Saturday, December 31, 2016

Birdwatching in Ubin - Mangrove Pitta (29 December 2016)

The icing on the cake for me was finally getting to see and take photos of the Mangrove Pitta (in fact 2 of them ) in Ubin and also a record sighting of the Eastern Imperial Eagle (a migratory bird from China / Siberia , i.e. Northern Hemisphere). I wasn't birdwatching alone this time around but joined a group of bird photographers and rented the Ubin van. Perseverance finally paid out after waiting for nearly 2 hours with sightings of 2 Mangrove Pitta.

Mangrove Pitta in Ubin
Mangrove Pitta in Ubin 

Mangrove Pitta in Ubin
Mangrove Pitta in Ubin 

Mangrove Pitta in Ubin
Mangrove Pitta in Ubin 

Mangrove Pitta in Ubin
Mangrove Pitta in Ubin 

Mangrove Pitta in Ubin
Mangrove Pitta in Ubin 

While in Ubin, we got to see the Imperial Eagle perched in the far distance at Chek Jawa but because the tides was high and there were a number of bird photographers around, it didn't come any nearer...but what the heck, here's the photo i took for record purposes.
Imperial Eagle in Chek Jawa 
2016 has been a slow birding year for me, but the icing to top it off was the Mangrove Pitta and Imperial Eagle. A Happy New Year 2017 to you all and to end this post, a picture of the Unofficial National Bird of Singapore - the Crimson Sunbird which i took during this trip as well.

Crimson Sunbird in Ubin
Crimson Sunbird 

Related Articles

Birdwatching in Ubin-Green Imperial Pigeon (June 5, 2016), posted on June 8, 2016
Heritage Fest 2016 -Ubin, posted on May 20, 2016
Qing Ming in Ubin (April 10, 2016), posted on April 10, 2016
German Girl Shrine, posted on February 5, 2014
Ubin Island- one of the World's most secret island, posted on January 01, 2012
427 Pulau Ubin and the former village head, posted on November 16, 2011
Ubin Temple Festival, posted on May 19, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dr. Lim Soon Kian (Bukit Brown)

Dr. Lim Soon Kian is the son of Mr. Lim Cheng Wee. Lim Soon Kian graduated from the Hong Kong University. Dr. Lim Soon Kian, M.B. and B.S. His clinic was called The New World Dispensary and operated at 492 North Bridge Road. The phone number was 480.

Dr. Lim Soon Kian was an active member of the Amateur Drawing Association and became its President in 1916. Dr. Lim Soon Kian passed away on October 22, 1933 at the age of 43.

Probate of his estate was given to his widow, Yeo Ai Lin. The address given was No. 177 Bencoolen Street.

Father: Lim Cheng Wee
Lim Cheng Wee was the Chief Cashier of the P. and O. Co. for over 20 years. He passed away due to apoplexy at the age of 59 on November 10, 1917 at 27-6 Killiney Road, leaving behind his widow and several children.. He was buried at the Alexandra Road Cemetery.

Untitled. (1917, November 13). The Straits Times.  
Untitled. (1915, December 30). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1916, August 5). The Singapore Free Press
Untitled. (1916, January 31). The Straits Times
Advertisements. (1933, November 18). The Singapore Free press

Birdwatching in Bidadari (18 December 2016)

My last post on Bidadari was on April 2016, with the exciting sighting of the Trumpeter Hornbill and since then, Bidadari's landscape has changed completely. Many of the access points have been hoarded up and the bull dozers have already moved in, clearing the ex-cemetery land and birder's paradise into the next Housing Development Board Estate for future residence.

After spending the morning in Bishan Park, i thought i will pay a visit to see if i can spot any migratory birds. I took public transport from Bishan Park (Bus No 13) which stopped me at Woodleigh MRT and i walked in via Upper Aljunied Road towards Mount Vernon Columbarium. In the short visit, i manage to see a Large Hawk Cuckoo (among other birds), the Variable Squirrel and finally got to see first hand the slow death of Bidadari as a birdwatching space.

Large Hawk Cuckoo in Bidadari
Large Hawk Cuckoo

Large Hawk Cuckoo in Bidadari
Large Hawk Cuckoo 

Variable Squirrel in Bidadari
Variable Squirrel 

Blue throated Bee Eater in Bidadari
Blue throated Bee Eater

Lesser Flameback Woodpecker (female) in Bidadari
Lesser Flameback Woodpecker (female)

Lesser Flameback Woodpecker (male) in Bidadari
Lesser Flameback Woodpecker (male)

Dollar Bird in Bidadari

Collared Kingfisher in Bidadari
Collared Kingfisher

Goodbye Bidadari, Thank you for the memories 

Time has already run out for Bidadari as a birding site and very soon, Mount Vernon Columbarium as a santuary for the dead. What remains are the many memories caught on photos. I am thankful of this memories although they are very short ones only.

Hoardings have been erected. Work is in progress

The view of the area towards Bartley MRT

See also previous post on Bidadari :
Trumpter Hornbill in Bidadari (April 18, 2016), posted on April 19, 2016
Birdwatching in Bidadari (January 10, 2016), posted on January 20, 2016
Birdwatching in Bidadari (December 20, 2015), posted on December 20, 2015
Birdwatching in Bidadari (November 9, 2015), posted on November 16, 2015
Birdwatching in Bidadari (October 31,2015), posted on November 12, 2015
Birdwatching in Bidadari (October 11,2015), posted on October 17, 2015
Birdwatching in Bidadari (Javan Munia) May 2015, posted on May, 24, 2015
Birdwatching in Bidadari (February 2015), posted on March 06, 2015
Birdwatching in Bidadari (January 18, 2015), posted on January 21, 2015
Birdwatching before New Year 2015, posted on on January 01, 2015
Birdwatching in Bidadari - Raptors spotted (December, 2014), posted on December 26, 2014
Birdwatching in Bidadari - Local Residents (December, 2014), posted on December 16, 2014
Birdwatching in Bidadari - Blue-winged Pitta (December, 2014), posted on December 14, 2014
Birdwatching in Bidadari (November 9, 2014), posted on November 9, 2014
Birdwatching in Bidadari - Jambu Fruit Dove ( December 6 ), posted on December 6, 2013
Birdwatching in Bidadari ( November 3, 2013), posted on November 3, 2013
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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Birdwatching in Hindhede Nature Park (15 December 2016)

Pictures of the Brown Hawk Owl by other bird photographers and the fact that i have yet to see one in the wild made me to finally pick up my "bins" and make a trip to Hindhede Nature Park. The place is now easily accessible for me via public transport (MRT: Beauty World ). In fact i made two trips there as i could not see it the first time round, but finally on 15 December i saw it. The photos below are the compilation of my two recent trips to Hindhede Nature Park.

Brown Hawk Owl in Hindhede Park
Brown Hawk Owl 

Brown Hawk Owl in Hindhede Park
Brown Hawk Owl 

Brown Hawk Owl in Hindhede Park
Brown Hawk Owl

Other creatures i saw included the the Wagler's Pit Viper, Colugos(flying lemur) and the laced woodpecker. The Pit Viper was a pleasant surprise as this is the first time i saw it Singapore. My experience with the Wagler's Pit Viper, a very venomous snake is in the Snake Temple in Penang. 

Wagler's Pit Viper in Hindhede Park
Wagler's Pit Viper

Colugo (15 December 2016)

Colugo (8 December 2016)

Colugo (8 December 2016)

Laced Woodpecker (8 December 2016)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sim Cheng Lian and family (Bukit Brown)

The tomb of Mr. and Mrs. Sim Cheng Lian is located up the hill of Block 3 Division B and have not been visited for many years. It has a huge courtyard and a pair of Sikh / Punjabi guards flanking it. Buried in the courtyard is their eldest son, Joseph Sim Ann Tuan, a tomb with a cross and nearby  their second son; Sim Wan Kiat / Sim Ann Kiat.

Mr. Sim Cheng Lian and Madam Tan Ho Neo


Sim Cheng Lian passed away on August 2, 1932 at age of 63 at 130 Chin Swee Road. He is survived by his two sons; Sim Ann Tuan and Sim Wan Kiat, two daughter-in-laws, six grandsons; ( Sim Joo Pek, Sim Beng Chee, Sim Beng Teck, Sim Joo Geck, Sim Joo Hock, Sim Joo Kim ) and six granddaughters (Sim Cheng Neo, Sim Hock Neo, Sim Hong Neo, Sim Nia Chi, Sim Lak Neo)

Mr and Mrs. Sim Cheng Lian  沈清蓮
Block 3 Division B @1.337305,103.827192 

Son: Sim Ann Tuan (Joseph Sim Ann Tuan)
Sim Ann Tuan is the sole proprieter of Chop Sim Ban Thong of 16 Boat Quay, a commission agency and exporter. He is a shareholder of the Chinese Commercial Bank. Sim Ann Tuan donated to the Chinese Relief Fund representing Chin Choo of S.S. Darvel. Sim Ann Tuan passed away on July 29, 1970 at the age of 76. 

Chop Sim Ban Thong (source: NewspaperSG)

Joseph Sim Ann Tuan

Joseph Sim Ann Tuan 
Son: Sim Wan Kiat / Sim Ann Kiat
A licensed rice dealer and managing partner of Chop Sim Ban Tong located at South Canal Road 
Sim Wan Kiat of Sim Ban Thong Ltd passed away on May 3, 1964 at the age of 67. He is survived by his eldest brother, Sim Ann Tuan, 2 widows, 10 sons, 10 daughters, 2 daughter-in-laws, 5 son-in-laws, 14 grandchildren. The cortege left from 290A Kampong Bahru Road.  

Sim Wan Kiat with the Lion City Club members

Sim Ann Kiat 


Death. (1932, August 4). The Straits Times

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Madam Khor Lye Gin (Bukit Brown)

This unique marble tomb located at Block 3 Division A belongs to Madam Khor Lye Gin who passed away at the age of 31 on March 11, 1929.  Listed on her tomb are her sons: Tan Kwee Wah, Chew Kim Swee, daughter: Tan Kam Peck and grandchildren; Tan Siew Ai, Tan Ee San.

There is not much details i found about Madam Khor Lye Gin, but i found some information about her son and daughter. Dr Tan Kwee Wah studied at Raffles Institution and later was at Nair Hospital, Bombay for several years before going to United States and later graduating from North-Western University, Chicago with the degree of Dental Surgery. He continued by pursuing a Fellowship at Leonie Guggenhin Foundation Dental Clinic, New York.  In the very same 1947 article, it mentions her sister, Tan Kam Peck as a tutorial staff with the Merchantile Institution.

Fast forward to 1959 and 1963. There were two mentions of a  Dr Tan Kwee Wah based in Muar, were a Dr Tan Kwee Wah was standing for district elections at Muar Pantai in 1959 and 1963, of a Dr. Tan Kwee Wah who was the President of the Rotary Club in Muar. Unfortunately i can't ascertain whether they are the same person.


Dental Degree. (1947, July 24). The Straits Times

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tan Gim Wee and family (Bukit Brown)

Tan Gim Wee was a pawnbroker of chop Teong Moh at No 472, North Bridge Road and from 1899 -1909, there were several mentions of auctions of unclaimed pawn items that took place in a very much regulated business even back then. In 1909, Tan Gim Wee got into trouble for taking into his pawnshop, 2 large stolen brass candlesticks without declaring or informing the police despite the fact a circular was sent out, He was fine $8 as well as losing out on the $4 advance he gave. The candlesticks was returned to the original owner.

Mr Tan Gim Wee and Madam Pang Say Nah 
He was the Secretary of the Yew Gee Hean Association in 1921. (The President of the Association during that year was was Seah Kim Soh). He also purchased several land and house in Geylang Road area.


Tan Gim Wee passed away on December 24, 1931 at the age of 53 at his residence in No. 203, Geylang. He leaves behind his widow, 3 sons, 3 daughters, 3 son-in-laws, 1 daughter-in-law and 11 grandchildren. His wife is Madam Pang Say Nah.

The tomb is very ornate and art deco in design and features also a pair of Punjabi /Sikh Guards. The font type that inscribes their names are also unique.

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Tan Gim Wee

Mr Tan Gim Wee and Madam Pang Say Nyah
Block 3 Division A @1.337192,103.824726
Unique Fonts used


Son: Tan Beng Chye, Tan Beng Hian, Tan Beng Moh
Daughters: Tan Bee Hong, Tan Bee Hoon, Tan Bee Luan
Son-in-laws: Lim Nee Eng, Lim Hock Yan, Teonh Kim Eng,

Mother-in-law: Madam Chia Wan Neo
Madam Chia Wan Neo passed away at the age of 78 on December 6, 1932 at her residence in No. 12, Lorong 4 Geylang Road. She is survived by two daughters,  Mrs Tan Boon Pah and Mrs. Tan Gim Wee, 5 grandsons; Quek Chek Yan, Tan Teng Chye, Tan Beng Hian, Tan Beng Moh, 7 granddaughters and 34 great grandchildren. She is buried in Bukit Brown.

Madam Chia Wan Neo (Hill 1)

Daughter: Tan Bee Hong
The tomb of Madam Tan Bee Hong and Teo Kim Eng is located just in front of Tan Gim Wee's tomb.
Teo Kim Eng passed away in 12 April 1955 at the age of 63 and is buried in Bukit Brown Hill 3 Division A. Next to him is Madam Tan Bee Hoon (daughter of Mr and Mrs.Tan Gim Wee) who passed away on 12 August 1959 at the age of 54.

Recently cleaned tomb of Mr Teo Kim Eng and Madam Tan Bee Hong 

Pawnbroking in Singapore

With the Chinese migrants came the system on borrowing and lending money via pawn shops. The early records of pawnshop in Singapore was in 1872, the Sheng He Dang (生和当) opened by Lan Qiu Shan (蓝秋山) and his partners at Jalan Bukit Merah. A government licensing system for pawnbrokers was established as early as 1822 during the administration of William Farquhar and the Pawnbrokers Ordinance passed in 1898 (during Tan Gim Wee's time of operations).  Initially dominated by the Hokkiens and Teochews, the Hakkas in the 1920's were the major owners of this pawnshops. If you are interested to read more, there are links i referenced below including one of how a pawnshop receipt looks like.

Family Cluster of Tan Gim Wee at Bukit Brown


Property Sales. (1908, May 28). The Straits Times
Trouble of Brass Candlesticks. (1909, January 27). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1921, September 13). The Straits Times
Acknowledgements. (1931, December 29). The Straits Times
Domestic Occurrences. (1931, December 24). TheStraits Times
Pawnbroking in Singapore. (website). Infopedia
A receipt from Keng Hin Pawnshop. (website).
Monylending: A short history. BiblioAsia. Volume 3. Issue 1 April 2007 , p 22-27 (Eng Chuan, Ong)

Teo Kim Eng (Bukit Brown)

The large tomb and jovial picture of Mr Teo Kim Eng got me curious about him. His story is an interesting one. Teo Kim Eng (张金荣), a Hokkien businessman from Lam Ann, first came to Singapore at age of 12  and started working as a labourer and eventually earn enough to start in his own stall at the age of 17. By 20,  he was the owner of a thriving business and is the owner of Chop Guan Choon (源春号), a big tobacco wholesaler firm. He is the owner of a chain of rubber estates and houses.
Mr and Mrs Teo Kim Eng 

Philanthropist and "Kepala"

Prior to war, Teo Kim Eng contributed to the Malayan Patriotic Fund, London Air Raid Relief Fund and China Relief Fund. He is a millionaire but prefers to be known as a "kepala" of his 100-acre holiday resort in Tampenis. Mr. Teo Kim Eng was observed to be working with his labourers in his estate and was seen during weekends spending hours working under the hot sun, shirtless and armed with a changkol (hoe).  When a journalist who went down to his estate to interview Teo Kim Eng, the millionaire, he introduced himself as the kepala here.

Mr. Teo's estate of bungalows consist of various amenities such as a swimming pool and a dance hall and he opens it up freely to friends and picnic parties. It was reported in 1947 that he refused an offer of $14,400 a year to rent his bungalows in the estate.There are many articles of different groups (e.g Chinese YMCA, Eclipse B.P. , ) holding their events in Teo Kim Eng Villa in Punggol and Teo Guan Choon Villa in 10 mile off Tampenis Road.

Guan Choon & Co. 

Teo Kim Eng company is Guan Choo & Co. located at 149 Cross Street. There were many articles of his company renting out various seaside bungalows own by him. In 1956, 1 year after his death, Guan Choon & Co is associated with Teo Song Lian. If i follow the thread of Teo Song Lian  and the company, there was an article in the Business Times 1988, where Teo Song Lian as Chairman of Guan Choon & Company Pte Ltd sought for the company to be winded up voluntarily.


There was an acknowledgement notice in February 1942 by Teo Kim Eng of Chop Guan Choon, 149 Cross Street, thanking relatives and friends who attended the funeral of his wife. However the name of the wife was not mentioned.

Teo Kim Eng passed away in 12 April 1955 at the age of 63 and is buried in Bukit Brown Hill 3 Division A. Next to him is Madam Tan Bee Hoon (daughter of Mr and Mrs.Tan Gim Wee) who passed away on 12 August 1959 at the age of 54.
Tomb of Mr and Mrs Teo Kim Eng 


There are roads named after him and his company, Teo Kim Eng Road and Jalan Guan Choon (expunged)
Jalan Guan Choon (Pasir Ris) -expunged

Teo Kim Eng Road 

(research on-going)


Acknowledgment. (1927, February 160. The Straits Times
This millionaire prefers to be known as a "Kepala". (1947). Sunday Tribune.