Sunday, January 27, 2019

Gwee Cheng Lee and family (Bukit Brown)

Gwee Cheng Lee passed away at the age of 73 on 30th May 1946 at his residence in No 166, Upper Serangoon Road. He leaves behind a widow, 3 sons, ( Gwee Kim Keng, Gwee Kim Guan, Gwee Kim Chee ) 5 daughters (Mrs. Ong Boon Tat, Madam Tan Yin Seong, Mrs. Tan Chin Bock, Gwee Ghee Neo, Gwee Hoe Neo ) , 1 son-in-law; Tan Chin Bock, several grandchildren including Ong Tiang Wee, Ong Tiang Guan and many great grandchildren. Gwee Cheng Lee is buried in Hill 1 Division E, plot 36.

Gwee Cheng Lee 
After checking with Raymond Goh, Gwee Cheng Lee's tomb has names of two families on each of the tomb panel:
Left Panel: Sons : Gwee Kim Keng, Gwee Kim Ko ; Daughters : Gwee Soon Neo, Gwee Chye Neo
Right panel: Sons: Gwee Kim Guan, Gwee Kim Chee ; Daughters: Gwee Ghee Neo, Gwee Hoe Neo, Gwee Chwee Neo

Wife: Mrs Gwee Cheng Lee nee Lee Lean Neo
Madam Lee Lean Neo passed away on 18th November 1923, age 45 at 13-4 Lorong 25-A Geylang Road. She is survived by her husband Gwee Cheng Lee and son, Gwee Kim Keng. Madam Lee Lean Neo is buried in Hill 2 Division E, plot 35.
Madam Lee Lean Neo 

Wife: Cheang Yong Neo
I have no details about her at the point of writing.

Son: Gwee Kim Keng
Gwee Kim Keng, (eldest son of  Mr. and Mrs. Gwee Cheng Lee) married Miss Lee Hock Neo (eldest daughter of Mr and Mr, Lee Soon Hee). The wedding took place on 28 November 1922 at 45, McCullum Street. 5 years after the marriage, Mrs Gwee Kim Keng (Madam Lee Hock Neo) passed away on 19th November 1927. She was 30 years old when she died. She is buried in Hill 1 Division F.

Madam Lee Hock Neo (Mrs Gwee Kim Keng) 

Son: Gwee Kim Guan 
Gwee Kim Guan (son of  Mrs. and the late Mr. Gwee Cheng Lee) engaged Miss Nancy Seow (only daughter of Mrs. Seow Tiong Kim and the late Mr. Seow Tiong Kim) on 25 November 1953.

Sister: Gwee Soon Neo / Mrs. Ong Boon Tat 
Mrs Ong Boon Tat nee Madam Gwee Soon Neo passed away at the age of 58 on August 29, 1952 at 10:50 am at Bukit Rose, 259, Bukit Timah Road after several months of illness. She is survived by her sons, Ong Tiang Wee, Ong Tiang Guan, Ong Tiang Hin, daughters; Ong Lim Neo and Ong Moh Eng. Grandchildren; Ong Eng Yeow, Ong Eng Kong, Ong Eng Sim, Ong Sin Leng, Ong Sin Qui and Ong Chong Bee. Madam Gwee Soon Neo is buried in Bukit Brown, next to Ong Boon Tat.
Madam Gwee Soon Neo nee Mrs. Ong Boon Tat
(photo courtesy of Sharon Ong)

Miss Gwee Chye Neo
Miss Gwee Chye Neo passed away at the age of 21 on 19th June 1926. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs Gwee Cheng Lee and younger sister of  Gwee Soon Neo nee Mrs. Ong Boon Tat. The tomb is beautifully decorated with decorative tiles from S.A, Ceramics, Belgium (1907-1930). She is buried in Hill 1 Division B, plot 304.
Tomb of Miss Gwee Chye Neo

Daughter: Gwee Ho Neo / Gladys Gwee Ho Neo
Engagement is announced between Alan Poh Liang Ann  (only son of Madam Quah Oh Nee and the late Mr. Poh Choo Beng ) and Gladys Gwee Ho Neo (youngest daughter of Madam Cheang Yong Neo and the late Mr. Gwee Cheng Lee) on 31st May 1959.

[research on-going]

Deaths. (1923, November 19). The Straits Times, page 8
Death. (1946, May 31). The Malayan Tribune, page 4
Domestic Occurrence. (1922, December 2). The Malayan Tribune, page 6
Domestic Occurrence. (1923, November 19). The Straits Times, page 8
Death. (1946, May 31). The Malayan Tribune, page 4
Advertisement. (1959, May 31). The Straits Time, page 10
Gwee Cheng Lee and Lee Lean Neo. (website). Singapore Tombstone Epigraphic Materials

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mrs. Seow Cheng Poh (Kopi Sua)

While exploring the Hokkien Cemetery off Mount Pleasant Road and Onreat Road colloquially known as "Kopi Sua" i came across a tomb covered with moss and creepers. After cleaning it. i could make out the name: Madam Seow Ho Hung Oi , died 7th October 1962 at the age of 62. On the tomb shoulder are the names of her children and grandchildren:
Sons: Seow Ah Kow, Seow Siew Tee
Daughters: Seow Ah Eng, Seow Ah Lay
Grandchildren: David Tan, Roney Tan. Richard Tan. Rosalind Tan, Evelyn Tan

I am unable to find any information if do a straight search for Madam Seow and her sons. Fortunately, the name of daughter (Seow Ah Lay) and the grandchildren names (David Tan, Roney Tan. Richard Tan. Rosalind Tan, Evelyn Tan) allowed me to find out and deduce via the newspaper archives that Madam Seow Ho Hung Oi is Mrs. Seow Cheng Poh.

Daughter: Seow Ah Lay / Mrs. Tan Chi Kong
Married at the Consulate of Singapore on 18th December 1936, Mr. Tan Chi Kong (son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tan Wi Yan) and Miss Seow Ah Lay alias Sally Seow (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Seow Cheng Poh) . Mr. Robert L.O was the best man.

Maurice Tan Chi Kong passed away on 9 July 1995 at the age of 72 and is survived by his wife Sally Seow Ah Lay, sons; David Tan, Roney Tan, Richard Tan ; daughters; Rosalind Tan, Evelyn Tan (this are the names listed as on the tomb shoulder as grandchildren of Mrs. Seow Cheng Poh nee Madam Seow Ho Hung Oi.

Sally Seow Ah Lay passed away at the age of 84 on 29 December 2005.
Tan Chi Kong and Seow Ah Lay (source: NewspaperSG)

Sally Seow Ah Lay (source: NewspaperSG)

Maurice Tan Chi Kong (source: NewspaperSG)

Weddings. (1937, December 19). The Straits Times, page 8
Death. (1985, July 10). The Straits Times, page 33
Obituary. (2005, December 30). The Straits Times, page 28

Chua Cheng Loon and family (Bukit Brown)

The dual tomb of Mr and Mrs. Chua Cheng Loon in Bukit Brown Hill 1 Divison B, plot 161 contains English inscription in lead etching that is able for me to trace a bit of their family story but like many stories, some chapters are missing in the fog of time waiting to be rediscovered. Mr. Chua Cheng Loon died on 26th November 1925, age 77 at No 3 Race Course Lane. He left behind a widow, 2 sons ( Chua Eng Wee and Soh (Chua) Beng Lim ), 2 daughters, 16 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren to mourn his lost. From the tomb inscriptions, we can gather the name of the children:
Sons: Chua Eng Wee, Chua Beng Lim,
Daughters: Chua Eng Neo, Chua Teng Neo,
Grandsons:Chua Choo Lim, Chua Choon Kwee, Chua Choon Kwee, Chua Cheng Kiat, Chua Teck Kiong, Chua Teck Gin

Mrs. Chua Cheng Loon nee Madam Gwee Guat Neo
The death of Mrs. Chua Cheng Loon occurred at 3 Race Course Lane on Monday (5th July 1926) after a long illness. She was 75 years old. She leaves behind 2 son, 2 daughters and several great grandchildren. In the papers the son names listed are Chua Eng Wee and Soh (Chua) Beng Lim.
In both articles, the name of the second son has been consistently listed as Soh (Chua) Beng Lim. Is he an adopted son from the Soh family?

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Chua Cheng Loon 

Chua Cheng Loon 

Sons, Daughters and Grandsons of Mr and Mrs Chua Cheng Loon


Births,Marriages and Deaths. (1925, November 30). Malayan Tribune, page 6
Society and Personal. (1926, July 7). Malaya Tribune, page 6
Death. (1926, July 6). the Straits Times, page 8

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Miss Yeo Tiam Wee (Bukit Brown)

Miss Yeo Tiam Wee died on 22th September 1933. Her marble headstone with beautiful decorative tiles has a huge crack that span across the tomb putting it danger of crumbling away. From the marble stone, one can make out very clearly the words; "In Loving Memory of Miss Yeo Tiam Wee, died 22st Sept 1933 No 417". What was not listed was the age of Miss Yeo Tiam Wee when she passed away. A quick check on the burial registrar, she was 30 years of age when she died and when was buried in Hill 3 C, plot 417. That is all the information we have for now.

Miss Yeo Tiam Wee

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Chia Ong Cheng (Lao Sua)

Chia Ong Cheng's (1864- 1908) tomb lies close to the Bukit Brown marker (that marks the original Bukit Brown Hill in the old survey map of 1898 - Map of the Islands of Singapore and its dependencies). Today we colloquially call this place as Lao Sua. Mr. Chia Ong Cheng's tomb was once covered partially by a fallen tree but now is cleared. What is clearly visible is on the tomb shoulder in English, "In Memory of Chia Ong Cheng, born Aug 12, 1864 , died Oct 3, 1908". Chia Ong Cheng was 44 years old when he passed away.

Tomb of Chia Ong Cheng in Lao Sua

In a newspaper article titled Government Scholarships dated 1883, i get an important insight that Chia Ong Cheng (he would have been 19 years of age then) was a Raffles Institution student that topped the list for the Government English Scholarships 1882. However beyond that, i don't any information at the moment what happened beyond his school years. That been said, from old articles we know that Chia Ong Cheng had enough wealth to purchase property in No 326 Serangoon Road (97,000 sq ft freehold) and No 7 Upper Wilkie Road (9,960 sq ft freehold). After Chia Ong Cheng passed away there was an auction of his jewellery and possessions.

Chia Ong Cheng of Raffles Institution(source: NewspaperSG)

Auction Sales (source: NewspaperSG)

Property Sales (source: NewspaperSG)

Property Sales (source: NewspaperSG)

Material Culture (Stone carvings and inscriptions)

Bat (fu 蝠)
On the headstone of Mr. Chia Ong Cheng's tomb are 5 bats and bats are deemed to be a symbol of happiness and. The Chinese for bat (fu 蝠) sounds identical to the word for good fortune(fu 福). Five bats together represent the ‘Five Blessings’ (wufu 五福): long life, wealth, health, virtuousness and a wish for peaceful death.

Fu Lu Shou (福禄寿)
On the central panel of the altar table are the carving of Fu Lu Shou (福禄寿). They represent the three values of good fortune, prosperity and longevity, represented by the three characters in the panel. Fu/Fortune refers to blessings that include health, heirs, or virtues while Lu/Prosperity goes beyond material wealth, and is reflected in "wealth" in intellect, influence and social status. Shou/Longevity of course is for the blessing of long life. 


Raffles Institution. (1883, February 5). The Straits Times Weekly, page 5
Land Sale. (1902. October 29). The Straits Times, page 4
Property Sales. (1902. October 30). The Singapore Free Press, page 3
Chinese Symbols. British Museum (Accessible Online as pdf)
Wufu. Wikipedia (Accessible Online)

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)

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Lim Peng Chin and family (Bukit Brown)

It was an newspaper article dated 23 March 1914 which describes that during a funeral procession of Lim Ho Puah whose mortal remains were shipped back to China via the ship Hong Moh. During the procession, a heavy shower happened and people scrambled to prevent the valuable coverings, banners and flag from getting wet. However the decorated silk coffin cover (said to be worth $200) went missing. A man said to be in possession of the pawn ticket of the silk cover approached Lim Peng Chin for money to recover it. The long story short, the man was charged for dishonestly holding stolen property. Interestingly enough, that is the only story i could find about Lim Peng Chin, whose beautiful tomb lies in Hill 4 Division A.
Madam Tan Po Neo nee Mrs. Lim Peng Chin

Wife: Madam Tan Po Neo
Madam Tan Po Neo passed away at the age of 58 on June 1, 1936 at No 28 Scotts Road. She is survived by an aged mother, 2 sons; Lim Hock Seng and Lim Hock Kheng, two daughter-in-laws, 2 daughters; Lim Liang Neo, Lim Yang Choo, 2 son-in-law, Ong Siow Han and Choa Teck Wan, 1 brother, Tan Hock Ann and 12 grandchildren (among them, Lim Cheng Chuan, Lim Cheng Ean, Lim Cheng Teck, Lim Khoon Neo, Lim Geok Kiat).

Father: Lim Ho Puah  / Lim Hoa Puah
Lim Ho Puah was born in Amoy in 1841 and joined Wee Bin & Co. He worked hard as an employee and won the attention of Mr. Wee Bin and eventually became his son-in-law.  Lim Ho Puah, JP. rose to become a Senior Partner of Messrs. Wee Bin & Co. a prominent company which at its height owned a rice mill and 30 steamers and many other business. He was a member of the Chinese Advisory Board and the Po Leung Kuk. Lim Ho Puah passed away on February 10, 1914 at the age of 74. He is survived by 11 sons and 4 daughters. His remains were shipped back to China. Probate of the will went to his two sons; Lim Peng Siang and Lim Peng Mau.

Son: Lim Hock Seng
Lim Hock Seng of Ho Hong Steamship is the eldest son of Lim Peng Chin. Lim Hock Seng is President of the Amateur Sporting Association and residence was listed as 85-A Teluk Kurau. He was also known to be a well known dog breeder having participated in many dog shows.

There was a notice stating the mutual consent of dissolvement of marriage between Lim Hock Seng of No. 28 Scotts Road and his secondary wife, Khoo Lian Kim alias Khoo Ah Thoe of No. 11-B Eng Watt Street on April 15, 26064 or April 15, 1943. However, the lawyers of Madam Khoo said otherwise in a noticed dated April 27, 2604 and the notice was misleading as no time did Madam Khoo Lian Kim alias Khoo Ah Thoe entertain any though of dissolving the marriage much less consenting thereto. What was the eventual outcome, is not known to me, but from oral accounts from family descendants, he remarried.

Lim Hock Seng passed away at the age of 46 on April 9, 1946  at his residence in No 28 Scotts Road and is survived by his widow, Meggie, two sons, Lim Cheang Chuan and Lim Cheang Ean and two daughters; Lucy (Lim Khoon Neo) and Jennie. He is buried in the same plot as his parents, in Bukit Brown.

Lim Hock Seng 

Residence of Lim Hock Seng (source: NewspaperSG)

Lim Hock Seng with his Alsatian (1934)
(source: NewspaperSG) 

Lim Hock Seng's tomb in Bukit Brown

Deaths.(1926, May 10).The Straits Times, Page 7
Marriage Of Chinese Sportsman. (1927, November 26).The Straits Times,Page 6
Champion Dog at Malayan Kennel Association's Annual Show. (1931, August 1). Malayan Saturday Post
Singapore Dog show. (1934, May 29).The Straits Times.
Death. (1936, June 6). The Straits Times.
Siong Boo A.A. Officers. (1938, May 15).The Straits Times,Page 31
Advertisement. (1944, April 21). Syonan Times
Advertisement. (1944, April 27). Syonan Times
Death. (1946, April 10). The Straits Times.
Untitled. (1947, August 14). The Straits Times, page 5
Marriage. (1949, May 11).The Singapore Free Press

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Lee Kip Ghee and family (Bukit Brown)

Lee Kip Ghee alias Katong, son of the late Mr. Lee Chim Teck and Mrs. Lee Chim Teck pased away peacefully at his residence, No. 40 Amber Road on Sunday, 4th March 1934 at 6 am at the age of 26, leaving behind his mother, wife and two sisters. He is buried in Bukit Brown, Hill 3 Division C, plot 234. At Lee Kip Ghee's tomb, the name of his daughter is mentioned, Miss Lee Swee Gek. From, i gathered that Lee Kip Ghee's wife name is Ong Guat Eng and that he is the brother of Lee Joo Ghim; Lee Joo Hin and Lee Joo Teck. His sisters are listed as Lee Joo Ghim, Lee Joo Hin and Lee Joo Teck.

Lee Kip Ghee
source: NewspaperSG

Mrs. Lee Kip Ghee nee Madam Ong Guat Eng passed away on 25th February 1977. She is survived by her daughter, Mrs. Gek Wee, a son-in-law, Dr. J.S. Wee, 3 grandchildren, Soon Mee, Hui and Lyn.
Is the picture below, Madam Ong Guat Eng (Mrs Lee Kip Ghee) and her only daughter, Miss Lee Swee Gek (Mrs. Gek Wee) ? I can't be 100% sure but the time period seems correct.

source: NewspaperSG

source: NewspaperSG
Dr. J.S. Wee (son-in-law of Mrs. Lee Kip Ghee)


Father: :Lee Chim Teck/Lee Chim Tek 
Lee Chim Teck / Lee Chim Tek (1883-1927) was a director of the Nyalas Rubber Estates, Straits Monte Carlo Club and partner in Lim Chim Tek & Co. Share brokers (34, Winchester House/ 16 Collyer Quay). Lim Chim Teck passed away on January 5, 1927 at 3:30 am at his residence in 81 Amoy Street at the age of 44 years old. The funeral of Mr Lim Chim Teck took place on Sunday, January 9, 1927 from 81 Amoy Street to Bukit Brown. His widow was Madam Chee Seok Goh 徐淑娥. Lim Chim Teck's tomb is located in Bukit Brown, Hill 1 Division B.

Grandfather: Mr Lee Keng Kiat (Lee Keng Keat)
Mr Lee Keng Kiat was the son of Mr Lee Quee Lim and was born in Malacca in 1851 and educated in St. Xavier's Institution, Penang. For many years, Lee Keng Kiat was associated with the firm Keng Yong Brothers and later joined Straits Steamship Co has its sub-manager until his retirement in 1911. Lee Keng Kiat had the honor of representing the Chinese merchant community in congratulating the Sultan of Johore on July 8, 1886 on the assumption of his title as Sultan, has been recognised by Queen Victoria The address was read in English by Lee Keng Kiat and contained more than 150 signatures. In 1900, he was elected as a member of the committee of the Straits Chinese British Association, the year of the associations formation. His intense patriotism was demonstrated in 1901, when at the age of 50, he enlisted as one of the original members of the Singapore Volunteer Infantry (Chinese Company). (S.V.C).

 Lee Keng Kiat passed away on February 9, 1917 at the age of 6 at 81 Amoy Street, leaving behind 5 sons. Two of them, Lee Chim Tuan and Lee Chim Huk were still on the active list of the S.V.C. Lee Chim Teck was no longer active. Lee Keng Kiat was buried in the family burial ground in Serangoon Road. His brothers are Lee Keng Yam, Lee Keng Yong, Lee Keng Liat and Lee Sek Long.

Lee Keng Kiat