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 the 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)