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)

1 comment:

James Koh said...

I think Teo Kim Eng is Mr. Tan's son-in-law. Their name inscriptions share the same font.