Tan Tang Niah and family (Bukit Brown)

Tan Tang Niah / Tan Teng Niah (陳東嶺) came from China when he was 10 years old. He was a towkay who owned several sweet-making factories along Serangoon Road that used sugarcane to produce sweets. Behind his residence, Tan Tang Niah had a rubber smoke-house for drying rubber which used the by-products of sugarcane as fuel for its furnace. In short he was involved in the confectionary and rubber business. Tan Tang Niah contributed a lot to the community and schools as well. He was the president of Poh Chek Kiong, Hon, treasurer of the Chinese High School, President of the Chong Cheng School, Beach Road for 20 years. Tan Tang Niah was an auditor in the committee of the Toh Lam School during the time (1914) where the President was Mr. See Teong Wah, vice-President, Mr. Chia Swee Siang, hon treasurer, Chew Jim Hean. Other schools which he played a role in was the Chinese High School, The Chong Cheng School and Chong Poon Girls' School. Tan Tang Niah was also in the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and was in the committee of the Poh Leung Kuk (Society for the protection of woman and children). 

Tan Tang Niah
Tan Tang Niah (source: NewspaperSG)

Tan Tang Niah, J.P. passed away on 28th June 1925 at his residence, No. 40 Kerbau Road, Singapore. He leaves behind him, 1 widow, 8 sons, Tan Boon Chiat, Tan Sim Boh, Tan Sim Teck, Tan Peng Choo, Tan Sim Kheng, Tan Sim Eng, Tan Kim Hoe, Tan Kim Guan, 1 daughter-in-law, 3 daughters, Tan Biow Eng, Tan Biow Wah and Tan Biow Luan, and grandsons. 
Mrs. Tan Tang Niah (Madam Teo Hong Beng) passed away at the age of 63 on 30 June 1940 at No. 40 Kerbau Road. Two of her seven sons are well known lawyers in Singapore, namely Mr. S.B. Tan (who is also a Municipal Commissioner) and Mr. S.E. Tan (a Queen's Scholar who has just returned from England after qualifying in law and now is secretary to the Chinese Bankers' Trust Co. Ltd. The other sons are Messrs, Tan Boon Chiat, Tan Sim Teck, Tan Peng Choo, Tan Sim Keng, Tan Kim Hoe and an adopted son, Tan Kim Guan. Her 3 daughters are Mrs. Kang Tiang Kim, Mrs. Cheong Ann Sim (wife of Dr. Cheong Ann Sim) and Mrs. Lim Peng Han (wife of the well-known Malayan race car motorist). 

Funeral of Mr. Tan Tang Niah (source: NewspaperSG)

Son: Tan Boon Chiat
Tan Boon Chiat passed away at the age of 42 on 18th February 1942 (just shortly after the fall of Singapore). Tan Boon Chiat is buried in Whitley Road Cemetery (Kopi Sua). 
Tan Boon Chiat
Tan Boon Chiat

Tan Boon Chiat

Son: Tan Sim Boh (Mr. S.B. Tan)
Tan Sim Boh (Mr. S.B. Tan) married Margaret Chang (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. T.Y. Chang) at the Holy Trinity Church, Shanghai on 14 October 1933. He was a Captain in the Chinese Company  of the Singapore Volunteer Corps (S.V.C.) Mr. S.B. Tan was called to bar in1924 and is a barrister in the firm of Messrs. Donaldson and Burkinshaw and later a Municipal Commissioner. He was an honorary secretary of the Straits Chinese British Association. 
Tan Sim Boh 

Son: Tan Sim Eng (Mr. S.E. Tan)
Tan Sim Eng studied in Raffles Institution and in 1932 was a co-winner with Miss Thora Oehlers for the Queens Scholarship. He went to study law and returned, working as secretary of the Chinese Bankers Trust Co, Ltd.  

Daughter: Tan Biow Lan / Tan Biau Luan (陳妙鑾) /Mrs Lim Peng Han)
Ms. Tan Biow Lan married Lim Peng Han (son of Dr. Lim Boon Keng). Mrs Lim Peng Han in 1938 drove in a race a Ford V8 saloon which crashed. Fortunately she did not sustain any injuries and escaped with a bruise. 
Mr. and Mrs. Lim Peng Han
Mr and Mrs Lim Peng Han

Crashed car of Mrs. Lim Peng Han

Residence of Tan Tang Niah 
In both obituary notices of Mr and Mrs Tan Tang Niah, their residence was listed as 40 Kerbau Road. However in most of the 1980s and later year publications, it was No 37 Kerbau Road that was associated with Tan Tang Niah. Was it a case of renumbering or both houses belong to them?  From Roots.sg, i gathered that No 37 Kerbau Road was built in 1900 and was the former house of Tan Tang Niah. The 2 storey, 8 bedroom house had 2 front courts that were built specially for horse-carts. The gilded name plate over the entrance door inscribed "Siew Song" (Elegant Pine) and was once the home of Tan Seng Jin (grandson of Tan Tang Niah) before it was sold off, restored and conserved for commercial usage. 

Tan Teng Niah house at 37 Kerbau Road
Tan Teng Niah House (1980s)
source: PictureSG

Tan Teng Niah interior of house 37 Kerbau Road
Ancestral table of the house (you can roughly make out the picture of Tan Tang Niah)

Keng Hwa / Keng Hua / Keng Fa link
Who brought the first Keng Hwah to Malaya? Because of its peculiarity of flowering only at night, a considerable amount of interest was attached to this romantically named flower which Mr. Holttum (Mr. R.E. Holttum, Director of Gardens) said that in 1923, Mr. Tan Tang Niah, J.P. presented a cutting of this species (Epiphyllum oxypletalum) with an interesting note describing of its origin. The parent plant came from Amoy and according to one article its "legend" is traced to Chinese literature. The Cantonese name is Keng-Fa and its story date back to the period of the Chui dynasty (605-610 AD) that it was planted by Fan-Lei and that it sprang from the ground where a lump of jade had been planted, the flowers thus pure and white as jade, hence the name Keng-Fa or Jade Flower. The plant however was uprooted by an angry emperor because the flowers had been carried off by a strong gale before he had time to see them in bloom. Fact or fiction, what remains factual was a cutting of this beautiful flower was provided by Tan Tang Niah for the Singapore Botanic Gardens. 

Location of tomb 
Tan Tang Niah is buried in Block 1 Division F, plot 40. Madam Teo Hong Beng (Mrs. Tan Tang Niah) is buried in Block 5 Division C, plot 186. 

Tan Tang Niah tomb in Bukit Brown
Tan Tang Niah tomb (2013)

Tan Tang Niah tomb in Bukit Brown
Tan Tang Niah tomb (2020)

Tan Tang Niah tomb in Bukit Brown 

Madam Teo Hong Beng tomb in Bukit Brown

Intricate carvings of lions (at Tan Tang Niah's tomb)

Lion with two flags (at Tan Tang Niah's tomb)

Variant names: Tan Tang Niah / Tan Teng Niah 

Untitled. (1914, February 5). The Straits Times, page 8 
Advertisement. (1918, May 11). Malaya Tribune, page 5 
Death. (1925, 30 June). The Singapore Free Press, page 8
The late Mr. Tan Tang Niah. (1925, July 1). The Straits Times, page 8
Page 24, (1925, August 15). Malayan Saturday Post (Funeral of the late Mr. Tan Tang Niah)
Untitled. (1933, December 4). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Chinese Woman Driver In Only Speed Trials Crash.(1937. September 26). The Singapore Free Press, page 7
Death of Mrs. Tan Tang Niah. (1940, July 2). The Straits Times, page 10
Chinese Chamber Representative On Commission. (1940, December 28).The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, page 7
Former house of Tan Teng Niah. (website). Roots.sg
Kerbau Road no 37. [exterior]. (website). PictureSG, National Library
Kerbau Road no 37. [interior].(website). PictureSG, National Library
Tan Biau Luan 陳妙鑾. (website). Geni.com
Tan Teng Niah 陳東嶺与 Teo Hong Beng 張鳳鳴 (website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录


Johno said…
Mrs SB Tan was Margaret K.C. CHANG 陳桂貞. His father was CHANG Tin Yang, Head of the Intelligence Bureau of Greater Shanghai and Personal Secretary to Mayor of Shanghai Wu Tieh Cheng




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