Thursday, March 30, 2017

Madam Lau Lan Neo (Bukit Brown)

Madam Lau Lan Neo / Lao Lan Neo ( 22nd June 1893 - 10th September 1928) was the wife of Tan Cheng Yong. She passed away at the age of 35 at her residence in No 522 Kampong Bahru Road. She is survived by her husband, Tan Cheng Yong, an aged mother, a brother, Dr. Lao Chew Seng of Kampar and 6 children to mourn her loss. Listed on her tomb at the name of her sons; Edward Tan, Georgie Tan, Cecil Tan, daughters; Tan Tak Neo, Tan Alice Neo, Tan Maggie Neo. Miss Lau Lan Neo is the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs Lau Koon Siew while Tan Chen Yong is the eldest son of Mr. Tan Hap Leong. She is buried in Block 2 Division G, plot 120.

The engraving of her tomb is as follows: 

noble she was condemning all things mean
her truth unquestioned and her soul severe
shame knew her not, she dreaded no disgrace 
truth, simple truth was written on her face 

Husband: Tan Cheng Yong 
Tan Chen Yong is the eldest son of Mr. Tan Hap Leong and grandson of Mr. Tan Kim Tian, a prominent merchant and shipowner of Tan Kim Tian and Sons. An notice for arrangement of marriage between Miss Lau Lan Neo and Tan Cheng Yong was made in the papers in 1916. After the passing of Madam Lau Lan Neo, Tan Cheng Yong remarried. Mr Tan Cheng Yong (eldest son of the late Mr Tan Hap Leong) married Miss E. Chye Neo, youngest daughter of the late Mr E. Kong Siang in January 1929.

Father-in-law: Tan Hap Leong
Tan Hap Leong (Tan Hup Leong) had the honor of being the first Straits born Chinese to undertake a travel around the world for leisure in April 2, 1895. His route brought him to Penang, India, Marseilles, Paris, Germany and England. His return was via way of America, Japan and China. He carried with him letters of introduction  from several members of the mercantile community (namely Messrs. Paterson Simmons ) and Foreign Office passport, a certificate stating he is a British subject and assurance of British protection, the first Straits Chinese to obtain this privilege.

Tan Hap Leong was one of the pioneering members together with the Tan Jiak Kim, C.M.G and Dr Lim Boon Keng in the formation  of the Chinese Volunteers and had the honor to accompany the local Straits contingent to London for the Coronation of King Edward VII. He was also a leader of the reform movement, being one of the Straits Chinese who braved opinion and tradition to cut his queue way before the fall of Manchu Dynasty. A well traveled man, he shared how he was dubbed as "Prince Tan Hup Leong".  It was in a P. and O. ship and he was traveling with the Viceroy of India during the period of the Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905). In  a dinner on board, instead of wearing the customary western evening suit, he wore a full manchu costume and sat next to the Viceroy. Rumors circulated that he was an Oriental Prince send to England to mediate the Russo-Japanese war and when he arrived in London, he was greatly astonished by the great interest in his arrival.

Tan Hap Leong (arrow in red) with the rest of the Singapore contingent
Dr Lim Boon Keng (in uniform) is seated extreme left, middle row


Local and General. (1916, February 21). The Malaya Tribune
Births, Deaths and Marriages. (1928, September 10), The Malayan Tribune, page 8
Untitled. (1929, January 30). The Singapore Free Press, page 10

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