 10
Rivals at college - now to marry. (1950, August 12). The Straits Times, page 5
House that inspired Noel Barber's novel has been torn down. (1988, April 18). The Straits Times, page 16
Sim, V. (Ed.). (1950). Biographies of prominent Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Nan Kok Pub.