Chua Soon Leong and family (Lao Sua)

One of the most beautiful engraved and decorated pair of tombs in Lao Sua are the tomb's of Chua Soon Leong (died 2nd September 1920) and his wife Madam Tan Hiang Guat Neo (died July 10, 1910 age 35). Chua Soon Leong was a Comprador of Messrs. United Engineers. He was also the President of the Tiang Ho Kok Association and it was in one of the meetings held in July 1915, a motion was passed to invest £100 (out of the association's fund of £1000) on the British National War Loan.

Chua Soon Leong passed away at the age of 48 on 2nd September 1920 at his residence in No. 4 Seok Wee Road. In the article, it mentions that he is interned at Eng San Teng, Bukit Timah.

Chua Soon Leong

Chua Soon Leong

Mrs Chua Soon Leong nee Tan Hiang Guat Neo

Names of the children engraved in English 

Names of the children engraved in English - Chua Seng Hock, Chua Seng Neo, Chua Eng Bee 

United Engineers and Family Benefit Society

Chua Soon was a Comprador of United Engineers. The company history can be traced back to the nineteenth century when Riley Hargreaves & Co. (founded in 1865) and Howarth Erskine & Co. (founded in 1875) came together to form United Engineers Limited in 1912.

Chua Soon Leong was mentioned to be an auditor in rotation for the Family Benefit Society in February 1916. This society founded in 1913 by its founder Mr. Geo Ritchie of Messrs. Whiteaway, Laidlaw and Co, grew from 33 members with a capital of $60 to 500 members and a capital of nearly $5000 (in 1915). The made up of members include Europeans, Eurasians, Chinese and Indians. It was non-sectarian, non-denominational -advocating no religious order and no distinction to race, class and creed. Its objective was to bring comfort and relief to families when the main bread winner is sick or unable to work or has passed on. It does this by getting its members to save money every month into this mutual thrift fund.
Straits Settlement Blue Book for the year 1934

Straits Born Loyalties 

It was with the backdrop of World War I, when prominent Chinese towkays and leaders gathered on September 29, 1915 to discuss how the Straits-born Chinese community can be galvanised as Chinese British subjects to support the King and the British Empire for its war efforts beyond the Prince of Wales Relief Fund, Aircraft Fund, etc. There were many speakers on that day, held at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and among them were Koh Siang Lim (Chairperson), Hon. Dr. Lim Boon Keng, Mr. Tan Jiak Kim, C.M.G. , Messrs Seah Leang Seah, Song Ong Siang, Ching Keng Lee, Gaw Khek Khiam, Seet Teong Wah, Yeo Hock Hoe, Lee Choon Guan, Chia Hood Thiam, Thiong Song Lim, Sye Jim Chan, K.S. Keat, Lim Nee Soon, Lee Pong Seng, Tan Soo Bin and many others.

One of the questions raised (and this was by Chua Soon Leong ) was who will look after the families of the ones who have gone to served. It was thus Dr. Lim Boon Keng standing on behalf of the Straits Chinese British Association who gave a moving speech on the ways the Chinese can actively contribute.

How the Straits born Chinese can help 


Father: Chua Cheng Chwee
Close to Chua Soon Leong tomb cluster is another large tomb that belongs to his father, Chua Cheng Chwee, a Qing dynasty tomb dated as 1891. 
Mr. Chua Cheng Swee 

Mrs Chua Cheng Swee nee Ee Kim Neo (died 1909)
One of Chua Soon Leong's sibling(sister) listed is Chua Bee Hong Neo. In the tomb of Madam Chua Cheng Swee nee who married Yeo Lock Gee.

Wife: Tan Hiang Guat Neo (1875-1910)
Madam Tan Hiang Guat Neo passed away at 6 am, 10th July 1910. She was 35 years of age. On her tomb are listed the names of the children, listed as follows:
Sons: Chua Seng Hock and Chua Eng Bee
Daughter: Chua Seng Neo

Sister: Chua Bee Hong Neo (died 26 April 1920)
One of Chua Soon Leong's sibling(sister) is Chua Bee Hong Neo. In the tomb of Madam Chua Cheng Swee nee Ee Kim Neo, Yeo Eng Wah was listed as adopted grandson. Chua Bee Hong Neo married Yeo Lock Gee. From that union, one of their sons was Yeo Eng Wah who married Chua Bin Neo alias Chik Nya (daughter of Chua Kim Teng)

Son: Chua Seng Hock (1894-1949)
Chua Seng Hock studied in Raffles Institution. Chua Seng Hock passed away at the age of 55 at his residence in No 126 Chin Swee Road on 8th July 1949. His wife is Madam Koh Geok Choo. Koh Geok Choo is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Koh Tiang Yang.

Wedding of Chua Seng Hock and Koh Geok Choo (photo courtesy of Cathie Chua)
Mr and Mrs Chua Seng Hock and family (photo courtesy of Cathie Chua)

Seated: Teresa Ong Chit Bee and Koh Tiang Yang (parents of Madam Koh Geok Choo).
Standing: Koh Yew Keng (black tie), Chua Seng Hock (bowtie), Koh Geok Choo
-photo courtesy of Cathie Chua

Madam Koh Geok Choo passed away on 10 September, 1980 at the age of 86. From the obituary notice, we can see the names of their children.
Sons: Chua Peng Swee, Chua Peng Guan, Chua Chye Soon, Chua Boon Hor, Chua Kwee Yang.
Daughters: Rose Chua, Lily Chua, Chua Bok Lan, Chua Lye Neo
Sons-in-laws: Chan Boon Hock, Stephen Lai, Francis Heng, Ho Boon Ann
Daughters-in-laws: Lim Soon Ai, Cecilia Chua, Ng Sai Hong, Phang Mui Keow, Koh Ah Gek.
The cortege left from 31 Ripley Crescent ,

4 Seok Wee Road (on auction)

Daughter: Chua Seng Neo / Mrs Lim Han Hoe  (4th June 1897-13th April 1978)
Chua Seng Neo married Sir Dr Lim Han Hoe, CBE, JP (27 April 1894 – 23 March 1983). He was a prominent Straits Chinese and doctor of that time. Born in Singapore in April 27,1894. He is the second son of Mr. and Mrs Lim Cheng Sah, a landowner. Lim Han Hoe studied in St.Andrews, Raffles Institution and later King Edward VII College of Medicine. He went to Scotland to join the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicans and later Edinburgh University. He practiced at St. Andrew's Hospital, Scotland 1918. Returning to Singapore in 1919, he took up a job as ship surgeon with China Mutal Steamship Company and later as a General Practice for Amoy Dispensary. In 1940, he was appointed as a member of the Executive Council before moving up to the Legislative council. In 1941, he made it the King's birthday honors and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. During the Japanese Occupation he was arrested and sentenced to seven years imprisonment at Outram Prison for the crime of listening to Allied Broadcast. Fortunately he survived it.  

Madam Chua Seng Neo (photo courtesy of Cathie Chua)

Dr. Lim Han Hoe 

Son: Chua Eng Sim 
A tomb behind the Chua Soon Leong cluster belongs to an infant by the name of Chua Eng Sim who was listed to have passed away at the age of 162 days on 10 am, Tuesday, 18th March 1913. The name of his parents are also mentioned at the tomb of the tomb: Chua Soon Leong (father) Koh Geok Chew (mother).

Chua Eng Sim

Family of Chua Seng Hock

Son: Chua Peng Swee /Alan Chua Peng Swee (died 1976)
Chua Peng Swee (nephew of Dr & Mrs Lim Han Hoe) got engaged to Miss Lim Soon Ai (daughter of Mrs Lim Kim Tian and the late Mr Lim Kim Tian) in 1945. In October 1947, they got married at St. Andrew's Cathedral. Alan Chua Peng Swee passed away on 12 August 1976 at the age of 54. His niche is in Mount Vernon Block 1 C 10.

Daughter: Rose Chua / Rose Chua Eng Tin (1919-2005)
Chua Seng Hock's eldest daughter Rose Chua (who is the niece of Hon. Dr & Mrs Lim Han Hoe) got engaged to Mr. Chan Boon Hock (the only son of Madam Cheong Guek Keow and the late Mr. Chan Chin Wah) in 1941.  Rose Chua Eng Tin passed away at the age of 86 on 22 January 2005.


[It is from here, we can established that one of Chua Seng Hock's sister married Dr. Lim Han Hoe. A check on gives a mentioned of Chua Seng Neo (1897-1978) being the spouse of Dr. Lim Han Hoe ]

Daughter: Lily Chua Eng Kiat (1919-1985)
Lily Chua Eng Kiat married Stephen Lai Tin Yong (died 3 April 1998). Lily passed away on 29 July 1985.
(photo courtesy of Cathie Chua)

Son: Chua Peng Guan / William Chua Peng Guan (died 2015)
William Chua Peng Guan married Cecilia Cheng (daughter of Joseph Cheng Kang Ngee and Maria Rosaline Goh Geok Yin; grand-daughter of John Baptist Cheng Khye Yong; great grand daughter of Cheng Ah Foo and Low Soon Neo )

Tomb Embellishments

The tombs of Mr and Mrs Chua Soon Leong are embellished or decorated with lovely statues, carvings and decorative tiles. 

Greater Bukit Brown guided trail 

The tombs in Lao Sua or Greater Bukit Brown are part of the future guided walks we plan to do or have already started in the past but to a lesser extend. Lao Sua is another large area of historical significance managed by the Hokkien Huay Kuan but subsequently sold to the Government under the land reclamation act for future development. First established after the old Tiong Bahru Cemetery was full, it was through the efforts of pioneers like Gan Eng Seng, Tan Beng Swee, Chia Ann Siang who donated money to create this cemetery cluster for purpose of burial of their immediate family and also other Chinese of the Hokkien dialect.

The stories are continuing to evolve, so do bear with the possible mistakes (if any) during the writing process of the stories. With more people in the community with better insights, i am sure more can rediscovered and the stories of the long forgotten past remembered again and piece back together bit by bit.

Stories from the Lao Sua / Greater Bukit Brown trail (more to come)
Tan Soon Neo (posted on 2016, July 11)
Yeo Lock Gee (posted on 2015, March 5)
Song Chit Neo (posted on 2014, May 14)
Wan Eng Kiat (posted on 2014, May 16)
Wee Theam Tew (posted on 2012, October 29)


Straits Chinese and War (1915, September 30). The Singapore Free Press
Acknowledgments. (1920, September 11). The Straits Times
Death. (1920, September 4). The Straits Times, page 8
Advertisements. (1941, July 18). The Straits Times
Advertisements. (1945, December 8). The Straits Times
Knighthood for Doctor Lim Han Hoe. (1946, January 5). The Straits Times
Around the Town. (1947, October 2). The Morning Tribune, page 10
Seven Malayan's in Birthday Honors List. (1941, June 12). The Singapore Free Press
Death (1980, September 12). The Straits Times
History-United Engineers Limited. (website). Last accessed 28 September 2019



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