Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tan Chin Boon (Bukit Brown)

Mr Tan Chin Boon is the grandson of the prominent pepper and gambier merchant, Tan Yeok Nee (1827-1902), Major China of Johor. Mr. Tan Chin Boon died in June 7, 1931. His wife is Madam Ng Meow Lang who passed away at the age of 93 on November 18, 1981. The cortege left from No. 32 Dublin Road (the family home of the late Mr Tan Chin Boon). She is survived by two sons, Tan Peng Yong and Tan Peng Siang and a daughter Tan Sock Cheng, 2 son-in-laws, 4 daughter-in-laws and many grand and great grandchildren.
Tan Chin Boon
(photo taken at Peranakan Museum)

Mrs Tan Chin Boon nee Madam Ng Meow Lang 
Tan Chin Boon (Hill 3 Division D)

Mr and Mrs Tan Chin Boon 
Daughter: Tan Sock Cheng
Their youngest daughter, Miss Tan Sock Cheng (daughter of  the late Mr. Tan Chin Boon and Mrs. Tan Chin Boon of 32 Dublin Road) married Mr Ooi Ah Leng in 1937.

Sons: Tan Peng Yong and Tan Peng Siang
I am unable to find detailed information on Tan Peng Yong and Tan Peng Siang. However the picture below is Tan Peng Siang who donated the carved and gilded altar of Tan Chin Boon to the the museum
Tan Peng Siang (great grandson of Tan Yeok Nee) 
Grandfather: Tan Yeok Nee ( Tan Hiok Nee) 
Born 1827 in Jin Sha village in Shang Pu (present day Caitang) of Chaozhou, he came down from China at an early age and became a cloth pedlar plying his trade in Telok Blangah, where the Temenggong's family became a regular. He became friends with Temenggong Abu Bakar (eventually the Sultan or Maharaja of Johor). By 1866, Tan Yeok Nee was already a rich gambier and pepper merchant in Boat Quay under the chop Kwang Hong and managed to obtain extensive kang-chu  (Kangchu) rights in Johore. He was appointed Major China of Johor around 1870 and also went into partnership with Cheang Hong Lim and Tan Seng Poh in the Singapore and Johor Opium and Spirit Farms. He became a prominent Teochew leader in both Singapore and Johore. There is a street in Johore named after him.
Tan Yeok Nee (or better known as Tan Hiok Nee in Johore)
His influence in Johore waned on what could possibly other influential Chinese leaders band together and had him removed, forcing him to consolidate his power back in Singapore. In an article dated 1883, there was also mentioned of a Mr. Tan Ah Choo (head of the Ghi Hin / Ghee Hin) and Tan Eng Cheng (manager of Gambier and Pepper Society) who were arrested while been entertained at Tan Yeok Nee's residence and eventually deported out of the colony for what is to be believed to be opium smuggling.

Tan Yeok Nee eventually returned to his home town and died in May 21, 1902 at the age of 75.
All his sons died earlier than him. His wealth was devised to his 8 grandsons (Tan Chin Boon, Tan Chin Teat, Tan Chin Toon, Tan Chin Yeow, Tan Chin Boo, Tan Chin Wee and Tan Chin Ngoh), of whom Tan Chin Boon, Tan Chin Teat and Tan Chin Yeow by the time they were adults already well known within the Teochew community.

House of Tan Yeok Nee at 101 Penang Road /Tank Road
Tan Yeok Nee wealth grew as his business and influence grew and he stayed in various residences, but the residence he will be most remembered for his mansion at Tank Road, constructed in 1882 that survived till this day. It was acquired for the building of the railway during the colonial rule and became the station masters house before it changed hands to became the St. Mary's Home for Eurasian girls. Later it became the Salvation Army's Headquarters in 1938 and for a short spell occupied by the Japanese army. Gazetted a National Monument in 1974, it has changed hands several times since then.

House of Tan Yeok Nee
(source: NewspaperSG)
House of Tan Yeok Nee
(source: NewspaperSG)
House of Tan Yeok Nee (Tank Road)

The traditonal Chinese Courtyard house was said to be one of four ever build in Singapore highlighted in various newspaper articles as well as Sir Song's book. The other 3 houses included:
  1. Tan Seng Poh house in Hill Street, erected in 1869 and for many years used as the Chinese Consulate.
  2. Seah Cheo Seah's house in Boat Quay, built in 1872 and occupied by family of the late Seah Eu Chin
  3. Wee Ah Hood's house in Hill Street, built in 1878, owned and occupied by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. 
His other house was the one in Clark Quay, now known as River House.
River House,Clark Quay

[research still on-going]

Untitled. (1883, February 20 ). The Straits Times, page 2
Domestic occurence announcement. (1937, December 9). The Straits Times, page 2
Untitled. (1981, November 18). The Straits Times, page 33
A home of their own. (1982, September 22). The Straits Times, page 11
Mansions from the past. (2002, March 28). Today Afternoon Edition, page 33
House of Tan Yeok Nee. [website]. Preservation of Monuments Board.
River House at Clark Quay.[website].URA
Tan Hiok Nee (Tan Yeok Nee). [website].Infopedia
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press


SingaporeMemoryProject said...

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Rojak Librarian said...

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Anonymous said...

Hello, just to clarify Tan Chin Boon has 3 sons & 3 daughters. Two daughters are twins. One of twin is called Tan Sock Liang (: