Friday, November 22, 2013

Khoo Seok Wan and family (Bukit Brown)

Khoo Teck Him, better known as Khoo Seok Wan / Khoo Siok Wan  邱菽园 (1874-1941) was born in Haicheng, Fujian, China and is the son of a wealthy rice merchant Khoo Cheng Tiong and a prominent hokkien leader. Khoo Seok Wan came down with his mother at the age 8 but later returned at the age of 15 to take the county imperial exams. In 1894, he passed the provincial imperial exams with grants him with the title of Ju Ren. Further examination at Beijing failed and his dreams of becoming an imperial official came to end with also bad news that his father, Khoo Cheng Tiong was gravely ill. Khoo Cheng Tiong passed away in June 1896 at the age of 76. His son, Khoo Teck Siong and Khoo Seok Wan were trustees and executors of their father's will. Both inherited $700,000.Both brothers did not inherit however their father's business acumen. Khoo Teck Siong's investment in the Opium and Spirit Farm while Khoo Seok Wan speculation in land and house property brought them to nought. Both appeared in Bankruptcy court in 1907. Both were declared bankrupt. Khoo Seok Wan was 34 of age.

Khoo Seok Wan
Khoo Seok Wan 邱菽园

It was said that Khoo Seok Wan’s extravagant lifestyle led to a constant drain on his finances as he donated large sums of money to support politics in China and squandered the rest on other pursuits of earthly pleasure and leisure. This, coupled with his lack of interest in business management led to their down fall,

Political and Social Reformist  
Khoo Seok Wan's formative years in China and especially Beijing had a major impact on him. He was a supporter of Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao and supported generously the Reform Movement to modernised the weaken Qing Dynasty under Emperor Guangxu and to create a constitutional monarchy system  in China. The reformed movement failed when Empress Dowager Cixi routed the reformist in September 1898 and put Emperor Guangxu under house arrest.

Khoo Seok Wan was the founder of the reformist paper, Thien Nan Shin Pao (天南新报) in  May 1898. He was the publisher and editor while Lim Boon Keng was the English editor.With the failure of the Reform Movement, Khoo Seok Wan invited the exiled Kang Youwei to Singapore to stay at No. 17 Boat Quay. The friendship between Kang Youwei and Khoo Seok Wan eventually soured over financial matters and with the death of Guangxu in 1908 and formation of the Republic of China in 1911, this movement lost it impetus. Already a bankrupt by then, Khoo Seok Wan focused on his poetry, moving away from the political scene. The newspaper went bust in 1905 due to financial difficulties
Kang Youwei
A lesser known fact was Khoo Seok Wan's role as a social education reformist, working together with foward thinking pioneers and community leaders such as Dr. Lim Boon Keng, Tan Boo LiatOng Soo Tee and Chia Hood Theam towards the formation of the Singapore Chinese Girl's School in 1899. Khoo Seok Wan himself donated $3,000 during a time where most chinese leaders were apathetic to the female education.
Singapore Chinese Girls School 
A Master Poet of the South
When Khoo Seok Wan returned to Singapore in 1896, he was already a "celebrity" among the academia circles and also socially having penned several poems during his time in China. He continued penning despite ending up as a bankrupt, sometimes even doing commissioned works for influential personalities whose gravestone epitaph in Bukit Brown bears the name of Khoo Seok Wan (see article on Wee Teck Seng). He took jobs such as editing for newspapers and served as a secretary at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce. He is said to have composed more than 1,000 classical poems throughout his life.

Sin Chew  星洲
"Sin Chew" is the name coined by Khoo Seok Wan to describe Singapore, an island surrounded by the sea, and with vessels anchored around it; the glitter of artificial lights at night are like illuminated stars ("星") when viewed from afar. "洲" (zhou, island) and "舟" (zhou, boat) are homonyms: while the boat lights are like stars while the lights on the island are like the Big Dipper of the constellation. Interestingly, the character  星洲 is still in use by a Chinese newspaper company based in Malaysia, the Sin Chew Jit Poh.

At the age of 64, he wrote his own epitaph when he constructed his tomb. He chose not to use any of his official titles and opted for the address “chu shi”, a title for an educated person in China for his tomb. Khoo Seok Wan / Khoo Siok Wan passed away on November 30, 1941 at 42 Amoy Street at 69 yearsof age. The cause of death was listed as leprosy in which he suffered for 15 years.
Death certificate of Khoo Seok Wan 

Khoo Seok Wan and family at his tomb
Khoo Seok Wan with daughter and son-in-law

Khoo Seok Wan's tomb in Bukit Brown
LTA peg 2536 threaten by Highway 
Khoo Seok Wan 
Father: Khoo Cheng Tiong
Khoo Cheng Tiong (1820-1896) came to Singapore at the age of 20 and eventually became a successful rice merchant. He was the owner of Khoo Cheng Tiong & Co,  (chop Heng Chung) based in Boat Quay and the firm was the biggest dealer in rice from Saigon. He died a millionaire in June 1896. His coffin was brought back to China for burial. His sons, Khoo Teck Him alias Khoo Seok Wan and Kho Teck Siong inherited their father fortunes.

Mother: Yeo Geok Keng ( Yang Tai Jun)
Madam Yeo Geok Keng, wife of the late Khoo Cheng Tiong passed away on June 25, 1923 at the age of 71 at 57 Tras Street. She is the mother of Khoo Siok Wan alias Khoo Teck Hin, Khoo Teck Siong and Khoo It Sim. She is the mother-in-law of Lim Chan Sin (grandson of Lim Leack. He was a Cashier for the Sandilands and Buttery Corporation), See Tiong Wah, Tay Boon Tat and Ong Keng Yang.
Madam Yeo Geok Keng
(buried in Bukit Brown) 
Sister: Khoo Heng Neo
Khoo Heng Neo, 3rd daughter of the late Khoo Cheng Tiong married Seet Tiong Wah / See Tiong Wah on April 24, 1904 at Telok Ayer Street. See Tiong Wah is the eldest son of See Ew Boon who like father, became the Camprador of Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank Bank. He was a Justice of Peace, Municipal Commissioner and President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

See Tiong Wah (brother-in-law) seated in the middle in western outfit
with Khoo Seok Wan (extreme left). Khoo Yang Tin is pictured seated, third from right.  
Wife: Wang Mei (王玫) 
Wang Mei (王玫), Khoo Seok Wan’s first wife passed away just a year after they married when they were still in China. He married again when he returned to Singapore.

Wife: Lu Jie (陆结)
Lu Jie / Leoh Kiat died at the age of 60 on April 16, 1936 and is buried in Bukit Brown Hill 4 A plot 233. In one of his poems that Khoo Seok Wan penned when his wife passed away in 1936, with nothing to give (due to his financial situation), he placed his tooth in her grave and recited his poem:
Wife: Lu Jie (陆结)
we go to the grave, but not together
so i send this tooth with you
accompanied by autumnal chants of the ghosts singing at your grave
now i have pulled the roots out from my own mouth
recalling our days discussing Nanhua
my tooth is all i have left for your comfort

Daughter: Khoo Meng Kuan ( 邱鸣权 )
Khoo Meng Kuan married Ong Seng Tee. She passed away in 1967, age 65.
Khoo Meng Kuan (seated) a teacher of Fine Arts
Public Chinese High School, Kampar, Perak (1928)
Daughter: Khoo Meng Chen ( 邱鸣真)

[November 22, 2013: research on-going]
There is an exhibition on-going in National Library, Level 7 & 8  Khoo Seok Wan: Poet and Reformist. Exhibition is from November 22, 2013 till May 18, 2014.

Untitled. (1903, June 11). The Straits Times
Death. (1923, June 29). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1928, December 8). Malayan Saturday Post
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press
Yak, Jessie, Bryant, Shelly, Ho, Yik Kai (2013).A life in poems: selected works of Khoo Seok Wan. Singapore: National Library Board
Khoo Seok Wan. [website] Infopedia
Khoo Seok Wan. [website] The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project
Khoo Seok Wan-Poet, Scholar, Revolutionary, Romantic. [website] All things Bukit Brown.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lee Choon Seng and family (Kopi Sua)

Mr. Lee Choon Seng (李俊承), was a prominent businessman, philanthropist and Hokkien community leader. Lee Choon Seng came to Negeri Sembilan, Malaya in the early 1900's at the age of 17 from Yong Chun County, Fujian Province, China and got involved as a wholesaler in provisions following in his father's (Mr. Lee Lip Chai) footsteps. He then went to Singapore to expand the family business, founding several companies such as Thye Hin Ltd, Eng Hin Company, Thye Hong Biscuit, Popular Aerated Water and also got involved as a rubber planter. He went on to be the Managing Director of Ho Hong Bank before the amalgamation of the major banks. In 1931 he became the Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Vice-Chairman of the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation.
Lee Choon Seng (1940)
(source: NewspaperSG)

Positions held
  • President of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (1931-1932), 
  • President of Ee Hoe Hean Club (1935) 
  • President of Singapore Buddhist Federation (1949-1952)
  • Managing Director of Ho Hong Bank (1931);
  • Vice-Chairman (1938-1964) of OCBC
  • Managing Director of OCBC during the Japanese Occupation (1943-1945) 
  • Chairman of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (1965-1966).  
  • Member of the Nanyang University Council but resigned in 1964 due to old age.
When Mr. See Tiong Wah passed away, Lee Chong Seng was appointed as member of the Chinese Advisory Board. He was also in the Singapore Anti-Opium Society. He was the Chairman of the Singapore China Relief  (when Mr. Tan Kah Kee left for China), working tirelessly to collect funds in the war effort for China and Britain. Throughout his life, Lee Choon Seng was a generous philantrophist, donating to many causes, Chinese Flood Victim Fund (1931), building of a Buddhist Temple in India (1939), University of Malay Endowment Fund (1949) among many others.

In 1952, Lee Choon Seng was one of the 51 Singapore residents that became British subjects, the first under the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Overseas-Chinese Association Vice- Chairman saved by heavenly intervention 
During the Japanese Occupation period, Lee Choon Seng was the Vice-Chairman of the Overseas-Chinese Association (OCA). The Chairman was Dr. Lim Boon Keng. He worked closely with the occupation forces to ensure continuity of peace and existence of the Chinese community under duress and worked with the Japanese Government in the setting up of the Endau settlement. He was one of the 44 residents to received Certificates of Honor by the Japanese Military Administration in December 8, 1943.

During an OCA assignment to the Endau Settlement in Malaysia, the group were ambushed by the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA). Lee Choon Seng survived, as it was said that a bullet hit a Buddhist medallion on his chest. This incident had a tremendous impact later on in his life as he went on to set up the Singapore Buddhist Federation and Singapore Buddhist Lodge and played an important role in the formation of Maha Bodhi School and spread of Buddhism in Singapore.

Lee Choon Seng passed away on June 5, 1966 at the age of 82. His cortege left his home in 163 Pasir Panjang Road for Whitley Road Cemetery (Kopi Sua cemetery). He is survived by 2 wives, 6 sons, 9 daughters, 5 son-in-laws, 6 daughters-in-laws, 31 grandchildren and 11 great-grand children.
Lee Choon Seng (c 1963)
(source: NewspaperSG)
Lee Choon Seng
A broken plaque but not forgotten
Lee Choon Seng's tomb in Kopi Sua slowly engulfed by the jungle
Mother: Madam Wee Wan Neo
Madam Wee Wan Neo passed away at the age of 65 years at 15, Payah Lane on July 2, 1923. The remains were shipped back to Amoy via Tanjong Pagar Wharf.

Son: Lee Gee Chong
Chairman of the the Thye Hong Biscuit and Confectionery Ltd in Alexandra Road, Lee Gee Chong was dubbed the "Biscuit King". Kidnapped in 1960, Lee Choon Seng found out during his 75th birthday celebration from his grand-daughter, Lee Lay Hua the tragic news that Lee Gee Chong's body was found wrapped in blanket in a graveyard off Yio Chu Kang Road. Lee Choon Seng burst into tears upon hearing this. His son, Lee Gee Chong was 49 years of age when he died tragically.

Son: Lee Kim Kew
The fourth son, Mr Lee Kim Kew married Miss Lim Gim Har (sister of Mr. Lim Moh Seng, manager of Hock Aun Biscuit Works) on June 9, 1939. The bridesmaid is Miss Lim Geok Sim while bestman is Mr. Lim Keng Hor. Mr Lee Kim Kew studied in Anglo Chinese school before working in Thye Hong & Co as director before leaving in 1937 to London to study industrial methods.
Mr Lee Kim Kwee and Miss Lim Gim Har
(source: NewspaperSG)
Son: Lee Chin Gee
Lee Chin Gee qualified in law from Cambridge. He was in Malaya Film Service and later director of Hong Kong United Film Company.

Daughter: Lee Yeow Tin
The second daughter, Miss Lee Yeow Tin married Mr. Lim Kok Boon, fourth son of Mr Lim Kim Tian, President of the Chinese Twakow Owner's Guild on January 13, 1938.

Daughter: Evelyn Lee Wai Chan
The fourth daughter, Miss Evelyn Lee Wai Chan married Mr. Tan Koen Tjoan (nephew of Mr and Mrs Tan Hoan Kie , managing director of Aurora Ltd. ) at a reception in the Victoria Memorial Hall on March 29, 1954. Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock was the guest of honour who toasted to the bride and groom.
Miss Evelyn Lee Wai Chan and Mr. Tan Koen Tjoan

Famous Houses linked to Lee Choon Seng 
There were many famous houses linked to Lee Choon Seng. Some of them are highlighted below:

Sun Yat Sen Villa / Wan Qin Yuan / Bin Chan House
In 1937, Lee Choon Seng and five other Chinese community leaders, Messrs Lee Kong Chian, Lee Chin Tian, Tan Ean Kiam, Chew Hean Swee and Yeo Kiat Tiow bought the house in No 12, Tai Jin Road, off Balestier or better known as Sun Yat Sen Villa. This was the historically important site where Dr. Sun Yat Sen visited, stayed and work with the local revolutionaries to plan and drum up support for the 1911 revolution that ended 267 years rule of the Qing dynasty. The house was originally built by businessman Boey Chuan Poh in 1880. It was sold to a timber merchant for $10,800 in 1902 and in 1905 acquired by Mr Teo Eng Hock for her mother. Teo Eng Hock was the one that opened the house for Dr Sun Yat Sen and Tung Meng Hui or Chinese Alliance members.
From left_ Chew Hean Swee, Yeo Kiat Tiow, Tan Ean Kiam,
Lee Chin Tian, Lee Choon Seng,  Lee Kong Chian
Sun Yat Sen Villa (c 1950)
(source: NewspaperSG)
Poh Ern Shih Temple
Lee Choon Seng is the founder of Poh Ern Shih Temple (Temple of Gratitude) based in Chwee Chian Road, off Pasir Panjang Road in 1953 at a cost of $70,000. The original temple facade was built following the lines of a church design. This was demolished and replaced with a newer building in 2007.
Poh Ern Shih Temple
147 Neil Road
Mr Lee Hoon Leong bought this house for $25,000. Lee Hoon Leong is the grandfather of Mr Lee Kuan Yew (the first Prime Minister of Singapore) and great grandfather of the current Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew lived there for a short period of time. The house was sold to Lee Choon Seng in 1949. His son, Lee Kim Kew inherited the house after his father's death in 1966. It was eventually sold in 1992 for a price in the region of $850,000.
147 Neil Road
(source: NewspaperSG)

Lee Choon Seng remembered in Ee Hoe Hean Club

[research on-going]

Death. (1923, July 21). The Straits Times
Malayan Chinese gives Indian Temple. (1939, February 19). The Straits Times
Chinese Wedding. (1939, June 10). Morning Tribune.
Wedding Presents Given to Relief Fund. (1938, January 14). The Singapore Free Press
Mainly about Malayans. (1940, April 21). The Straits Times
Chinese offer to aid war charities. (1940, October 25). The Straits Times
Given Certificates of Honour. (1943, December 9). The Syonan Times.
51 more become British subjects. (1952, July 5). The Straits Times
Mr. Lee's dream temple come true. (1953, August 4). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1954, March 24).Singapore Standard
Murder of "Biscuit King": a vengence killing, says father. (1960, April 25). The Singapore Free Press
Leading S'pore banker Lee dies at 82. (1966, June 6). The Straits Times
Building was initially an abode for a mistress. (1995, February 25). The Straits Times
$7.5 million restoration of Sun Yat Sen villa starts. (1997, November 13). The Straits Times
Lee Choon Seng.[website].Wikipedia

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Birdwatching in Bidadari ( November 8 )

Chinese Sparrow hawk on a Tembusu Tree in Bidadari
Chinese Sparrow hawk on a Tembusu Tree in Bidadari

Chinese Sparrow hawk on a Tembusu Tree in Bidadari
Chinese Sparrow hawk on a Tembusu Tree in Bidadari

As the end draw's closer for Bidadari as a bird santuary, i took leave today and headed down to this magical place. Not surprisingly, i counted at least 30 birders or photographers this Friday morning.

Today i bumped into Dr. Ho Hua Chew, Vice-Chairman of the Conservation Committee of Nature Society walking the grounds to take count of the birds sighting here. He also played an important role in helping bird photographers in the identification of some birds.
  1. Chinese Sparrowhawk
  2. Black Baza 
  3. Brahminy Kite 
  4. Hooded Pita
  5. Brown Shrike
  6. Tiger Shrike
  7. Ashy Minivet
  8. Japanese Paradise Flycatcher
  9. Asian Paradise Flycatcher 
  10. Jungle Brown Flycatcher
  11. Lineated Barbet
  12. Banded Woodpecker
  13. Pied Triller 
  14. White throated Kingfisher
  15. Drongo Cuckoo

Tiger Shrike at Bidadari
Tiger Shrike at Bidadari 
Ashy Minivet at Bidadari 
Dr. Ho Hua Chew helping to identify a hawk

See also previous post on Bidadari : 
Birdwatching in Bidadari ( November 3), posted on November 3, 2013
Weaving through Bidadari (Muslim Cemetery), posted onOctober 17, 2013
Weaving through Bidadari (Alkaff Gardens and Lake), posted on October 8, 2013
Weaving through Bidadari (Birdwatching), posted on October 14, 2013
Bidadari (17 December), posted on December 18, 2012
Saving Bidadari, posted on December 5, 2012
Bidadari (7 December), posted on December 9, 2012
Bidadari (18 November), posted on November 18, 2012

Ang Ban Koon (Bukit Brown)

Ang Ban Koon (like his father, Ang Kong Teng ) owned and rented out property out during various occasions. Two of this properties are in Newton Road,  which should be of substantial size judging by the fact that it had a tennis court, garage, servants' quarters, electric light and water in 1926.

Ang Ban Koon was one of the vice presidents of the Amateur Sporting Association in 1926, during which its patron was Mr Aw Boon Haw
Ang Ban Koon
In a court case, Ang Ban Koon and Ang Hock Seng sued Ang Siong Lim for the recovery of $19,402 (principal and interest) on claims of 15 Promissory Notes that were signed by Ang Siong Lim. What was the outcome? This was uncertained. 

Ang Ban Koon 

Mrs Ang Ban Koon

Father: Ang Kong Teng
Ang Kong Teng donated to various causes including the Westminster College, Fukien (1924), Methodist Mission Recreation Building (1924), Nan Hua Girls School Fund (1926). Ang Kong Teng passed away at the age of 92 on August 5, 1934 at his residence in No 180 Telok Ayer Street. He left behind a widow, 4 sons and 4 daughters. He was buried in Alexandra Cemetery.

Amateur Sporting Associations. (1926, January 21). The Singapore Free Press, page 9
Advertisement. (1926, May 14). The Straits Times, page 16
Domestic Occurrences. (1934, August 10). The Straits Times, page 10
Advertisement. (1937, March 18). The Straits Times, page 2

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Tan Teng Wee (Bukit Brown)

Tan Teng Wee
Tan Teng Wee passed away on December 11, 1927 at the age of 28. On his tomb it states that Mr Tan Teng Leong (name partially covered by fern)  is the brother of Mr. Tan Teng Wee. This corresponds with the legal advertisement put up by Mr. Tan Teng Leong to inform creditors to claim against the Estate of the late Tan Teng Wee.

Tan Teng Wee is a committee member of the Clerical Union, a hon. assistant secretary of the Bendemeer Athletic Club and Westminister Athletic Club, a tennis player

Untitled. (1917, May 7). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1927, March 30). The Straits Times

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Wee Tiam Ghee (Bukit Brown)

Wee Tiam Ghee / Wee Thiam Ghee was born in Singapore and was the proprietor of Sin Choon Kee  Brick Works at 13 and half milestone. This eventually grew and became Jurong Brickworks. Wee TiamGhee was also a building and infrastructure contractor, winning several colonial tenders. Among one of the biggest tender hw won was the erection of five houses in the Swiss Cottage Estate. The tender was worth $138,350 and 20 houses for Subordinate Staff between Kampong Java Road and Bukit Timah Roads at $189,000. He was also the President of Udang Gala Association in 1913. 
source: NewspaperSG
In 1932, there was an article with the headline, "Fifty million bricks a year", which give insights of the number of bricks being produced by the various brick kilns in Singapore. 3 brick companies were given special mentioned and they included; Tekong, owned by Tan Kah Kee ; Jurong by Wee Tiam Ghee and the Hock San brickworks and finally Alexandra Brickworks. There was also a glowing account of the quality of Jurong Bricks being employed in increasing quantities by the Public Works Department, the Municipality and on military and naval works in Singapore. 

source: NewspaperSG
In 1934, tragedy happened. Wee Tiam Ghee died in an apparent suicide. In an inquest, a number of eyewitness including his nephew testified at court. His nephew shared that Wee Thiam Ghee had business worries and behaved strangely. There was an incident where he even seized a shot gun but his nephew seized it back. Wee Tiam Ghee rushed out of the house and and his nephew tried to bring him back. According to various eyewitness including of the passengers of the car that struck Wee Tiam Ghee; they saw a struggle between two people (Wee Thiam Ghee and his nephew) in the middle of the road. As the car approach closer, Wee Tiam Ghee broke loose and flung himself in front of the car. An ambulance was called but Wee Tiam Ghee passed away before arriving to the hospital. 

Wee Tiam Ghee passed away at the age of 47 on January 21, 1934. His wife, Madam Koh Chin Neo passed away at the age of 47 years on  August 2, 1938. They are buried in separate tombs but side by side in Bukit Brown together with Mr Wee Tiam Ghee's mother, Madam Thng Peah Neo. Both Mr and Mrs Wee Tiam Ghee are survived by two sons: Wee Choon Guan and Wee Choon Swee.

The 3 tombs are one of the more unique and beautiful tomb in Bukit Brown with the tomb mount (Mu-xiu or 墓袖) done with lovely curves and front decorated with lovely peranakan floor tiles (with ying/yang motive) in addition to the intricate carvings on tombstone/shoulder and altar stone.
Mr Wee Tiam Ghee 's tomb
(note the curved tomb mount and decorated floor tiles)
Mrs Wee Tiam Ghee
(nee Madam Koh Chin Neo)
Madam Thng Peah Neo (mother of Mr Wee Tiam Ghee)
Mother: Madam Thng Peah Neo ( Mrs Wee Seah )
Madam Thng Peah Neo passed away at the age of 61 on April 25, 1925 at her residence in No 53 Craig Road. She is survived by 1 son, (Wee Thiam Ghee ), 1 daughter, (Wee Kan Neoh), one daughter-in-law, 3 grandchildren and 1 son-in-law ( Lee Seng Hock)

Sister: Wee Kan Neoh 
<no information>

Son: Wee Choon Guan
Wee Choon Guan, son of the late Mr and Mrs Wee Thiam Ghee married Miss Chan Siew Choo, daughter of Mr and Mrs Chan Kok Seng in April 1940. Wee Choon Guan passed away at the age of 81 on January 5, 2001.
Wee Choon Guan and Chan Siew Choo
(source: NewspaperSG) 
(source: NewspaperSG) 
Son: Wee Choon Swee
<no information>

Story from the Panel
The romantic legend of two lovers, Zhinu (weaver girl and said to be the heavenly daughter or princess of the Jade Emperor) and Niulang (a cowherd, mortal human) ,who fell in love, married and had a child. The Jade Emperor angry at the reunion separated them by creating a river (the Milky Way) thus making Zhinu unable to return. Jade Emperor took pity and allowed them to meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month. The love tale of The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd has been celebrated in the Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentine's Day)

Zhinu and Niulang (Weaver Girl and Cowherd)
The fate of Jurong Brickworks
After the death of Wee Tiam Ghee, Jurong Brickworks changed ownership to Mr. Chan Wah Chip and Mr. Koh Eng Poh.  Wee Choon Guan (who in 1940 became Chan Wan Chip's brother-in-law) became a managing director in the 50's after the passing of Koh Eng Poh. Jurong Brickworks became a Private Limited company in 1954. After Chan Wah Chip passed away in 1977, the company went over to the hands of Mr. Chan Tai Chuan, one of his sons.

Bricks industry in the 1930's
Bricks have been made in Singapore for many years by the many chinese owned kilns. On a organised scale, the major players in the 1930's include Mr. Tan Kah Kee at Tekong, Hock San at Alexandra Road and Wee Thiam Ghee at Jurong. The biggest player by far during this period was Alexandra Brickworks, Ltd with their main works in Pasir Panjang, Singapore and branches in Johor, Ipoh and Butterworth. It's capacity was said to be fifty million bricks a year. Hock Ann Brick Works, a chinese factory that produces bricks by machinery on the other hand produces 60,000 bricks a month (or 720,000 a year), with it's entire consumption almost solely for local consumption.
Bricks ! Bricks ! Bricks
(source: NewspaperSG)
By 1954, it was reported that Singapore nine brick factories was suffering a crisis due to the use of concrete blocks for Singapore low cost housing, the concrete flats.

Untitled. (1913, October 25). The Straits Times
Municipal Affairs. (1924, August 13). The Singapore Free Press.
Advertisement. (1929, June 27). The Straits Times
Advertisement. (1930, April 1). The Straits Times
Fifty million bricks a year. (1932, January 2). The Singapore Free Press
He flung himself in front of car. (1934, February 1). The Singapore Free Press
Malayan Weddings. (1940, April 25). The Straits Times
Brick factories faces trade crisis. (1954, February 1). The Singapore Free Press
Family business, father and son. (1981, August 8). The Business Times
Obituary. (2001, January 6). The Straits Times.

Po Kim Soon (Bukit Brown)

Po Kim Soon was in the Board of Directors and was the Assistant Manager of Guan Kiat & Co. Limited, a limited company established in 1917 with Mr. Tay Guan Kiat as Chairman and Managing Director of the Company. The company with its office in 26, Phillip Streets deals with numerous trading activities. He was in Soon Teck & Co of No. 127 Market Street.

Po Kim Soon 


Po Kim Soon of Soon Teck & Co passed away on September 18, 1928 at the age of 46 at his residence in No. 195 East Coast Road, (7 1/4 mile). He is survived by his widow, 7 sons ( Po Guan Cheng, Po Guan Chwee, Guan Hock, Guan Pit, Po Guan Ho, Po Guan Yam, Po Guan Tee) and 4 daughters ( Po Tin Neo (Madam Lim Chwee Guan), Po Bee Neo, Po Chit Neo and Po Chwee Neo ), 1 son-in-law, 1 grandson and grand daughter.

Mrs Po Kim Soon ( Madam Low Song Neo ) passed away on January 23, 1954 at the age of 72 at her residence in No. 5 Pennefather Road. She is survived by her 7 sons, 4 son-in-laws ( Lim Chwee Guan, Chua Eck Chuan, Soh Yew Chye and Tuck Huck Bin )

Po Guan Hock
Po Guan Hock is a barrister in law and in 1946 appointed as Coroner.

Deaths. (1928, September 19). The Straits Times.
Malayan Items. (1930, January 30). The Straits Times
Singapore Appointments. (1956, May 19). The Straits Times
Death. (1954, January 24). The Straits Times

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Birdwatching in Bidadari ( November 3 )

Bird photographers and some birdwatchers in Bidadari (Nov 3)
Joggers on a Sunday morning (Nov 3)
Today's (November 3, 2013) Sunday Times features Nature's Society plea to the Urban Planners to make amendments to their plan of the current location for the propose park of the future Bidadari housing estate (which is in a barren portion of Bidadari) to another section of a forested area in the Muslim section of Bidadari that has been documented and proven to shelter and provide food for migratory birds that flies in from northern hemisphere (from places like China, Siberia, Russia, Japan, etc) during the September - April months.
Migratory and rare birds sighted in Bidadari
(source: The Straits Times)
The article quotes Dr Ho Hua Chew, the vice-chairman of Nature Society's conversation committee, "An alternative, is to relocate a 10ha park set to be built in the centre of the upcoming estate to the green lung along Bartley Road." Indeed for those who have actually visited Bidadari, this identified area indeed is thriving with many Albizia (Paraserianthes falcataria) trees that provide many worms and insects that provide fuel to many migratory and resident birds. Two endangered species- the brown-chested jungle flycatcher and japanese paradise flycatcher are also most frequently sighted in Bidadari compared to othe birding spots.

Albizia trees grows very fast on disturbed or wastelands and are seen as a "poor mother nature's" alternative to forested trees that take many decades to mature. However the problem with Albizia trees are their branches are prone to breakage and shallow roots make the tree prone to collapse especially during heavy torrential rains. This factors deemed this trees unsuitable for curated parks but this very trees attract the birds. Can we someone strike a delicate balance like the possible balance of development and nature conservation? This will continue to be an on-going battle !
Albizia cluster of trees
I also bumped into Mr Leong Kwok Peng, vice-president of Nature Society walking the grounds and creating awareness of the efforts of Nature Society in trying to conserve the key parts of Bidadari for future prosperity. I wish him and the Society the very best ! Anyways, today i so happen to be at Bidadari. The Birds i saw today (the ones i could identify)
  1. Rose-ringed Parakeet (3)
  2. Black Baza (at least 3-4 )
  3. White bellied sea eagle 
  4. Long-tailed Shrike
  5. Tiger Shrike
  6. Asian Paradise Flycatcher 
  7. Lineated Barbet (4)
  8. Banded Woodpecker
  9. Sunda Woodpecker
  10. White throated Kingfisher
  11. Dollar bird
  12. Hill Myna
November 3, 2013 - Birds of Bidadari 

Save Bidadari's bird haven: Nature Society. (2013, November 3). The Sunday Times, Top News, pg 12
Save our Albizia trees.[website] Bird Ecology Study Group

See also previous post on Bidadari : 
Weaving through Bidadari (Muslim Cemetery), posted on October 17, 2013
Weaving through Bidadari (Alkaff Gardens and Lake), posted on October 8, 2013
Weaving through Bidadari (Birdwatching), posted on October 14, 2013
Bidadari (17 December), posted on December 18, 2012
Saving Bidadari, posted on December 5, 2012
Bidadari (7 December), posted on December 9, 2012
Bidadari (18 November), posted on November 18, 2012