Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mrs. Tan Beng Wan (Bukit Brown)

I saw the exhumed tomb of Mrs Tan Beng Wan (Madam Lim Imm Neo) and Mrs Tan Kim Tian (Madam Wee Poh Kiok Neo) many years ago  and was fascinated by the story of how the were the spouse of the early shipping pioneers of Singapore and from there did a blog article about Tan Kim Tian and family way back in 2014. During a recent visit to the Peranakan Museum for the special exhibition titled: Amek Gambar-Taking Pictures-Peranakans and Photograph, i came across a picture of the wake of Mrs. Tan Beng Wan and i decided to revisit to find if new content has surfaced or something i missed out earlier and indeed some new content (at least to me) has come to my attention in the form of pictures that were made accessible online which might be of interest especially her portrait and pictures of her funeral hearse to Bukit Brown.

Mrs Tan Beng Wan (Madam Lim Imm Neo ) died at the age of 74 on October 10, 1925 at Botan House, No 46, Neil Road. She left behind her son, Tan Cheng Sian and Tan Cheng Yan, 1 daughter (Tan Kum Neo ), 5 daughter-in laws, one son-in-law (Lim Siew Hock) , 12 grandchildren (Tan Choon Bock, Tan Choon Lim, Tan Choon Keng, Tan Choon Seng, Tan Choon Kian, Tan Choon Kiat, Tan Choon Guan, Tan Choon Hock, Tan Koon Neo, Tan Peng Neo, Tan Peng Kim, Tan Kim Chee). She was buried in Bukit Brown before being exhumed.

Mrs. Tan Beng Wan (source: National Archives)

Funeral hearse of Mrs. Tan Beng Wan  at Neil Road 

Close photo of  Mrs. Tan Beng Wan and the relatives in mourning outfit.  

Photograph with the caption "Funeral of the late Mrs. Tan Beng Wan, October 1924" (must be an error for she died in 1925)

Mrs Tan Beng Wan (Madam Lim Imm Neo)
Mrs Tan Beng Wan
Framed Photograph of Botan House (source:

Mr. Tan Beng Wan

Tan Beng Wan was born in Annam and he was adopted by Tan Kim Tian. The story goes that Mr and Mrs Tan Kim Tian lost 2 or 3 of their first babies. So to change their luck, they adopted Tan Beng Wan, after which many boys and girls were successfully given birth ! Another story is that Tan Beng Wan was born from a concubine of Tan Kim Tian. Whichever is the truth, Tan Beng Wan was treated as the eldest son of Tan Kim Tian. He studied at Raffles School and at the age of 15 joined Tan Kim Tian & Sons and eventually became the managing partner after the death of Tan Kim Tian. In 1888 he was elected Municipal Commissioner for the Central Ward. He was also a director of the Straits Insurance Company. Prior to his death in 1892, he was also in the Chinese Advisory Board together with Tan Jiak Kim, Tan Keong Siak and Lim Eng Keng. When he passed away in 1892 at the age of 40, he was buried in a private cemetery in Thomson Road.
Tan Beng Wan 

Mrs. Tan Beng Wan in Batu Panjang, Tempera on Cotton. (website). National Archives
Portrait, Mrs. Tan Beng Wan. (website).
Framed Photograph of Botan House. (website).

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tan Beng Chye and family (Bukit Brown)

The family cluster of Tan Gim Wee has always been an interesting cluster of family tombs. Over the years, i passed through the once fenced gates to visit. Unfortunately, i have been slow to map the family tree of people buried in that cluster. While checking out the tomb that is partially covered by the fig tree, a name was visible: Madam Ang Chuan Neo , with no mention of death date.
Checking closer the tomb shoulder, i could also make up two name of her daughters, Tan Siew Lian and Tan Siew Chin (the rest of the name were partially covered). Checking further with the information i have, i found an article that mentions a Madam Ang Chuan Neo who passed away on 15th December 1980 at the age of 77. She is survived by her daughters; Tan Siew Lian, Tan Siew Chin, Tan Siew Kee, Tan Siew Hok Hazel, Tan Siew Tuan Noreen, Nellie Koh (adopted) and son-in-laws; Loh Mah Siong, Wee Kheng Siong, Teo Khoo Siong, Chia Boon Siang, Lawrence, Quek Liang Teck, George and Lim Tiong Hup, Henry and many grand and great grand children. She was interned in Choa Chu Kang cemetery. So far the findings of the empty tomb and 2 of her daughters name matches. There is also a record of an engagement of Tan Siew Lan (daughter of Tan Beng Chye) to Loh Moh Siang, and Tan Beng Chye is the son of Tan Gim Wee, hence the reason the tomb is within the compound of the gated area, that leads me to the conclusion that the tomb covered by the fig tree is the tomb of Tan Beng Chye.

Madam Ang Chuan Neo 

Madam Ang Chuan Neo's name on the marble stone 

Name of the daughters

empty tomb of  Madam Ang Chuan Neo 

Tan Beng Chye passed away on 10th February 1936 at the age of 35 at 203 Gaylang Road. He is survived by his mother,  wife, 3 sisters, 2 brothers, 1 son and 5 daughters. Tan Beng Chye was buried in Bukit Brown, Hill 3 Division A, plot 347.

Daughter: Tan Siew Lian
Engagement was announced on 24th July 1946 of Mr. Loh Mah Siong (only son of the late Mr. Loh Kim Sye and Mrs Loh Kim Sye) and Miss Tan Siew Lian (eldest daughter of the late Mr. Tan Beng Chye and Mrs.Tan Beng Chye).

Daughter: Tan Siew Kee
The nearest information i could find was the obituary notice of Teo Khoo Siong (husband of Madam Tan Siew Chin) who passed away on 30th August 1990 at the age of 69.  He is survived by 2 sons; Teo Ying Cheong Peter, Teo Eng Joo Andrew, 2 daughter-in-laws; Tan Geok Sim Nancy, Leong Kwee Chern Liza, 2 daughters; Teo Kim Leng Mabel, Teo Kim Yean,  1 son-in-law; Lim Kwee Huat.
Obituary notice of Teo Khoo Siong 

Daughter: Tan Siew Tuan Noreen
Again, the nearest information i could find was the obituary notice of Henry Lim alias Henry LimTiong Hup (son of the late Lim Kian Soon and husband of Madam Noreen Tan Siew Tuan) who passed away on 30th August 1990 at the age of 74. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons; Jeffrey Lim Yew Kiat, Jackson Lim Yew Jin,  1 daughter-in-law; Mavis Han Su Ying, 1 daughter; June Lim Geok Lin, 1 son-in-law; Paul Keok, 2 grandsons; Malcom Lim Tze-Kai, Marcus Lim Tze-Rei and 2 granddaughters; Laura Angelica Koek, Laureen Angelina, Koek,

Obituary notice of Henry Lim Tiong Hup 

Tan Beng Chye's tomb is covered by the fig tree ( on the right of Mr Teo Kim Eng and Madam Tan Bee Hoon)

Obituary notice of Madam Ang Chuan Neo 

[research on-going]

Death. (1990, August 31). The Straits Times, page 43 
Death. (2007, September 21). The Straits Times, page 50

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cheang Jim Kong (Kopi Sua Cemetery)

A newspaper article dated 10th December 1949 announced the death of Cheang Jim Kong, (a son of the late Cheang Hong Lim) at his residence at No. 177 Havelock Road on 7th December 1949 at 12:05 am. He was survived by his wife, 7 sons, 1 daughter-in-law, 3 daughters, 3 son-in-laws and 1 granddaughter. Cheang Jim Kong was buried in Whitley Cemetery. From the tomb engraving, Cheang Jim Kong passed away on 7th December 1949 at the age of 70. The name of the children listed on his tomb are sons; Cheang Moh Yam, Cheang Moh Seng, Cheang Moh Chye, Cheang Moh Kim, Cheang Moh Hwa, Cheang Moh Hock, Cheang Moh Kee and daughters; Cheang Siew Neo, Cheang Chee Neo, Cheang Soo Neo, granddaughter; Cheang Siok Tin.

Cheang Jim Kong

Cheang Jim Kong's tomb unveiled after clearing
From past experience, we know that Whitley Cemetery was know "colloquially" as Kopi Sua, but it still a large cemetery system with parts of it cut of due to the construction of the Pan Island Expressway. Recently while exploring the section of Kopi Sua area that was cut of by the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) we rediscovered the tomb of Cheang Jim Kong which was covered by undergrowth. The entrance to this section of cemetery complex is via the long staircase just before St.Joseph Institution (along Whitley Road).


Father: Cheang Hong Lim
Cheang Hong Lim  章芳琳 ( 1841-1893),  J.P. was born in Singapore and is the eldest of 4 sons of Mr Cheang Sam Teo  who migrated from China and started his business in partnership with Mr. Tay Hong Long (father of Mr. Tay Ho Swee) under the name of chop Teang Wat, located at Telok Ayer Street. The main business were Opium and Sirih (Betel nut farm). After Cheang Sam Teo passed away in 1920, the company became Cheang Hong Lim and Co. or Chop Teang Wat Wan Kee and later Chop Wan Seng. Cheang Hong Lim passed away on February 11, 1893 leaving behind a large amount of property for distribution among his many children; which include sons: Cheang Jim HeanCheang Jim Chuan, Cheang Jim Kheng, Cheang Jim Khean, Cheang Jim Siew, Cheang Jim Ho, Cheang Jim Seong, Cheang Jim Eng, Cheang Jim Kwan, Cheang Jim Kong and Cheang Jim Khoon.
Cheang Hong Lim

Son: Cheang Moh Chye
Cheang Moh Chye (third son of the late Cheang Jim Kong) got engaged to Miss Khoo Chwee Hwa (eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Khoo Kay Tye) on 31 May 1952.

[research on-going- will update if i have more information]

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Tan Tee Chong (Bukit Brown)

Tan Tee Chong passed away on 20th February 1938 at the age of 68. On his tomb are a pair Punjabi guards that are considered rare not only in Bukit Brown, but in the world as for Chinese cemeteries. If you observe closely, the two statues are different- 1 statue (on the left ) has a moustache and the other (on the right) has a full beard. I do not have any information about Tan Tee Chong, but credit to Raymond Goh for helping translate the name of his children for me: sons; Tan Keng Hock, Tan Seng Kah; daughters : Tan Kang Chee ; grandsons; Tan Cheng Hoe, Tan Sam Teck, Tan Sam Chye, Tan Sam Eng, Tan Sam Siw ; granddaughter; Tan Poh Choo. Tan Tee Chong is buried in Hill 3 Division B, plot 626.
Tan Tee Chong 

The tomb of Tan Tee Chong flanked by a pair of Punjabi guards

The descendants of Tan Tee Chong 

Close-up of the Punjabi Guard on the left 

Close-up of the Punjabi Guard on the right 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Sng Chu Sien and family (Lao Sua)

Sng Chu Sien / Sng Choo Sian was a Chinese Accountant in the Official Assignee's office were he served for over 20 years. He was also a member of many clubs, including a club called E Lam Teng. Sng Chu Sien passed away on 29th November 1915 at the age of 58 at his residence in No. 63, Club Street. He is survived by his widow, 3 sons (among them; Sng Tiong Geok, Sng Soo Geok ) and 9 grandchildren to mourn his loss. A large procession of people attended and this included representatives of A.D.A (Amateur Drawing Association), Y.M.F.S. , the White Suit Party,  the Hock Yew Whay Kuan, the Chinese staff of the P. and O. , the District Court and the Official Assignee's office. He was buried in a Chinese Cemetery in Bukit Timah. The tomb is located in Lao Sua and is one of the larger ones we seen in this area but unfortunately a huge tree has fallen on it. The tomb has beautiful decorative tiles and lion statues.The names on the tomb that can be deciphered (with the help from Raymond Goh)
Sons : Sng Tiong Geok, Sng Soo Geok, Sng Puay Geok
Grandsons : Sng Yew Hee (Son of Soo Geok), Sng Yew Lim, Sng Yew Koon, Sng Yew Min

Sng Chu Sien / Sng Choo Sian 

Sng Chu Sien tomb with the fallen tree blocking its courtyard


Wife: Madam Chia Swee Eng 
Madam Chia Swee Eng passed away at her residence at 105 Pasir Panjang on 26 March 1933 at the age of 77. She is survived by Sng Soo Geok, Compradore of the P. & O. Banking Corporation, Sng Puay Geok, 9 grandsons, 4 granddaughters, 3 grand-son-in-laws, 12 great grandchildren.

Son: Sng Tiong Geok / Sng Teong Geok
Sng Teong Geok joined the Government Service as an Interpreter after he finished his education and work there for 20 years. At the establishment of P. &.O Banking Corporation, Sng Teong Geok joined and became the Compradore of the P. & O. Banking Corporation. He passed away due to cancer of the liver on 2nd March 1927 at the age of 43 at his residence in No. 63 Club Street. He is survived by his widow, 5 sons and a daughter and a brother Sng Soon Geok. He was buried in Bukit Brown and the tomb was affected by the 8 lane highway.  Their only daughter, Miss Sng Eng Neo  married See Boon Leong (the eldest son of Mr and Mrs. See Teong Wah, J.P, M.C., Compradore of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation ) the managing director of Lat Pau on 11 May 1927. Both Sng Eng Neo and See Boon Leong's tomb are also affected by the highway and no longer exist.

Mr and Mrs Sng Teong Geok (Bukit Brown)
See Boon Leong and wife Sng Eng Neo (Bukit Brown)

Sng Eng Neo (daughter of Sng Teong Geok)

Son: Sng Soo Geok 
Sng Soo Geok was the Compradore of the P. & O. Banking Corporation, just like his brother. He was a avid ping pong player when he was with Amateur Drawing Association. Unfortunately, i am yet to find out more information about Sng Soo Geok and when he passed away and the names of his children.

There was a notice of marriage on May 27, 1932 between Miss Sng (second daughter of Mr and Mrs Sng Soo Geok) and Mr. Ee Han Swee of A.P. Co. Central Laboratory (youngest son of the late Mr. Ee Chuan Hin formerly store keeper of Messrs. Paterson Simons Ltd. The wedding took place at 105 Pasir Panjang.

Sng Yew Koon (nephew of Mr and Mrs Sng Soo Geok) married Miss Tok Beng Choo, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Tok Hong Kiat. In the photo below, Mr and Mrs Sng Yew Koon are flanked by Mr. Tan Yong Poh (the best man) and Miss Tan Mui Hiang.

Sng Yew Koon and Tok Bing Choo
An interesting note, Sng Yew Koon father-in-law, Tok Hong Kiat was one of the many people who went missing after the fall of Singapore. He was last seen being taken away to the holding area in Jalan Besar and likely a victim of Sook Ching. His mother-in-law, Madam Tan Chim Neo who died in 1st January 1938 is buried in Bukit Brown in Hill 3 Division C, plot 170.
Likely victim of Sook Ching

[research on-going]


Social and Personal. (1915, November 30). The Straits Times, page 6
Untitled. (1915, December 6). The Straits Times, page 10
Death. (1927, March 5). Malayan Tribune, page 7
Domestic Occurrences. (1927, May 13). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
Advertisement. (1929, May 9). The Straits Times, page 16
Advertisement. (1932, June 2). The Straits Times, page 10
Madame Chia Swee Eng. (1936, March 27). Malaya Tribune, page 19