Thursday, July 20, 2017

Oh Sian Guan (Bukit Brown)

Oh Sian Guan /胡善甫 (1874 - 1943)  was a Banker, whose ancestral place was Fujian, Tong Ann. He came to Singapore in 1907 and set up Chop Chin Keat with Tan Tiong Sin at Telok Ayer No 52, importing from Sarawak and Batavia various produce such as betel nut, coffee, pepper and birdnest. He later ventured into property. When Tan Tiong Sin joined the banking industry, Oh Sian Guan managed Chop Chin Keat alone. Oh Sian Guan later sent two of his sons to Batavia to manage the business.

Oh Sian Guan 
In 1919, when Overseas Chinese Bank was formed, Oh Sian Guan became a Director under the recommendation of Tan Ean Kiam. In December 1932, when Chinese Commercial Bank, Ho Hong Bank and Overseas Chinese Bank merged to form Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), he remained a Director until the Japanese invasion in 1942. He was also once the Chairman of Goh Loo Club.

source: NewspaperSG


Mr Oh Sian Guan passed away at his residence in 52 Telok Ayer Street at the age of 70 on June 7, 2603 (1943). He is survived by his wife, two sons; Mr. Oh Hoon Boh and Dr William Oh,  three son-in-laws;  Dr. Kwan Pah Chien, Teo Boon Kai and Ng Peng Lim, 3 daughters, 2 daughter-in-laws, 8 grandsons, 4 great grandchildren.  Mrs Oh Sian Guan nee Madam Yap Suan Neo passed away on February 1, 1950. The cortege left from 38 Newton Road. The papers mention she is the mother of Dr. William Oh and Mrs P. C. Kwan.

The tomb of Mr and Mrs Oh Sian Guan is located at Block 3 , Division D , plot 880.and 878. The tombstone carvings are one of the more beautiful ones with decorative carvings that features stories from the Three Kingdom (on the left panel) featuring General Guan Yu's heroic exploits.

Son: Oh Hoon Khway
There was an engagement notice in June 27, 1930 between Miss Lim Gek Neo (youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs. Lim Siew Liat) to Mr. Oh Hoon Khway (son of Mr. and Mrs. Oh Sian Guan ). The marriage was to take place at No 51 Veerasamy Road on July 15, 1930.  When Oh Sian Guan passed away in 1943, there was no mention of Oh Hoon Khway. Reading the blog of Singapore Revisited, i found out that Oh Hoon Khway passed away in 1931 ( a year after his engagement /marriage).

Son: Dr William Oh 
Dr. William Oh studied in Anglo Chinese School, He went on to qualified for an MBBS degree in 1940 from Hong Kong University and returned to Singapore and joined the government medical practice. In 1946, he started his own medical practice. Dr. William Oh became a director of the Overseas Assurance Corporation in 1965 and later helm as its Chairman. He was also a director of Bank of Singapore Ltd.

source: NewspaperSG

Dr. William Oh passed away at the age of 85 on October 15, 2000. The obituary notice mentions his family members including his wife, Olive Hu (deceased) , sons and daughters: Dr. Gordon Oh, Dr. Winston Oh, Cynthia Oh, Dr. Shenton Oh and Dr. Vernon Oh.

source: NewspaperSG

Daughter: Egan Oh nee Egan Hu
Egan Ho married Dr. Kwan Pah Chien ( Dr. P.C. Kwan  / Dr. Arthur P.C. Kwan) in  September 1931.
Egan Oh passed away on 29 April 1993 at 88 years of age. From the obituary notice the name of her brother and sister-in-law is mentioned (Dr. Willam Oh and Mrs. Olive) , Son and daughter-in-law (Samuel Kwan Tse-Cheng and Elizabeth Hang Lay Hua)
3 daughters ( May Kwan Tse-Tuan. Mary Kwan Tse-Chwing, Ann Sarah Kwan Tse-Ai ) and 2 sons-in-laws

source: NewspaperSG

Paying respects to Oh Sian Guan

Death. (1943, June 9 ). Syonan Times, page 2
Death. (1950, February 2). The Straits Times
Oh Sian Guan (taken from Who's Who in the Chinese community of Singapore)
Board consist of leading personalities. (1971, July 17). The Straits Times
Obituaries. (2000, October 16). The Straits Times, page 55

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lee Pang Kok and family (Bukit Brown)

Lee Pang Kok alias Lee Teng Sin passed away at age of 53 at 2 am on October 7, 1930 at his residence in No 6 Stanley Road. He is survived by his widow, 4 sons (Lee Siew Kow, Lee Siew Pan, Lee Puan Beng and Lee Siew Teck ), 4 daughters (Lee Tan Neo, Lee Chwee Neo, Lee Kim Neo, Lee Swee Lew, Lee Yew Choo) , 1 daughter-in-law,  4 grandsons (Lee Chay Min, Lee Chay Kia, Lee Chay Tian, Lee Chay Song) and 1 grand daughter to mourn his loss. He is buried in Hill 3  Division B plot 281.
Photograph of Lee Pang Kok (19th year of the Republic)
I am not able to find much information about Lee Pang Kok, but in 1918 there was an article of dissolution of partnership business,  Chop Lian Huat, Tobacco Merchants at Malacca Street, Singapore. The business was dissolved by mutual consent by its former partners which included Soon Wee Joey, Lee Pang Kok and Chua Yeow Whee. When Lee Pang Kok passed away probate of his will was granted to a sole executor, Lee Siew Kow.

Lee Pang Kok's tomb in Bukit Brown 


Son: Lee Siew Kow
Lee Siew Kow was a broker and dealer in rubber.  Lee Siew Kow passed away at on 18th July 1951 at his residence at No. 23 Amber Road. He leaves behind his mother, his wife, Madam Gan Eng Neo / Gan Yew Neo, 4 sons (Lee Chay Min, Lee Chay Kia, Lee Chay Tian, Lee Chay Song), 3 daughters (Lee Aye Hoe, Lee June, Lee Aye Cheng), 2 daughter-in-law, 3 grandchildren. Also mourning him are his 3 brothers ( Lee Siew Pan, Lee Puan Beng and Lee Siew Teck ), 3 sister-in-laws, 5 sisters, 4 brother-in-laws.

When Lee Siew Kow passed away, he left behind an estate that was valued more than $600,000.

Son: Lee Siew Pan
Lee Siew Pan passed away at the age of 82 on May 4, 1985. He is survived by 7 sons (Lee Chay Lup, Lee Chay Yam, Carey ; Lee Chay Chye, James ; Lee Chay Ban, Gene ; Lee Chay Boon, Alan ; Lee Chay Swa, Albert ; Lee Chay Lip, Alfred ) 1 adopted son ( Lee Chay Song )  9 daughters (Lee Joo Guat, Lee Juby, Lee Joo Hong, Lee Joo Huay, Lee Joo Kheng, Lee Nancy, Lee Joo Luck, Lee Jenny, Lee Trincia-Mary) 5 daughter-in-laws, 8 son-in-laws, 33 grandchildren, 3 grandsons-in-law, 2 great grandchildren.
Lee Siew Pan 
I am not able to cover all the grandchildren, but the below are some of the grandchildren with pictures or wedding photos.

Grandson (Lee Chay Min)
There was an article in January 1948 that featured the double wedding of Lee Chay Min (son of Lee Siew Kow) to Katherine Seah Quee Eng (fourth daughter of Seah Teng Koon ) and his brother, Lee Chay Kia to Tan Seok Bee (eldest daughter of Tan Soon Teck and Madam Yeo Kwai Neo)

Grandson (Lee Chay Kia )
In January 1948,  Lee Chay Kia married Tan Seok Bee (eldest daughter of Tan Soon Teck and Madam Yeo Kwai Neo). It was a double wedding in which his older brother, Lee Chay Min married Katherine Seah Quee Eng.

Lee Chay Kia and Tan Seok Bee had 4 sons ( Frederick Lee Cheow Keng, Anthony Lee Cheow Cheok, Lee Cheow Poon, Edmond Lee Cheow San ) and 1 daughter (Violet Lee Geok Yan )

Grand daughter (Lee Ai Hoe / Lee Aye Hoe ) 
Miss Lee Ai Hoe (daughter of the late Mr. Lee Siew Kow) married Mr. Teoh Seng Hong (grandson of the late Dato Siew Khor) in July 1955.

Advertisement. (1911, October 25). The Straits Times, page 16
Death.(1930, October 11). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Advertisement. (1931, December 10). The Straits Times, page 4
Double Wedding. (1948, January 23). Morning Tribune, page 2
Death. (1951, July 22). The Straits Times, page 10
Dato' Grandson Weds. (1955, July 5). The Singapore Standard, page 8
Death. (1985, May 6). The Straits Times, page 21

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Lim Soon Leong (Bukit Brown)

Lim Soon Leong was a civil servant and worked as a Revenue Officer with H.M. Customs and Excise Department. His residence was listed as No. 2, Lorong Silat off Albert Street,

Lim Soon Leong passed away on 7th November 1940 at the age of 50 and on his tomb the name listed of his 2 sons: Lim Geok Bee, Lim Geok Chin and 1 daughter, Lim Soh Cheng. He is buried in Hill 5 Section C, plot 77. Listed on his tomb is the inscription that says "17th generation".

Advertisements. (1940, December 26). Malayan Tribune, page 8

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Tan Seng Kee and family (Bukit Brown)

Tan Seng Kee passed away at the age of 82 on 22 July 1964.  This is one of the stories where i am able to trace the family story of Mrs Tan Seng Kee nee Gan Khoo Neo back to her grandparents but very little information about Tan Seng Kee himself. They are buried in Block 5 , Section C, plot 137.

Madam Gan Khoo Neo and Mr. Tan Seng Kee 

Wife: Madam Gan Khoon Neo 
From Syonan Shimbun, 18th June 1945, there is a corresponding match of a obituary notice of Mrs Tan Seng Kee nee Madam Gan Khoon Neo who passed away at 1 pm, June 17, 2605 (Japanese Koki Calender) at the age of 61. She leaves behind 2 sons; Tan Chin Siong, Tan Ching Hock and 2 daughters; Tan Sim Neo and Tan Im Neo.

Father and Mother-in-law: Mr. Gan Keng Wee and Madam Tan Swan Neo
Gan Khoon Neo is the daughter of Mr. Gan Keng Wee and Madam Tan Swan Neo. Madam Tan Swee Neo passed away at the age of 58 on April 13, 1926 at No. 56-17 Neil Road. She is the mother of Gan Chong Bin and mother-in-law of Ngo Yam Liang and Tan Seng Kee. She is buried in Senh Gan's Burial ground in Leng Kee Suah.

Grandmother: Mrs. Tan Khye Liat nee Madam Lim Tan Neo
From another obituary notice, i managed to trace the mother of Madam of Tan Swan Neo, who was Mrs. Tan Khye Liat (nee Madam Lim Tan Neo ) who passed away at the ripe old age 96 on January 4, 1929 at No. 30 Craig Road. She leaves behind 1 daughter, 1 son-in-law, (Khoo Teck Yong), five grandsons, (Gan Chong Bin, Khoo Cheng Swee, Khoo Cheng Yam, Khoo Cheng Kim, Khoo Cheng Bok), 4 granddaughters, 3 grand-sons-in-laws ( Tan Seng Kee, Ngo Yam Liang, Tan Teow Kway, 15 great grandchildren and 1 great grandson-in-law, Tan Tiang Peng. She was buried in Sang Kow Teah Cemetery.

Domestic Occurrences. (1929, January 9). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Death. (1926, April 17). The Straits Times, page 7
Death. (1945, June 18). Syonan Shimbun, page 2

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Cheong Koon Hong and family (Bukit Brown)

Mrs Cheong Koon Hong nee Madam Yeo Kim Yan passed away at the age of 34 on 8th March 1941 at her residence at 75 Koon Seng Road. She leaves behind her husband, 5 sons, 6 daughters, 1 daughter-in-law , two grandsons and two grand daughters to mourn her loss. She is buried in Bukit Brown Hill 5, Division C, plot 123.

Her husband, Cheong Koon Hong is one of two sons of Cheong Ann Bee and Tan Wah Neo. Cheong Koon Hong and his brother Cheong  Koon Seng were responsible for the building of Theatre Royal in North Bridge Road (former Blanco Court, now Raffles Hospital) and are the proprietors of the Star Opera Co. which performs opera every night (except Thursday's) in the Malay language. Performances include Shakespearean pieces such as Hamlet, stories such as Arabian Nights, Ali Baba to Chinese classics such as Sam-pek Eng-Tai. Mr. Cheong Koon Hong was the patron of the Eclipse Badminton Party (1947) , president of the Singapore Funeral Association (1934), patron of United Confederate Funeral Association (1953).

Mr. Cheong Koon Hong passed away at the age of 81 in October 1964. He is survived by a widow, 4 sons ( Cheong Hock Quee, Cheong Hock Siew, Cheong Hock Lock, 6 daughters, 5 daughter-in-laws, six son-in-laws, many grandchildren. Funeral service was held at Church of Holy Family, Katong.

Cheong Koon Hong with his colleagues

Theatre Royal - Star Opera Co.
(source: National Archives )
Tomb of Madam Yeo Kim Yan

Tomb of Madam Yeo Kim Yan 


Son: Cheong Hock Whatt
Cheong Hock Whatt, the second son of Cheon Koon Hong got engaged to Miss Lau Hui Keow (second daughter of Mr Lau Pau Song in 18 May 1948. Cheong Hock Whatt passed away at the age of 33 on 9th February 1956. He is survived by his parents, Mr and Mrs Cheong Koon Hong, wife Hui Keow and 2 sons. He was buried in Bidadari.

Son: Cheong Hock Lock
The fourth son of Mr and Mrs Cheong Koon Hong, Mr. Hilary Cheong Hock Lock married Miss Florence Barbara Baptist, youngest daughter of Mrs. A.A. Baptist. at the Church of St. Joseph's on 29 October 1961. Both of them were working at the Singapore Telephone Board.

Daughter: Cheong Keong Siok 
An engagement notice was announced on July 15, 2604 (15 July 1944) between Wee Chye Koon (eldest son of Mr and Mrs Wee Teow Siong) and Miss Cheong Keong Siok (second daughter of Mr and Mrs Cheong Koon Hong) 

Father: Cheong Ann Bee
Cheong Ann Bee was born in Malacca in 1833 and came to Singapore when he was 10 years old. He spoke no English as he attended Chinese school as a boy but nevertheless work in European firms such as Messrs. Dare & Co. and W. Mansfield & Co. He went on to venture into shipchandlery business  together with Tan Eng Siew under the name Ann-Bee, Eng-Siew & Co. In 1878, they parted ways and Cheong Ann Bee eventually partner Syed Mohamed Alsagoff and Lim Eng Keng in the firm Ann Bee & Co until it was eventually wound up in 1898. Cheong Ann Bee was known for his charitable disposition in providing eye salve (ointment) to those in need, especially coolies. Cheong Ann Bee died on March 9, 1896.

Mother: Mrs Cheong Ann Bee
Mrs Cheong Ann Bee passed away on April 2, 1927 at No 95-5 River Valley Road. She was 75 years old. She is survived by 2 sons, 7 daughters, 7 son-in-laws, 43 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.

Funeral of Mrs Cheong Ann Bee, April 1927
(source: NewspaperSG)
Mrs Cheong Ann Bee's tomb

Brother: Cheong Koon Seng 
Cheong Koong Seng, J.P., M.C. was born in 1880 and educated in Anglo Chinese School. Cheong Koon Seng,  is the proprietor of Messrs. Cheong Koon Seng & Co. and holds the honor of being one of the best known pioneer local auctioneers and estate agents in Singapore. He was trained under the auctioneering firm Powell & Co for 20 years and was also the manager of Commercial Rubber Co. Ltd from 1918-1920, before striking it out on his own in January 1920, based initially at 80 Kling Street under the style of Messrs Cheong Koon Seng and Co.
Cheong Koon Seng
(source: NewspaperSG)

Cheong Koon Seng passed away peacefully at his residence, "Valley-side" in No 299 River Valley Road at 9 am on March 20, 1934 at the age of 55. He is survived by his wife (Chia Siew Tin), three sons ( Cheong Hock Chye, Cheong Hock Guan and Cheong Hock Leng), 4 daughters (Cheong Keong Poh,Cheong Keong Tee, Cheong Keong Tuan, Cheong Keong Hee, Cheong Keong Aik, Cheong Keong Heok)  and 4 grandchildren.

Sister: Cheong Seok Neo (Mrs. Tan Kee Cheok)
Mrs. Tan Kee Cheok nee Madam Cheong Seok Neo passed away on 4th July 1940 at the age of 64. She was listed to staying at No. 161 Marine Parade and in the article, mentions that she is beloved sister of Mr. Cheong Koon Hong.

Untitled. (1940, February 25). The Straits Times, page 8
Domestic Occurrence. (1941, March 10). Malaya Tribune, page 9
Deaths. (1956, February 10). The Straits Times, page 6
Wedding at Saint Joseph's Church. (1961, October 30). The Straits Times, page 4
Deaths. (1964, October 11). The Straits Times, page 11
Cheong Koon Hong.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Chek Jawa Wetland Tour (Pulau Ubin) - Part II

The Chek Jawa mudflats was the highlight and stepping down the ladder and finally walking on the intertidal flats to see the beautiful sea grass, shore life and the constant crackling sound of the pistol shrimps brings back memories of the time i was there except this time we are only allowed to walk along the sand bank to prevent damaging the seagrass or areas where the marine life are hidden in the soft muddy ground.

Teeming with life, the NParks tour is organised in such a manner that we walk along the sandbank and various living marine creatures are displayed in plastic containers for us to see and sometimes touch. In certain areas at the edge of the seagrass lagoon, if you pay attention and look close enough it plays host to many of this marine creatures as well. I am really happy to see the Common sea star (Archaster typicus), Peacock Anemone, Sandfish Sea cucumber and the pretty cowrie. However it was unfortunate i didn't see the beautiful and large Knobby sea star.

Welcome to Chek Jawa Intertidal Flats

The low tides exposes the rich marine life

Getting down involves climbing down the ladder 

Sea Anemone with a crab near its mouth 

A large fish trapped in the low tide

Peacock or Tube Anemone 

Unknown worm among the seagrass / seaweeds

Sandfish Sea Cucumber


Coastal Horseshoe Crab (its tail is barbed) 
Common sea star (Archaster typicus)

With the rising tides, we made our way back to the board walk. The beautiful Chek Jawa intertidal flats are still very much alive despite the various reclamation projects in the opposite island Tekong. Chek Jawa is for now very much safe and with more people visiting and experiencing this wonderful place, it is unlikely that its status will be changed. However that been said, in the current URA Masterplan, Ubin is classified as open space, while Chek Jawa is classified as Reserved area. This means that Ubin Island is not listed as a conserved area and thus it could change in the future unless at grass root level, people continue to put pressure to continue to conserve Ubin Island and Chek Jawa as a whole and eventually change its status to be a Nature Reserve.

Screenshot of URA Masterpla

Chek Jawa Wetlands Tour (Pulau Ubin) - Part I

It has been a long, long time since i went back to Chek Jawa mudflats or after been managed by NParks, the Chek Jawa Wetlands Tour. Registration is via the NParks website and cost $60 for a group of up to 15 pax. The dates and timing for this tours are dependent on the tides and tours are arranged when tides of 0.5 metres or below occur exposing the intertidal flats making it suitable for exploring. That means waking up early in the morning and likely on a weekday as well. There are evening low tides as well, but i guess depending on lighting condition, public tours to Chek Jawa mudflats are likely in the morning. For this tour (16th June 2017) i was fortunate to be invited by my friend and his family who knew of my love for Ubin. The meeting point is at the Chek Jawa Information kiosk and getting there requires taking the bumboat from Changi Village ferry terminal ($3 one way) to Ubin Jetty. From there, you could either rent a bicycle there or pay for van ride there (estimate $2 per pax one way)

Rising sun over Pulau Ubin 

Local resident checking us early "birds" out 
The walk to the Chek Jawa mudflats starts downhill from the information kiosk and one of the structures you will see is a well that in the past i remember using to wash up after a walk in the mudflats. I remember there was a pail with rope attached in which i could drop into the well and pull up the crystal clear cold water to wash up. That was in 2003. Fast forward 2017, the well is locked up. The well and the Muslim tombs nearby is a reminder of the residents who once lived, work and for some died there.

Its the macaque's breakfast time

Resident Wild boars curious to see what the buzz is about 

Family of wild boars too busy foraging for food 
We started with the board walk, experiencing the eco-system's there including how to identify the different type of mangrove trees there based on the trees breathing root structure, such as pencil thin Pneumatophores of the Avicennia trees as opposed to the larger conical Pneumatophores of the Sonneratia trees. Nearer to the coast line, the prop or stilt roots of the Rhizophora or Bakau trees take prominence and plays an important role of preventing soil erosion and during high tide, the roots become an instant nursery to small fishes and crabs as larger predatory fishes are unable to navigate their way in the maze of roots.

Board walk with Nipah trees 

Unknown Insect 

Rhizophora / Bakau Tree


A curious Fiddler Crab 

Morning rays 

Beautiful Chek Jawa during low yide

Look for the next article [ Chek Jawa Wetlands Tour(Pulau Ubin)-Part II ] where we went down and learn about the living organisms that are found in intertidal flats of Chek Jawa. The NParks Chek Jawa tour can be found from their website.