Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lee Phan Hock (Bukit Brown)

Lee Phan Hock / Lee Pan Hock (1860-1933) passed away on 4th March 1933 at the age of 73 and is buried in Hill 3 Division C, plot 581E on 8th March 1933.  On his tomb are listed the name of his son; Lee Cheng Teen and his grandson, Lee Tiong Hoe. The newspaper obituary notice however mentions that he is survived by a widow, two sons and several grandchildren.

Lee Phan Hock was a Straits born Chinese who owned many properties including villa's at Beting Kusa and one called Sandringham Villa  (13 1/2 mile Changi Road). He was a clerk for the Straits Settlements Police and served under Colonel Dunlop. He held shares at Wearne Brothers Limited, Tambalak Rubber Estates Ltd.

Burial Registrar

Beting Kusa / Beting Kusah and Sandringham Villa

Lee Phan Hock was the President of Beting Kusa Party, City Club and was always generous to open his holiday villa to various associations such as the Merrilads Musical Association, Soon Hoe Kok Association as well as the Australian and New Zealand Association (Nurses) . He was also popular among the local villages in Beting Kusa, regularly organising a land and sea sports as well.

It is from the Merrilads Musical Association Sixth Anniversary Picnic pictures on Malayan Saturday Post, 5th July 1930 we can get a glimpse how Beting Kusa looks like as well as the Sandringham Villa. Beting Kusa today is probably located within the Changi Airport compound.

Sandringham Villa, Beting Kusa (source: NewspaperSG)

source: National Archives Singapore 

Lee Phan Hock had many birthday receptions in his villa and was something very well attended by the local and European communities as described in many newspaper articles.
64th birthday party  

66th birthday  party 


Now it is from here, where the research gets a bit murkier and until i get further confirmation from the descendants of Lee Phan Hock, the precision of this part is something on-going and requires further confirmation. What can be established from the tomb is the name of the son; Lee Cheng Teen and grandson; Lee Tiong Hoe.

Son: Lee Cheng Teen 
I have trouble pinning down who Lee Cheng Teen was and still have doubts of mistaken identity, but what i have so far is in an article dated 16 September 1960, it mentions that a boy, Lee Tiong Hoe been granted $40,683 in a court ruling in an incident where Lee Tiong Hoe suffered head injuries in a road accident in May 1957 (then 14 years old). The case was brought by his father, Lee Cheng Teen, a former police officer.

However, another puzzle arises. From the article, Lee Tiong Hoe was only 14 years old in 1957, which means that Lee Tiong Hoe was born in 1943 or 10 years after the death of Lee Phan Hock in 1933. However in the tomb, there was already mentioned of a Lee Tiong Hoe has grandson. Was the name added on later or was this a case of co-incidence and mistaken identity ?

Grandson: Lee Tiong Hoe
Following this line of research, in May 15, 1957, a 14 year old Lee Tiong Hoe, a student of St. Andrew's School was involved in a motor-cycle accident that left him with bruising of the head that lead to headaches, giddiness and mental deterioration. His father decided to accompany him to Melbourne, Australia in 1960 for treatment. What transpired after that, i do not know as yet.

Daughter: Lee Tan Neo
No further information other than an article that mentioned Lee Tan Neo, daughter of Lee Phan Hock who was once married to Tan Kee Eng was ceased.
26 July 1921


Social and Personal. (1927, July 11). The Straits Times , page 8
Sandringham. (1927, August 11). Malaya Tribune, page 3
Merrilads Musical Association Sixth Anniversary Picnic. ( 1930, July 5). Malayan Saturday Post, page 38
Obituary. (1933, March 4). Malayan Tribune, page 12
Boy of 14 gets $40,000 for his headaches. (1960, September 16). The Straits Times, page 1

Monday, February 06, 2017

Wee Tiang Wah (Bukit Brown)

Wee Tiang Wah (alias Kim Kow) passed away at the age of 48 on 17th April 1940. He was said to be one of the founders of the Oleh Oleh Party and one its Presidents. Its members recognised him as an able actor and helped in the philantrophic activities (e.g. China Red Cross Fund ) of the party. He was also a member of the United Chinese Musical Association.  Mrs. Wee Tiang Wah passed away at her residence in No 4, Block J, Henderson Road on 2 April 1935, leaving behind her husband, Wee Tiang Wah of Eastern Plumbers, a son and a daughter. Mrs. Wee Tiang Wah is buried also in Bukit Brown.

Mr Wee Tiang Wah (seated on the left) with the
United Chinese Musical Association members c1928 

Wee Tiang Wah at Hill 4 Section C, plot 2050

Wee Tiang Wah was a prolific actor, so much so, in one of the Oleh Oleh Party drama called "The Wastrel" , he got into the role of a Chettair by shaving his head bald, wearing Indian clothes and on occasions spoke Tamil.

Oleh Oleh Party was founded in 1932 with the objective of helping the poor and needy through the promotion of music, drama and performances. There were many groups or minstrel bands that played old-time English classics and used stringed instruments and costumes. This bands or troupe mushroomed in 1930s wherever Peranakans lived. Some of the well-known bands include: Cornwall Minstrels, Wales Minstrels, Merrilads, Springdale and Forget-me-not. Members usually met regularly in patrons' or members' houses. The Minstrel bands performed at social parties. They also put up sketches and stage shows, sometimes for charity. Minstrel activities came to a halt before the World War 2. Oleh Oleh Party survived after the war and died out by 1960s. Peranakan plays were put up by Gunong Sayang Association, (in which Koh Hoon Teck was well known) survived till this day.


The Chinese Association. (1928, February 11). Malayan Saturday Post, page 4
Domestic Occurences/ (1935, April 4). Malaya Tribune, page 10
Success of "The Wastrel" . (1938, September 12). Malaya Tribune, page 12
Untitled. (1940, April 22).Malaya Tribune, page 3

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Tan Choon Kiat (Bukit Brown)

Tan Choon Kiat (1882-1933) passed away on 10th February 1933 at the age of 51 and is survived by his wife, Madam Lim Geok Yan and sons: Tan Choo Kee, Tan Choo Swee, Tan Choo Leng, Tan Choo Suan, Tan Choo Leng,  Tan Choo Kew ; daughter: Tan Lay Hong ; Grandsons: Tan Tian Chai, Tan Tian Hock. He is buried in Hill 3 Division C plot 585A

The tomb of Madam Lim Geok Yan, although prepared, does not have a death date indicated. She passed away on 11 October 1957. In the obituary notice, she is survived by 6 sons, 4 daughters ( Tan Lay Hong, Tan Ah Eng, Tan Kim Eng, Tan Seok Choo ). 9 daughter-in-laws, 2 son-in-laws, 32 grandchildren, 1 daughter-on-law, Kie Yan, son-in-law, Hioe  On Tjan.  The cortege left 51 Seng Poh Road for Kong Mi San Po Kak Si (Crematorium). She was cremated and not buried.

Tomb of Mr. Tan Choon Kiat in Bukit Brown  


Son: Tan Choo Kee
Tan Choo Kee (Assistant Secretary to Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation) married Miss Koh Bee Teck on 8 March 1936.Tan Choo Kee is the eldest son of the late Mr. Tan Choon Kiat. Miss Koh Bee Teck is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs Koh Kim Han. Mrs. Tan Choo Kee nee Koh Bee Teck unfortunately passed away 10 years later after her marriage.She passed away at the age of 34 at her residence in No. 51 Seng Poh Road on 9 December 1946. She is survived by her husband, 1 son (age 3 years old), Tan Kim Seah, 2 grandmothers, parents , 1 mother-in-law, brothers, sisters and brother-in-law. She is buried in Bukit Brown. Koh Bee Teck is the grand daughter of Koh San Hin and great-grand daughter of Koh Eng Hoon.

Wedding of Tan Choo Kee and Koh Bee Teck (source: NewspaperSG
Tan Choo Kee started his banking career with Ho Hong Bank after he finished his studies in Raffles Institution in 1928. When Ho Hong Bank, Chinese Commercial Bank and Overseas Chinese Bank merged to become Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation in 1938, he stayed on. He was sent to Surabaya branch in Indonesia as an accountant and return to Singapore just before its fall in 1941. During the Japanese occupation he worked in Yokohama Specie Bank Ltd as a liaison officer. After the war he joined Chung Khiaw Bank in 1956 and from there he climb up the ladder. The article that featured in him 1963, places him at 53 years of age and as Manager of Bukit Timah branch of Ching Khiaw Bank.
Tan Choo Kee (source: NewspaperSG)

[research on-going]


Wedding. (1936, March 9). Malaya Tribune, page 13
Death. (1946, December 9). Malaya Tribune, page 2
Death. (1957, October 12). Malaya Tribune, page 6
Proud record of efficiency. (1963, March 2). The Straits Times, page 11

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Kam Keng Siang (Bukit Brown)

Kam Keng Siang passed away at the age of 61 on January 11, 1926 at his residence in No 22 and 22-1 Kerbau Lane. He leaves behind his widow, four sons; Kam Swee Hin, Kam Swee Guan, Kam Swee Beng, Kam Swee Kiat, two daughters; Kam Swee Neo, Kam Swee Bee, a son-in-law, Chua Cheng Quee and several grandchildren.

Kam Keng Siang was buried in Hill 1 Block B plot 65 on 24 January 1926.

Kam Keng Siang

Kam Keng Siang

The No 22 and 22-1 Kerbau Lane was a property he bought in 1913 at the Ching Keng Lee & Co. property auction at 3204 sq feet for $4150. Probate of his will was granted to Tay Choo Neo, Kam Swee Guan and Kam Swee Beng who were appointed to be trustee to Kam Keng Siang's estate.

Son: Kam Swee Hin
Cashier at Messrs. Ching Keng Lee & Co.

Daughter: Kam Swee Neo
Kam Swee Neo married Chua Cheng Quee  / Chua Cheng Kwee, youngest son of the late Chua Hoh Seng on 16 January 1922.

Death. (1826, January 19).The Straits Times, Page 8
Social and Personal. (1922, January 17). The Straits Times, page 8

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Madam Ong Sin Keow (Bukit Brown)

Madam Ong Sin Keow, second wife of Mr. Tan Hood Swee, passed away on 31 July 1933 at the age of 50. On her tomb is listed one son, Tan Yew Jee. She is buried in Hill 3 C, plot 412A.

Madam Ong Sin Keow (second wife of Mr. Tan Hood Swee)
Madam Ong Sin Keow (second wife of Mr. Tan Hood Swee)

Husband; Tan Hood Swee
Tan Hood Swee is the son of Tan Kim Teck. Tan Kim Teck ( a produce merchant and Government Contractor ) who passed away on 28th July 1912 at the age of 69 at his residence in No 12 Yan Kit Road. He is survived by 5 sons, 2 daughters and 26 grnadchildren. He was buried in Tiong Bahru Cemetery. In the obituary notice, it mentions also that Tan Kim Teck is the father-in-law of Kho Keng Chuan.  From there i gather that Tan Yew Neo (wife of Kho Keng Chuan) is the daughter of Tan Kim Teck and sister of Tan Hood Swee.

In 1895, there was an account of Tan Hood Swee (cashier at Messrs. Lambert Bros. and son of Government Contractor, Tan Kim Teck) who rushed to the aid of a Major McCallum, who injured himself in the head when the horse of his paladin bolted as he was getting out of it. The only other info i have was about Tan Hood Swee and a brankruptcy notice taken on him in 1933.

Son: Tan Yew Jee /Harry Tan Yew Jee (1915-1987)
Tan Yew Jee (Harry), the youngest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tan Hood Swee married Miss Ong Kim Kee (Maggie Ong) second daughter of Madam Lim Chiam Neo and the late Mr. Ong Leong Watt on 16th October 2602 (1942).  Harry Tan Yew Jee passed away at the age of 72 on 27 September 1987. He is survived by his wife, Ong Kim Kee, children and children in law:
Lilian Tan
Michael Tan /Rosalind Chua
Fanny Tan Eng Geok / Steven Lim Kwee Beng
Jeannie Tan
Doris Tan
God daughters 
Wong Poh Poh, Pearl Chong
Grand Children
Alwyn, Ivan, Fiona

source: NewspaperSG

Harry Tan Yew Jee (source: NewspaperSG)

Local and General. (1895, November 27). The Mid-day Herald, page 3
Death. (1912, August 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 65
Funeral of Well Known Towkay. (1912, August 10). The Weekly Sun, page 6
Advertisement. (1933, June 9). Malayan Tribune, page 7
Advertisement. (1942, October 14). Syonan Shimbun, page 3
Obituaries.(1988, September 27). The Straits Times, page 32

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ho Siong Tong - A grave once lost is now found again (Wayang Satu Cemetery)

I wrote back in 2014, an article titled Volunteer Soldiers Buried in Bukit Brown - a journey of rediscovery . It was about the Chinese volunteers that were either buried or once buried in Bukit Brown. In the article, i also mentioned in passing about a Private Ho Siong Tong whose empty tomb lays in Kranji War Memorial and tomb inscription mentions that he was buried at that time in Wayang Satu Chinese Cemetery but whose grave is now lost. The "missing" volunteer soldier is no longer missing as his tomb was rediscovered by Raymond Goh recently behind the small jungle off Trevose Place. Raymond Goh brought me to the location of the tomb of Private Ho Siong Tong after i saw a post on his amazing discovery.

From the in-situ tomb, we know that Private Ho Siong Tong was 22 years of age when he passed away on active duty and that he died on 12th June 1915 and finally the tomb was erected by the Officers, N.C.O's and fellowmen of the Singapore Volunteer Infantry, Chinese Company.

Private Ho Siong Tong tomb rediscovered 

Private Ho Siong Tiong empty tomb in Kranji

From Sir Song Ong Siang's One hundred years' history of the Chinese in Singapore, we get a glimpse about what happened to Private Ho Siong Tong.

Military honours was accorded to Pte. Ho Siong Tong ( a son of the late Ho Yiang Moh) at his funeral on 14th June 1915. He was one of the Guard at Kallang Reservoir and on 11th June 1915 was reported missing. His cap and boots were discovered at the edge of the reservoir and his body was found floating 2 days later. He was buried in Wayang Satu Cemetery at the expense of his sister, Mrs Tan Moeng Tho and fellow Volunteers raised a tombstone over his grave".
Excerpt from Sir Song's book

Newspaper mention (source: NewspaperSG)


Finding out about Ho Siong Tong hit a blank wall. Other than the fact he died while on guard duty, i know very little about him ( whether he was married and had children). However it was fortunate that two names were mentioned, his father; Ho Yiang Moh and his sister; Mrs Tan Moeng Tho. It is his sister, that gave me an interesting insight on woman during that time. From my research and mapping of names and rechecking again, i found out that she was a lady who was married 3 times successively (something rare at that time and in my opinion also rare today). 

Father: Ho Yiang Moh / Ho Yang Moh

Ho Yiang Moh was for many years a shroff of the Chartered Bank. He was also a councillor of the Celestial Reasoning Association, (a society that encourages the advancement of literature by both the improvement of English and Chinese literature and regular debates)

Sister: Mrs Tan Moeng Tho (Ho Shiok Chui / Ho Sok Choo Neo)

In the article above, it was mention that, Private Ho Siong Tong had a sister, Mrs. Tan Moeng Tho. So what's her maiden name ?  It is from the Newspaper archive resources, that i got to find also more about his sister, a Mrs. Tan Moeng Tho (nee Ho Sok Choo Neo). Further research, i found out that in March 7, 1909 , there was an article of  Mr Tan Meong Tho marrying Ho Shiok Chui Neo (widow of Mr. Wee Siang Tat ).

source: Straits Times March 12, 1909
source: Straits Times October 12, 1915
The name, Wee Siang Tat ran a bell as well. He was the only son of Mr.Wee Boon Teck (grandson of Wee Bin ). Wee Siang Tat married Ho Sok Choo Neo in 1896. Wee Siang Tat passed away at the age of 26 on March 14, 1901,

Ho Sok Choo Neo was in short successively the wife of the late Mr. Wee Siang Tat and the late Mr. Tan Meong Tho and finally Mr. Wee Siak Leng in 1928 after finding an article of a quiet ceremony that took place at 28 Killiney Road when Wee Siak Leng (son of Mr and Mrs Wee Nam Huat) married Ho Sok Choo Neo (daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Ho Yang Moh and widow of the late Tan Mong Thoh)
1 Feb 1928
Ho Sok Choo Neo passed away on 18 September 1931 at the age of 57 at 114 Killiney Road leaving behind 4 sons, Tan Jat Min, William Tan, Tan Tat Min alias Edward Tan and Tan Kong Min alias Farrer Tan and 2 daughters, Tan Swee Eng alias Wee Boolat and Tan Puteh and one son-in-law. Chua Tian Chong. Burial took place at Buona Vista Cemetery. Madam Ho Sok Choo Neo held considerable wealth and a snap shot of this can be seen from an advertisement article in 1951 (20 years after her passing, putting up for auction properties under her estate).

source: NewspaperSG
For now, Private Ho Siong Tong's tomb in this location remains safe and no longer lost.. until more development happens.

location of Ho Siong Tong's tomb 


Untitled. (1915, June 15). The Straits Times, page 6
Society and Personal. (1928, February 1). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Death. (1931, September 25). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Chinese Estate Claim. (1934, August 23). Malaya Tribune, page 17
Million Dollar Estate Case. (1940. July 24). Morning Tribune, page 6
Claim Should never have been made -Chief Justice. (1940, August 3). Malaya Tribune, page 4
Important High Court Ruling on Adopted Sons. (1941, March 7) Malaya Tribune, page 5

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Labrador & Alexandra Heritage tour (My Community Heritage Trail) - Part II

My Labrador and Alexandra Heritage Tour continues with a visit to the houses in Alexandra Park. On the way, we pass by the SP Jain School of Global Management at 10 Hyderabad Road . It  was the former Institute of Dental Health (IDH) and before that, the former Officers’ Mess for Gillman Barracks. After the British military withdrew in 1971, the buildings were handed over to the Singapore government, who converted the officers’ mess into office buildings for the Dental Health Education Unit in 1973. In 1977, the Public Works Department completed a $5 million 6 storey building annex to house additional facilities for the IDH. Designed in Classical architectural style, the two buildings feature large windows and doors which allowed for proper air circulation.

SPJ Jain Global Management 

IDH grill gates (a reminder of the building past)

The military estate at Alexandra Park evolved over half a century. The earliest houses dated from around 1905 to 1906 while the majority were constructed in the 1930s for senior medical staff in
the Royal Army Medical Corps working in Alexandra Military Hospital. When you walk there you will at awe at the different architectural style ranges from tropical Edwardian to Art Deco and a series of Public Works Department’s plantation style houses on Canterbury and York Roads. The whole feel to the place is like stepping into England itself and not Singapore !

Plantation style houses 

Art Deco house of No 1 Cantebury Road 

Beautiful Lattice Ventilation of 6 Russel Road 
Yes, this is Singapore 

Alexandra Industrial Estate - The former Archipelago Brewery Company

The former Archipelago Brewery Company at Alexandra Road was Singapore’s second brewery.
Built at a cost of $2.25 million, the brewery was opened on 3 November 1933 and produce the well-known Anchor Beer. The site was chosen for its close proximity to the railway tracks, which provided convenient transportation for the export of its beer. Brewing took place at the main plant where Anchor Point Shopping Centre now stands. Bottled beer was  then transported via a wooden conveyor belt across an overhead bridge to the canning line, where IKEA stands today.

In 1939, the Archipelago Brewery Company was annexed by the British Government as enemy
property. In 1941, Malayan Breweries, a joint venture between Fraser & Neave and Heineken, took over the assets of Archipelago Brewery Company and the Anchor Beer brand. Production ceased in 1990 when operations were relocated to Tuas. The brew master house was gazetted for conservation in 1993.

Map where you can see the Rumah Bomba Circus and the Archipelago Brewery
(source: National Archives Singapore)  

It was in front of the former brew master house, we got to meet Mr. Ng Moey Moey, 79 years old who joined when he was 18 years old and work there for 38 years ! He proudly showed us all the long service medals he got as well as a Favre-Leuba watch he received when he finally retired after working in the boiler room where the beers were brewed.

Ng Moey Moey in front of the heritage plague (if you look carefully you will see him
in the picture as well  

Ng Moey Moey proudly showing his long service medals 

Alexandra Industrial Estate - Alexandra Fire Station 

The Alexandra Fire Station was officially opened on February 25, 1954 and served the newly minted Queenstown area as well as the industrial estate around the area. Some of the early action it saw included the Bukit Ho Swee Fire (1961), Robinson Department Store Fire (1972) and in recent years the Shell Pulau Bukom Fire (2011). The old Fire Station building no longer exist after it was replaced with a joint complex housing the 1st SCDF Division, Alexandra Fire Station and Queenstown Neighbourhood Police station in 1st June 2005.

During our visit we got to hear first hand from fireman such as Mohd Fadzli on the work they do and also some hands-on on the equipment they use. I personally got to try on the oxygen tank fireman wear when they enter smoke ridden rooms. The firemen in Alexandra Firehouse are equipped to handle Hazmat  (Hazardous materials and items) as well. I am very impressed by the professionalism of the team and their enthusiasm in educating us of their work.

Alexandra Fire Station during construction 

The great volunteers and guides of My Community 
Mohd Fadzli and his fellow team mates showing us
the difference between the modern and old hose

Tiong Ghee Temple and Boh Beh Kang village 

Located at 1085 Stirling Road, this temple was rebuilt in 1973 after the original village temple in Bo Beh Kang  (无尾港 or No Tail River when translated from Hokkien) was demolished to make way for the Mei Ling Estate. Bo Beh Kang  (无尾港 or No Tail River when translated from Hokkien) got its name of the stream and fresh water swamps that dominate the terrain, but locals could not locate the source of that water

Mr Ang Beng Tet, 88 years who was long time resident here in the past, shared with us in Hokkien of how as a young boy , he experience bombing and stories of the Japanese soldiers that were stationed in the former Buller Camp.  Although 88 years of age, what impress me about Mr. Ang is his drive to continue to contribute and be active and to share his experience. He is a good example of a Senior who gives back willingly to the community.

Tiong Ghee Temple 

Mr. Ang Beng Tat

This ends my write-up about this tour which i really enjoy when the marry stories of its heritage past with the stories of the people who lived through that period.

You can read about the other Heritage Tours that My Community organises from my previous posts:
Commonwealth and Holland Village Tour - Part I, posted on March 20, 2016
Commonwealth and Holland Village Tour - Part II, posted on March 23, 2016
Dawson & Alexandra Heritage Tour - Part I , posted on April 5, 2015
Dawson and Alexandra Heritage Tour-Part II , posted on April 5, 2015

Queenstown Heritage Trail (correct as of 14 January 2017)

Commonwealth & Holland
Village heritage tour

Every third Sunday

sg or email

Labrador & Alexandra
heritage tour

Every 2nd and 4th

Tanglin Halt & Margaret Drive heritage tour

Every 2nd and 4th

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