Tan Soon Neo (Lao Sua)

One of the tombs discovered on the new Lao Sua (Greater Bukit Brown) trail for future guided tours is the tomb of Tan Soon Neo (1889-1914). Tan Soo Neo is the eldest daughter of Tan Hap Seng and the wife of Mr. Chew Eng Ho / Chew Eng Hoh.

Tan Soon  Neo (Mrs Chew Eng Ho)

Tan Soon Neo (1889-1914)
Her father, Tan Hap Seng (25th July 1868- 24th March 1934) is the son of Mr. Tan Kim Tian who came from Malacca to Singapore at the age of 15. Tan Kim Tian founded Tan Kim Tian and Son Steamship Company, the first local Chinese company that build and purchase steamships. At its pinnacle was said to have owned 11 ships with a tonnage of over 80,000 tons and also 3 large modern steamships.Tan Kim Tian and Sons was one of the most prosperous shipping firms in Singapore. Tan Kim Tian passed away on December 18, 1882. His son, Tan Beng Wan carried on as managing director until he died in 1891 on Christmas Day at the age of 40 at his residence in Botan House, Neil Road. After Tan Beng Wan passed away, the company was managed by Tan Hap Seng  together with his brothers Tan Hap Leong and Tan Hap Swee.

Under Tan Hap Seng's stewardship, he together with his brothers Tan Hap Leong and Tan Hap Swee decided to join forces with T.C Boogardt, a shipowner and they formed a private company called Tan Kim Tian and Co. In 1903, the company went into voluntary liquidation. The company and its ships was eventually bought over by its biggest lender, Oei Tiong Ham in 1905. Taking many risk and unprepared for the commercial world, Tan Hap Seng was first made a bankrupt at the age of 38 and remained a bankrupt for 21 years during which he work as a chinchew (camprador) on a boat. He was finally discharged  as a bankrupt at the age of 60 in 1927. His brothers ( Tan Hap Leong and Tan Hap Swee) were discharged much earlier in 1906 & 1907.

Tan Hap Seng passed away at the age of 66 years old on 24th March 1934 and is buried in Bukit Brown, Hill 3 Division C plot 199.

Tan Hap Seng in Bukit Brown
Tan Hap Seng/ Tan Hup Seng
(source: NewspaperSG)

Source: NewspaperSG

Untitled. (1914, September 26). The Straits Times 



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