Monday, March 05, 2018

Chan Yen Soon and family (Bukit Brown)

Chan Yen Soon was a cashier and bookkeeper for the legal firm Donaldson and Burkinshaw and has been in service in the company for 25 years. He passed away at his residence at No. 101 Tras Street on 18th October 1930 at the age of 45 after being of ill health in which he took leave 2 months ago from work to recuperate but things took a turn for the worst. Chan Yen Soon's late father, Chan Kim Boon was also a cashier and bookkeeper for Donaldson and Burkinshaw for 45 years and well know among the local Chinese Community for translation Chinese literature to Baba Malay. On the tomb, of Chan Yen Soon, the etching says it was erected by his loving wife, Kaw Kim Kee Neo and list the name of their sons; Chan Kah Siew, Chan Kah Hock, and daughter; Chan Gaik Tooi. He has a son-in-law by the name of William Lim.

Chan Yen Soon's tomb

The marriage between Chan Yen Soon and Kan Kim Kee was even reported in a 1909 Straits Times article - Chan Yen Soon (fourth son of Mr. Chan Kim Boon ) married Miss Kan Kim Kee ( daughter of Mr. Kan Teow Koh). The reception was held at No 9 Stanley Street, residence of Mr. Chan Kim Boon. Amongst the European guests at wedding were the Hon. H. Fort, Dr and Miss Galloway, Mr. C. Dunlop, Mr and Mrs. Knowles, Mr and Mrs. F.K. Jennnings, Miss Hennings, Messrs. Gilbert S. Carver, B.G.H. Johnson, H.Millard, C.G.Emerson and C.Everett.

His wife, Madam Kaw Kim Kee passed away on 15th July 1970 and the tomb list her children; son: Chan Kah Siew, Chan Kah Hock; daughter; Chan Gaik Tooi; daughter-in-law's: Yeo Kim Sian, Mytrle Chan; grandsons; Chan Peng Ann, Chan Peng Chye; granddaughters; Annie Chan, Alice Chan and Elizabeth Chan.

Madam Kaw Kim Kee and Chan Yen Soon 

Kaw Kim Kee marble pate

The tomb is located at Block 3 Division B, plot 302, 325. Chen Yen Soon's brother, Chan Yen Pai is also buried in Bukit Brown. 

Father: Chan Kim Boon (1851-1920)
Chan Kim Boon is the son of Chan Yong Chuan, a trader of Padang, Sumatra. Chan Kim Boon was born  in Penang in 1851 and educated at the Free School, Penang. He then went to China and studied at Foochow Naval School with specialisation in Military tactics. Due to his weak constitution, he declined a role as an army officer but instead became an assistant tutor in mathematics. Amongst his pupils was Admiral Sah, the late Admiral Yin and the late Sir Chin-chen Lo Feng-luh (onc a Chinese Minister in London, whose elder daughter became the first wife of Lieut. Tan Soo Bin.

Chan Kim Boon left China after a prediction by a fortune teller that he would live to see his 25th birthday and in January 1872, he returned to Penang to visit his widowed mother. In March 1872 he arrived Singapore and joined the legal firm of Aitken & Rodyk (subsequently Aitken & Co and now Donalidson & Burkinsaw as book-keeper and cashier.  He made good use of his knowledge of Chinese by translating into Romanised Malay during his free time the Sam-kok (History of the Three Kingdoms) and numerous Chinese stories.
Chan Kim Boon

Sam Kok 

Chan publication of "Sam Kok" was important especially to the local Chinese community as well as for Malay literature as a whole, because it was a massive translation work over 30 volumes. Chan was known by his pen-name Batu Gantong. The Baba Malay version of this classic was published in Singapore – making this accessible to the Straits-born Chinese community. He had the help of two other people, Chia Ann Siang and Tan Kheam Hock.

Chan Kim Boon passed away on 7 April 1920 at 11 pm due to acute broncho asthma at the age of 70. His remains were taken from his house at No 9 Stanley Road and shipped back to Penang in accordance to his wishes to be buried in Bukit Gantong Cemetery.

source: NewspaperSG

Fashionable Chinese Wedding. Chan Yen Soon-Kan Kim Kee. (1906, May 5). The Straits Times, page 5
Deaths. (1920, April 8). The Straits Times, page 6
Announcement. (1920, April 17). The Straits Times, page 8
Death of Mr Chan Yen Soon. Family long association with legal firm.(1930, October 21). The Straits Times, page 12

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