Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The "forgotten" Japanese War Memorial at Mount Pleasant

It started off with a walk at Kopi Sua (at the Mount Pleasant side) and as we were exploring Onraet Road, we came across the tomb keepers who tend to the cemetery there. Our conversation led to them asking me whether i was aware that there was a mass grave for Japanese soldiers nearby Onraet Road? We knew that Mount Pleasant was the scene of an intense skirmish that took place on 14th February 1942 just before Singapore surrendered but I didn't really know much about the stories that took place in the area, especially post-surrender and beyond. The tomb keeper claimed that they have seen it in a forested area between the Onraet Road and the black and white white houses of Mount Pleasant and pointed to us the rough location. We searched the valley of forested area (see red circle in the picture below) for a while but left empty handed without any evidence of any man-made structure that existed that could be symbolic of this so-called mass graves for the fallen Japanese soldiers. Since then i have been wondering whether there was any truth to this story as unlikely the tomb keepers would pull a fast one when it came to stories like this. 

Onraet Road
Onraet Road walk 

Mass grave of 76 Japanese Soldiers & partially destroyed Memorial

In a 27 June 1948 newspaper article it was mentioned that the Graves Registration, FARELF (Far East Land Forces) resumed the search for the unknown graves from information obtained through P.O.W records and local sources. On the first day of operation, they found the body of a captain of the 9th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in a private garden at Mount Pleasant. His boots, forage cap, tags and other marks of identification were discovered. Within the same compound, about 100 yards (91 meters) from where the grave of the captain was discovered, is a mass grave which contains the corpses of 76 Japanese soldiers. A concrete memorial that was partially destroyed by American soldiers after the liberation was erected beside the mass grave by the Japanese. The story goes that the Japanese soldiers were the war dead after a heavy fighting that happened in Mount Pleasant in an attempt to dislodge the entrenched British soldiers. The bodies of 76 Japanese soldiers were gathered from around the compound of the Mount Pleasant Houses and in areas nearby and buried in this mass grave. The Graves Registration Unit mentioned that the mass grave will not be disturbed. (Does it mean also that the remains of this Japanese soldiers were not exhumed and still remains in-situ till today? )

corpses of 76 Japanese soldiers

The 1948 article finally proves that there was indeed a Japanese Memorial built and that memorial was for 76 Japanese soldiers that died in an intense battle to overwhelm the entrenched British and taking over their makeshift H.Q at Mount Pleasant. Who was this Captain that was clearly identified to be from the 9th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, whose remains were exhumed and re-interred to Kranji? With a bit of searching and luck, i found that it is likely to be a Captain Robert Watson of the 9th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (RNF) whose burial form records by Padre Cordingly (Captain Eric Cordling, a padre with the 9th RNF) played a vital role in finding his body. Captain Watson was killed in action on 15th February 1942, the day of the British surrender and initially buried on the 16th February 1942 by Lt. Addy of the 9th Battalion in the garden of a house. That house was 159 Mount Pleasant Road

If this information is correct, the remains (if any remains still exist) of the 72 Japanese War Dead and its memorial would be in the grounds of 159 Mount Pleasant or 100 yards or about 91 meters away from it. I also tried looking at the aerial photos of British Royal Air Force around the area taken in 1946, but not surprisingly i am not able to spot anything yet.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record of Captain Robert Watson

Temporary H.Q. at 160 Mount Pleasant Road
In a 25 June 1948, the remains of 8 British soldiers who were killed in 1942 were exhumed and re-interred in Kranji. In the newspaper article, it was mentioned that the graves were located in the grounds of 160, Mount Pleasant Road, a bombed house, which was a temporary Army H.Q. 

What happened here on 14th /15th February 1942 
The book Tigers in the Park - The Wartime Heritage of Adam Road ( by Jon Cooper) gave valuable insight into what transpired here. In Chapter 17 of his book  (The Defence of Mount Pleasant), it describes a heavy engagement to dislodge a Japanese machine gun unit that had pushed up into the vacant houses in the valley adjoining the houses held by the British. Attempts by the British to flank and flushed them out were met with heavy resistance and casualties. Eventually a 2-pounder anti-tank gun was used at the building housing the Japanese until eventually the remaining Japaneses soldiers retreated.  "Hospital Hill" along Mount Pleasant Ridge was the other objective to be taken by the Japanese 41st Regiment. A Captain Taruko lead 11th Company on the attack across the valley and up the houses. He was supported by the heavy machine gun company under the command of 2 Lt. Yasuda. The Japanese were moving up into a "kill zone" zeroed in by British soldiers with Vickers machine gun on higher ground and having clear visibility of the advancing Japanese soldiers. Many were killed and maybe ended up at the mass grave for Japanese soldiers. From the book, you will also see a Sgt. Miyakubo of the 41st Regiment who took photos of the surroundings of some of the houses in Mount Pleasant just after the surrender of Singapore including house No. 166 Mount Pleasant which was damaged as result of the skirmishes.

To visit the houses in Mount Pleasant, i would need permission. But who knows, one day i may get permission to access and look for the exact location were the memorial used to be. If you have more information and details, feel free to add a comment below.  

[research on-going] 


Remains of 8 U.K. soldiers discovered. (1948, June 25). The Singapore Free Press, page 1
War Graves Team Makes more finds. (1948, June 27). Sunday Tribune
Captain Robert Watson. (website). CWGC  (Last accessed 25 August 2020)
Captain Robert Watson. (website). Wartime Memorial Project-The Second War
Tigers in the Park - The Wartime Heritage of Adam Road ( by Jon Cooper) , pages 185-188

Additional Resources

1) WW2 Archaeology dig at No. 159 Mount Pleasant 

2) Video from Japanese perspective WW2 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Tan Sin How and family (Bukit Brown)

Mrs. Tan Sin How nee Madam Seow Goh Neo passed away at the age of 67 on 23 May 1945 at her residence, No. 25 Chapel Road. She leaves behind 2 sons, Tan Swee Hee and Tan Chiang Hin, 1 daughter-in-law,Mrs. Tan Swee Hee, 1 daughter, Lily Tan (on the tomb, Tan Lee Neo), 1 prospective son-in-law, Lim Peng Swee and one grand-daughter, Alice Tan. Tan Sin How passed away at the age of 50 on 24 February 1926 at No. 42 Neil Road. He leaves behind a widow (2 sons; Mr. Tan Swee Hee and Tan Charlie). 

Mrs. Tan Sin How nee Madam Seow Goh Neo
Madam Seow Goh Neo

Obituary notice of Mrs. Tan Sin How

Son: Tan Swee Hee 
Tan Swee Hee was an hon.secretary in 1934 and for many years of the Singapore Chinese Exchange Broker's Association whose premise was at South Canal Road. Tan Swee Hee went on to be the Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Tan Swee Hee & Co. Ltd. Tan Swee Hee passed
away at the age of 81 on 7th December 1978. He is survived by his wife, Madam Lim Choo Neo, only daughter, Alice Tan, son-in-law; George Lee Eng Koon, 2 grand daughters; Mrs. Linda Lee Goh and Miss Lydia Lee, granadson-in-law; Francos Goh Tien Kee and only grandson-in-law, Alexander Mark Goh. 
Tan Swee Hee

Tan Swee Hee & Co Ltd, was one of Singapore's oldest money broking firms. It finally obtained an international money-broking license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore after its tie-up with a London-based subsidiary of Sime Darby, the Guy Butler Group. The new venture company is called Tan Swee Hee-Butler Pte Ltd. 

Grand-daughter: Alice Tan nee Alice Tan Lay Cheng nee Mrs. Alice Lee. 
Miss Alice Tan Lay Cheng (daughter of Mr. and Mrs Tan Swee Hee) married Mr. George Lee Eng Koon (nephew of Mr. Lee Tian Seck anf Mrs. Lee). More than 200 guest attended a dinner dance on 21st January 1950 at Mr. Lee's residence at Tembeling Road. Madam Alice Tan passed away on 28 June 1985 leaving behind her mother, Mrs. Tan Swee Hee, husband, George Le, daughters, Linda Lee Goh, Lydia Lee Willocks, son-in-law, Francis Goh, George Willocks, grandchildren, Alexander Mark Goh, Anthony Lee Goh, Lee Willocks, Gemma Willocks . Cortege left from 25 Chapel Road.

Alice Tan nee Alice Lee

25 Chapel Road 
The house at 25 Chapel Road was bought by Tan Swee Hee in 1932 for $12,000 and from the article dated 2010 in an interview of the grandchildren of Tan Swee Hee (sisters; Linda Lee and Lydia Lee) recall that the single-storey bungalow originally had 2 bedrooms. One used by their grandparents (Tan Swee Hee) and the other shared by their parents and them ( George Lee Eng Koon and Alice Tan). The extension was added later on. In 2008, the house was given a $.7 million makeover after the death of Mr. George Lee. 
25 Chapel Road Bungalow
25 Chapel Road in 1993. Photo by Lee Kip Lin (source: PictureSG)

URA described this pre-war Anglo-Malay style bungalow as one built on piers above ground as guard against flooding. The veranda (serambi) is in front followed by the house core (rumah ibu) and the kitchen (dapur) at the back. 

25 Chapel Road
25 Chapel Road (source: URA)

25 Chapel Road
25 Chapel Road (source: URA)

42 Neil Road 
Interestingly during the time period of 1925-1926, 42 Neil Road was the house where Seow Tiang Quee, Compradore Netherlands Trading Society passed away at the age of 75 on 22 February 1925. He is survived by a widow, 2 sons, 3 daughters, 15 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He is buried in Bukit Brown.  Is Seow Tiang Quee the father of Madam Seow Goh Neo ?  (i am not sure at the moment until we find the tomb of Seow Tiang Quee and see the names of the children).  House No 42 Neil Road was later renumbered after 1945 as No. 75 Neil Road )

Location of Tomb 
Tan Sin How is buried in Hill 1 Division B, plot 174 and Madam Seow Goh Neo, plot 175
Tan Sin How
Mr and Mrs Tan Sin How

[research on-going]

Births, Marriages and Deaths. (1926, February 24). Malaya Tribune, page 6
Advertisement. (1945, May 23). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Advertisement. (1946, June 4). Malaya Tribune, page 5
Wedding Party. (1950, January 22). The Straits Times, page 9 
Family home restored. (2010, October 9). Straits Times, page 9
A secret hideaway. (website). The Long and Winding Road
25 Chapel Road.(website). RichardHO Architects

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Revisiting Pulau Ubin during Covid-19 Phase 2

Going to Ubin during Public Holidays or weekends are tough as there are huge crowds going there to experience nature or just to do something different since overseas holidays are out of the question. During Phase 2 of reopening, like many places, there are safe distancing measures in place. Other than wearing of mask, the boat ride now cost $4 one-way and a maximum of 9 pax can only board per bumboat. As mentioned, if you want to go during weekends and public holidays, be prepared to wait. If you can't wait, why not try the Changi Point Coastal Walk.  I visited Ubin Island on a weekday and fortunately it was not crowded. My trip was to take a long break post National Day and use this opportunity again to check out the birds in Ubin and also explore certain paths that i went through in the past, to check whether this off beaten tracks have overgrown and become inaccessible. A trip to Ubin Island to me, a time-machine back to Singapore's past. I really hope that some of this places of heritage value are kept intact.  

View from the Jetty at Pulau Ubin

A "resident" of Pulau Ubin welcoming me

Disused Prawn Farms and Fishing Ponds
The were many prawn farms and fishing ponds scattered throughout Ubin Island in the past, but many of them have already closed probably after the government acquired back all the land and ponds. As far back as 1982, there was reports of prawns coming from a $1 million Pulau Ubin farm trading under the name of Aquaculture Singapore Pte Ltd. Then in 1987, The Straits Times reports of the possibility of Pulau Ubin swamps numbering 200 hectares of swampy land being converted to sea-water prawn ponds (using modern intensive breeding techniques). Did it succeed ? I don't think so.  

Tracking to a disused sluice gate

Disused Sluice gates 

2008 photo of Sluice gates in Sungei Mamam that were still working 

2008 photo of Sluice gates along Sungei Mamam
that were still in operation in Ubin

Prawn Farm (source: National Archives)

Orchid Garden 
Following the dirt road of the former rubber plantation along Sungei Mamam brings you to the formerd Orchid Farm which was at one time, a popular stop for drinks on weekends. Here you can  view the mangroves swamp at the mouth of Mamam River and see vegetables being grown and poultry. I was told and also read that the farm also has peacocks and other exotic birds. What i could remember and see though was it had a wild boar held behind the brick wall of the house. I read online that the house used to belong by the former village headman Lim Chye Joo's son, Lim Chu Zi. The dirt road loops back to the junction passing through a prawn farm with its sluice gate, and more mangroves. The prawn farm is now guarded by dogs and there is a gate preventing entry. 

Orchid Garden house now abandoned

Mangrove swamps 

A wild boar used to be inside the brick fence

2008 Direction to Orchid Garden

Orchid Farm (source: National Archives)

Washed up 

Prawns from $1m Pulau Ubin farm. (1982, February 27). Business Times, page 1
Pulau Ubin Swamps may be turned into prawn ponds. (1987, October 15). The Straits Times, page 16

Friday, August 14, 2020

Mr and Mrs Khoo Peck Lock and family (Bukit Brown)

Khoo Peck Lock (1889-1935) was the third son of Mr. Khoo Phee Soon, who was at one time one of the leading shipowners and rice merchants. Khoo Peck Lock was the Secretary of three big concerns run by the Ong Family, Messrs. Ong Sam Leong and Co., Messrs Ong Boon Tat and Co., New World Limited before he passed away. He was married to Madam Ong Boey Neo, daughter of Ong Sam Leong,  Khoo Peck Lock of No 46 East Coast Road, passed away on 20 September 1935 at the age of 46, leaving behind his widow, Madam Ong Boey Neo (the only surviving sister of Ong Boon Tat and Ong Peck Hock) and three daughters (Khoo Gek Choo, Khoo Gek Khee, Khoo Gek Hiok). As a mark of respect, New World Amusement Park and all it shows were closed on the 20th September 1935. 

Mr. Khoo Peck Lock
Khoo Peck Lock picture on wreath

Madam Ong Boey Neo (widow of Khoo Peck Lock) passed away at the age of 61 on 4th April 1951 ; Khoo Gek Choo (Mrs. Oh Hwee Liang), Khoo Gek Kee and Khoo Gek Hiok,  1 son, Khoo Boo Chye. 2 granddaughters, Maureen  Oh and Florence Oh, 1 son-in-law, Oh Kwee Liang, her only brother, Ong Peng Hock, 3 nephews, T.W. Ong, Ong Tiang Guan, Ong Tiang Hin and 1 niece, Ong Lim Neo. 

Madam Ong Boey Neo nee Mrs Khoo Peck Lock

Madam Khoo Gek Choo nee Mrs.Oh Kwee Liang 
Mr and Mrs Oh Quee Liang after their wedding at Mr. Ong Peng Hock's residence at 47, Marine Parade. The bride was formerly Miss Khoo Gek Choo (daughter of Mrs. Khoo Peck Lock and the late Mr. Khoo Peck Lock) and the bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Oh Chin Sien. 
Wedding of Oh Kwee Liang and Khoo Gek Choo

Peter Oh Kwee Liang passed on 14th November 1987. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Khoo Gek Choo, daughters; Mauren So, Florence Oh, son; Terence Oh, son-in-law; So Huat Bing. The cortege left from 17 Jalan 21/5 Petaling Jaya. 

Peter Oh Kwee Liang

Madam Khoo Gek Kee
Miss Khoo Gek Kee (second daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Khoo Peck Lock) got engaged on 24th December 1952 to Mr. Tan Kok Peng (eldest son of the late Mr. Tan Toon Hor and Mrs. Tan Toon Hor). 

Madam Khoo Gek Hiok nee Mrs. Kho Kok Eng 
Miss Nancy Khoo Gek Hiok (3rd daughter of the late Mr. Kho Peck Lock and Mrs Khoo Peck Lock) got engaged on October 1950 to Cary Kho Kok Eng (eldest son of Mr. and Mrs Kho Lian Cheng)

Location of tomb
The tomb of Mr and Mrs Khoo Peck Lock is located nearby the cluster of Ong Sam Leong, his brothers, Ong Sam Kiat, Ong Sam Bee and Ong Sam Leong's two sons, Ong Boon Tat and Ong Peng Hock at Hill 3 Division D, plot 1126 & 1147.
Khoo Peck Lock and Ong Boey Neo
Tomb of Khoo Peck Lock and Ong Boey Neo (partially hidden by fern)


Untitled. (1940, January 18). The Straits Times, page 6

Monday, August 10, 2020

Ong Sam Kiat and family (Bukit Brown)

Ong Sam Kiat (1854 - 1939) was in 1912, listed as owning Ong Sam Kiat & Co. (Chop Sam Ban Kong See) an iron merchant and commission agent at No. 15 Cross Street. He was also once a partner of the Bee Kok Oil Trading Co, Chop Hai Guan of No 4 South Canal Road up to 1911. Ong Sam Kiat passed away the age of 85 at his residence, No 40 Emerald Hill on 21st September 1939. Ong Sam Kiat is the brother of Ong Sam Leong and Ong Sam Bee and the uncle of Messrs. Ong Boon Tat, J.P and Ong Peng Hock. He is survived by his son, Ong Tong Chuan, 7 grandchildren and many relatives. Mrs. Ong Sam Kiat nee Lee Luan Neo passed away at the age of 75 on 14th October 1934 at No 40 Emerald Hill Road. She leaves behind her husband, Mr. Ong Sam Kiat, 1 son, Ong Tong Chuan, 2 grandsons, Ong Keng Wee and Ong Keng Yeow and 4 grand daughters; Ong Chwee Neo, Ong Kim Neo, Ong Chip Neo and Ong Cheok Neo.
Ong Sam Kiat with his sons
Ong Sam Kiat (right) with his sons, Ong Tong Chuan (left) and Ong Tong Yong (middle)
(taken during Ong Sam Leong's funeral, hence the funeral wear)

Ong Sam Kiat & Co


Ong Tong Chuan
Ong Tong Chuan is the manager of Messrs. Ong Boon Tat and Co at Christmas Island. His daughter Ong Kim Neo (daughter of Mr and Mrs. On Tong Chuan of Christmas Island) married Mr. Seet Peng Gam (son of Mr and Mrs. Seet Keng Whatt). 

Ong Tong Yong
Ong Tong Yong, second son of Mr and Mrs Ong Sam Kiat died a few years prior to the death of Ong Sam Kiat. I am unable to find the obituary notice and more information about Ong Tong Yong. 

Location of tomb
The tomb of Mr and Mrs. Ong Sam Kiat is located at Hill 3 Division D, plots 1085 1/2, 1105, 1125 1/2.

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Ong Sam Kiat
Ong Sam Kiat (tomb headstone on ground) and wife, Madam L

Deaths. (1934, October 16). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Death of Mr. Ong Sam Kiat. (1939, September 22). Malaya Tribune, page 2
Ong Sam Kiat and Lee Luan Neo.(website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录
Family of Ong Sam Leong (website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Lim Chin Hin (Lao Sua)

Lim Chin Hin was one of the oldest members of the Chinese Company, S.V.I. (Singapore Volunteer Infantry). Quarter Master Sergeant Lim Chin Hin, passed away at his residence, No 40, Queen Street on 7 February 1911 at the age of 51. He was described to be popular because of his kindly and obliging disposition. Those that attended the weekend camps will not forget how hard he worked to make them comfortable and to provide them with good meals. He was a sportsman in his younger days and was good in target shooting and always found a place in the S.V.I. Team rifle matches, until recenrly when his eye-sight began to be weak. 3 years before his death, Lim Chin Hin met with a carriage accident that permanently injured his left leg, but he continued to be a volunteer with the S.V.I until his death. For his good and patriotic example set, Lim Chin Hin was accorded a military funeral that will leave his house at No 40 Queen Street for interment at the Burial Ground in Bukit Timah Road (3rd milestone).

Lim Chin Hin's tomb in Lao Sua
Lim Chin Hin

Tiger Hunt - Who shot the tiger ?
It started with a tiger roaming around on Waterloo Street in January 1904. It was then seen at Queen Street before been hunted, shot and mortally wounded according to the newspaper article by the brothers Arianna, of the S.V.I and a Malay gentleman by the name of Akber firing the finishing blow. The tiger is said to measure 8 feet from tip to tail and when it was found dead.The Pahang tiger was later found to be an escapee that belong to a Chinese gentleman by the name of Ong Ah Poh who unwittingly let it it escape from his house at Jalan Besar). Akber later wrote in to clarify that Lim Chin Hin was the actual person that fired the rifle that mortally wounded the tiger. 

Chinese Company S.V.I
The below picture shows the Chinese Company S.V.I winning the Warren Shield in 1907. This will be the type of uniform and gun that Lim Chin Hin would have probably worn during that time. In fact Lim Chin Hin participated in the rifle shooting for the Warren Shield and there were reports of his score in a 1909 article (he was 49 years of age then). 

Warren Shield 1907 by the winning team of the Chinese Company, S.V.I.

There were many prominent Chinese luminaries of that time they were in the S.V.I during the same time frame as Lim Chin Hin. They included Lieut. Song OngSiang and Tan Chow Kim (1883-1953), whoe also was one of the original members of the Singapore Voluntary Infantry (S.V.I) , a company within the Singapore Volunteer Corps. and coined in Sir Song Ong Siang's book to be one of the "best specimens" of a Chinese Volunteer. Tan Chow Kim, the first Chinaman to shoot at Bisley in 1910, and a member of the Singapore team, who traveled many a thousand miles to take part in a contest for the Empire Cup".

Lim Chin Hin & Co
Lim Chin Hin was a contractor that also managed a granite trading and mason business under the style of Lim Chin & Co as well as a Saw Mill business at No 41 Kallang Road under the style of Eng Chin and Company. All this were important materials as Lim Chin Hin & Co often bid for government tenders. In 1906 there was mentioned  of the company successfully tendering for the repair of the Bungalow at the Impounding Reservoir for $1,100. 1909 there was mention of Lim Chin Hin & Co successfully tendered for the construction of drains by the Municipal Board.  

The sole executrix of Lim Chin Hin estate was Madam Tan Hay Neo. Tan Hay Neo was sister of Tan Cheng Poey. She was married to Lim Chin Hin. Their children was Lim Ang Watt and Lim Ang Chow. 
This connection was made from the obituary notice of Madam Tay Suat Neo. Tay Suat Neo (widow of the late Tan Hock Seng) passed away at the age of 77 on 14th March 1921 at her residence No 39 Queen Street. She is the mother of Tan Cheng Poey and Tan Hay Neo and grandmother of Tan Kim Leong and Tan Kim Teong, Lim Ang Watt and the late Lim Ang Chow and grandmother-in-law of Messrs. Koh Koon San and Soh Biaw Kim. (No 39 Queen Street is also nearby Lim Chin Hin's former home of 40 Queens Street). 

Tomb location and uniqueness 
Lim Chin Hin's tomb is unique to me as it shows his rank as Quarter Master Sergeant when he was in the S.V.I. Another tomb that comes to mind that shows the rank of the deceased was Private Ho Siong Tong who was 22 years of age when he passed away on 12th June 1915. The tomb at Wayang Satu Cemetery was erected by the Officers, N.C.O's and fellowmen of the Singapore Volunteer Infantry, Chinese Company.  Lim Chin Hin is decorated with beautiful transfer printed tiles from U.K and is close by to Yap Geok Seong's tomb.
Lim Chin Hin's unique tomb 

Beautiful transfer printed tiles of Lim Chin Hin's tomb

A Tiger Hunt in Waterloo. (1904, January 28). The Singapore Free Press, page 4
Correspondence. (1904, February 4). The Singapore Free Press
Lim Chin Hin, S.V.I. Late Q.M.S. (1911, June 9)/The Singapore Free Press, page 5
Advertisement. (1911, October 12). The Straits Times, page 12
Social and Personal. (1921, March 18). The Straits Times, page 8  
Lim Chin Hin (website). Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Ong Sam Bee (Bukit Brown)

In 1910, Towkay Ong Sam Bee and Co. opened a timber depot in Kota Bharu (Kelantan), It was mentioned that he exported good timber and planks from Kelantan back to Singapore where there is huge demand for it in the building of new houses. He was also a steamer agent at Tumpat (Kelantan) of the East Asiatic Company. Ong Sam Bee passed away at at the age of 76 on 23 March 1941. Ong Sam Bee was a brother of the late Mr. Ong Sam Leong , Ong Sam Kiat and uncle of Mr. Ong Boon Tat, J.P and Mr. Ong Peng Hock.

Ong Sam Bee
Ong Sam Bee (photo from the funeral of Ong Sam Leong)

Ong Sam Bee
Tomb of Ong Sam Bee

The City Opera of Singapore 
 The City Opera Co. has it beginnings as part of the New World Shows in Jalan Besar. Its popularity increased with good Malay Opera under the leadership of Mr. Ong Peng Hock and the conductor of the City Opera orchestra, Mr. C. Martinez. The City Opera was once labeled as the premier Malay opera house east of Suez. In short it was already well known and have traveled around Malaya (such as Penang, Malacca), before Ong Sam Bee took over City Opera, New World on 1st September 1929 from Tan Chim Cheng (the chief cashier of the New World). The troupe was in Malacca and at the Royalty Theatre Hall, Tranquerah Road in 1930. The company stage a comical Malay play entitled "The expected Marriage" in which Inche Sooin (the Malayan king of clowns and also of gramophone) was at his best. The intervening acts consistedof varied extra turns by Misses Yutat, Chacha Neng and Mary. Mr and Mrs Salleh entertained the audience with a Dyak dance and a magical performance. What a colorful troupe it was and indeed it was having done Malay, Hindi and even English plays.

City Opers Singapore
City Opera, New World 

The City Opera of Singapore
The City Opera with Ong Peng Hock at helm

The City Opera Orchestra
The City Opera Orchestra

Location of tomb 
Ong Sam Bee's tomb is located at Hill 3 Section D, plot 1046. Ong Sam Bee is buried nearby his brother's Ong Sam Leong private tomb, closer to his nephew's tomb, Ong Boon Tat. An interesting nugget to note, Ong Peng Hock and Ong Boon Tat's tomb do not have plot numbers as they are buried within the grounds of Ong Sam Leong's vast cemetery plot. 

Ong Sam Bee's tomb
Ong Sam Bee's tomb in Bukit Brown

Kelantan Notes. (1910, January 5). The Straits Times, page 7
Kelantan Notes. (1910, February 2). The Straits Times, page 7
The City Opera Co. of Singapore, (1925, December 1925). Malayan Saturday Post, page 2
Untitled. (1930, March 4). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Death of Mr. Ong Sam Bee. (1941, March 24). Malaya Tribune, page 12 
Ong Sam Bee. (website). Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Lim Choo Seng and family (Bukit Brown)

Lim Choo Seng is a son of Mr and Mrs. Lim Kwee Eng. 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. From the obituary notice and after the rediscovery of Mr and Mrs Lim Choo Seng tomb which was covered with vines, i know that his widow is Madam Kho Teck Neo, his mother is Madam Cheang Cheow Lian Neo nee Mrs. Lim Kwee Eng (daughter of Cheang Hong Lim), his surviving brother is Lim Choo Kiat. I am at the moment unable to decipher the name of his son and 2 daughters.
Lim Choo Seng
Lim Choo Seng

Madam Kho Teck Neo passed away on 17th February 1956 at the age of 54. In the newspaper article,  Madam Kho Teck Neo nee Mrs. Lim Choo Seng passed away at General Hospital, leaving behind 1 son, 2 daughters, 1 son-in-law, and  2 grandchildren. The cortege left from 655 Pasir Pajang Road on 19th February for Bukit Brown Cemetery.

Madam Kho Teck Neo
Madam Kho Teck Neo
Children of Lim Choo Seng
The tomb contains the marble name of Mr. Lim Choo Seng and Madam Kho Teck Neo's children. Unfortunately it is broken and i can only make out Lim Tong ? and Lim Peck Cho? Thanks to Raymond Goh, he helped me to decipher the names of the children from the chinese characters on the tomb. The son is Lim Sua Loo, daughters; Lim Tong Choo and Lim Peck Choo.

Father: Lim Kwee Eng
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.
Lim Kwee Eng
Lim Kwee Eng alias Lim Tiok Chye

Mother: 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. 

241 West Coast Road
241 West Coast Road was listed as the address for Lim Choo Seng. Itwas also the last address listed for his mother, Cheang Cheow Lian Neo. 

Location of tomb 
The tomb was covered with vines, but fortunately we were able to cut a way through after a while to take photos and clear a bit. Mr and Mrs Lim Choo Seng are buried in Hill 3 Section D, plot 1144. Ong Sam Bee's tomb is closeby. 

Advertisement.(1934, June 4). The Straits Times, page 10 
Death. (1956, February, 18). The Straits Times, page 6