Monday, January 29, 2018

Madam Goh Kim Neo and family (Bukit Brown)

The obituary notice of Mrs Lim Chia Tek nee Goh Kim Neo states she passed away at the age of 70 at No 173 Pasir Panjang Road on 20th July 1939. She left behind a son, Lim Boon Eng, a daughter, Mrs. Chia Keng Tye nee Lim Tuan Neo and many grandchildren and great grandchildren to mourn her lost. Funeral was held at Bukit Brown. She is buried in Block 1, Division B, plot 142.

Madam Goh Kim Neo (Mrs Lim Chia Teck)

source: NewspaperSG


Grandfather-in-law: Lim Tua Tow
Lim Chia Tek / Teck father is Lim Tua Tow who left Fujian, China around 1860 for Batavia (Jakarta). He was a rice merchant and he eventually sold his business and came to Singapore and bought a piece of land bounded by the present Boundary Road, Lim Tua Tow Road, Yio Chu Kang Road and Jalan Teck Kee. Lim Tua Tow passed away in 1912 at the age of 70.

Son: Lim Boon Eng
Lim Boon Eng was 5 when his father, Lim Chia Teck passed away (roughly around 1895). Lim Boon Eng grew up to be a Seaman and later a Storekeeper. Lim Boon Eng married a bride from China and together they have 5 sons and 3 daughters. Lim Boon Eng passed away at age of 86 on 21 December 1976. He is survived by sons; Lim Tiong San, Lim Tiong Wah, Lim Tiong San, Richard, George, M. , 3 daughters and 5 daughter-in-law, 1 son-in-law  12 grandchildren. The cortege left from 145 Serangoon Garden Way for Kong Meng San Crematorium. The link between this Lim Boon Eng (and there are a few Lim Boon Eng in the digitised newspapers that can be potentially confusing) with Madam Goh Kim Neo is thanks to the article by Straits Times dated 11 March 1981 linking all the personalities mentioned back to Lim Chia Teck and his two children, Lim Tuan Neo and Lim Boon Eng. When Lim Boon Eng passed away, his eldest son gained custody of a genealogical table dated 1887. The purpose of the table were elaborated in the two columns by the side which was translated in the 1981 article.

Daughter: Mrs Chia Keng Tye nee Lim Tuan Neo
Mrs Chia Keng Tye (nee Lim Tuan Neo) passed away on April 11, 1948 after a long illness and is survived by her husband. 2 sons (Dr Chia Chin Tiong, Chia Chin Siang), 3 daughters (Elsie, Maggie, Daisy).

Chia Keng Tye is the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Chia Hood Team. He was a Campradore of Merchantile Bank (just like his father before him) and served in the Bank for 34 years starting from 1907. He was also multi-talented and was a musician, violinist, sports man and a professional tennis player. Chia Keng Tye passed away at the age of 77 on June 8, 1961.
Mr and Mrs Chia Keng Tye and son Chia Chin Tong
(photo courtesy of Chia Chan Chai)

Death. (1939,July 21). The Straits Times, page 2
Death.(1976, December 23). The Straits Times, page 19
'Chart is a guide for future generations'. (1981, March 11).The Straits Times, page 1

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ong Hup Keng and family (Bukit Brown)

The twin tomb of Ong Hup Keng and Madam Yeo Seok Bee lies engulfed by a huge Banyan Tree. Its vines has totally engulfed the tomb of Mr. Ong Hup Keng. However fortunately for the tomb of Madam Yeo Seok Bee, her name is still visible underneath the altar table is still visible with date of death as August 1937 and age of death at 52.  The tomb is located at Block 1 Division B, plot 139 and 140 (the burial registry also helps confirm it).

A quick research confirms the date with the obituary notice of Madam Yeo Seok Bee, wife of Ong Hup Keng (of Yeo Bian Chuan Co.) who passed away at the age of 51 on 17th August 1937 at her residence in 155 Pasir Panjang Road. She is survived by her husband,one son; Ong Kiew Ann, one daughter-in-law, 5 daughters (Mrs. Yeo Cheng Hoe, Mrs. Tok Peng Leong, Mrs Felix Choo,  Miss Ong Geok Hin, Miss Ong Geok Hock) and several grandchildren to mourn her loss. Her husband, Ong Hup Keng (a Produce Broker and Partner at Yeo Bian Chuan) passed away on 27th January 1938. He leaves behind his son, Ong Kiew Ann, three son-in-laws (Mr. Yeo Cheng Hoe, Mr. Tok Peng Leong, Mr. Felix Choo), one daughter-in-law, and five daughters. The funeral took place on 29th January 1938 and cortege left from 155 Pasir Panjang to Bukit Brown.

Yeo Seok Bee is the daughter of Yeo Bian Chuan and her husband is the partner in her father's company. 155 Pasir Panjang Road was the famous house where Yeo Bian Chuan harboured during the Singapore Mutiny (15 February 1915), no less than 17 Europeans who sought refuge and safety away from the mutineers who were seeking to harm them. He kept them until daybreak when help arrived. For his heroic deeds, he was awarded the option of $5,000 or a commemorative gold medal. Yeo Bian Chuan chose the commemorative gold medal. Unfortunately, he was soon forgotten and the gold medal never arrived.

Tomb of Madam Yeo Seok Bee

The clue that help reveal the story

Ong Hup Keng tomb totally engulfed except for the Golden Boy 

Mr and Mrs Ong Hup Keng can be seen next to their daughter, Ms Madeline Ong nee Mrs Felix Choo


Parents (Yeo Bian Chuan and Chew Chye Luan)
Yeo Bian Chuan was born in Rhio (Riau island of Indonesia which was under Netherlands East Indies control). He came at a very young age to Singapore and was educated in Singapore. He was a produce broker and the senior partner of Messrs. Yeo Bian Chuan and Co, 22-A Change Alley. After residing in the Straits Settlement for the past 52 years ,he was naturalised as a British subject in 1921.
Yeo Bian Chuan (source: NewspaperSG)

Yeo Bian Chuan passed away on October 2, 1929 shortly after the death of his wife, at his residence in 155 Pasir Panjang Road. He leaves behind a son, Yeo Bong Soo and a daughter, Madam Yeo Seok Bee (Mrs On Hup Keng). On the 15th anniversary of the Sepoy Mutiny, Yeo Bian Chuan's memory was honoured by the people who were saved by his heroic deeds. Madam Chew Chye Luan (wife of Yeo Bian Chuan) died at the age of 69 on September 17, 1929

Son: Mr. Ong Kiew Ann
<no information yet>

Daughter: Miss Ong Geok Hee (Mrs Yeo Cheng Hoe)
Mrs Yeo Cheng Hoe (nee Ong Geok Hee) passed away at the age of 46 at her residence in 429 Race Course Road on 11 September 1954. She is survived by her husband, 1 son, five daughters and 1 prospective son-in-law, Kho Kok Hin. Yeo Cheng Hoe died a few days later in the same month and year. 

16 February 1927

Daughter: Miss Ong Geok Choon (Mrs. Tok Peng Leong)
Tok Peng Liong ( second son of Mr and Mrs Tok Hong Kian ) and Miss Ong Geok Choon ( second daughter of Mr and Mrs Ong Hup Keng) married in March 1931

Daughter: Miss Madeline Ong (Mrs Felix Choo)
Felix Choo (son of Mr and Mrs Choo Tian Lock) married Miss Madeline Ong at St. Andrew's Cathderal on 5th January 1936. Felix Choo is a teacher at the Rangoon Road School. 

Felix Choo and Madeline Ong

Daughter: Ong Geok Hin 
<no infomation yet>

Daughter: Ong Geok Hock
<no infomation yet>

Engagement. (1931, February 18).The Singapore Press, page 10
Chinese Wedding. (1936, January 5). Sunday Tribune, page 1)
Death. (1937, August 18). Malaya Tribune, page 12
Death. (1938, January 28). Malaya Tribune, page 10

Brother and Sister buried side by side (Bukit Brown)

Master Tay Tow Seeh (9 years of age) and Miss Tay Poon Neo (7 years of age) lay buried side by side in Hill 1 Division B plot 423 and 424. They are the children of Mr and Mrs Tay Geok Hong.
Tay Tow Seeh (Age 9 , 16 December 1926)

Tay Poon Neo (Age 7, 15th December 1926)
On the burial records, Tay Tow Seeh (Tay Tow Si ) is listed as 12 years of age. Their residence address and cause of death is masked off from the online burial registrar. This two information would be useful to determine what was the cause of death (was it the same sickness that cause the siblings to die so young and their residential address would help confirm who their parents, Tay Geok Hong are.

The only information of  Tay Geok Hong i could find was from the newspapers obituary of a Mr. Tay Geok Hong who passed away on 11 September 1928, where Mrs. Tay Geok Hong and Mr. Tay Geok Swee (brother of Tay Geok Swee) thanked staff of Fraser & Neave Ltd, Members of Straits Bachelors Physical Culture and relatives for their attendance. The deceased leaves behind 1 widow, 4 sons and his brother, Tay Geok Swee to mourn his loss. The funeral took place on 13 September 1928 from his residence at No 665 Geylang Road to Bukit Brown. (Malaya Tribune, 11 September 1928)

If we can link the address of Tay Tow Seeh and Tay Poon Neo to 665 Geylang Road, that will be better confirmation of the above. To find out who are the sons of Tay Geok Hong, we need to find Tay Geok Hong's tomb in Hill 2 Division G plot 123 to get this information.

Hopefully one day some of this information will be useful for future research and family tree researchers.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Master Victor Chan (Bukit Brown)

Master Victor Chan died at the age of 7 and half years old on Hill 4 Section C, plot 596. The tomb is not easy to miss as it is one of the lucky ones that just missed exhumation as it lies just outside of the parameter of the 8 lane highway. The marble tomb has a pair of beautiful peacock tiles as well. Victor Chan was born on 29 May 1930 and passed away on 6 August 1938. Who are his parents ? Does he have siblings ?

Peacock tile

Friday, January 12, 2018

Notice of Scattering of Unclaimed Remains (Bukit Brown)

In December 2014, public exhumation of  just over 3900 graves at the Bukit Brown and Seh Ong Cemetery affected by the 8 lane highway was completed and out of this, Land Transport Authority received claims for about one quarter of the affected (1,263 in a report by Today on 7 Aug 2013) and for the rest of the unclaimed remains, they were kept for a period of 3 years. That three years have come and gone. In today's The Strait Times, Land Transport Authority published another important milestone, a notice of scattering of unclaimed cremated remains of the remaining 2000 + that were not claimed by descendants since then. This is the final call for them to be claimed before they are disposed off at sea on 26 April 2018.

Postnote: As of 12 January 2018, about 3,400 out of 4,700 graves have yet remained unclaimed.

Affected tombs, long gone

Source: Straits Times (12 January 2018)

A New Year but the same resolute- Save Bukit Brown !

Time has run out long ago for those affected and the New Year 2018 marks another reminder that time is counting down for the rest of the yet unaffected areas. There is still so much to do to change the mindset of the population at large and the Government of the value of preserving Bukit Brown as a Heritage Park that could be potentially be earmarked as Singapore's next UNESCO World Heritage site. In short, the battle goes on to raise awareness. Below are some of the pictures of the affected tombs that are no longer in Bukit Brown today.

Affected tombs, now gone

Affected tombs near Lornie Road 

Affected tombs from the old cemetery in Tiong Bahru 

Broken stones


Clearing the tombs after exhumation

Parliamentary Question by Ms. Janice Koh (Bukit Brown). Rojak Librarian posted on 9 July 2013
Exhumation of Bukit Brown graves to start in Oct. Today (posted on 6 August 2013)
Bukit Brown Cemetery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rojak Librarian (posted on 2 April 2013)
Unesco Heritage site bid - Why not Bukit Brown too? Rojak Librarian (posted on 14 April 2013)