Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lee Phan Hock (Bukit Brown)

Lee Phan Hock / Lee Pan Hock / Lee Phan Hok (1860-1933) passed away on 4th March 1933 at the age of 73 and is buried in Hill 3 Division C, plot 581E on 8th March 1933.  On his tomb are listed the name of his son; Lee Cheng Teen and his grandson, Lee Tiong Hoe. The newspaper obituary notice however mentions that he is survived by a widow, two sons and several grandchildren.

Lee Phan Hock was a Straits born Chinese who owned many properties including villa's at Beting Kusa and one called Sandringham Villa  (13 1/2 mile Changi Road). He was educated in Raffles Institution before being employed in Chip Hock & Co. He was a clerk for the Straits Settlements Police and served under Colonel Dunlop as a clerk and intrepreter in 1881 and retired in 1897. He continue his various business after that and also held shares at Wearne Brothers Limited, Tambalak Rubber Estates Ltd. his generosity to various causes and support of female education was also well know. He was one of the early reformist and cut his queue in 1898.

Burial Registrar

Beting Kusa / Beting Kusah and Sandringham Villa

Lee Phan Hock was the President of Beting Kusa Party, City Club and was always generous to open his holiday villa to various associations such as the Merrilads Musical Association, Soon Hoe Kok Association as well as the Australian and New Zealand Association (Nurses) . He was also popular among the local villages in Beting Kusa, regularly organising a land and sea sports as well.

It is from the Merrilads Musical Association Sixth Anniversary Picnic pictures on Malayan Saturday Post, 5th July 1930 we can get a glimpse how Beting Kusa looks like as well as the Sandringham Villa. Beting Kusa today is probably located within the Changi Airport compound.

Sandringham Villa, Beting Kusa (source: NewspaperSG)

source: National Archives Singapore 

Lee Phan Hock had many birthday receptions in his villa and was something very well attended by the local and European communities as described in many newspaper articles.
64th birthday party  

66th birthday  party 


Now it is from here, where the research gets a bit murkier and until i get further confirmation from the descendants of Lee Phan Hock, the precision of this part is something on-going and requires further confirmation. What can be established from the tomb is the name of the son; Lee Cheng Teen and grandson; Lee Tiong Hoe.

Grandfather: Lee Eng Guan
Lee Eng Guan was a physican from China and started his business in the early 1819-1829's in Singapore under chop Hok Ann Tong. Lee Eng Guan married a niece of Tan Che Sang. (Tan Che Sang was the first chinese name mentioned in Charles Burton Buckley's Anecdotal History of Singapore and was a rich merchant)

Father: Lee Boon Lim 
Lee Boon Lim was born in Singapore in 1824 and was in the import and export business with Shanghai. He passed away at the age of 31 , leaving the business to Lee Phan Hock who was 11 years at the time.

Son: Lee Cheng Teen 
I have trouble pinning down who Lee Cheng Teen was and still have doubts of mistaken identity, but what i have so far is in an article dated 16 September 1960, it mentions that a boy, Lee Tiong Hoe been granted $40,683 in a court ruling in an incident where Lee Tiong Hoe suffered head injuries in a road accident in May 1957 (then 14 years old). The case was brought by his father, Lee Cheng Teen, a former police officer.

However, another puzzle arises. From the article, Lee Tiong Hoe was only 14 years old in 1957, which means that Lee Tiong Hoe was born in 1943 or 10 years after the death of Lee Phan Hock in 1933. However in the tomb, there was already mentioned of a Lee Tiong Hoe has grandson. Was the name added on later or was this a case of co-incidence and mistaken identity ?

Grandson: Lee Tiong Hoe
Following this line of research, in May 15, 1957, a 14 year old Lee Tiong Hoe, a student of St. Andrew's School was involved in a motor-cycle accident that left him with bruising of the head that lead to headaches, giddiness and mental deterioration. His father decided to accompany him to Melbourne, Australia in 1960 for treatment. What transpired after that, i do not know as yet.

Daughter: Lee Tan Neo
No further information other than an article that mentioned Lee Tan Neo, daughter of Lee Phan Hock who was once married to Tan Kee Eng was ceased.
26 July 1921


Social and Personal. (1927, July 11). The Straits Times , page 8
Sandringham. (1927, August 11). Malaya Tribune, page 3
Merrilads Musical Association Sixth Anniversary Picnic. ( 1930, July 5). Malayan Saturday Post, page 38
Obituary. (1933, March 4). Malayan Tribune, page 12
Boy of 14 gets $40,000 for his headaches. (1960, September 16). The Straits Times, page 1

Monday, February 06, 2017

Wee Tiang Wah (Bukit Brown)

Wee Tiang Wah (alias Kim Kow) passed away at the age of 48 on 17th April 1940. He was said to be one of the founders of the Oleh Oleh Party and one its Presidents. Its members recognised him as an able actor and helped in the philantrophic activities (e.g. China Red Cross Fund ) of the party. He was also a member of the United Chinese Musical Association.  Mrs. Wee Tiang Wah passed away at her residence in No 4, Block J, Henderson Road on 2 April 1935, leaving behind her husband, Wee Tiang Wah of Eastern Plumbers, a son and a daughter. Mrs. Wee Tiang Wah is buried also in Bukit Brown.

Mr Wee Tiang Wah (seated on the left) with the
United Chinese Musical Association members c1928 

Wee Tiang Wah at Hill 4 Section C, plot 2050

Wee Tiang Wah was a prolific actor, so much so, in one of the Oleh Oleh Party drama called "The Wastrel" , he got into the role of a Chettair by shaving his head bald, wearing Indian clothes and on occasions spoke Tamil.

Oleh Oleh Party was founded in 1932 with the objective of helping the poor and needy through the promotion of music, drama and performances. There were many groups or minstrel bands that played old-time English classics and used stringed instruments and costumes. This bands or troupe mushroomed in 1930s wherever Peranakans lived. Some of the well-known bands include: Cornwall Minstrels, Wales Minstrels, Merrilads, Springdale and Forget-me-not. Members usually met regularly in patrons' or members' houses. The Minstrel bands performed at social parties. They also put up sketches and stage shows, sometimes for charity. Minstrel activities came to a halt before the World War 2. Oleh Oleh Party survived after the war and died out by 1960s. Peranakan plays were put up by Gunong Sayang Association, (in which Koh Hoon Teck was well known) survived till this day.


The Chinese Association. (1928, February 11). Malayan Saturday Post, page 4
Domestic Occurences/ (1935, April 4). Malaya Tribune, page 10
Success of "The Wastrel" . (1938, September 12). Malaya Tribune, page 12
Untitled. (1940, April 22).Malaya Tribune, page 3

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Tan Choon Kiat (Bukit Brown)

Tan Choon Kiat (1882-1933) passed away on 10th February 1933 at the age of 51 and is survived by his wife, Madam Lim Geok Yan and sons: Tan Choo Kee, Tan Choo Swee, Tan Choo Leng, Tan Choo Suan, Tan Choo Leng,  Tan Choo Kew ; daughter: Tan Lay Hong ; Grandsons: Tan Tian Chai, Tan Tian Hock. He is buried in Hill 3 Division C plot 585A

The tomb of Madam Lim Geok Yan, although prepared, does not have a death date indicated. She passed away on 11 October 1957. In the obituary notice, she is survived by 6 sons, 4 daughters ( Tan Lay Hong, Tan Ah Eng, Tan Kim Eng, Tan Seok Choo ). 9 daughter-in-laws, 2 son-in-laws, 32 grandchildren, 1 daughter-on-law, Kie Yan, son-in-law, Hioe  On Tjan.  The cortege left 51 Seng Poh Road for Kong Mi San Po Kak Si (Crematorium). She was cremated and not buried.

Tomb of Mr. Tan Choon Kiat in Bukit Brown  


Son: Tan Choo Kee
Tan Choo Kee (Assistant Secretary to Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation) married Miss Koh Bee Teck on 8 March 1936.Tan Choo Kee is the eldest son of the late Mr. Tan Choon Kiat. Miss Koh Bee Teck is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs Koh Kim Han. Mrs. Tan Choo Kee nee Koh Bee Teck unfortunately passed away 10 years later after her marriage.She passed away at the age of 34 at her residence in No. 51 Seng Poh Road on 9 December 1946. She is survived by her husband, 1 son (age 3 years old), Tan Kim Seah, 2 grandmothers, parents , 1 mother-in-law, brothers, sisters and brother-in-law. She is buried in Bukit Brown. Koh Bee Teck is the grand daughter of Koh San Hin and great-grand daughter of Koh Eng Hoon.

Wedding of Tan Choo Kee and Koh Bee Teck (source: NewspaperSG
Tan Choo Kee started his banking career with Ho Hong Bank after he finished his studies in Raffles Institution in 1928. When Ho Hong Bank, Chinese Commercial Bank and Overseas Chinese Bank merged to become Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation in 1938, he stayed on. He was sent to Surabaya branch in Indonesia as an accountant and return to Singapore just before its fall in 1941. During the Japanese occupation he worked in Yokohama Specie Bank Ltd as a liaison officer. After the war he joined Chung Khiaw Bank in 1956 and from there he climb up the ladder. The article that featured in him 1963, places him at 53 years of age and as Manager of Bukit Timah branch of Ching Khiaw Bank.
Tan Choo Kee (source: NewspaperSG)

[research on-going]


Wedding. (1936, March 9). Malaya Tribune, page 13
Death. (1946, December 9). Malaya Tribune, page 2
Death. (1957, October 12). Malaya Tribune, page 6
Proud record of efficiency. (1963, March 2). The Straits Times, page 11

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Kam Keng Siang (Bukit Brown)

Kam Keng Siang passed away at the age of 61 on January 11, 1926 at his residence in No 22 and 22-1 Kerbau Lane. He leaves behind his widow, four sons; Kam Swee Hin, Kam Swee Guan, Kam Swee Beng, Kam Swee Kiat, two daughters; Kam Swee Neo, Kam Swee Bee, a son-in-law, Chua Cheng Quee and several grandchildren. Kam Keng Siang was buried in Hill 1 Block B plot 65 on 24 January 1926.
Kam Keng Siang

Kam Keng Siang

The No 22 and 22-1 Kerbau Lane was a property he bought in 1913 at the Ching Keng Lee & Co. property auction at 3204 sq feet for $4150. Probate of his will was granted to Tay Choo Neo, Kam Swee Guan and Kam Swee Beng who were appointed to be trustee to Kam Keng Siang's estate.

Son: Kam Swee Hin
Cashier at Messrs. Ching Keng Lee & Co.

Daughter: Kam Swee Neo
Kam Swee Neo married Chua Cheng Quee  / Chua Cheng Kwee, youngest son of the late Chua Hoh Seng on 16 January 1922.

Death. (1826, January 19).The Straits Times, Page 8
Social and Personal. (1922, January 17). The Straits Times, page 8