Monday, August 19, 2019

Madam Tan Loon Neo and family (Bukit Brown)

The tomb of Madam Tan Loon Neo / Tan Non Neo  includes marble slabs where her name and her husband was etched together with the names of her children allowing for ease of identification.  From the newspaper obituary notice, Madam Tan Non Neo passed away at her residence in No 440, Pasir Panjang Road on May 4, 1931. She leaves behind her husband, Mr. Ong Kim Tiang, 2 sons and 3 daughters.  She is buried in Hill 3 B, plot 66. Her age listed in the Bukit Brown Burial Registrar was 37 years of age. She is the daughter of Tan Hup Swee.

From the marble slab of her tomb, more information can be gathered (especially the names of the children). In loving memory of Tan Loon Neo otherwise known as Non, died May 4th 1931, most beloved wife on Ong Kim Tiang.
Tan Loon Neo
In the tombstone, only 2 sons and 2 daughters name are mentioned,
Sons: Ong Hoa Hoon, Teo Chit Hoa,
Daughters: Tan Hoo Kin Neo, Ong Buang Neo

Name of children

She is gone but not forgotten
Never shall her memory fade
Sweetest thoughts shall ever linger
Round the grave where she is laid

Madam Tan Loon Neo


Mother: Mrs. Tan Hup Swee nee Lim Wah Neo
Mrs. Tan Hup Swee nee Lim Wah Neo passed away at the age of 72 at 158 Emerald Road on 18th October, 1943. She is survived by 1 son (Tan Hin Loo) , several daughters (Tan Bong Neo), 2 sons-in-law (Ong Kim Tiang, Teo Hoe Kang), many grandchildren, 2 grandsons-in-law (Kho Lian Hock and Huang Chee He), 1 grand daughter-in-law and many great grandchildren. Mrs Tan Hup Swee is buried in Bukit Brown. The tomb has names 2 grand-daughters (Tan Oo Kin,Chua Kim Neo).
Mrs Tan Hup Swee nee Lim Wah Neo

Husband: Ong Kim Tiang, M.B.E
Ong Kim Tiang joined the General Clerical Service in 1902 as a clerk in the Analyst's Department. He then join the Colonial Secretary Office in 1920, becoming second office assistant in 1926 and office assistant in 1930. He retired from service in end 1938. He received his Member of the British Empire in 1939. He was also the Vice-President of the Singapore Government Servants' Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society.  I could not find the obituary notice of Mr. Ong Kim Tiang, but notices put the estate of the late Ong Kim Tiang for auction in 1957 indicates that he very likely had passed away in the 1950's.

Son: Ong Hoa Hoon
The engagement was announced in 13 March 1941 between Ong Hoa Hoon ( elder son of Mr. Ong Kim Tiang the late Mrs. Ong Kim Tiang) and Miss Chan Koon Neo (elder daughter of Mr and Mrs. Chan Kok Seng).

Ong Hoa Hoon, Private, 2nd Battalion, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force was killed (either in action or as result of Sook Ching ) after the fall of Singapore on 21st February 1942 and his name is etched on Column 396  at Kranji War Memorial.

Daughter: Tan Hoo Kin Neo / Tan Oo Kin Neo
The engagement was announced on 17th September 1934 between Mr. Kho Lian Hock, (4th son of the late Mr. Kho Keng Chuan and Mrs. Kho Keng Chuan) and Tan Oo Kin Neo /Miss Ong (eldest daughter of Mr. Ong Kim Tiang and the late Mrs. Ong Kim Tiang.

Daughter: Ong Buang Neo / Ong Buan Neo / Mrs Lauw Kim Guan
On March 7, 1944 the engagement notice of Mr. Lauw Kim Guan (eldest son of Mr and Mrs. Lauw Hong Keng, grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs Tan Cheng Tuan) and Miss Ong Buan Neo (younger daughter of Mr. Ong Kim Tiang and the late Mrs. Ong Kim Tiang, granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tan Hup Swee). Mrs Lauw Kim Guan nee Ong Buan Neo, Rosalind passed away at age of 63 on 1st December 1983. She is survived by her husband, Lauw Kim Guan, sons; Julian Lauw and Jeremy Lauw, daughters-in-law, Patricia and Sarah, grandchildren, Edwin Lauw, Edlyn Lauw and Edwina Lauw.

Mrs Lauw Kim Guan nee Ong Buan Neo 

Domestic Occurence. (1931, May 4). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Deaths. (1943, October 19). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Advertisement. (1944, March 7). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Birthday Honors for Malaya Announced. (1939, June 8). The Straits Times, page 13
Mrs. Ong Kim Tiang nee Tan Loon Neo. Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials
Mrs. Tan Hup Swee nee Lim Wah Neo. Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials
Ong Hoa Hoon. Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Filial Piety - He Carried Rice for His Parents (Stories from the tiles)

Zhong You was born in a poor family. When he was young, he often travelled a distance away from home and carried back a sack of rice to feed his parents. He ate only wild vegetables. Many years later, when he became an important and wealthy official in the Chu state, his parents had already died. He often recalled his past and lamented, "I can never eat wild vegetables and carry rice back for my parents anymore." (source: Wikipedia)

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Filial Piety-He Fanned the Pillow and Warmed the Blanket (Stories from the Stones)

Huang Xiang lost his mother when he was nine years old so he lived with his father and was very filial to his father. During summer, Huang fanned his father's pillow to ensure that his father could sleep comfortably at night. In winter, he wrapped himself with his father's blanket to warm it. (source: Wikipedia)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Filial Piety - He Hid Oranges for His Mother (Stories from the tiles)

When Lu Ji was six years old, his father Lu Kang once brought him to visit Yuan Shu. Yuan Shu treated them to mandarin oranges. Lu Ji took two and hid them in his sleeve. While Lu Ji and his father were preparing to leave, the oranges suddenly rolled out of his sleeve. Yuan laughed, "You came as a guest. Must you hide the host's oranges when you're leaving?" Lu Ji replied, "My mother likes mandarin oranges so I wanted to bring them home for her to try." Yuan Shu was very impressed with Lu's filial piety.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Chua Kim Teng and family (Lao Sua)

One of the interesting cluster of tombs in Greater Bukit Brown is the cluster of tombs that belong to Chua Kim Teng (蔡金鼎) (1865 - 1944), his father, Chua Eng Cheong /Chua Ying Chiang (蔡應昌) and Chua Kim Teng's second wife, Seow Geok Lian (萧玉銮).

Chua Kim Teng was said to have made his fortunes in rubber and property and produce imports from Pontianak, Dutch Borneo. Chua Kim Teng was the sole proprietor of  a private market in the East Coast Road area (mention in the papers in 1930). This came to light in a suit by Chua Kim Teng against the Municipal Commissioners who wanted the market closed and eventually managed publicly. He was once the Vice-President and subsequently the President of the Cheng Kee Hean Association (founded in 1893) and his house played host to its gatherings including its Silver Jubilee in 1918 and its 28th Anniversary celebration in 1921.

Chua Kim Teng passed away during the Japanese Occupation in 1944. He had 3 wives , the first two were sisters (first wife, Seow Chue Luan (萧翠銮) and second wife, Seow Geok Lian (萧玉銮). His third wife is Leong Ah Soon /Neo Ah Soon.

Extracted from Zaobao (29 July 2014)


From, we make out that Chua Kim Teng is the father of Chua Jim Neo 蔡認娘; Chua (Tan) Keng Seng, 蔡(陳)敬生; Chua Keng Hoe, 蔡敬和; Chua Kheng Choon; Chua Chee Chik Kim Neo and 6 others. Chua Kim Teng siblings are Chua Chin Neo, 蔡侦娘; Chua Tam Neo; Chua Cheng Neo; Chua Lay Huan; Chua Kim Teong, 蔡金忠 and 2 others.

Chua Kim Teng

Chua cluster in Lao Sua

Son: Chua Keng Hoe (蔡敬和)
Chua Keng Hoe married Lee Kim Neo (daughter of Lee Hoon Leong). So in short, Not only did Leong Ah Soon marry off her daughter, Chua Jim Neo to Lee Kuan Yew’s father, Lee Chin Koon, she also took Lee Chin Koon’s sister, Lee Kim Neo as the bride for her eldest son Chua Keng Hoe.

Daughter: Chua Jim Neo (蔡認娘)
Born in 1907, Chua Jim Neo is the eldest daughter of Chua Kim Teng and Leong Ah Soon. At age 15, she married Lee Chin Koon, a storekeeper, in an arranged marriage. She had five children, a daughter and four boys, the eldest of whom was Lee Kuan Yew, who became prime minister of Singapore in 1959. In Lee Kuan Yew's memoirs, he described his mother fondly as a lady who devoted her life to raising her children to be well-educated and independent despite the hardships she faced. Chua Jim Neo at the age of 67, wrote her definitive Mrs Lee’s Cookbook in 1974 on Peranakan Cusine. Chua Jim Neo, passed away in 1980 aged 73. She was inducted into Singapore's Women's Hall of Fame in 2015. Her legacy is continued when some three decades after Mrs Lee’s Cookbook was first published, the author’s granddaughter, Shermay, who gave up a career in banking to start a cooking school, revised and relaunched it in 2003 as The New Mrs Lee’s Cookbook.

Daughter: Chua Swee Neo
Miss Chua Swee Neo married Seet Cheng Kang (son of Seet Ghee Kim) in 1937. Chua Swee Neo is the daughter of Mr Chua Kim Teng and the late Mrs Chua Kim Teng. Seet Cheng Kang was stated to be working at Rotterdam Trading Co. during the time of his marriage. Later he became a partner in Pacific Trader Agency and Oversea Agency.

source: NewspaperSG

Cheng Kee Hean. (1918, June 25). The Straits Times, page 7
Untitled. (1921, November 10). The Straits Times, page 8
East Coast Road Market (1923, August 11). The Singapore Free Press
Katong Market. (1930, September 30). Malayan Tribune
Chinese Wedding in Singapore. (1937, March 22). The Singapore Free Press
Lee Kuan Yew :  blazing the freedom trail (Oei, Anthony). Singapore :Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2015
Chua Kim Teng.
Chua Jim Neo. Singapore Women's Hall of Fame.
LKY's Maternal Ancestor's Found. All things Bukit Brown

Greater Bukit Brown guided trail 

The tombs in Lao Sua or Greater Bukit Brown are part of the guided walks we started to raise awareness of its rich heritage and flora and fauna. Lao Sua is another large area of historical significance managed by the Hokkien Huay Kuan but subsequently sold to the Government under the land reclamation act for future development. First established after the old Tiong Bahru Cemetery was full, it was through the efforts of pioneers like Gan Eng Seng, Tan Beng Swee, Chia Ann Siang who donated money to create this cemetery cluster for purpose of burial of their immediate family and also other Chinese of the Hokkien dialect.

The stories are continuing to evolve, so do bear with the possible mistakes (if any) during the writing process of the stories. With more people in the community with better insights, i am sure more can rediscovered and the stories of the long forgotten past remembered again and piece back together bit by bit.

Stories from the Lao Sua / Greater Bukit Brown trail (more to come)
Chia Ong Cheng (posted on 2019, January 12)
Goh Sin Choon and family (posted on 2018, October 9)
Sng Chu Sien and family (posted on 2018, September 1)
Ho Soon Neo (posted on 2018, July 24)
Ng Whoey (posted on 2017, August 19)
Chua Soon Leong and family (posted on 2016, July 13)
Tan Soon Neo (posted on 2016, July 11)
Yeo Lock Gee (posted on 2015, March 5)
Song Chit Neo (posted on 2014, May 14)
Wan Eng Kiat (posted on 2014, May 16)
Wee Theam Tew (posted on 2012, October 29)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Journey to the West (Stories from the Stones)

There are many stories on Monkey King (Sun Wukong), the mythological monkey who came to possessed a weapon such as a 8,000 kg rod that can be shrunk to the size of a needle and whose great fighting skills include those that allows himself to be cloned using his hair, transform into other beings and to travel great distances by doing somersault. His power and quest for recognition as a powerful God led to many battles against the Jade Emperor and the heavenly army. The rebellion against the Heavens was finally "squashed" literally with the intervention of Buddha trapping Monkey God under a mountain which became his prison for 500 years. Guanyin (观音 ) in search of a bodyguard to protect a monk (Tang Sanzang) whose mission was to make a treacherous Journey to the West to retrieve Buddhist sutras. Long story short, Monkey King did a good job in overcoming all the tribulations together with his companions and thus eventually was atoned for his sins.

The four protagonists, seen to be standing on higher ground on the stone carving from left to right: Sun Wukong (Monkey King), Zhu Bajie (Pigsy), Tang Sanzang and Sha Wujing (Sandy). Monkey King can be seen with a fan in his hand (from the story where he "borrowed" the fan of Princess Iron Fan to extinguish the flames of Flaming Mountain, so that the four can proceed on their Journey to the West).  The possible antagonists on the left of stone  carvings could possibly be demons they fought in their journey. I am not an expert in this, but i am guessing its Bull Demon King (牛魔王) and his associates in a battle to gain back ownership of the fan.

From the tomb of Chua Soon Leong.
Other stone carvings include:
Hua Tuo heals General Guan Yu

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Zhao Yan pleads for Longevity (赵颜求寿) (Stories from the Stones)

Zhao Yan (赵颜) was a poor boy who lived during the era of the Three Kingdoms. One day, he was tending to his fields with his buffalo when he met Guan Lu (管辂), a man skilled in divination. Guan Lu could tell that Zhao had only 3 more days to live. As Zhao was a filial child, Guan decided to help him. He asked him to bring wine and meat to the South Hills (南山) where he would find two old gentlemen playing chess under the old pine tree. Zhao quietly serve them the wine and meat as they played without disturbing their game. The old men were the North Dipper (北斗) and South Dipper (南斗) star deities. At the end of their game, they were obliged to repay Zhao for his food and drink. The North Dipper added a “nine” in front of the two characters “ten nine” next to Zhao’s name in his birth register, extending Zhao’s life to ninety-nine years (folklore had it that the South Dipper was in charge of birth while the North Dipper was in charge of death). And that was how Zhao lived to a ripe old age. (source: All Things Bukit Brown, article by Yik Han and Claire Leow)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Four noble professions of Ancient China (Stories from the Stones)

The four noble professions of Ancient China: fisherman, woodcutter, farmer, and scholar. What other meaning would this have from the context of a tomb? Another possible meaning: after working hard for many years, striving to do well in life by studying hard, passing the royal exams and serving the nation as a government official, finally looking foward to retiring to a simple life as a fisherman, woodcutter, farmer, or scholar.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Filial Piety - He Fed Mosquitoes with His Blood (Stories from the tiles)

Wu Meng was already known for his filial piety when he was still a child. His family was poor and could not afford mosquito nets. During summer nights, Wu Meng stripped and sat near his parents' beds to allow mosquitoes to suck his blood in the hope that they would not bother his parents. (source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Cheong Chwee Puan and family (Bukit Brown)

Cheong Chwee Puan was a Director in the Overseas-Chinese Ltd during the time where the Board of Directors include prominent chinese business leaders such as Messrs. Chua Kah Cheong, Lim Nee Soon, Tan Sian Keong, S.Q. Wong, Lee Kong Chian, Ong Piah Teng, Lim Liat Boon, Oh Sian Guan, Tan Ean Kiam, Dr. H.T Wee and S.C. Yin. Cheong Chwee Puan was also a  Director in the Chinese Commercial Bank Ltd.

Cheong Chwee Puan passed away at the age of 70 at his residence in No 58 Rochore Canal Road on 25th October 1934. He leaves behind 5 sons, Cheong Ann Lian, Dr Cheong Ann Choo, Cheong Ann Sim, Cheong Ann Koh and Cheong Ann Seck, 4 daughters, 2 sons-in law, Lim Hak Teen and Tan Cheng Han and several grandchildren to mourn his loss.  Cheong Chwee Puan is buried in Block 3 Division D, plot 934 and 842

Cheong Chwee Puan

Estate of Cheong Chwee Puan (NewspaperSG) 


Dr. Cheong Ann Sim
Cheong Ann Sim passed his final medical exams at St. Mary's in 1934. In another article, Dr Cheong Ann Sim received his certificate of naturalisation in 1939. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors for Nanyang Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Mrs. Cheong Ann Sim is a daughter of Mr and Mrs. Tan Tang Niah.

Cheong Ann Koh
Cheong Ann Koh (fifth son of the late Mr. Cheong Chwee Puan and Mrs. Cheong Chwee Puan) got engaged to Miss Ngoh Kim Hyoh (second daughter of Mr. Ngoh Chwee Swa of Muar, Johor).


Local Bank Merger. (1932, July 28).Malaya Tribune, page 10
Domestic Occurrence. (1934, November 2). Malaya Tribune, page 10
Domestic Occurence. (1935, July 26). Malayan Tribune, page 10

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Filial Piety - He Carved Wooden Figures of His Parents to Serve Them (Stories from the tiles)

Ding Lan was orphaned at a young age, but he missed his parents so much that he carved wooden statutes in their likeness and treated them as if they were alive. One day, when Ding Lan was away, his spouse, out of curiosity used a needle to prick one of the statute. To her shock, it started bleeding. When Ding returned home, he saw the statute bleeding and tears flowing from its eyes, so he asked his wife what happened. After learning the truth, he was so angry and in that moment of anger drove her away from home. (source: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Filial Piety - His Filial Piety Moves Heaven and Earth (Stories from the tiles)

This story was set in the childhood of Shun, a mythical Chinese ruler. Shun's mother died when he was young so his father remarried and had another son with Shun's stepmother. Shun remained filial to his father, respected his stepmother and loved his half brother even though they tried to kill him. His filial piety moved the gods so they protected him from harm and made the animals help him in his daily farming chores. (source: Wikipedia)

It was during the period of reign of Emperor Yao. Under his rule, its citizens of China were both obedient and harmonious. Yao, however, had grown old, and decided to request his military and his ministers to select a wise and worthy successor, so that he could hand down the duty of ruling all of China to him. The Emperor's advisors told him, "There is a devoted filial son at Li Mountain named Shun. Although his family does not get along, he still treats them with a proper attitude of respect and affection. His father, Gu Sou, is unreasonable, and harsh. His step-mother  abuses and scolds her son. Shun's step-brother, Xiang, is arrogant and lazy. The ministers told the Emperor, "When his family scolds or beats him, he doesn't bear a grudge or strike back. He simply runs out into the fields where no one can see him and cries to himself. You can find this boy plowing the fields every day, and doing the planting and weeding. His father and brother never lend a hand. Shun's devotion to filial respect does, however, inspire the heavens and the earth to respond. The elephants come down from the mountains to plow the furrows for this young man; in the Spring you can see them line up and use their tusks to dig the earth. In the Summer the crows and magpies flock down to pull up the weeds with their beaks. Hearing about Shun's filial conduct inspired Emperor Yao to dispatch nine of his sons to assist Shun with the farming work. He instructed his daughters, named E Huang and Nü Ying to serve Shun as his wives. The Emperor put the young man through years of training and testing, and when he felt satisfied with his capabilities, he bestowed the throne of Emperor on him, and retired from the duties of ruling China. Under Shun's guidance, the people of China prospered.

A verse in his honor says,

Elephants in file plow the fields in spring.
Little birds in flocks come weed the summer grass.
Following Emperor Yau, he took the Dragon Throne.
His filial conduct touched the hearts of creatures under heaven.

The tiles can be seen from the tomb of Yeo Cheng Whay who passed away at the age of 18 on 5th July 1938 in Bukit Brown. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Filial Piety - He Gave Up His Career to Search for His Mother (Stories from the tiles)

When Zhu Shouchang was 7 years old, his mother (his father's concubine) was driven away from home by his stepmother (his father's main wife). When he grew up, he became a government official and held office for years. He missed his mother and hoped to reunite with her, even though they had never seen each other for over 50 years. When Zhu Shouchang finally received clues of her whereabouts, he gave up his career, travelled far in search of her, and vowed never to give up until he found her. He was eventually reunited with his mother, who was already in her 70s then. (source: Wikipedia)

Zhu Shouchang gave up his career to find his mother

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Filial Piety - He Cried and the Bamboo Sprouted (Stories from the Tiles)

Meng Zong's father passed away when he was young  boy and so was taken care by his mother. Once, when his mother was ill, the physician prescribed that she drink soup made from fresh bamboo shoots. However, it was winter then and there were no fresh bamboo shoots growing. In desperation, Meng Zong went to the bamboo forest alone and cried. As he was hugging the bamboo poles, he heard a loud noise and saw bamboo shoots sprouting out of the ground around him. He was so happy and collected them, went home and made soup for his mother. She managed to recovered from her illness.(source: Wikipedia)

This tiles are seen from below the altar table of a tombstone in Loa Sua (Greater Bukit Brown).

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Madam Chua Geok Neo (Bukit Brown)

Madam Chua Geok Neo, wife of the late Mr. Tan Teow Hee passed away on 11th December 1939 at the age of 73 at her residence, No. 45, Lorong 27A, Geylang. She is survived by 3 sons; Tan Kim Hock (alias Mabok), Tan Kim Joo and Tan Kim Peng, 1 daughter-in-law, 4 grandsons; Tan Chwee Kee, Tan Chwee Yong, Tan Chwee Chen, Tan Chwee Kim, 3 granddaughters; Tan Lin Tye, Tan Geok Cheng, Tan Kwee Lian.

Madam Chua Geok Neo

On her tomb, a nice memorial was inscribed on the side panel of the tomb which reads:
A bitter grief, a shock severe, 
to part with one we love so dear, 
our loss is great, we won't complain, 
but hope through God to meet again. 

Son: Tan Kim Joo
Tan Kim Joo (alias Tay Sah) passed away at the age of 43 on 17th June 1944 at Cameron Highlands. He was a former storekeeper for Sime Darby who residence was listed as No 45, Lorong 27A, Syonan (the same address as Madam Chua Geok Neo)

[research on-going]

Deaths. (1939, December 12). The Straits Times, page 2
Death. (1944, June 21). Syonan Shimbun, page 2

Chua Geok Neo spelt also as Chua Guek Neo
Tan Teow Hee spelt also as Tan Tiow Hee

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Raboenah Djambi (Bukit Brown)

Raboenah Djambi or Ragumah binte Eusofe was a Malay woman from Djambi who married a Chinese man with the surname of Lee and eventually settled down in Singapore and from that union they had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Raboenah  passed away at the age of 46 on 23th April 1926. In the burial registrar, Ragumah binte Eusofe was listed as a Malay who converted to Chinese. Her tomb is located at Hill 1 Division F, plot 27.

Raboenah Djambi

Raboenah Djambi age 46 years 

Malay converted into Chinese

Other tombs in Bukit Brown who are non-chinese include: MasiyahYamada OfuniWiesje De HaayNek Mina.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Tan Tiang San (Bukit Brown)

Tan Tiang San passed away at the age of 70 on 1st August 1922 at his residence in No. 18 Cuff Road. On the tomb are the names of his sons; Tan Hood Guan, Tan Hood Seng, Tan Hood Lee, Tan Hood Teck. The name of his grandsons are; Tan Chye Boon and Tan Chye Poh. In the papers, Tan Tiang San is survived by 4 sons and several grandchildren.

Tan Tiang San was one of the earliest burials in Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery with the first burial record tracing back to 5th April 1922. Tan Tiang San is buried in Hill 1 A, plot 51 (but later renumbered as 44). The tomb is decorated with beautiful art noveu floor tiles (Made in England by Corn Bros, C.1905/1906) and on the shoulder transfer printing tiles. Unfortunately, there is little information i can find about the man himself, but going through the name of his sons, the name Tan Hood Guan ring a bell and is linked based on the same period of time and it could be possible that Tan Hood Guan is likely the same person that is mentioned in Tan Tiang San tomb.

Rise and Fall of Tan Hood Guan 

A Straits born Chinese, Tan Hood Guan was well known in the horse racing fraternity as Mr. Hood and owns a stable of horses (Rockhill and Tease) which has won various trophies. Tan Hood Guan is a member of the Singapore Sporting Club, the Malay States Club, Chinese Weekly Entertainment Club. Tan Hood Guan was a pioneers who donated to the Singapore Chinese Girls School. Tan Hood Guan was a volunteer with the Chinese Company of the Straits Volunteer Infantry (S.V.I.)

In an interesting article in 30th June 1902, it describes The Straits Contingent arrival in Alexandra Palace Grounds. For the first time in England, there is a unit which consists of Chinese Volunteers, British Born Chinese from Singapore (British subjects of Singapore). Within this unit are Chinese Millionaires and parallel's was drawn with Roosevelt's Roughriders in the Spanish-American War. Among the members are Dr. Lim Boon Keng (member of the Singapore Legislative Council), Song Ong Siang (Barrister-at-law). Other members of this small unit includes Tan Boo Liat, Tan Kwee Wah and another wealthy Chinese, Tan Hood Guan. The complete list of The Chinese Co. S.V.I. were Sergt. Lim Boon Keng, Corpl. Song Ong Siang, Lance-Corpl. Chia Keng Chin and Ptes. Tan Chew Kim, Seah Cheng Joo, Cheong Choon Beng and Tan Kwee Wah, while Ptes. Tan Boo Liat and Tan Hood Guan also went at their own expense. Mr. Tan Hup Leong paid a second visit to London in the  role of a sight-seer. The story of their life in camp on Alexandra Palace grounds has been chronicled in the Straits Chinese Magazine (Vol. vi, p.123).

In January 1913, a warrant of arrest was issued for Tan Hood Guan (ex Chief Clerk of Standard Chartered Bank (Foreign Department), Singapore. His last known of residence was No 74-1 Prinsep Street. The charge was defraud and embezzlement of the bank of 3000 pounds. His assets were auctioned off on court orders but what eventually happened to Tan Hood Guan remains a mystery. 

Local and General. (1913, January 11). Weekly Sun, page 6 
Missing Bank Clerk. (1918, January 18). The Singapore Free Press, page 7
Death. (1922, August 1).The Straits Times, page 8
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press
Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. Wright, Arnold. London, Durban, Colombo, Perth (W. A.), Singapore, Hongkong, and Shanghai: Lloyd's Greater Britain Publishing Company, Limited, 1908.Available online from Southeast Asia Visions. Cornell University Library.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Hua Tuo heals General Guan Yu (Stories from the Stones)

The carving from the tombstone below depicts the famous Chinese Physician Hua Tuo healing General Guan Yu, who was hit in the arm by a poisoned arrow during the Battle of Fancheng by using a knife to cut the flesh and scrape of the poison from the bone. Hua Tuo initially offered to anaesthetise Guan Yu, but he simply laughs and says that he is not afraid of pain. During this treatment, Guan Yu continues to play a game of weiqi with Ma Liang without flinching from pain. When Ma Liang asks him later, Guan Yu says that he feigned being unhurt to keep the morale of his troops high.

After Hua Tuo's successful operation, Guan Yu allegedly rewards him with a sumptuous banquet, and offers a gift of 100 ounces of gold, but Hua Tuo refuses, saying that a physician's duty is to heal patients and not to make profit. Although Hua Tuo historically died in 208, a decade before Guan Yu fought at the Battle of Fancheng, this story of him performing surgery on Guan Yu has become a popular artistic theme and one we can sometimes find in the carvings of tombstones in Bukit Brown or Greater Bukit Brown.

carving from the tombstone of Chua Soon Leong


1. Hua Teo, Wikipedia.
2. Carving from the tombstone of Chua Soon Leong

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Lim Keng Swee, Violet (Bukit Brown)

Miss Lim Keng Swee (Violet) was 4 years old when she passed away on 12th August 1925. On her lead etched tomb, i can only make out the following words:

In Loving Memory of Lim Keng Swee (Violet)
The dearly beloved daughter of 
Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Swee

I had difficulty reading the date of death of the tomb as the lead etching have fallen off and moss gathered over. Fortunately the neighbouring tomb gave me indication for the month and year to look for in the burial registrar and from the records, i know that Violet Lim was very young when she passed away and is buried in Hill 1 Division F, plot 1.

Miss Lim Keng Swee, Violet (4 years old)

Burial entry for Lim Keng Swee


Searching for the parents of Violet Lim, Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Swee came with some results of which begins in 1915 with a Mr. Lim Chong Swee, second son of the late Mr. Lim Kee Hin of Malacca getting married to the eldest daughter of Mr. Lee Chim Bong (granddaughter of Mr. Lee Leng Kiat of Amoy Street of Singapore).

Another features an engagement notice in 1938 of Miss Lim Keng Chiew, Margaret (eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lim Chong Swee) and Mr. Peck Seck Beng, Albert (eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Tan Bin Chiat and the late Mr. Peck Cheng Bong).

Today's Wedding. (1915, October 27). Malayan Tribune, page 9
Engagement. (1933, May 3). Malayan Tribune, page 10

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Madam Chua Cheng Neo (Bukit Brown)

Mrs. Tay Geok Swee nee Chua Cheng Neo passed away at the age of 32 on 19th February 1927 at her residence in No. 562 Geylang Road. She is survived by her husband, 3 sons, 1 daughter. Madam Chua Cheng Neo is buried in Hill 2 Division C, plot 227

From the tomb, i can make out the names of the son as Tay Khim Li (Eley), Tay Khim Loh (Taddy), Tay Khim Poon (Sunny).

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Oh Tiang Soo and family (Bukit Brown)

Oh Tiang Soo passed away on 24th November 1942. He is buried in Hill 4 Division C, plot 1871. Listed the name of his children on the tomb are his sons; Oh Sin Inn and Oh Sin Teck and daughter; Oh Kim Soh. Beside him is the tomb of Mrs. Oh Tiang Soo (nee Khoo Pek Yong Neo alias Besar) who passed away at the age of 51 at her residence at No 129 Pasir Panjang Road ( 6 1/4 mile) on 9th January 1940. She is survived by her two sons; Oh Sin Inn and Oh Sin Teck and daughter; Oh Kim Soh.


Father: Oh Kee Chuan
Mr. Oh Kee Chuan was the founder of the business in Robinson Road, Singapore, carried on under the style of Chuan & Co., commission agents, general dealers, and canteen suppliers to the British and foreign navies and the mercantile marine. They have  a large stock, and guarantee their goods. Mr. Oh Kee Chuan was born in 1871 in Singapore. He started life as a gutta merchant in 1892, and in 1900 established the present business. He is a landed proprietor and a member of the Sporting Club and the Weekly Entertainment Club. He has one son, Mr. Oh Tiang Soo, aged eighteen years, who is married and in business with his father. Oh Kee Chuan gave up interest of his business, Chuan & Co on April 1908 and this was transferred to his son, Oh Tiang Soo. In 1910, Oh Kee Chuan was appointed as the Compradore for The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company, Limited as of 1 November, 1910.

Oh Kee Chuan 
In a 1908 article, it was mention that the business of Chuan & Co. as of 9th March 1908, has since been carried out by Tjia Kim Boh and Oh Tiang Soo as partner. In that article, Tjia Kim Boh was listed as Oud-Luitenant der Chineezen, Palembang  (Former Lieutenant of Palembang). Chuan & Co was listed to be in No 18 and 19 Robinson Road.

Mother: Tay Soon Neo
Madam Tay Soon Neo, wife of Oh Kee Chuan passed away at the age of 49 on 31 August 1921. She is survived by Oh Tiang Soo, Oh Tiang Hock and Oh Choo Neo and son-in-law, Mr. Tan Eng Chuan. According to the article, she lay interred at Sang Kow Tia.

Sister: Oh Choo Neo (Mrs. Tan Eng Chuan)
Oh Choo Neo passed away at the age of 41 at her residence at No 181 Onan Road on 24 June 1937. She is survived by her husband, 4 sons; Masters Tan Lian Wah, Tan Bang Soo, Charlie Tan, Willie Tan. Madam Oh Choo Neo is buried in Bukit Brown.

Son: Oh Sin Inn
The marriage of Oh Sin Inn, eldest son of Mr. Oh Sin Inn and the late Mrs. Oh Sin Inn (nee Besar) to Miss Tan Hood Neo, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tan Boon Seng took place on 6th October 1940.

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Oh Tiang Soo

Advertisement.(1908, May 6). The Straits Times, page 9
Death. (1921,September 3). The Straits Times, page 8
Domestic Occurrence. (1940, January 10). Malayan Tribune, page 13
Marriage. (1940, October 5). Malayan Tribune, page 10

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Peck Teck Kian and family (Bukit Brown)

Peck Teck Kian passed away at the age of 79 on 5th July 1966 at General Hospital, leaving behind his wife, 2 sons, Peck Leng Poh, Peck Leng Thong, 4 daughters, 2 daughter-in-laws, 3 son-in-laws ( Tan Teng Kau, Low Peng Boon, Yeo Khian Swee), 14 grandchildren, 1 grandson-in-law to mourn his loss. The cortege left from 56 Neil Road for Bukit Brown.  Mrs. Peck Teck Kian (Madam Tan Siew Eng) passed away at the age of 82 on 27th April 1971 leaving behind  a son, Peck Leng Thong, 4 daughters, 2 daughters-in-law, 3 sons-in-law, 14 grandchildren, 3 grandsons-in-law, 2 Great grand daughters-in law, 2 great grandchildren to mourn her loss. The Cortege left from 56 Neil Road. They are buried in Hill 4 Division A, plot 337 and 347.

Peck Teck Kian and Madan Tan Siew Eng

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Peck Teck Kian in Hill 4 Division A

56 Neil Road

The house of Peck Teck Kian (at least up to 1970's were they lived there can been seen from the old pictures below. The house still exist today and houses the Singapore Corporate Office of Wilmar Trading.

56 Neil Road (source: PictureSG)

56 Neil Road (source: PictureSG)


Mother: Madam Yap Woo Neo (Mrs Peck Chin Kiat)
Madam Yap Woo Neo (Mrs Peck Chin Kiat) passed away on October 1, 1935 at the age of 69 ( listed in the newspaper as 72 years old) at her residence in  No 167 Neil Road and is buried just behind him. Her grave is easily identifiable as it has two sikh guards guarding the tomb.  She is survived by 2 sons (Peck Teck Chye and Peck Teck Kian), 1 daughter (Peck Gim Siew), 2 daughters in law, 6 grandsons, 10 granddaughters.

Madam Yap Woo Neo

Brother: Peck Teck Chye
Peck Teck Chye passed away on December 17, 1935 at the age of 54 at his residence in No 157 Neil Road and his survived by one son, Peck Hoe Seng and 4 daughters, Mrs Lee Hoon Siong (Peck Geok Hong), Mrs Tay Siong Beng, Peck Geok Cheok and Peck Geok Bee. He is buried in Bukit Brown.

Brother: Peck Teck Chee
Peck Teck Chee worked as a shipping clerk at a company called Hooglandt & Co. Peck Teck Chee was also a committee member of the Amateur Sporting Association and the Eng Wah Kok Association. He died at the age of 33 on August 14, 1928 at his residence in No 81 Kampong Bahru Road , leaving behind his aged mother (Madam Yap Woo Neo), his widow (a daughter of Mr Hoe Eng Watt) , two children, his elder brothers, Peck Teck Chye and Peck Teck Kian.  His grave however list that he had 3 children, two son's (Peck Seng Giap and Peck Seng Khee) and a daughter (Peck Chwee Tee)

Son and Mother

The tombs of Mr Peck Teck Chee (LTA peg no. 1875) and his mother, Madam Yap Woo Neo (LTA peg no 1876) no longer exist in Bukit Brown as they were in the path of Lornie Road aka Bukit Brown Highway.

Deaths. (1928, August 16). The Straits Times, page 7
Death. (1935, October 3). The Straits Times, page 2
Deaths.(1935, December 17). The Straits Times, page 2
Deaths.(1966, July 6). The Straits Times, page 2