Tan Keong Saik and family (Bukit Brown)

Mr. Tan Keong Saik, J.P was born in Malacca on July 19, 1850 and he was a son of Tan Choon Sian. Educated in a Christian Brother's School in Penang, he went to Singapore and joined Messrs Lim Kon Wan & Sons as a shipping clerk and later storekeeper in Borneo Co. His skills made him a prominent person in the mercantile industry in the Straits Settlement. His father, Tan Choon Sian together with his uncle, Tan Choon Bock and Tan Beng Swee, commenced with coasting steamers ( Benmore, Japan, Sharpshooter) which was the precursor of Straits Steamship Co. Ltd. ( Tan Choon Sian and Tan Choon Bock was once with Messrs Kim Seng and Co. as well).  Tan Keong Saik was in the Board of Directors. He was a director in the Singapore Slipway Co. Ltd. (1890) and the Tanjong Pagar Dock Co Ltd. (and later Board Member of Tanjong Pagar Dock Co Ltd). He was also for many years the Manager for Capitan Yap Kwan Seng of chop Sin Heng Tye, located in Philip St and later Robinson Road.

Tan Keong Saik 

Tanjong Pagar Docks

Social Reformist and Community leader in Public Affairs
Despite a busy work schedule, Tan Keong Saik found time to contribute back to the community. He was one of the first members of the Chinese Advisory Board and of the Po Leung Kuk (Society for the Protection of Girls and Women). He was a social reformist for being one of the early advocates for education of Chinese girls. When Miss Sophie Blackmore started Methodist mission work in 1885, Tan Keong Saik arranged for his daughters to be taught English by her. He also rendered Bishop Oldham much assistance in the establishment of the Anglo Chinese Schools and development of schools such as St. Joseph's Institution. He was a committee member of the Straits Settlements Association.

Tan Keong Saik was in 1887 elected to the Singapore Municipal Commission and upon is retirement appointed a Justice of Peace. His appointment has Justice of Peace in 1887 was the same time as Cheang Hong Lim. Ill health from kidney troubles compelled him to retire at his seaside bungalow in Changi. Despite that, government officials continued to visit him to seek his advice on policy matters.

Tan Keong Saik passed away on September 29, 1909. His coffin was borne under an expensive and elaborately decorated covering or kwantah, with banners, a Filipino brass band together with the string band of Alhambra. The chief mourner was the eldest son, Tan Cheng Kee. The cortege left from Tan Keong Saik's house in Middle Road to Prinsep St., Rochore Canal Rd, Bukit Timah Road, Thomson Rd and finally Moulmein Road where he was interned in the family burial ground.

He is survived by 3 sons ( Tan Cheng Kee, Tan Cheng Tun, Tan Cheng Wah), 3 daughters (Tan Fong Neo, Tan Teck Neo, Tan Choo Neo),  3 son-in-laws,  ( Wee Kay Hin, Lee Choon Guan and Cheng Keng Lee ).

Tan Keong Saik
Mrs Tan Kiong Siak ( Madam Ang)

Mr. Tan Cheng Tit 
Mrs Tan Cheng Tit
Uncle: Tan Choon Bock
Sons: Tan Keong Keng, Tan Keong Jeang,Tan Keong Ann, Tan Keong Thye
Nephews: Tan Keong Hoh, Tan Keong Saik, Tan Keong Gee, Tan Keong Kiam, Tan Keong Sum, Tan Keong Tee, Tan Keong Pat

Son: Tan Cheng Kee (residence in 67 Waterloo Street)
Tan Cheng Kee, J.P is the proprietor of Alhambra Theatre which he purchased in 1909, Marlborough Theatres and later Palladium Cinema in 1918 for $25,000. Tan Cheng Kee's wife, Madam Ong Whye Gann passed away on January 25, 1927 at the age of 50 and is buried in Bukit Brown.

Tan Cheng Kee passed away on September 12, 1939 at his residence in 319, East Coast Road and was buried in Bidadari Cemetery. He is survived by a son, Tan Soon Lay, a daughter, Josephine Tan, son-in-law Wee Guan Hong and 1 daughter-in-law; Yeo Siok Tin and 3 grandchildren.
Alhambra Theatre in Beach Road
(source: PictureSG)
Grandson: Tan Soon Lay 
Mr. Tan Soon Lay, the only son of Tan Cheng Kee married Miss Yeo Seok Tin, only daughter of the late Mr Yeo Kang Swee and Mrs Yeo Kang Swee and niece of Mr. and Mrs Ong Peng Hock. Their wedding took place at  Church of St. Teresa, Kampong Bahru on October 1936.
Mr Tan Soo Lay and Miss Yeo Seok Tin 

Grand-daughter: Josephine Tan 
Miss Josephine Tan, daughter of Tan Cheng Kee and niece of Mrs Lee Choon Guan,  married Mr. Wee Guan Hong, son of Mr and Mrs. Wee Tiam Hock at the Church of St. Teresa, Kampong Bahru on November 1935.

Miss Josephine Tan and Mr Wee Guan Hong. 

Son: Tan Cheng Toon
Tan Cheng Toon was the General Manager of Messrs. Tan Cheng Kee and Co. Ltd. Mr. Tan Cheng Toon passed away on August 3, 1930. He is survived by a second wife, 4 daughters, 3 son-in-law ( Chua Tian Lye, Low Seng Ann and Chia Poh Chong ), seven grandchildren, 2 adopted sons ( Tan Soon Kiat and Tan Teck Seng ). Madam Ang Quee Neo passed away at her residence in 116-1 Emerald Hill at the age of 41 on July 28, 1924.

A street in Chinatown, called Keong Saik Road was named in remembrance of his contributions.

[Research on-going]


Local and General. (1887, July 6). Straits Times Weekly. Access from NewspaperSG.
Death of Keong Saik. (1909, September 30). The Straits Times. Access from NewspaperSG.
The Late Mr. Tan Keong Saik. (1909, October 6). The Straits Times, Access from NewspaperSG.
Untitled. (1918). The Straits Times. Access from NewspaperSG.
Untitled. (1924, July 29). The Straits Times. Access from NewspaperSG.
Domestic Occurrences. (1927, January 26).The Singapore Free Press. Access from NewspaperSG.
Death. (1930, August 5). The Straits Times, Access from NewspaperSG.
Untitled. (1935, November 17). The Straits Times. Access from NewspaperSG.
Untitled. (1936, October 12). The Straits Times. Access from NewspaperSG.
Death. (1939, September 14). The Straits Times. Access from NewspaperSG.
Advertisement. (1964, December 7). The Straits Times. Access from NewspaperSG.
Wright, Arnold, and Henry Adolphus Cartwright, eds. Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. Lloyd's Greater Britain publishing Company, Limited, 1908.


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