Thursday, May 28, 2020

Timothy G. Crowley (Kranji War Memorial)

Timothy G. Crowley's marble tomb in Kranji War Memorial caught my attention, as his tomb states:
In loving memory of our beloved son
Timothy G. Crowley (A.M.D.G.W)
aged 29 years
killed in Singapore Riots
11th Dcember 1950

What was this Singapore riots mentioned here? Delving a bit deeper, i found out that Timothy G. Crowley was one of the victim's of the Maria Hertogh riots that took place in Singapore between 11 and 13 December 1950. The riots left 18 dead and 173 injured.

Mr. Timothy G. Crowley married Miss Josephine Mary Maher (of Liverpool) at the Cathedral of Good Shepherd on 9 December 1950. Mrs. Josephine Crowley became a widow 2 days later when her husband, Timothy G. Crowley, who was attached with Air Ministry Directorate-General of Works (A.M.D.G.W) was murdered on 11th December 1950 when a group of rioters were witnessed to have stopped a car at the junction of Tanjong Katong Road and Mountbatten Road and Timothy G. Crowley and Harry Frank Taylor were pulled out of the car and set upon. Their bodies were later found on the grass verge or in some other reports, a drain. Corporal Wan Ishak bin Wan Abdullah of 223 Base Ordnance Depot was present onsite and bravely went to help Mrs. Crowley, Mrs.Taylor and her small son and get them to safety by running to a nearby hotel. Another witness, Johnney Mortell, a boxer was at the hotel main entrance, sheltered the women and child and later contacted the military.

Corporal Wan Ishak bin Wan Abdullah went on to received a King's Commission for bravery. Josephine Mary Maher  / Mrs. Crowley returned back to Liverpool, UK after the incident.

Tomb of  Timothy G. Crowley (Kranji War Memorial)

Straits Times report on the Singapore Riots (Maria Hertogh Riots) of 1950  (source: NewspaperSG)

Straits Times report on the Singapore Riots (Maria Hertogh Riots) of 1950  (source: NewspaperSG)

Maria Hertogh riots. (website). Singapore Infopedia, last accessed 25th May 2020
Maria Hertogh (Nadra). (website). Singapore Infopedia. last accessed 25th March 2020
The aftermath of the Maria Hertogh Riots in Colony Singapore (1950-1953). Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied. A Thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Department of History, School of Oriental and African Studies. University of London. (2008). Access from Proquest
Saved Women Duting Riots, Two Praised. (1951, April 4). The Straits Times, page 7

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Mrs. Lim Peng Cheng nee Tan Meow Ngoh and family (Bukit Brown)

Mrs. Lim Peng Cheng nee Madam Tan Meow Ngoh passed away at the age of 37 on 1st February 1930. The Teochew tomb with beautiful decorative tiles has her name and her husband's name listed on the tomb. Fortunately for me, the names of the children are also listed. Often for Teochew tombs, you don't have this information and it makes tracing the family tree much harder. The names of the children of Madam Tan Meow Ngoh are;
Sons: Lim Teo Thai, Lim Teo Guan, Lim Teo Hock, Lim Teo Sing, Lim Teo Chuan
Daughters: Lim Siam Keow, Lim Siam Noy, Lim Siam Muay
Madam Tan Meow Ngoh is buried in Hill 3 Section A, plot 216.

Distinct Teochew tomb of Mrs. Lim Peng Cheng nee Tan Meow Ngoh

Close-up of the tomb (the names of Tan Meow Ngoh and Lim Peng Cheng are engraved) 

Sons and daughters of Mrs. Lim Peng Cheng Madam Tan Meow Ngoh

Mr. Lim Peng Cheng passed away at the age of 87 on 13th August 1978. He is survived by his wife, Soo Sai Choo, his sister; Lim Cheng Khim, sons, Lim Teo Hock, Lim Teo Seng, Lim Teo Chuan, adopted son; Koh Puay Soon, daughters; Lim Siam Keow, Lim Siam Noy, Sister Bernardine Siam Huay, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, many grandsons, grand son-in-laws, grand daughter-in-law and man great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

Obituary notice of Mr. Lim Peng Cheng

Son: Lim Teo Seng 
Lim Teo Seng (fourth son of Mr and Mrs. Lim Peng Cheng) married Miss Sim Yee Keng (sixth daughter of Mr and Mrs. Sim Hong Siang) on 18th September 1948.

Decorative Tiles

The tomb of  Mrs. Lim Peng Chee nee Madam Tan Meow Ngoh is decorated with lovely tiles and the ones that are unique is a 6 panel ones featuring a cow farm.
Decorative tiles at the tomb of Mrs. Lim Peng Cheng nee Tan Meow Ngoh

Decorative Tiles at the tomb of Mrs. Lim Peng Cheng nee Tan Meow Ngoh

Advertisement. (1948, September 18). Malayan Tribune, page 6

Friday, May 15, 2020

Chua Kong Wee (Lao Sua)

Chua Kong Wee, brother of Mr. Chua Lye Keat (of Messrs. Boustead and Company) passed away on 12 May 1917 at Batu Pahat, Malaysia. The remains of the deceased were brought in a coffin to Singapore by the Hong Wan II on the 17th May 1917, landed at Beach Road and the interment is at Toa Payoh Cemetery. The only other information i can find at the moment about Chua Kong Wee was that he was at once the President of Mount Wallich Club in November 1914. The Secretary and Treasurer of that club during that period of time was Mr. Chua Keh Hai.

Tomb of Chua Kong Wee at Lao Sua

Decorative tiles of the tomb of Chua Kong Wee


There was an article that ties Chua Kong Wee to Chua Lye Kiat and Chua Lye Swee where Chua Lye Kiat, Chua Lye Swee, Chua Kong Wee thanked the people who attended the funeral of their mother (24 July 1912)

Domestic Occurrences. (1912, July 24). The Singapore Free Press, page 6
Obituary.(1917, May 17). Malaya Tribune, page 5

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Sam Kai Faye (former Peck San Teng Cemetery)

Sam Kai Faye (1924-1972) was bon in Penang before coming to Singapore. He was with the The Straits Times from 1950 to 1957. It was with Straits Times, he became the first Asian to win the Best News Picture in the British Press Pictures of the Year Competition and the top World Press Photo in 1955 for his close-up photo of a plane crash at Kallang Airport.

Sam Kai Faye (48 years old) and Terence Khoo (35 years old) were killed while covering the battle for American Broadcasting Corporation on  20 July 1972.  Sam was shot by a sniper near Quang Tri. Terence stayed behind to help but ended up getting killed as well. Their bodies were only retrieved 3 days later due to heavy fighting. The hill were their bodies was found was name Terry & Sam by their journalist friends.

Sam Kai Faye (source: NewspaperSG)

Sam Kai Faye niche at Mandai (photo courtesy of Aloy Cheow Cheow) 

Sam Kai Faye funeral took place at 11 am and he was buried at Peck San Teng Cemetery at the 4th mile Thomson Road.
Funeral of Sam Kai Faye at Peck San Teng (source: National Archives, Singapore)

Funeral of Sam Kai Faye. (source: National Archives, Singapore)

Mr Sam Yoke Tatt (Centre) comforting his two aunts, Madam Sam Lye Ha (left) and Mrs Sam Kai Yee (source: National Archives, Singapore) 

The picture won the first prize in the news section of the British Press Pictures of the Year competition.

Sam's award winning photo for the World Free Press Photo Competition 1955

source: NewspaperSG
[research on-going]

I could hear her rescuers telling her to keep calm. (1995, July 15). The Straits Times, page 5
Bodies of Viet war victims flown back. (1972, July 28). The Straits Times, page 6
War Photographers remembered. (2011, June 30). The Straits Times, page 3
The story of Charles, Sam and Terry. (2013, August 8). The Straits Times, page 42
The Vietnam War through the Singapore eyes. BiblioAsia.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Seet Chee Hean and family (Bukit Brown)

Seet Chee Hean, age 38 passed away at his residence in No. 41 Blair Road on 15th August 2605 (1945). He is survived by his wife, 2 sons and 3 daughters. From the tomb, i know that the name of the 2 sons are Seet Chim Tee, Seet Chim Teck and 3 daughters are Seet Poey Geok, Seet Ng Geok, Seet Wee Geok.  Seet Chee Hean is buried in Hill 4 Section C, plot P461.


Wife: Madam Lim Chin Chin
In 4th October 1927 there was an engagement notice between Mr. Seet Chee Hean (eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Seet Cheng Lin ) and Miss Lim Chin Chin, (eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Lim Mah Seang).  Mrs. Seet Chee Hean pased away at the age of 51 at her residence, No 41 Blair Road on 6th December 1959 leaving behind 2 sons, 3 daughters, 1 son-in-law, 1 daughter-in-law, and 3 grandchildren to mourn her loss. She was buried in Bidadari Cemetery.

Lim Mah Seang comes from an illustrious family, with links to Penang (he is the son of Mr. Lim Kek Chuan) and Lim Mah Seang married the daughter of Tan Kheam Hock.

Father: Seet Cheng Lin
Seet Cheng Lin passed away at age of 65 at his residence, No 19 East Reclamation Road on 16 March 1942. He leaves behind 4 sons, Seet Chee Hean, Seet Tiong Hean, Seet Boon Hean, Seet Phee Hean, 1 daughter-in-law and several grandchildren. Seet Cheng Lin is buried in Bukit Brown.

Son: Tommy Seet Chim Tee / Tommy Seet
Tommy Seet stayed on in 41 Blair Road and in 1973 was a laboratory technician.

Engagement. (1927, October 4). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Advertisement. (1942, March 17). Syonan Shimbun,page 2
Death. (1945, August 21). Syonan Shimbun, page2

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mrs. Lim Seow Eng nee Mabel Tay Kheng Gian (Bukit Brown)

Mabel Tay Kheng Gian  / Tay Keng Guan (wife of  Mr. Lim Seow Eng) passed away on 23rd July 1941 at the age of 38 at 16 Fernhill Road, Singapore off Stevens Road. Obituary notice list 2 sons and 3 daughters.  The name of the sons are Lim Kian Teck  and Lim Kian Huat and the 3 daughters are Hilda Lim, Happy Lim and Kitty Lim.  

Mabel Tay Kheng Gian nee Mrs. Lim Seow Eng

Tomb of Mabel Tay Kheng Gian nee Mrs. Lim Seow Eng
Her husband,  Lim Seow Eng is the son of Lim Peng Siang and grandson of Lim Ho Puah. The family have long been leading industrialist associated with the development of Singapore as a British Colony. Lim Seow Eng was a Director of Ho Hong Soap Limited. Beyond this, i do not have much details of when and where he passed away.

16 Fernhill Road
16 Fernhill Road, of Stevens Road the address listed in the obituary notice of Mabel Tay Kheng Gian was a house in a in freehold land  with the ouse at 7,505 sq ft and the land 8,305 sq ft. It was eventually placed on auction on 16th October 1946.


Daughter: Happy Lim Keng Wah (1927-1949)
Happy Lim Keng Wah (second daughter of Mr. Lim Seow Eng and the late Madam Tay Keng Guan and grand-daughter of the late Mr. Lim Peng Siang and Mrs. Lim Peng Siang of No.10 Bukit Pasoh Road) got engaged on 24th December 2604 (1944) with Mr. Tan Hock Seng (eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Tan Beng Kee and eldest grandson of the late Mr. Tan Chian and Mrs. Tan Chian of 19 Scotts Road. Happy Lim Keng Wah passed away at the age of 49 on 9 January 1976. She is survived by her son Jeffrey, daughters; Pauline and Patricia, son-in-law; Jimmy Oey Liang Gie and granddaughter, Trina.

Father-in-law: Lim Peng Siang
Lim Peng Siang, J.P. was born in Amoy 1872 and came down to Singapore at a young age was very young and studied via a private tutor but also managed a year in St. Joseph's Institution before joining his father at Wee Bin & Co. Very much like his father, he eventually made it on his own and became the proprietor of Ho Hong Co or Enterprise in 1904 and reinvested is wealth in expanding to many other companies such as Ho Hong Oil Mills, Ho Hong Bank and Ho Hong Line of Steamers, Ho Hong Soap Factory, Ho Hong Portland Cement Company and The Asphalt Paving Company which are industries that help in the development of Singapore as a British Colony. Lim Peng Siang passed away at the age of 73 at his residence, "Bintang House", 243 Havelock Road on March 21, 2604 (1944). He is survived by his wife, 8 sons: Lim Seow Kiew, Lim Seow Eng, Lim Seow Chong, Lim Seow Leong, Lim Seow Chuan, Lim Seow Peng, Lim Seow Beng and Lim Seow Khoon, 5 daughters (Mrs. Chua Cheow Teck, Mrs. Chia Poh Koon, Mrs. Tay Hwa Choon, Mrs. Teo Thian Lye and Miss Lim Siew Chwee ), 6 daughters-in-law and several grandsons and grand daughters to morn his lost. He was buried in Bukit Brown but was later exhumed and remains shipped to China. His wife, Madam Wee Guat Choo Neo is buried in Bukit Brown.

Lim Peng Siang and his father Lim Ho Puah

Grandfather-in-law: Lim Ho 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.

Location of tomb 
Madam Tay Kheng Gian is buried at Hill3 Division C, plot 634 (close by to Chew Boon Lay's tomb).

Death. (1941, July 25). Malaya Tribune, page 12
Advertisement. (1944, December 25). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Advertisement. (1946, April 20). Malaya Tribune, page 4

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Bukit Brown in 1973 (from the show Ring of Fury)

A made in Singapore movie, named Ring of Fury directed by Tony Yeow Park Swee and James Sebastian in 1973 was recently made available on Youtube on 3 May 2020 by the Asian Film Archive with the accompanying text, In memory of James Sebastian (who recently passed away on 7 April 2020). Ring of Fury was labeled has Singapore’s first and only martial arts film. Unfortunately  the movie was banned for local viewing for about 32 years. It was apparently banned for its portrayal of gangsterism and vigilantism at a time when Singapore was ‘cleaning up’ its national public image. The film finally made its long overdue Singapore debut in 2005 at the Singapore International Film Festival and in 2017, the Asia Film Archives restored the film from the sole surviving film print. Ring of Fury was shown again in 2018 at The Projector after it had been restored. A posting on the Heritage Singapore Bukit Brown Group by Beng Yong Tang alerted us about the film which provides rare glimpse of various locations of places in Singapore. The one that is rare for me is Bukit Brown, in which some of the scenes where filmed included the Bukit Brown Temple as well as the shelter at the former roundabout in Hill 1 (now part of the highway). This article gives you some snapshots of Bukit Brown from almost 50 years ago.

Bukit Brown Temple and tomb cluster of Ho Siak Kuan
This screen grab of the scene from the movie is rare, as the temple in Bukit Brown and the tomb clusters of the family of Ho Siak Kuan no longer exist. I have previously only one picture of the temple courtesy of one the descendants. The Ho Siak Kuan cluster of tombs were affected by the 8 lane highway and was among the affected tombs exhumed. The temple and why it was demolished remains a mystery for now. What remains intact from this photo is surprisingly the tomb of Tan Chong Chew (son of Tan Kheam Hock), which is the tomb that is just behind the temple.
Bukit Brown Temple
Bukit Brown Temple (screengrab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973) 

Ho Siak Kuan's cluster of tomb and the temple of Bukit Brown
as shown on map, using main gate as reference.  

Ho Siak Kuan cluster in 2012-2013 before exhumation for the highway

Scenery of Bukit Brown
There were various scenes which shows how Bukit Brown was in the early 1970s when there was less trees at the top of the hills. From the first picture, i can make out the beautiful rain trees and croton plants that were use to decorate the various tombs. I suspect the first picture was taken from Hill 1 and overlooking Hill 3 in the distance.

Bukit Brown (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973) 

Bukit Brown (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973) 

Bukit Brown (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973) 

Scenes at the Bukit Brown Shelter
The fighting scene between the main actor in Ring of Fury also took place at the Bukit Brown shelter near the former roundabout after going through the entrance of Bukit Brown. The fighting continue downhill at the tombs at Hill 5. What is interesting is i have managed to get photos of this shelter that dates back to 1925 and the more recent ones in 1960s. In the earlier pictures from 1925, there was no long table and benches for sitting, that was a later addition.

Bukit Brown shelter (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973) 

Bukit Brown shelter with tables and benches for resting (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973) 

Bukit Brown shelter view from Hill 5 (screen grab) from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973)

Bukit Brown shelter in the 1960's
(Photo courtesy of Madam Lim Soo Eng and James Yip)

Burial scene at unknown location 
The show itself has a scene where the mother of the actor who was killed by thugs was eventually buried in Bukit Brown. Whether this scene itself took place in Bukit Brown, i am uncertain, but it was an interesting snapshot of tombkeepers and the burial practice of the tomb.

Burial (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973)

Burial (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973)

Roadside drink vendor beside cemetery
As the Ring of Fury was done on a very tight budget, many of the scenes used was undoubtedly real and not props. The drink store was probably real and you can see on the far left behind the 2 actors having drinks is a tomb ! Could this be at Kheam Hock Road itself when there was a thriving village beside the tombs? It probably was.

Bukit Brown shelter view from Hill 5 (screen grab from the movie, Ring of Fury dated 1973)

Synopsis of movie
A humble noodle-seller refuses to pay protection fees to a gang of thugs, resulting in tragedy befalling his family and loved one. To exact revenge, he learns martial arts to deal with the gang led by a mysterious man in an iron mask. Inspired by the kungfu craze sparked by Bruce Lee in the 1970s, Ring of Fury is Singapore’s first and only martial arts film featuring local karate master, Peter Chong. Watch the movie from the Bukit Brown scene

James Sebastian and Ring of Fury.(website). Asian Film Archives Blog.
Ring of Fury (1973). (Youtube). Tony Yeow and James Sebastian.  Asian Film Archives

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Madam Tan Seok Loo Neo (Bukit Brown)

Tan Seok Loo Neo beloved wife of Song Kee Kuan, 3rd October 1922, age 41
Deeply regretted. Madam Tan Seok Lan is buried in Hill 1 Division A, plot 20, (later change to 13)

Her husband was Mr. Song Kee Kuan, who was a shroff with the Colonial Treasury. He was also a pioneeering member and Honorary Secretary of the Sepoy Lines Funeral Association (Past Presidents of the Association include: Lee Hoon Leong, Loke Yew Bee) for many years.