Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mrs Tan Cheng Kee (Bukit Brown)

Madam Ong Whye Gann (Mrs. Tan Cheng Kee) passed away at her house in No 67 Waterloo Street on January 25, 1927 at the age of 50. Her husband, Mr. Tan Cheng Kee, J.P is the eldest son of Mr.Tan Keong Siak. Tan Cheng Kee was a Chinese pioneer in the motion picture film industry in Singapore and was the proprietor of Alhambra Theatre, Marlborough Theatres and later Palladium Cinema.

Mr. Tan Cheng Kee passed away on September 12, 1939 at his residence in 319, East Coast Road and the funeral left from 67 Waterloo Street to 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.

This would explain why the double tomb has only the name of Madam Ong Whye Gan etched on its beautiful marble stone that was once engulfed by a tree growing on it but now repaired and restored by the descendants of Mr and Mrs. Tan Cheng Kee.

Madam Ong Whye Gan  nee Mrs Tan Cheng Kee 

Only 1 tomb is etched while the other is empty 

Chinese Pioneer of early motion pictures

Another early pioneer that comes to my mind is Mr. Kung Tian Siong, proprietor of Empire Cinema (opened in 1916). Back to Tan Cheng Kee, Alhambra Theatre's ownership was transferred from Mr. Fernard Dreyfus to Mr. Tan Cheng Kee on July 8, 1909. Tan Cheng Kee further expanded his business to include Marlborough Theatres and later Palladium Cinema. Palladium was purchased from Mr.Cowan in May 1918 for $25,000.

Alhambra in Beach Road (source: PictureSG)

Singapore Street Directory 1954 


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.

Wee Guan Hong, Joseph passed away at the age 78 on 28 November, 1987, leaving behind is wife, Madam Josephine Tan, sons; Joseph Wee Ban Huat, Peter Wee Ban Kheng, daughter-in-law; Doreen Tan Nya Nya, grandchildren; Paul Wee Hock Kee, Michelle Wee Ming Shing, Geraldine Wee Ming Chien.

Miss Josephine Tan and Mr Wee Guan Hong.

Son: 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.

Madam Yeo Seok Tin passed away on 1st March 1981 leaving behind her husband, Tan Soo Lay, sons; Benedict Tan, Dominic Tan, daughters; Adelene Tan, Christina Tan and Mary Ann Tan, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

Tan Soon Lay, Joseph passed away at the age of 69 on 6th Jan 1984 leaving behind,
sons; Benedict Tan Eng Wee, Dominic Tan Eng Kiat, daughters; Adelene Tan Kim Lian, Christina Tan Kim Geok and Mary Ann Tan Kim Imm; son-in-law; Tan Khoon Choon; daughter-in-law; Hedy Tan and grandchildren. 

Mr Tan Soo Lay and Miss Yeo Seok Tin

The tomb of Madam Ong Whye Gann (Mrs. Tan Cheng Kee) has been dutifully restored by her descendants and is also remembered in this blog post.


Untitled. (1918). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1924, July 29). The Straits Times.
Domestic Occurrences. (1927, January 26).The Singapore Free Press
Untitled. (1935, November 17). The Straits Times
Untitled. (1936, October 12). The Straits Times

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