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)

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