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.

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