Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Lim Kwee Eng and family (Kopi Sua)

Lim Kwee Eng alias Lim Tiok Chye (1858-1928) (literary name, Lim Tong Kok) was born in Amoy, China in 1858. He is the son of Lim Boon Heng. Lim Kwee Eng came to Singapore at the age of 18 and worked as a book-keeper for chop Wan Seng, a firm owned by Cheang Hong Lim. He found favor in the eyes of his employer, Cheang Hong Lim who matched his eldest daughter, Cheang Cheow Lian Neo in marriage to Lim Kwee Eng in 1879. On 1880, Cheang Hong Lim appointed his son-in-law, Lim Kwee Eng as his attorney and lawful agent for all his business including signing on his behalf. For some years, Lim Kwee Eng became partner in the Opium and Spirit Farm. With his wealth, he also started a business as a pineapple preserver under the style of Choo Lam & Co, and it was profitable (at that time there were only 8 pineapple factories of both European and Chinese). But as competition grew, there were no less than 40 pineapple factories. Lim Kwee Eng eventually moved away from this business. Lim Kwee Eng was also active in the Chinese Chambers of Commerce (established in 1906). He was its Secretary from 1909-1918. In 1908, Lim Kwee Eng and Dr. Lim Boon Keng went to Shanghai to represent the Singapore Chinese Chamber at the convention of Chinese Chambers of Commerce throughout the world. Lim Kwee Eng was appointed the first superintendent of the Toh Lam (Hokkien) Chinese School (now Tao Nan School) of which Mr. Goh Siew Tin was one of its founders. This school started at "Siam House" former residence of the late Mr. Tan Kim Ching. It went on to the three-storied house in Armenian Street (the site was a gift of Mr. Oei Tiong Ham and buildings donation from Hokkien Chinese (that building today is the Peranakan Museum).

Lim Kwee Eng
Lim Kwee Eng alias Lim Tiok Chye

Singapore and Straits Directory 1881

Lim Kwee Eng alias Lim Tiok Chye passed away at the age of 70 at No 9, Mohamed Sultan Road on 17th April 1928. He is survived by his widow, 3 sons, Lim Choo Kiat, Lim Choo Kong and Lim Choo Seng, 4 daughters-in-law, 4 daughters, 4 sons-in-law, Chew Eng Bor, Wee Peow Yong, Wee Beow Chwee and Cheang Thiam Leong, 32 grandchildren, 2 grandsons-in-law, and 1 great grandson. The article says that the burial is at Thomson Road Cemetery.  On an earlier book, Lim Kwee Eng was said to have a family of 3 sons and 6 daughters. The eldest son, Lim Choo Puan predeceased him. The second son, Lim Choo Kiat studied in Foochow and Amoy.

Wife: Madam Cheang Cheow Lian Neo nee Mrs. Lim Kwee Eng 
When Cheang Hong Lim passed away on 11 February 1893,  he left behind a large amount of property for distribution among his many children. Probate of his will was given to his eldest daughter, Cheang Cheow Lian Neo (Mrs. Lim Kwee Eng) to be trustee in executing his will. It was rare that a woman  during that time to be appointed trustee, especially for the Chinese. Mrs. Lim Kwee Eng nee Cheang Cheow Lian Neo passed away on 12 June 1934 at her residence, The "Anglers Retreat" 7 1/4 mile, Pasir Panjang. She leaves behind 1 son, Mr. Lim Choo Kiat, 3 daughters-in-law, Mrs. Lim Choo Puan, Mrs. Lim Choo Kiat and Mrs Lim Choo Seng, 4 daughters, 3 sons-in-law, Messrs. Wee Peow Yong, Wee Beow Chwee and Cheang Thiam Leong, 38 grandchildren and grandchildren-in-law and 11 great grandchildren. 

Mother: Lim Boon Heng 
Picture below is of Madam Lim Bon Heng when she was estimated 86 years of age.

Son: Lim Choo Seng
Lim Choo Seng passed away at the age of 33 at No 241 West Coast Road on 3 June 1934. He is survived by his widow, 1 son, 2 daughters, mother, 1 brother and 4 sisters.

Location of tomb 
Mr. Lim Kwee Eng and Madam Cheang Cheow Lian Neo are buried at Whitley Road Hokkien Cemetery, colloquially known as Kopi Sua. Access to this tomb is from Onreat Road off Mount Pleasant Road.

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Lim Kwee Eng
Tomb of Mr and Mrs Lim Kwee Eng

Variant Names
Lim Kwee Eng / Lim Tong Kok / Lim Teok Chye / Lim Tiok Chye

[research on-going]

Advertisement. (1880, November 8). Singapore Daily Times, page 3
Death. (1928, April 19). Malaya Tribune, page 8 
Death. (1934, June 13). The Straits Times, page 10
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
The Rise of Singapore's Great Opium Syndicate, 1840-86. Carl A. Trocki.Journal of Southeast Asian Studies , Vol. 18, No. 1 (Mar., 1987) , pp. 58-80
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of Department of History, National University of Singapore.Article Stable URL:
The Singapore and Straits directory for 1881, containing also directories of Sarawak, Labuan, Siam, Johore and the Protected Native States of the Malay Peninsula and an appendix. [website] BookSG
Mrs. Wee Chong Beng nee Tan Swee Neo(website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录
Wee Beow Chwee and Lim Seok See Neo(website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录

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