Sunday, 25 December 2011

Chan Mah Phee 曾广庇


Chan Mah Phee son of Chan Ee Shin was born in 1848 to a poor family in Tong'an, Fujian, China and received no formal education. In 1870, he left his native land and first arrived in Singapore, where he spent two years there. After ten years of hard work, in 1883 Chan Mah Phee established a provision shop known as Taik Leong & Co. at 75 Strand Road, where the firm engaged with food, rice, oil, and tobacco trading. His business prospered and extended to a larger premise, where Chan Mah Phee purchased a property at 57 Strand Road. 

In between the years 1894 and 1899, he was known as an important figure in rice trading in Burma. He was then famed for being one of the largest property owners in Rangoon; shops and houses were rented to people with business interest and fertile lands were used for planting paddy. Chan Mah Phee was unable to converse in English, but he gained respect from people of all classes and was best known for generous in doing charity. He was the principal donor to the Rangoon Hokkien Association which was built in 1903 and a main supporter of the Chan Clan Temple. In 1911, he donated $20,000 to build a school in his native homeland. In the late 19th century he built a hospital in Rangoon and a road was named after him (Ahlone). Chan Mah Phee also financed the development in his homeland by building the Long Shan Girls School and Tong'an Hospital.  

Chan Mah Phee also showed his concern to the flood disasters in his native land, where from time to time without hesitation a large sum of money was remitted for relief work in the China floods and famine. Chan Mah Phee was a devoted Buddhist, he built a shrine at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda and financed the cost of constructing the Waso Kyoung at Dedaye.

He married Ma Aye Mya, daughter of Oo Oung Ba, a farmer of Dedaye, where he had three sons and three daughters. One of his sons, Chan Chor Khine was a prominent leader in the Hokkien community, he was given a seat in the Rangoon State Council for the first and fourth terms. In April 1934, Chan Chor Khine shot himself at his house in 82 Park Road, Brightlands, he was then 50 years old. One of Chan Mah Phee’s sons had married Lim Chin Tsong’s daughter. Without a doubt, Chan Mah Phee is a fine example of single-handed built millionaire. He died on 30 September 1920. 

林锡星 (2001). 缅甸华叠精英与知名侨领概述 (Miǎndiàn huá dié jīngyīng yǔ zhīmíng qiáo lǐng gàishù). Southeast Asian Studies
Wright, A. (1910). Twentieth century impressions of Burma: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources

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