Tan Chian and family (Kopi Sua)

The tomb of Tan Chian alias Tan Kwee Chian 陳貴賤 was identified by Raymond Goh while we were exploring an area of the Hokkien Cemetery near Mount Pleasant colloquially known as Kopi Sua. While searching through the newspapers archives, we can slowly piece together the story of Tan Chian (1876-1944) and his family. Tan Chian passed away at his residence at No. 19 Scotts Road at the age of 68 on November 3, 2604 (the Japanese koki calender for 1944). He is survived by 7 sons, ( Messrs. Tan Beng Kee, Tan Beng Thong, Tan Beng Wah, Tan Beng Teck, Tan Beng Guan, Tan Beng Ghee and Tan Beng Hui), 4 daughters, 1 son-in-law and 14 grandchildren.

Tan Kwee Chian 

Tan Chian alias Tan Kwee Chian 

Tan Chian  (alias Tan Kwee Chian) was a timber merchant and sawmill propertier with company under the name of Chop Chye Hin, Beach Road. He was also a shareholder in the Chinese Commercial Bank. Mr. Tan Chian was granted a certificate of naturalization by the British Colonial Government in 1919. This means he was granted naturalization at the age of 43. From the article, this could also mean he came from China at the age of 19. Tan Chian was also mentioned in a 1936 article to be one of 3 well-known Straits Chinese (the other being Mr. Teo Soo Piah and Mr. Ong Hock Thye).  who went on a world tour, starting on a ship called President Adams for Europe, and from there tour Europe for 40 days before crossing to New York on the Queen Mary. After a tour of Canada and US, they will set sail from San Francisco to China. 

When Tan Kah Kee fled Singapore from the advancing Japanese invasion (he was a targeted man for being the Nanyang leader responsible for the China Relief Fund ), he and many other anti-Japan activist fled Singapore to Sumatra on motor launches that belong to Tan Kwee Chian.

19 Scotts Road "Lochaber" 
Tan Chian's residence was in No 19 Scotts Road and the name of its house, "Lochaber" which is likely named after an area in the Scottish Highlands. Why was it named so and how the house looked like on picture would have been interesting. Other properties purchase that i could make out includes a 99 years old leasehold land and house at 91 Upper Nankin-Street, 1,120 square feet for $10,500 in 1920. He bought land and a business premise, 2,365 sq feet at 215 South Bridge Road for $49,000 in 1922.

source: National Archives


Son: Tan Beng Kee
Tan Beng Kee (eldest son Mr and Mrs Tan Chian of 36 Cairn hill Road) engaged Miss Chua Bee Neo (youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chua Hong Ing) of No.96 Owen Road. The marriage took place on December 2, 1924. 

Son: Tan Beng Thong
The marriage of Tan Beng Thong (second son of Mr and Mrs Tan Chian) to Miss Cheok Sye Huay (second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cheok Cheng Kee) took place on 16 June 1926 at "Lochaber", 19 Scotts Road. 

Grandson: Tan Hock Seng
Tan Hock Seng (eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Tan Beng Kee and eldest grandson of the late Mr. Tan Chian and Mrs. Tan Chian of 19, Scotts Road) engaged Miss Happy Lim Keng Wah (second daughter of Mr. Lim Seow Eng and the late Madam Tay Keng Guan and grand daughter of the late Mr. Lim Peng Siang and Mrs. Lim Peng Siang of No. 10 Bukit Pasoh Road on 24th December 2604.

[research on-going]

Tan Chian alias Tan Kwee Chian

Retaining wall of Tan Chian's tomb 

Variant Name 
Tan Chian is also known as Tan Kwee Chian / 陳貴賤

Gazette Items. (1919, May 5). Malayan Tribune, page 7
Chinese Commercial Bank. (1923, December 28). The Singapore Free Press, page 12 
Births, Marriages, Deaths.(1924, November 29). Malayan Tribune, page 6
Domestic Occurrences. (1926, June 14). Malayan Tribune, page 8
Start of Opium Enquiry. (1929, October 23). The Straits Times, page 11
World Tour. (1936, July 26). Morning Tribune, page 2
Death. (1944, November 8). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Domestic Occurrences. (1944, December 25). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Tan Kah-kee: The Making of an Overseas Chinese Legend.By Ching Fatt Yong, Julio Antonio Gonzalo, Manuel Maria Carreira



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