Sunday, October 15, 2017

Chew Ah Kak (Bukit Brown)

In the Malayan Tribune article dated 9 June 1941,  it was reported  that Mr Chew Ah Kak passed away at the age of 75 on June 7, 1941 at his residence in No 158 MacKenzie Road. He is survived by 2 sons (Chew Siew Boon alias Koh Siew Boon, Chew Bah Kah), 1 daughter (Chew Boo Neo),  1 son-in-law, 3 daughter-in-laws, many grandchildren. From the tomb, we can gather the names of the grandchildren which include grandsons; Chew Boon Leong, Chew Peng Yam and grand daughters; Koh Sai Tin, Chew Jin Neo, Chew Peng Choo.
Chew Ah Kak 

Grave of Chew Ah Kak 

Wee Bros Undertakers

As i was taking a closer look at the marble stone on the altar table, i noticed that the marble slab had the name of the mason who was probably commissioned to erect the tomb. This is somewhat rare for me as usually the marble slab would usually be carved with just the name and date of death of the deceased. The name of the company was Wee Bros. Initially i thought it was Wee Brothers Steamship Co. but i realised that company was in existence from 1893-1929, so it was more likely to be Wee Bros. who was an undertaker and monumental masons and marble merchants based at No 155 Selegie Road.

The Proprietor and Manger of Wee Bros. was Wee Un Teck and Wee Un Teck passed away on May 1941 and is survived by his widow Madam Tan Siok Bee.  Madam Tan Siok Bee passed away on 29 June 1956 at the age of 78, leaving behind two sons, Romeo Wee Hong Kiat alias Ah Kow and Tommy Wee Hong Leong alias Bong Soo, two adopted sons, Tan Hong Hock, Lee How Yew, 2 daughters, 3 adopted daughters, etc.

There was mention of a Wee Hong Heng (Henry) of Wee Bros at 155 Selegie Road, who passed away due to his injuries in 15 February 1942 and is survived by his wife, baby daughter, mother, brothers and sisters. He passed away a day after the fall of Singapore but it was only reported in the Syonan Shimbun on 12 March 1942. The baby daughter is likely to be Cecilia Wee who passed away on 24 March 1942 (slightly more than a month after her fathers death).

Romeo Wee Hong Kiat of Wee Bros passed away on 3 October 1956 and is survived by his wife (Dursilla Seet Hock Neo), 2 daughters (?, Lucy Wee Geok Poh), 2 sons (Samuel Wee Chin Chye, ), a brother (Tommy Wee Hong Leong alias Bong Soo). The cortege left 155 Selegie Road for Bidadari.

Wee Hong Leong (Bong Soo) passed away in April 1977.

From the website of Peace Casket, i got another insight that the Peace Casket was formerly known as Wee Bros. Established in 1923 and known then as Wee Brothers, it was founded by Mr Wee Un Teck, and for a large part of its history, it was kept within the Wee family. In 2001, Mr Peter Yan & his wife Ms Chow Hsun Cheng took over ownership and management and renamed the company Peace Casket.

There are some graves in Bukit Brown in which the tomb masons do leave their "calling card" via a stone marker. Hopefully more stories will crop up about them as well.

Domestic Occurence. (1941, June 9). Malayan Tribune, page 8
Advertisements. (1928, May 26). Malayan Tribune, page 26
Births, Marriages and Death. (1928, May 14). Malayan Tribune, page 8
Domestic Occurence. (1942, March 12). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Domestic Occurence. (1942, March 27). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Death. (1953, June 30). The Singapore Free Press, page 16
Death. (1956, October 4).The Straits Times, page 6