Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Choa Eng Wan (Bukit Brown)

Choa Eng Wan (1887-1954) was the manager of  investment department of Lee Cheng Yan & Co , (Lee Cheng Yan is the father of Mr Lee Choon Guan) before eventually becoming a Director in various companies. This includes Directorship of Tiang Guan Brick and Tile company, Sungei Gau Tin mining company Ltd, Malaka Pinda Rubber Estate (seating for Mr Lee Choon Guan, his father-in-law), Central Engine Works Ltd.
Choa Eng Wan and Lee Poh Lian 
Choa Eng Wan married the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Lee Choon Guan in 1907 at the age of 17. Mr Lee Choon Guan and Choa Eng Wan's father, Mr Choa Giang Tye were both retired Municipal Commissioners. The marriage took place at the "York House" at Scotts Road, the home of Mr Choa Giang Tye which was reported lighted with electricity. Choa Eng Wan served in the ranks of the Chinese Company, S.V.I (Singapore Volunteer Infantry) during the Great War. He was also an avid tennis player.

Family 
Choa Eng Wan died on October 18, 1941 at the age of 54. Madam Lee Poh Lian died on May 31, 1961 at the age of 72. 
Tomb of Mr Choa Eng Wan 
Tomb of Madam Lee Poh Lian

Their daughter Choa York Neo (Mrs Lim Choon Tee) passed away in 1938. Their only son, Choa Siew Jin passed away in 1940 at his residence in No 37 Kiliney Road leaving behind a wife and son. He is buried in Bukit Brown. They were survived by one daughter and 2 grandchildren.

Choa family story
Choa Eng Wan's  father is Choa Giang Thye. Mr Choa Giang Thye himself is the second son of Choa Chuan Ghiok. We will start the story with Chua Eng Wah's grandfather.

Mr Chua Chuan Ghiok was born in Malacca and came to Singapore at an early age and work as clerk in Jose D'Almedia and Sons. Opportunity called and eventually he went to Rangoon, Burma to work for Leack, Chin Seng & Co and there he stayed for 40 years. After establishing himself as one of the leading chinese merchants, he came back and eventually died in Singapore in 1900.
Left- Choa Giang Tye (father)   Right- Choa Chuan Ghiok (grandfather) 
Mr Choa Giang Thye was born in Malacca in 1865, and at age of 12 came to Singapore. He was educated privately in English and spoke fluently in it. He and his brother, Giang Whee were commissioning agents for "Giang Bros". Mr Choa Giang Thye also ran a sawmill company called the Singapore Steam Saw Mill. He served as a Municipal Commissioner for eight years and was elected to be the successor of Mr Seah Liang Seah in the Municipal Board introducing a new generation of chinese proficient in the English language and was in the Chinese Advisory Board and also the Po Leung Kuk (Society of protection of woman and girls).

Awarded the Justice of Peace in 1910, he eventually died in 1911 leaving behind his only son, Choa Eng Wan. Mrs. Choa Giang Thye died on Feb 28 1934 at the age of 70 at her residence in No. 37 Killiney Road. She is also buried in Bukit Brown.

Choa Eng Wan's father in -law is Mr Lee Choon Guan, also a notable person in the Chinese community and wealthy banker. He founded the Chinese Commercial Bank in 1912. He was in the Chinese Advisory Board and a committee of Straits Chinese British Association and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was also a Justice of the Peace for his support and donations to the colonial government including a war plane during World War I called "Malaya No 6". Lee Choon Guan's eldest daughter (Ms Lee Poh Lian) from his first wife married Mr Choa Eng Wan.

The tomb of Mr Choa Eng Wan and Madam Lee Poh Lian are located in Hill 5 Division B and are affected by the 8 lane highway and the peg number is 1209 and 1210.


Reference
China's Transition. (1907, September 25). The Straits Times, page 7
Malaka Pinda Rubber Estate. (1914, December 14). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Central Engine Works. (1917, May 15). The Singapore Free Press, page 3
Tiang Guan Brick and Tile Company. (1920, May 29). The Straits Times, page 9
Sungai Gau Tin Mine.(1921, March 21). The Singapore Free Press, page 16
Mr. Lee Choon Guan. (1924, September 13). The Malayan Saturday Post, page 13
Death of Mr. Lee Choon Guan. (1924, August 28). The Straits Times, page 9
Death. (1934, March 2). The Straits Times, page 10
Advertisement. (1938, September 26).The Singapore Free Press, page 4
Deaths. (1940, March 7). The Straits Times, page 2
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Leow Chia Heng (Bukit Brown)

Leow Chia Heng / Liao Chia Heng (1870-1931) was a merchant under the company chop Buan Teck Heng (86/87 Circular Road) dealing in cloth and silk in the 1900's till its eventual winding up in 1926. During his career he expanded to become an estate owner and finally a wealthy banker.
Leow Chia Heng
Leow Chia Heng 

He was the Managing Director of the The Sze Hai Tong Banking and Insurance Ltd (registered office at No 57 / 58 Kling Street), Board of Director in The Chinese Commercial Bank Ltd and had shares in Eastern United Assurance.
Sze Hai Tong Bank

He contributed socially and was also a  Justice of Peace, Committee Member of Chinese Advisory Board, Committee Member of Po Leung Kuk (Society for the Protection of Woman and Children), President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and recipient of the Certificate of Honor. He was one of the founding members of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan and was also the first President of the Straits Confucian Association (later renamed as Nanyang Confucian Association).
Contributions
"Our Day" celebration fund(1916), Lifeboat Fund (1918),Zeebrugge Memorial Fund(1921),  Swabue Famine Relief Fund(1924), Nan Hua Girls' School Fund (1926), Clifford Fund for Raffles College (1929).

Properties
It was reported in 1922 that he bought 999 year leasehold land and houses at 253, 254a -254h and 255,  South Bridge Road totalling 10,277 sq feet for $96,000. That was only a small number and only the tip of an iceberg. An auction advertisement of his estate shows the extend of estate accumulated by him.
Huge number of properties
The Straits Times, September 20, 1933
(source: NewspaperSG)
More properties for auction
The Straits Times, May 19, 1939
(source: NewspaperSG) 
Death
Leow Chia Heng died at the age of 61 on February 28, 1931 at No 23 Pasir Panjang Road. It was reported that his body left from his home at No 5 Cumming Street for internment on March 29th, 1931 for a Chinese Cemetery in Balestier Road. This means the tomb in Bukit Brown is a reburial.

Family 
He left behind 3 sons, Leow Yong Moey (Yong Mui) , Leow Yong Seng (died two months after his father at the young age of 21 due to tuberculosis, leaving behind his wife and 4 children ) and Leow Yong Chuan,  2 daughter-in-laws, 4 daughters, 5 son-in-laws (Ng Kheng Siang, Lim Siew Siam, Chew Peng Huat, Tan Siak Kew and Tay Peng Siong).
Leow Chia Heng
Tomb of Leow Chia Heng 

Leow Chia Heng headstone
Second Rank Imperial Title from Qing government 

The tomb of Mr Leow Chia Heng has an indication of a 2nd rank imperial ranking by the Qing Dynasty. Imperial titles by Qing were commonly sold prior 1889 in exchange for monetary "contributions to various causes" for China. In 1889 this titles were even offered with a price list ! The headstone also indicates that his second son, Yong Seng (who died two months after his father) is buried with Leow Chia Heng.

When Leow Yong Mui passed away sometime in 1972, his estate was also sold off in an auction including the family home in No 5 and 6 Cumming Street.
(source: NewspaperSG)

One of his daughter, Ms Leow Mui Cheng (Madam Tan Siak Kew) who died at the age of 25 is also buried nearby. She married Mr Tan Siak Kew, a prominent Teochew leader, President of Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Chinese Produce Exchange, Chairman of the Nanyang University Council and first Ambassador to Thailand (1966).

Leow Chia Heng Prize 
There was residue amount left behind from the estate of the late Mr Leow Chia Heng. The High Court of the State of Singapore asked National University of Singapore to create a fund called the 'Leow Chia Heng Prize'  that provide's an annual cash prize to undergraduates or graduates of the Faculty of Law. Some of the former recipients of this award included Mr Tommy Koh (1961) and Mr S. Jayakumar (1963).


Reference
Advertisement. (1905, August 23). The Straits Times, page 6
Advertisement. (1913, February 24). The Singapore Free Press, page 9
Untitled.(1914,May 15). The Singapore Free Press, page 6
Advertisement. (1914, January 17). The Singapore Free Press, page 2
Untitled. (1922, July 26). The Straits Times, page 8
Advertisement. (1922, January 18). The Straits Times, page 16
Death. (1931, March 3). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Domestic Occurences. (1931, March 27). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Advertisement. (1933, September 20). The Straits Times, page 4
Over 100 law books reference. (1933, May 11). The Straits Times, page 5
Advertisement. (1939, May 19). The Straits Times, page 2
Advertisements. (1972, May 16). The Straits Times, page 21
Edwin Lee. (1991). The British as rulers: governing multiracial Singapore, 1867-1914. Singapore University Press, National University of Singapore, pp 185
Correspondence with great grand-daughter of Leow Chia Heng. 2012, May 17 [Email].

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chia Ah Thia (Bukit Brown)

Chia Ah Thia (1862-1930) was a rich Chinese businessman who came from China at a young age. Around 1912- 1914, he owned rubber plantations and fish rearing ponds in the Bukit Panjang / Mandai area. He was also a property owner with land and houses in various places around Singapore.

Death 
Mr Chia Ah Thia died at the age of 68 on July 30, 1930 at his residence in 68 Buffalo Road. He left behind two sons and 2 daughters. His sons are Chia Yong Hoe and Chia Cheang Nam and daughters, Chia Guek Kiow and Chia Gek Cheng.
Teochew tomb of Mr Chia Ah Thia 
Family
Probate of the estate of the late Mr Chia was given to his eldest son, Chia Yong Hoe. In 1932, the properties formerly owned by his father were auction off, giving us a glimpse of the extend of his property ownership.
Auction Sale of Chia Ah Thia's property

On the occasion of Mr Chia Ah Thia's eldest son, Chia Yong Hoe marriage to Miss Louise Goh (daughter of the late Mr. Goh Eng Sit) in October 1923, over 100 guest were invited to a dinner at 100 Desker Road.
Chia Yong Hoe studied at St. Andrew's School and later went on to join the civil service first in 1919 as an inspector in the Food Controller's office. In 1921, he was an acting sub-inspector in the Straits Police Force and eventually promoted to Asiatic Inspector in 1925, the first Chinese to do so.

In 1926 he was appointed as Usher of the Criminal District Court, where he held this position for many years, Around 1939 he was appointed Assistant Food Supply Officer (at a time where most appointees were Europeans) to control and inspect food supplies for A Division which represents Central, Singapore. He in short, had a very distinguished civil service career.
Chia Yong Hoe 
Chia Cheang Nam's story is shared by her daughter (Anne Chia) in the blog post found in the references below.

Road named after Mr Chia
In a meeting in 1938, the Municipal Commissioners in charge of Singapore Rural Board, decided to name a road off Bukit Timah after the memory of  Chia Ah Thia. Lorong Ah Thia still exist today. The reason for this was also due to the fact Mr Chia owned about 7,590 sq ft of land and houses near this area.
http://g.co/maps/5kpdc
Lorong Ah Thia /Ah Thia Lane


References
Untitled. (1923, October 13). The Straits Times, page 7
Death. (1930, August 1). The Straits Times, page 6
60 Villages to be named. (1930, August 12).The Singapore Free Press, page 3
Advertisements. (1932, February 10).The Singapore Free Press, page 2
Assistant Food Supply Officers. (1939, September 10). The Straits Times, page 13
Mainly about Malayans. (1939, October 1). The Straits Times, page
Bukit Brown Cemetery Peranakan Trail.[website] from Joyloh.com
My Grandma the Nyonya.[website] from Bukit Brown Cemetery

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chew Hock Seng (Bukit Brown)

Chew Hock Seng (1883-1957) is the eldest son of Mr Chew Boon Lay. After the death of Mr Chew Boon Lay in 1933, Chew Hock Seng took over the Ho Ho Biscuit until his death at the family home of No 141-A Devonshire Road, noon of 2nd April 1957 at the age of 78.

[Left] A young Chew Hock Seng
[Right] Mr and Mrs Chew Hock Seng 

Tomb of Mr and Mrs Chew Hock Seng 


He left behind his widow, 3 sons ( Chin Hong, Chin Cheong, Chin Hoe ) and 7 daughters ( Teck Neo, Suat Neo, Khiam Neo, Lily, Huat Neo, Kwee Neo and Buay Neo).  Five son-in-laws were also mentioned. They are Yeo Chiang Lim, Pang Choon Jin, Ong Kim Seng, Wee Chwee Siew and George Cheah Hin Yeang.

Pang Choon Jin / Chew Teck Neo engagement notice  

Wee Chwee Siew / Chew Khiam Neo  engagement notice 
Wee Chwee Siew is eldest son of Mr and Mrs Wee Sin Wei. Mr Wee Sin Wei is the eldest son of Majoor Wee Boon Teng. Majoor Wee is also buried in Bukit Brown. 
George Cheah / Chew Huat Neo 

Chew Chin Hong / Chia Siew Neo engagement notice



References
Advertisements.(1941, July 25). The Straits Times, page 2
Advertisements.(1949, June 8). The Straits Times, page 6
Advertisements.(1956, December 24). The Straits Times, page 6
Deaths. (1957, April 3). The Straits Times, page 6.
Ong Chwee Im, Chew Kheng Chuan, Chew,Evelyn.(2002). Chew Boon Lay: A Family Traces Its History : A Family Album. Singapore: The Compiler.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tan Chow Kim (Bukit Brown)

Tan Chow Kim (1883-1953), 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. Born in 19th September 1883 and educated in Raffles Institution, he was a gifted shooter. He was the first Chinese volunteer selected to shoot in the Singapore team for the Interport. He also won many prizes at the annual meetings of the Singapore Rifle Association. In 1913, he took second place in the Governor's Cup (the local version of the King's Prize at Bisley)

Tan Chow Kim's picture at his tomb
Tan Chow Kim's picture at his tomb 


Chinese Co. S.V.I wins the Warren Shield

In the competition in the Balestier Range in August 10th 1907, the Chinese company of the S.V.I won the Warren Shield for the first time with a narrow margin of 2 points. Among the team members was of course, a young Tan Chow Kim.

Warren Shield 

In the last Interport match in May 1914 (before the Great War), the Singapore team won first prize. Members of the team included Tan Chow Kim and Sir Ong Siang. The novel feature of this event was the inclusion of a woman in this team, a Miss Kerr (Principal of the Chinese Girls' School).


First "Chinaman" to shoot in Bisley 

Tan Chow Kim together with Messers Long and Galistan were the first Straits born individuals to represent the Colony in England for the National Rifle Association (N.R.A) competition in Bisley in 1910. English journalist were disappointed after seeing Tan Chow Kim as they were expecting a "pig tail" (queue) adorned chinese with Qing robes representative of his native country! Instead they found one who could speak perfect English and dressed the same as them. Another journalist from the Daily Mail went on to describe Tan Chow Kim as a "a slim,khaki-clad figure lay for hours in the long grass of the Bisley ranges striving hard to understand the vagaries of English winds. It was Tan Chow Kim, the first Chinaman to shoot at Bisley, and a member of the Singapore team, who traveled many a thousand miles to take part in a contest for the Empire Cup".

The Singapore team (consisting of nine man) came up 5th in the Empire Cup and 7th in the Kolapore Cup.


Promotion and Resignation 

As a Chinese Volunteer he moved up as non commission officer to eventually a Platoon Officer in December 1915. He was very popular among the ranks. Although his eyesight troubled him, he held his post throughout the Great War (World War I) until the signing of the armistice (marking the end of the war) in which he then resigned due to increased poor sight. Prior to his leaving, he also received from the Governor, the Colonial Auxiliary Forces long service medal award.

Promotion celebrations in 1916
Tan Chow Kim died on February 9, 1953 at the age of 70 at his residence in 131, Moulmein Road. He left behind 3 sons (Guan Heng, Guan Kiat and Guan Hong) and 4 daughters. He is buried in Block 5 Division B and affected by the 8 lane highway. His peg number is 1213.
Tomb of Tan Chow Kim 


References
Sergeant Tan Chow Kim. (1910, July 11). The Singapore Free Press
Untitled. (1915, December 25). The Singapore Free Press, page 6
Untitled. (1916, February 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Untitled. (1922, January 28). The Singapore Free Press, page 6
Death. (1953, February, 10). The Straits Times, page 7
Song, O.S. (1984). One hundred years history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ng Kah Ghee (Bukit Brown)

Ng Kah Ghee (1885-1941) was the managing director of chop Bee Huat or Bee Huat & Co, a company that supplies motor oil for a booming transportation industry. He was also the Vice President of the Socony Athletic Club for a number of years after it was formalised around 1929 with proper Annual General meetings. The club's first anniversary was held at Mr Aw Boon Haw's bungalow at Pasir Panjang who lent it for the ocassion. (Socony is short form for Standard Oil Company New York).

He also held position in a company called Standard-Vaccum Oil Co which is a close business partner or supplier of Bee Huat Company's petrol stations.
Ng Kah Ghee with other colleagues of Standard-Vaccum Oil Co
Contributions
China Famine Fund (1920), Geylang Girls School Building Fund (1927) London Raid Relief Fund Donations (1940)


Mr Ng Kah Ghee pased away on May 26, 1941 at his residence at No 23, Lorong 27-A Geylang at the age of 56 while Mrs Ng Kah Ghee passed away on Aug 11, 1955. They are buried in Block 5 Division B and is affected by the 8 lane highway. He left behind 5 sons ( Cheng Hoe, Cheng Ann, Cheng Kiat, Cheng Chwee and Cheng Bok ) and 5 daughters.
Tomb of Mr and Mrs Ng Kah Ghee
Bee Huat and Company
Bee Huat & Co operated from No 29 Beach Road during the time when the demand for motor vehicles were booming. Mr Ng Kah Ghee's company established itself as one of main agents for SOCONY - Standard Oil Company New York.
Advertisement, 1922

Advertisement, 13 April 1925
After Mr Ng Kah Ghee's passing in 1941, the Bee Huat and Company continue to do well with the service station operations in Orchard (Tanglin Service Station) and Beach Road. His son, Ng Cheng Ann was the manager director of the company.

The Singapore Free Press
November 1948

Advertisement, 1953

Advertisement 1955
Ng Cheng Bock took over as the manager (in addition to being of the directors of Bee Huat) of the Esso Service Station (Esso Tanglin Service Station) in 1968.
Esso Petrol Kiosk in Orchard Road 


References
Advertisement.(1922, August 24). The Straits Times, page 7
Advertisement. (1925, April 13). The Straits Times, page 16
Geylang Girls School. (1927, October 3). The Straits Times, page 10
Untitled. (1930, November 21). The Singapore Free Press, page 10
Untitled. (1930, April 17). The Straits Times, page 20
Untitled. (1939, July 2). The Straits Times, page 25
Advertisement. (1941, May 27). The Straits Times, page 2
Untitled. (1948, November 12). The Singapore Free Press, page 6
In Memoriam. (1956, August 11). The Straits Times, page 6
Advertisement. (1953, April 8). The Straits Times, page 4
Advertisement. (1955, January 22). The Straits Times, page 13
New Esso Service Station. (1968, August 14). The Straits Times, page 12

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Bukit Brown)

In one of my many trips to Bukit Brown, i once again manage to sight the Chestnut-bellied Malkoha on the 5th May 2012 around 11:45 am. It's being a long while since i last saw them. This time i was rewarded with 2 of them flying in and landing on a tree nearby where i was, which was in Hill 4 Divison A.

The pair of Malkoha's were not shy at all and i observed together with around 15 others for a good 8-10 minutes ! One was also seen feeding on a big juicy green caterpillar(the picture on the left).

chestnut-bellied Malkoha spotted in Bukit Brown on 5th May 2012
Pair of chestnut-bellied Malkoha 
In the recently updated (March 2012) checklist of birds of Bukit Brown, by the Nature Society Singapore Bird Group, this Malkoha's are listed as Uncommon in the abundance status and are forest/woodlands birds by nature indicating Bukit Brown has indeed become an important area for the breeding of forest birds.

The Chestnut-bellied Malkoha is listed in the IUCN Red list of threatened species.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Oei Bok Sien (Bukit Brown)

Mr Oei Bok Sien also known as Towkay Oei Bok Sien was in the shipping business and owned ships such as the modern steel ship "Bintan" (built in Singapore by United Engineers shipyard in Tanjong Rhu), and steamers such as the "Esmeralda", "Pontianak" that ply the Singapore-Riau (Indonesia) routes.

Singapore built motorship "Bintan"

Property and shares

He bought Nos 142,144,146, 148, 150, 152 and 154 Selegie Road (total of 7,627 sq ft)  for $12,100 and another property in 68 Amoy Street for $21,000 in 1919. He also leased out a seaside bungalow at No 2 East Coast Road. He also holds shares in United Saw Mills Limited.


Family

Mrs Oei Bok Sien (nee Soh Nyia Chik) passed away at the age of 62 on October 14, 1929 at No 10 Choon Guan Street (off Anson Road). Mr Oei Bok Sien passed away at the age of 66 on September 9, 1931 at No 15 Choon Guan Street (off Anson Road). Their tomb is located in Hill 3 Division A.

Tomb of  Mr and Mrs Oei Bok Sien
They have 6 sons: Oei Tiau Tjing, Wee Teow Beng, Oei Tiau Soen, Oei Tiau Joe, Oei Tiau Yong and Wee Teow Poh and 2 daughters: Mrs Chew Kiat Seng and Madam Wee Chwee Neo (Mrs Tan Soo Yok )

Sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters
Son: Wee Teow Beng
Wee Teow Beng is the proprietor of the Arcadia Cinema. He also bought the steamship Will O' the Wisp for $3,500 in 1922. This steamship was later bought by Teo Hoo Lye S.S. Co. (or Soon Bee Steamship Co.) in 1924.

Son: Wee Tiau Joe 
Oei Tiau Joe died at the age of 55 on 5th June 1948. He is also buried in Bukit Brown.


References
Property Sale. (1916, May 17). The Singapore Free Press, page 12
Property Sale. (1916, October 23). The Singapore Free Press, page 26
Untitled.(1922, October 10). The Straits Times, page 8
Shipping Notes.The Bintan. (1926, April 15). The Singapore Free Press, page 12
Told by Camera. (1926, April 22). The Singapore Free Press, page 4
Advertisement. (1929, April 25). The Straits Times, page 16
Deaths. (1929, October 17). The Straits Times, page 4
Advertisements.(1932,September 28). The Straits Times, page 4