Monday, July 01, 2013

Tan Ean Kiam (Bukit Brown)

Tan Ean Kiam (Tan Eang Khiam / Tan Ean Khiam) was the Managing Director of the Overseas Chinese Bank in 1932 after Mr Khoo Kok Wah stepped down. The Chairman of the Bank at that time was Mr Lim Nee Soon. A successful rubber magnate and banker, he became Managing Director of Overseas Chinese Bank. Banks in the past were very much run by community leaders and "towkay's" of their respective dialect groups. As a way to strengthen the economic fundamentals (after the recession) of the various banks and also to reflect the growing commonality of a  unified "Chinese" identity not based on dialect groupings, Overseas Chinese Bank later merged with Ho Hong Bank and Chinese Commercial Bank on 31 October 1932 to form the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation  / OCBC Bank.

Tan Ean Kiam was nominated as a member of the Chinese Advisory Board by Sir Shenton Thomas in November 1937. Tan Ean Kiam was a member of the Tung Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary League founded by Dr. Sun Yat Sen) and contributed financially to it. In 1937, Tan Ean Kiam, together with five others, namely Lee Kong Chian, Lee Chin Tian, Lee Choon Seng, Chew Hean Swee and Yeo Kiat Tiow  acquired the Sun Yat Sen villa that Dr Sun Yat Sen stayed while he was in Singapore. When the Sultan of Kelantan and his entourage visited Singapore and was entertained by Mr and Mrs Pang Cheng Yean, among the guest that received them were Tan Ean Kiam together with Lee Kong Chian, Ong Kia Peng,Wee Kheng Chiang, Lim Kian Beng, Tan Lak Sai (Tan Lark Sye), Chee Guan Chiang, Chionh Ke HuChua Keh Hai and Lim Bok Kee.

Tan Ean Kiam 

Overseas Chinese Bank (OCB)

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC)

The below group photograph was taken in 1932 during founding of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), which merger's three banks - Chinese Commercial Bank Limited (1912), Ho Hong Bank Limited (1917) and Oversea-Chinese Bank Limited (1919). Standing in the front row are: Mr Tan Chin Tuan (fourth from left), General Manager Ong Piah Teng (fifth from right), Tan Ean Kiam (sixth from right) and Assistant Manager Khoo Soo Hong (second from left). Back Row: Yap Peng Gek (left), Kwa Siew Tee (third from left), Chew Hock Leong (sixth from left) and a Mr Teo (right).
Group photo taken in 1932 during the founding of OCBC

OCBC (source:PictureSG)
Japanese Occupation and Death 

During the Japanese occupation, Tan Ean Kiam was for a short period, the Vice-President of the Syonan Overseas Chinese Association before he had an heart attack and passed away on March 30, 1943. The couplets on his tomb contains a poem written by Tan Ean Kiam which wisely says: 
No need to bury me in my hometown
For the same quilt will have the same dream
just bury me and let have a deep sleep
for when you close the coffin lid, that will be my abode

Tan Ean Kiam is survived by his wife, Madam Ng Hoon and his sons: Tan Tock Seng, Tan Tock Sin, Tan Tock San, Tan Tock Kheng, Tan Tock Peng, Tan Tock Wah, Tan Tock Boon, Tan Tock Beng and daughters: Tan Ai Lay, Daisy Tan Ai Guat, Tan Ai Geok.

Tomb of Tan Ean Kiam in Bukit Brown

Wife: Madam Ng Hoon 
Mrs Tan Ean Kiam nee Ng Hoon died at the age of 87 on October 24, 1997.
Madam Ng Hoon
Son: Tan Tock San 
A student at St. Andrew's School, Tan Tock San was the Chairman of Bank of Singapore and a OCBC director. He started from bottom up (despite the fact his father was the managing director), working has a remittance clerk during the Japanese occupation and climb up the ranks till finally he was the Chairman of Bank of Singapore (a OCBC subsidiary) in 1983. He also served as the director of OCBC from 1969-1995. He chaired the Tan Kah Kee foundation which donates money to charitable causes especially education and was also the chairman of the Thong Chai Medical Institution which offers free consultation and medicine to the elderly. He also sat on the board of Chinese High School.
Tan Tock San 
Daughter: Tan Ai Guat 
Tan Ai Guat (daughter of Mr & Mrs Tan Eng Khiam) married Ho Cheng Hin (youngest son of Mrs. Ho Eng Watt and the late Mr. Ho Eng Watt and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Koh Liang Ghee). The marriage took place on 2 June 1936 at 23 Amber Road.

Tan Ean Kiam's legacy

Tan Ean Kiam's lasting legacy continues to-this-date in the form of a foundation named after him, providing scholarships to deserving recipients as well as donations to charities and needy causes.

Variant names: Tan Ean Kiam / Tan Eng Khiam / Tan Eang Khiam / Tan Ean Khiam


Rangoon Branch of The Oversea-Chinese Bank, Ltd (1931, April 4). The Malayan Saturday Post, page 26
Sultan of Kelantan. (1936, October 20). The Straits Times, page 13
Acknowledgements. (1997, October 29). The Straits Times, page 54
Former OCBC director dies. (2008, February 1). The Straits Times
Sim, V. (Ed.). (1950). Biographies of prominent Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Nan Kok Pub
Tan Ean Kiam Postgraduate Scholarship. [website]. Tan Kah Kee Foundation.
Tan Ean Kiam. [website]. Infopedia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Simon Tan (b. 1972 Bournemouth, United Kingdom) is the grandson of Tan Tock Seng and great grandson of Tan Eng Kiam.