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. Nyonya Tawee or also know as Mak Puteh was from Batavia (Dutch controlled Jakarta)

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 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Lim Kim Neo was the wife of Chia Keng Chin (one of Chia Hood Theam's sons, who was also a head shroff at the Mercantile Bank, together with my grandpa Chia Keng Tye).

  3. Tay Beng Neo's 2 sons-in-law,seng,poh&oref=article


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