Oh Hoon Khway (Kopi Sua and Bukit Brown)

There is a large tomb in Kopi Sua /Whitley Road Cemetery that Raymond Goh showed me many years ago. There is no mention of name on that tomb but only oral accounts by tombkeeper there that the tomb belongs to a son of a banker. The theory at that time was that it was the tomb of Oh Hoon Kway/Oh Hoon Khway and one of theories of how that tomb and the tomb of Oh Sian Guan could be possibly linked is via the couplets as shared by Raymond which are similar:

Oh Sian Guan's tomb couplets - 
His writings are outstanding,
His garden materials (legacy) help to spur his followers/descendants to flourish

Kopi Sua big tomb -
His essays are akin to those of top scholars
His gardening skills (expertise) help to spread an industry

Oh Hoon Kway tomb in Kopi Sua (1.327990,103.831169)

Censer / Incense holder with characters: 胡偉吾

Close up of  Oh Hoon Kway tomb in Kopi Sua 

Fast forward, 2020 a recent visit to the tomb, we saw the censer or incense holder with the characters of the owner of the tomb written on it. What surprised me was in our previous visits, we didn't see this censer before, but somehow it appeared today. How mysterious ! As i couldn't read chinese, my fellow tomb explores help me translate it has: 胡偉吾. With this little piece of information, i went back to Raymond Goh for his help and opinion and within the day itself he came back with the confirmation as well as another added surprise, he found via the poems written by Oh Hoon Kway his other name, 胡訓魁 (which contains the generational name character) and another important surprise, Oh Hoon Kway has another tomb in Bukit Brown itself ! (see Raymond's blog post ) The Bukit Brown burial registrar has provided the plot number, Block 3 Section A, plot 364. The picture of the tomb he shared on his blog surprised me as it is a beautiful large tomb i usually pass by and wondered for the longest time who it was !
Oh Hoon Kway's tomb in Bukit Brown identified !

Close-up of  tomb ( children names listed here)

Oh Hoon Kway's entry on Bukit Brown burial registrar (22 April 1931) age 35 

Oh Hoon Khway 
The year 1931 matches with what little we already know about Oh Hoon Kway. There was an engagement notice in June 27, 1930 between Miss Lim Gek Neo (youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs. Lim Siew Liat) to Mr. Oh Hoon Khway (son of Mr. and Mrs. Oh Sian Guan). The marriage was to take place at No 51 Veerasamy Road on July 15, 1930.  However, when Oh Sian Guan passed away in 1943, there was no mention of Oh Hoon Khway. Reading the blog Singapore Revisited, i found out that Oh Hoon Khway passed away in 1931 (a year after his engagement /marriage).

Oh Hoon Kway (photo courtesy of Jack Lee Tsen-Ta)

So the name of the 4 children that is listed in the tomb of Oh Hoon Kway are from his other marriage. On why the Kopi Sua tomb was built, it is because his father, Oh Sian Guan felt that tomb in Bukit Brown had fengshui elements that were not too good and decided to move his eldest son's remains to the one in Kopi Sua.

Oh Hoon Khway's tomb in an undated picture by Lee Brothers Studio
Oh Hoon Kway tomb in the 1930's 

Oh Hoon Khway's tomb in 1992 (photo courtesy of Jack Lee Tsen-Ta)

At the tomb of Oh Hoon Khway there was a marble plaque of his son, Oh Beng Tian who passed away at the age of 18 on 2nd February 1947. 

Marble plaque of Oh Beng Tian
(photo courtesy of Jack Lee Tsen-Ta)

Father: Oh Sian Guan 
Oh Sian Guan / 胡善甫 (1874 - 1943) was a Banker, whose ancestral place was Fujian, Tong Ann. He came to Singapore in 1907 and set up Chop Chin Keat with Tan Tiong Sin at Telok Ayer No 52, importing from Sarawak and Batavia various produce such as betel nut, coffee, pepper and birdnest. He later ventured into property. When Tan Tiong Sin joined the banking industry, Oh Sian Guan managed Chop Chin Keat alone. Oh Sian Guan later sent two of his sons to Batavia to manage the business. In 1919, when Overseas Chinese Bank was formed, Oh Sian Guan became a Director under the recommendation of Tan Ean Kiam. In December 1932, when Chinese Commercial Bank, Ho Hong Bank and Overseas Chinese Bank merged to form Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), he remained a Director until the Japanese invasion in 1942. In December 1932, when Chinese Commercial Bank, Ho Hong Bank and Overseas Chinese Bank merged to form Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), he remained a Director until the Japanese invasion in 1942. He was also once the Chairman of Goh Loo Club.

Oh Sian Guan (picture courtesy of Jack Lee Tsen-Ta)

Watch the video of the tomb been featured at Channel 8 show called Frontline in 2012 featuring Raymond Goh. If you notice, the censer was actually present at that time. So no mystery ! it just got moved.



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