Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Taik Ho & Co. 得和公司

Toh Khay Beng 杜啟明, JP
One of the oldest and renowned general stores in Taiping, was the Taik Ho & Co. (得和公司), stationed at No 82, Main Road. Its head company was at Taiping, with a branch office at No 93, Belfield Street, Ipoh. The firm was commenced by Toh Khay Beng in 1889. 

Born in 1859, Toh Khay Beng was among the early batch of Chinese immigrants settled in Taiping during 1870s. Being a son of Tong'an, Fujian, he came from China and commenced his early business in Penang in 1883. And for nine years he had been actively engaged in tin mining in Perak and managed to establish himself into various businesses. For twelve years Toh Khay Beng had been a member of the Taiping Sanitary Board and was one of the local Visiting Justices.

Taik Ho & Co. was a well-known provision shop selling liquors, opium, various imported food stuffs and was a licensed arms dealer. His firm also arranged sedan chairs and coolies to transport the Europeans to the Larut Hills. Toh Khay Beng died in July 1923 after battling with a long illness since 1916 and his firm was left to his sons Toh Eng Swee and Toh Eng Hoe. In order to honour the early pioneer of Taiping, the Sanitary Board decided to name a road after him. In 1910, his son Toh Eng Hoe founded the Guan Ho Distillery (源和酒廠), which located next to Taik Ho & Co. Today the management of Taik Ho & Co. has been incorporated with its subsidiary the Guan Ho & Co. Ltd. (得和源和有限公司), which was established by Toh Eng Hoe. Under its new name, Taik Ho & Guan Ho Ltd, the managing directors are Toh Theam Chuan 杜添全 and Toh Teck Au.

Toh Kay Beng was also known as a generous philanthropist to several  Chinese temples and associations, as well as endowed financial support to educational institutions in Taiping. In order to honour this early pioneer, the Taiping Sanitary Board named a road after him in the town. 

Taik Ho & Co., No 82 Main Road, Taiping was demolished in 1977 

The interior view of Taik Ho & Co.

Dato' Dr Toh Eng Hoe 杜榮和, CBE, AMN, DPMP, PJK, JP
Born in Taiping, Toh Eng Hoe was educated at King Edward VII School, Taiping, where he was awarded Sir William Taylor’s prize for the best essay and a silver medal as the head boy of the school in 1915. He was matriculated at Penang and went to Hong Kong University on 1916. But in a year later, he had to discontinue further studies on account of his father’s illness. With a Master of Surgery (MCh), Toh Eng Hoe was a registered doctor and served the Taiping General Hospital for some years.

On the death of his father, Toh Khay Beng in 1923. Toh Eng Hoe became the sole proprietor of Taik Ho & Co, well-known provision shop, Chop Guan Ho and the Taiping Spirit Distillery. He was also a well-known planter and a racehorse owner and had established a motor-garage in Barrack Road (Taiping) in 1926.

Being a busy man, Toh Eng Hoe had always taken an active part in public matters and was the president of the Chinese Sporting Club (Taiping), Chin Woo Athletic Association (Taiping) and the Chinese Benevolent Society. He was also a senior unofficial member of the Sanitary Board of Larut & Matang, member of the Rubber Licensing Board, Small Holdings (Restriction of Sale) Committee, Public Gardens Committee, Visiting Justice to the Taiping Jail, Visitor to the Larut District and General Hospitals and the Decrepit Settlement. He was also a member of the Perak State Council (1948 – 1955).

Toh Eng Hoe also associated himself with all social activities and his name was a valuable asset to the Hokkien Association where he was the president and also the Taiping Literary Improvement Association, Chinese Advisory Board of Perak, the Cheng Luan Seah (Penang) and a trustee of the Toh Kongsi (Penang) and a director of Taiping Cinema Ltd.

Toh Eng Hoe was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1933 by the Sultan of Perak and made an Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956. The contributions and services of Toh Eng Hoe to the people and government of Perak were credited as invaluable. He was decorated with Darjah Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP) which carries the title Dato. In his later life, Toh Eng Hoe was made a Member of the Order of the Defender of the Realm (AMN) for his meritorious service to the country. And was conferred with a Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK) by the Sultan of Perak.

Toh Eng Hoe's Children:
  1. Toh Theam Hock: Second son. A lawyer, called to the Malayan Bar in 1959. On 10 March 1962, he married Mona Lim, eldest daughter of Lim Buan Tee of Ipoh. Toh Theam Hock was a Member of Parliament for Kampar. He died in Taiping and had an adopted daughter, through Mona Lim. Mona Lim was a teacher at Convent Taiping. Toh Theam Hock was the President of Malaysia Food Processors Association, where he himself was the Chairman of the General Foods Processing Company (M) Bhd, Taiping. 
  2. Toh Guat Cheng: Second daughter. Married Dr Ng Khye Weng, second son of Ng Ah Tuck of Penang. The couple had since moved to live in the United States of America.
    Chinese Sporting Club, Barrack Road, Taiping. Its president Toh Eng Hoe seated next to the right shield.

    Monday, 11 July 2011

    Lam Looking 林六經

    Lam Looking

    His name is pronounced as ‘Lam Loke Ying.’ Born in Penang in 1863, Lam was a native of Xinhui, Guangdong. He received his early education in Penang, where his family was well-known and respected for many generations. At the age of 18, Lam proceeded to study at the Chinese Imperial Naval Arsenal at Fuzhou, majoring in sea navigation, and became a ship commander in the Franco-Chinese War. He retired his military service and was knighted with Mandarin of the Blue Button decorated with the Chinese Imperial official attire and a peacock feather headgear.

    From China, Lam retired to Kampar and ventured into tin mining business and had contributed in the development of Chinese welfare and educations. He was awarded with Order of Merit with a gold medal presented by the Governor of Guangdong. His eldest son, Lam Weng Yoon was the president of Wah Seong Kok, the Literary Association of Kampar. While his second son Lam Weng Chak married Cheng Shaw Moiey, second daughter of Cheng Oi Seng (Hong Kong). 

    Lam Weng Yoon's daughter Selena Lam was the first Asian woman to receive University of Queensland research grant. Selena completed her Bachelor of Science from University of Adelaide in 1959, and Master of Science in University of Queensland. She spent seven years in Australia for her studies and returned back to Malaya in 1963 posted as lecturer of bacteriology at University of Singapore. 

    In 1946, Lam Weng Chak was charged to the court for voluntarily caused hurt for the purpose of extorting confession. The offenses were committed in March 1942, when Malaya was under Japanese Occupation. 

    In 1919, Lam Looking bought Mess House of the Straits Trading Co. Ltd in Gopeng Road for $85,000. Lam’s family residence was named as King’s Villa at Gopeng Road, Ipoh. During his final two years, Lam’s health was deteriorating and was treated at Singapore. On 1 June 1937, he died in Ipoh at the age of 74.

    Chu Kik Moon 朱戟門

    CHU KIK MOON 朱戟門, JP

    Chu Kik Moon J.P., was a prominent resident of Seremban, perhaps he was the only man in the town to have sent all his children to have university education during the early times.

    His eldest son, Chu Chin Hon earned a Degree in Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) from Lingnan University, while his daughter, Chu Tsuk Lin was also in Lingnan University studied literature, and Chu Kik Moon's youngest son, Chu Chi Kin was in Hong Kong University.

    Chu Kik Moon was a great beneficiary and promoter of education, he had financially supported the Anglo Chinese School and several other schools in Seremban. Chu Kik Moon was first educated at Queen’s College, Hong Kong and then at Raffles Institution, Singapore for a jiffy.

    He settled down in Malaya in 1907 and was made a Justice of the Peace in 1937. He was notably known for his post as the President of Negri Sembilan Athletic Association, a committee member of the Chinese Maternity Hospital, a member of the Board of Visitors to the Decrepit Hospital, Tampin and was an honorary Treasurer of the China Relief Fund.

    Chu Kik Moon's Town House at No. 86 Paul Street, Seremban

    Wednesday, 6 July 2011

    Quah Beng Kee 柯孟淇


    Quah Beng Kee was descended from a well established Straits Chinese family. His father Quah Joo Moye was born in China. Quah Beng Kee was born in 1872 in Penang. He married daughter of Chew Choo In, the Chinese Kapitan of Deli, Sumatra. Quah Beng Kee had five sons and two daughters and was the owner of coconut estates in the Province of Wellesley and Northern Perak. He was educated at the Penang Free School and later to the Roberts' College in Calcutta.

    Quah Beng Kee was an appointed Justice for the Peace and decorated with Officer of the Order of British Empire in 1923. His family residence was at No. 95 Bishop Street, Penang, while his summer house Castledale was at Province of Wellesley. Quah Beng Kee's brothers, Beng Hong, Beng Hoe and Beng Kang were proprietors of the Beng Brothers Co. premised at Beach Street, Penang.

    In 1895, Quah Beng Kee establised the Guan Lee Hin Steamship Company and provided logistic services in Penang and Singapore and proved to be one of the most successful steamship companies in the British Malaya. In 1897, the company extended its ferry steamship service in between George Town, Province of Wellesley, Kedah and minor ports in Perak, marking the history as the first firm to operate ferry services in Malaya. Besides the Guan Lee Hin, Quah Beng Kee also seated as Director to several other major companies, including the Taik Lee Guan & Co. and Graham & Co. Ltd. Quah Beng Kee also extended his business in exporting copra from his estates of Otaheite in Glugor and Sungei Nibong. He also ventured into large ironworks and known as the Penang Foundry.

    Quah Beng Kee played his importance in the Chinese welfare in Penang, he was a committee member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Municipal Commissioner of George Town, Penang Habour Board and held important role in various associations. He died on 13 Novermber 1952.

    Friday, 26 February 2010

    Kwa Chooi Seng

    Kwa Chooi Seng
    Kwa Chooi Seng was born in Penang. He was the eldest son of Kwa Soo. Kwa Soo was a merchant in Penang, where he came to Taiping in 1877 and commenced in tin mining and smelting business. Kwa Chooi Seng was one of the heads of the Hokkien community in Taiping and the owner of the large tin mines and lands in the Larut district.

    He owned a loaded property in several towns in Perak and other Malay States. Kwa Chooi Seng and his two brothers, Kwa Chooi Kim and Kwa Chin Chuan were proprietors of a 200 acres rubber estate in Kamunting, Taiping. In 1914, the Kwa brothers generously donated a piece of land nearby the Taiping Hospital to the Penang missionaries for building a Christian school, known as St. George's Institution in the town.

    Kwa Chooi Seng had two sons and one daughter and was married twice. The Kwa brothers were buried at the Hokkien Cemetery, Taiping, Perak. Began with Kwa Chooi Seng's son Quah Chye Soon, the family has changed the surname from Kwa to Quah.

    Kwa Chooi Kim was married three times, he decided to settle in Penang after the demise of his father Kwa Soo. Kwa Chooi Kim was a supporter of Kuomintang movements in China. He had offered Dr Sun Yat Sen, a Chinese revolutionist a house in Taiping, when Dr Sun was in the town.

    Kwa Chor Su
    Kwa Soo or also known as Kwa Chor Su was born in China. He migrated first to Phuket, Thailand. Kwa Soo married a Siamese wife and commenced his tin mine business there. He then moved to Penang in 1850s and later to Taiping in 1877, where he married second time there. Kwa Soo also involved in the Larut Wars, and partnered with Chung Keng Kwee. Kwa Soo was famed for his generosity in funding the welfare of Buddhist temples in Phuket and Taiping. The Siamese temple in Taiping was built on the land donated by him.

    Saturday, 9 January 2010

    The Loh Family in Perlis

    (revised on 22 Nov 2011 & 25 Nov 2012)

    Perlis is the smallest state in the Malay Peninsular. The history of the Chinese settlements in Perlis is very often lack of documentation. The early Chinese groups migrated to Perlis were the Hakkas from Cenxi of Guangxi and Dapu of Guangdong. Other Chinese ethnics including those from Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan came later. The Chinese influx to Perlis was probably due to the discovery of tin mines near the northern region of the State neighboring to the Thai border. 

    Located far away from the capital, Kangar, is the little mining town, known as Kaki Bukit or meaning foothill in English. This place is occupied by the Chinese Hakka descends and was once headed by a prominent Chinese miner, Loh Seng Heng and his family. Kaki Bukit was first discovered by Lt. Col. Sir John Campbell in the early 1930s when he led a team to explore the inner site of Wang Kelian. Around this time, there was already a Chinese chief, named Lee Lei Kam, who represented the Chinese community in Perlis. He was appointed as the Chinese Kapitan by the Raja of Perlis and lived in Kangar. Kapitan Lee Lei Kam served during the 1930s but shortly afterwards the Kapitan system was abolished.

    During the exploration led by Sir John in 1928, one of team members was Loh Seng Heng. He  later amassed large tin mining concession by the State Government of Perlis, as token of appreciation for his keenness to develop the newly-found tin mines at Wang Kelian. Loh Seng Heng, later the patriarch of the Loh Clan in Kaki Bukit was of Dapu Hakka origin. He co-founded the Kaki Bukit Tin Mines together with Sir John in 1935. During the early time of the mine establishment, Loh Seng Heng brought in Chinese coolies particularly selected from Guangxi region and neighbouring area of southern Guangdong in China.

    According to the folks, there was a time where more than 3,000 coolies were employed to cast the tin ore near the foothill. However, there were no  official documentation regarding with the records of coolies deployed and the actual capacity of tin mined there. Loh Seng Heng's eldest son, Loh Ah Tong inherited his father's property worth millions and they owned a beautiful spacious English mansion near the former mine sites in which still exist today.

    Loh Ah Tong who later joined politics and became a member of the State Council. In recognition to his contribution to the Chinese community in Perlis, he was conferred the title Dato' by the Raja of Perlis.

    Dato' Loh Ah Tong,
    AMN, PJK, JP
    Loh Ah Tong was born in 1904 in Lahat, Perak to Loh Seng Heng, he married Lee Leong Ying. Loh Ah Tong was educated at St. Michael's Institution in Ipoh and had various business interests, ranging from tin mining to rubber plantation and land proprietorship.

    Loh Ah Tong was the Unofficial Member of Perlis State Council and Perlis State Executive Council in 1948. He was also the Chairman of Local Council for Kaki Bukit (1957 - 1960), Member of Licensing Board, Committee Member of the Perlis State Welfare for the the Committee Chinese Advisory Board. Loh Ah Tong was the President of Adult Education Association, Perlis Football Association, Malaysian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, Henry Gurney Memorial Fund of Kaki Bukit, Vice-President of the Malayan Chinese Association. His other appointments including, Adviser Juvenile Court, Visitor of Kangar General Hospital, Chairman of the Board of Governors for Stella Maris School (Kangar) and Kong Hwa School (Kaki Bukit), Chairman of Ching Wah Koong Fooi Association (Kaki Bukit) and many other appointments. 

    Tuesday, 6 October 2009

    Choong Cheng Kean 庄清建


    Choong Cheng Kean was born on 16 June 1857 in Xianglu Village, Amoy to Choong Chuo. Being the only son of a poor family, he first came to Tongkah in 1875 and worked at a provision shop. It was shortly afterwards he moved to Kedah and worked at a provision shop. It was in Kedah he married his employer’s daughter Lim Gek Kee in 1881, and was also known as Lim Cheng Kean. Though he first married a wife in China named Teoh Kuan Neo, but the couple had no issue and lived all her life in China had adopted several children. And when Choong Cheng Kean died in 1916 she was disgraced for not named in the Will of Choong Cheng Kean’s Estate. Choong Cheng Kean’s success was through the help from his father-in-law in Kedah. Choong Cheng Kean first started his own provision shop at Alor Star, and had then befriended with the Regent of Kedah, Tunku Abdul Aziz who often stopped by his place for drinking and gambling habits. It was through this friendship ties with the Kedah Royalties, Choong Cheng Kean enjoyed a long term paddy rice monopoly in the state, including held the opium, liquor and gambling syndicates. When his career thrived, he adopted several secondary wives distributing over Penang, Kedah and Thailand. Following with his successful career, in 1894 he built the Choong Mansion in his ancestral village. And 13 years later he funded the construction of the Choong Clan Temple. Choong Cheng Kean was a shareholder of Eastern Shipping Company and several other Chinese companies in Penang and Kedah. His sons were Choong Lye Hock , Choong Lye Hin and Choong Lye Teong. Eldest son, Choong Lye Hock married Lim Liew Saik (1884 – 1936) and they had two sons and four daughters. One of Choong Lye Hock’s sons, Choong Soo Ghee was the appointed trustee of his Estate and in 1940 one of his daughters, Choong Sim Gay married to Chua Keat Siew eldest son of Chua Lye Hock. When Choon Cheng Kean died on 23 June 1916, he was then a well-established millionaire in Penang, where his amassed wealth was able to pass down five generations after him.

    Friday, 2 October 2009

    The Chinese Kapitans In Malay States 马来亚华人甲必丹

    According to historical records, the Kapitan post was originally created during the Portuguese and Dutch rules in Malacca and the Dutch East Indies . The then colonialists needed a smooth administration in their colonies, but the fact was they were unable to do so without the help from the local residents. And for the reason that their colonies had the status as international trading ports, thus, merchants from all around the globe will have trade there. As a solution to enhance the better understanding between the colonists and the trading community, the post of Kapitan or also known as today's 'ambassador' was established to represent the county they belonged to. The Kapitan is not only limited to the Chinese from China, but there are also Kapitans for India, Arab, Java, etc.

    This Kapitan system was later adopted by the British in their early administration in the Malay states and colonies in the Straits Settlements. The office of the Kapitan of China was designated as the representative of the Chinese business community outside mainland China. The Kapitan of China means the chief for all Chinese, and only had the power of attorney in a particular state in overseas. For instance, in Malaysia, the state of Kedah, Perak, Kuala Lumpur (for Selangor), Sungei Ujong (Ngeri Sembilan), Malacca, etc. had their own choice of Chinese leaders. The Kapitan post was elected by the Chinese business community and appointed by the colonial ruler on behalf of the Malay Sultans and Rajahs. The Kapitan will be given an official seal (chop) to perform his duty and styled after the Imperial Qing court. 

    During this time, the Kapitan was responsibled in collecting taxes from the Chinese merchants on behalf for the local Malay rulers. The Kapitan also has the power of attorney in governing and making laws for his own settlements. The Kapitan's formal attire was in accord to the Imperial Qing Dynasty Mandarin Officer style, where a resemblance of a headgear with a peacock feather and a dark silk robe with ranking symbol. This unique post was later abolished in the early 1900s. However, today the Kapitan post still exist in the Borneo Island, particularly in Sarawak.

    (1572 - 1617) Tay Hong Yong (Tay Kie Ki) - Appointed by the Portuguese)
    (1614 - 1688) Li Wei King (Koon Chang)
    (1662 - 1708) Lee Chiang Hou (Chong Kian)
    (1643 - 1718) Chan Ki Lock (Chan Lak Kua)
    (1725 - 1765) Chan Hian Kway (Kwang Hwee)
    (1703 - 1784) Tan Seng Yong
    (1748 - 1794) Tan Ki Hou (Siang Lian)
    (1750 - 1802) Chua Su Cheong (Tok Ping)
    (1771 - 1882) Chan Yew Liang (Keng Sin)

    (1787 - 1826) Koh Lay Huan 辜禮歡 (the first Kapitan for Penang)
    (1894 - 1908) Cheah Ching Hui 謝清輝
    (1908 - 1918) Cheah Yong Chong 謝榮宗

    (1858 - 1861) Hiu Siew 丘秀
    (1862 - 1868) Liu Ngim Kong 刘壬光
    (1868 - 1885) Yap Ah Loy (Yap Tet Loy) 叶亚来
    (1885 - 1889) Yap Ah Shak (Yap Chee Ying) 叶致英
    (1889 - 1902) Yap Kwan Seng 叶观盛

    (1736 - 1820) Teo Tioh Eng (Zhang Zhaorong)
    (1782 - ?) Kow Geok Seng
    (1798 - 1847) Lim Eng Huat
    (1810 - ?) Kow Teck Lee
    Low Kian Tee
    (? - 1899) Wee Teck Siew
    Kow Swee Leng

    (1845 - 1857) Tan Kee Soon (Kapitan of Tebrau)
    (1859 - 1869) Tan Cheng Hung (Kapitan of Tebrau)
    (1869 - ?) Seah Tee Heng (Kapitan of Sekudai)
    (1870 - 1875) Tan Hiok Nee (Major China / Kapitan of Johor Bahru) 
    Lim Ah Siang
    (? - 1917) Lin Jin He
    Lee Lei Kam (The only Kapitan of Perlis)

    (1830 - ?) Tan Ah Hun 陈亚汉
    (1875 - 1900) Chung Keng Quee 鄭景貴
    (1875 - 1899) Chin Ah Yam (Chin Seng Yam)
    (1886 - 1906) Khaw Boo Aun @ Khaw Ewe Kuang
    (1930 -1935) Chung Thye Phin 鄭大平

    Leung Cheng Wat (Wee Chai)

    (? - 1922) Wee Hee Hoon (Kapitan of Bagan Api Api in Dumai, Riau), he died at the age of 46, leaving behind seven children. 
    (? - 1924) Oey Teng Kiang (Kapitan of Palembang, Sumatra)
    Wee Leong Tan (Kapitan of Selat Panjang, Sumatra)
    (1915 - 1925) Wee Boon Teng (Kapitan of Selat Panjang, Sumatra)
    Foo Pak Yin (Kapitan of Brunei)
    Koh Heen (Kapitan of Sandakan)
    Oei Leong Tan (Kapitan of Bengkalis)
    Ng Eng Kee (Kapitan of Singapore) he had four sons (Quee Gam, Quee Lam, Quee Hock and Quee Teng) and 23 grandchildren

    Yap Ah Loy
    Kapitan Yap Ah Loy (or Yap Tet Loy) was the third Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur, served from 1868 until 1885 and was a member of the notorious triad of Hai San. Born on 14 March 1837 in Dan Shui Village, Guiye District, Huizhou Prefecture, Guangdong Province, Yap Ah Yap was belonged to the Huizhou Hakka clan.


    Yap Hon Chin (Yap Ah Loy's son)
    Yap Loong Shoon (Yap Ah Loy's son)

    Yap Ah Shak
    Kapitan Yap Ah Shak (or Yap Chee Ying) was the fourth Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur. Yap Ah Shak of Hakka origin was born in Huizhou Prefecture, Guangdong Province in China. His career as Chinese Kapitan had begun in Sungei Ujong (now the State of Negri Sembilan). His appointment as the Kapitan of Sungei Ujong was supported by Wong Ying, a famous Guangdong miner cum merchant and his allies. The appointment of Yap Ah Shak as the Kapitan was linked to a coup-de-tet against the then Kapitan Sam Meng Lei. Kapitan Sam Meng Lei was an incapable leader in Sungei Ujong, he was trapped in between the waged civil wars between the two Rajahs in Sungei Ujong and subsequently killed during the strike. It was said that, Kapitan Sam Meng Lei had lost his popularity, when he could not voice-out the dissatisfaction among the Chinese merchants regarding with the increase of revenue income imposed by the Malay rulers. However, the problem was never solved dynamically by Yap Ah Shak, because due to the invitation of Kapitan Yap Ah Loy of Kuala Lumpur to appoint him as the assistant and overseer of Yap Ah Loy's mines and coolies. Therefore, Yap Ah Shak left Sungei Ujong, after less than a year service. According to some records, the reason Yap Ah Shak left Sungei Ujong, was probably he knew that there will be brighter future in Kuala Lumpur rather than in Sungei Ujong. Yap Ah Shak died in 1889 and passed the Kapitan office to his best friend, Yap Kwan Seng. Yap Ah Shak had three sons and one daughter, Yap Loong Hin, Yap Futt Yew, Yap Chin Fook and Yap Tenga.
    Yap Loong Hin, Yap Ah Shak's son
    Yap Loong Hin, J.P. 

    Yap Loong Hin was the eldest son of Yap Ah Shak. Born in 1873 in Kuala Lumpur, Yap Loong Hin was the Head of Yap Clan, owner of tin mines in several Malay states, trustee and the president of many educational and social institutions in Selangor. Yap Loong Hin had five wives, three sons, three daughters and 11 grandchildren. He died in 1937 and was buried at the Birch Road Chinese Cemetery. 

    Yap Kwan Seng
    Kapitan Yap Kwan Seng was the fifth Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur and also marked as the last one upon his death. Famously known as the last Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Kwan Seng was also famed for his philanthropic contributions in economics, educations, social and health welfare in British Malaya.Yap Kwan Seng of Hakka origin was originated from Liangpoi Village, Chixi Township, Taishan County, Zhuhai Prefecture, Guangdong Province in China, where he was born there in 1846. He was the eldest son of Yap Hoin Yin. Yap Kwan Seng first arrived in Malaya at the age of 16 years. He first arrived at Malacca to visit a friend and learning the great success in managing tin mining in Malaya. The curious young Yap Kwan Seng, was then decided to remain in the country after spending some time in assisting Kapitan Yap Ah Shak.Yap Kwan Seng later commenced tin mining own his own account and was successfully in securing from the government in monopolizing the State Selangor Farms (Opium & Liquor). In 1888, on the death of Kapitan Yap Ah Shak, subsequently, Yap Kwan Seng was elected to replace the Kapitan office. He was given a seat on the Selangor State Council and Kuala Lumpur Sanitary Board. Yap Kwan Seng died at his residence at Kuala Lumpur in 1901, leaving a family of fifteen sons and ten daughters, and estates valued at several million dollars. His estates were left in trust to Messrs. Teh Seow Teng, Tong Tung and Yap Tai Kee (his eldest son). Yap Tai Kee died shortly after his father and his position was taken by the second son, Yap Tai Cheong.

    Chin Seng Yam
    Kapitan Chin Seng Yam (陈亚炎) or commonly known as Chin Ah Yam (of Ho Hup Seah) was a famous Chinese Kapitan of Perak. He was a powerful leader of a notorious triad of Ghee Hin during the early 1850s. His main opponent was Kapitan Chung Keng Quee of Hai San triad. Chin Ah Yam of Dapu Hakka origin, was given a seat in the first Perak State Council and earned the title Kapitan following with his appointment. Chin Ah Yam was originally a Hakka chief in Larut District of Perak, where he represented the Ghee Hin tribe based in Penang. Chin Ah Yam of Ghee Hin and Chung Keng Quee of Hai San were a long time enemies, they fought for power and control of tin mining rights in Perak. However, their little quarrels had never thought that it could lead to a great turbulence to the State's economy by waging a series of twelve years wars. In the late 1880s, the importance of Ghee Hin in Larut had ceased, with the control of tin mines was transited to the Hai San. Following with the British Colonial intervention in Perak for peace keeping, in January 1874, the infamous Pangkor Treaty was signed among the two leaders of the triads and the Malay rulers and chiefs and marked the end of the Chinese wars. Where Chin Ah Yam, signed a separate Chinese Engagement at Pangkor, undertaking to cease the wars between the two triads, resulted Chin and his triads were immunized from the obligation to pay the claim for causing chaos in the State, thus gaining more popularity from his triad members. Before, Chin Ah Yam died in 1899, it was said that he had visited England. The Chin family later spelled their surname as Chan. Chin Ah Yam's children were Chin Guang De, Chin Guang Yuan, Chin Yu Lin, Chin Yuet Ming, Chin Yuet Qing and Chin Ng Zi.

    Chung Keng Quee
    Kapitan Chung Keng Quee or commonly known as Chung Ah Kwi was one of the early Chinese Kapitans in Perak. He was the chief of the Hakka miners in Larut District and the headman of Hai San triad society.

    Sunday, 27 September 2009

    Yap Kwan Seng

    Kapitan Yap Kwan Seng was the fifth Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur and also marked as the last one upon his death. Famously known as the last Chinese Kapitan of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Kwan Seng was also famed for his philanthropic contributions in economics, educations, social and health welfare in British Malaya.Yap Kwan Seng of Hakka origin was originated from Liangpoi Village, Chixi Township, Taishan County,  Zhuhai Prefecture, Guangdong Province in China, where he was born there in 1846. He was the eldest son of Yap Hoin Yin. Yap Kwan Seng first arrived in Malaya at the age of 16 years. He first arrived at Malacca to visit a friend and learning the great success in managing tin mining in Malaya. The curious young Yap Kwan Seng, was then decided to remain in the country after spending some time in assisting Kapitan Yap Ah Shak.Yap Kwan Seng later commenced tin mining own his own account and was successfully in securing from the government in monopolizing the State Selangor Farms (Opium & Liquor). In 1888, on the death of Kapitan Yap Ah Shak, subsequently, Yap Kwan Seng was elected to replace the Kapitan office. He was given a seat on the Selangor State Council and Kuala Lumpur Sanitary Board. Yap Kwan Seng died at his residence at Kuala Lumpur in 1901, leaving a family of fifteen sons and ten daughters, and estates valued at several million dollars. His estates were left in trust to Messrs. Teh Seow Teng, Tong Tung and Yap Tai Kee (his eldest son). Yap Tai Kee died shortly after his father and his position was taken by the second son, Yap Tai Cheong.

    Sunday, 20 September 2009

    Chee Family of Malacca

    The Chee family is noted as one of the oldest Chinese families in Malacca. The arrival of the Chees were dated during the early time of the Malacca establishment. Hitherto, the family's presence is still eminent in Malacca, where more than 12 generations have been passed down. 

    The Chee was originated from Zhangzhou Prefecture in Fujian Province of China. The first Chee who migrated to Malacca was Chee Soo Sum (1689 - 1752), who was a scholar and General of Ming Dynasty. Chee Soo Sum came to Malacca during the second half of the eighteenth century. The reason for his migration was partly due to his refusal to serve the newly founded Qing Dynasty under the Manchurian's tenure. Chee Soo Sum died in Malacca and was buried at the Bukit Cina Cemetery. One of his sons, Chee Tiow Seng also died in Malacca on 16 December 1832 and was buried at the Bukit Cina Cemetery. Chee Tiow Seng's son Chee Kim Guan died on 13 January 1839 and his grave could not be found until today. 

    Chee Kim Guan's son Chee Yam Chuan (1819 - 1862), who was later flourished the family's name and restored it to its former glory. Chee Yam Chuan was an exemplary in forging business partnerships with the local Malays. His far business sight had gained him a popular merchant with the local Malay leaders, thus caused jealousy from people with interest. Chee Yam Chuan was assassinated in 1862 during attending a wedding dinner in Malacca. 

    When the British took over Singapore and founded a colony there, Chee Yam Chuan and his parents (Chee Kim Guan and Goh Him Neo) were among the early settlers. It was in Singapore he met Lim Leack and Tan Chin Seng son of Tan Oh Lee, and established the Leack, Chin Seng & Co., a general store selling food stuffs and etc. The business in Singapore could not make him rich but able to meet the end of the day. He then moved back to Malacca and his life changed when he came to know Raja Jumaat, the son of a Riau prince in Selangor, where both were business partners in tin mining and close ally in monopoly tin mining in Selangor. In 1851, Chee Yam Chuan established a branch of Leack, Chin Seng & Co. in Malacca. The company was initially a food provision store selling tin and tapioca, but later ventured into logistic and steamship. The firm was under the management of his son, Chee Hoon Bong.

    When Raja Jumaat was granted the Lukut district by Sultan of Selangor in 1846, where he and Chee Yam Chuan were the main partners in developing tin mines at there. Raja Jumaat's son Raja Bot, lived with Chee Yam Chuan in Malacca for some time, where he acted as Chee's business intermediary with the Malays. In 1849, Raja Jumaat's brother, Raja Abdullah also borrowed large sums of money from Chee Yam Chuan to open up mines in Klang.

    After 37 years of Chee Yam Chuan's demise, in 1925 his grandson, Chee Swee Cheng built a family temple at Heeren Street and named in honour of Chee Yam Chuan. The management of this temple is under the Chee Yam Chuan Temple Trust. Despite the tremendous surge of modernization in the Chinese culture today, the Chee family still keeping a tradition of electing the head of the Chee clan and its trustees. And the presence of male dominance in the family is still strong, as only male descendants are allowed to join the committee members and also have the rights to vote, elect and appoint the Chee patriarch and trustees. Today, the elegant Chee Yam Chuan Temple at 117 Heeren Street, Malacca functions as the family hall of meeting and celebrating family festivals. 

    Chee Swee Cheng and relatives

    Chee Kang Cheng and family members


    1. Wright, Arnold, Twentieth Century Impressions of British Malaya, London (1908)
    2. Khoo Kay Kim, The Western Malay States, 1850-1873: The Effects of Commercial Development on Malay Politics (1972)
    3. Ong Siang Song, One Hundred Years' History of the Chinese in Singapore, (1967)
    4. Kernial Singh Sandhu, Paul Wheatley, Abdul Aziz bin Mat Ton, Melaka: The Transformation of a Malay Capital, C. 1400-1980, (1983)
    5. Constance Mary Turnbull, The Straits Settlements, 1826-67: Indian Presidency to Crown Colony, (1972)
    6. Kam Hing Lee, Chee Beng Tan, The Chinese in Malaysia, (2000)
    7. Chee Beng Tan, The Baba of Melaka: Culture and Identity of a Chinese Peranakan Community in Malaysia, (1988)
    8. The Sunday Times, 13 Dec 1991, Chee Yam Chuan Temple Notice of Meeting: NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN That a General Meeting of the Members consisting of the Male descendants (aged 21 years or above and professing the Buddhist Religion) of:- (1) Chee Jin Siew @ Chee Kiat Bong; (2) Chee Him Bong; (3) Chee Pee Bong; (4) Chee Teck Bong (5) Chee Hoon Bong @ Chee Hun Bong; (6) Chee Lim Bong; (7) Chee Hee Bong; (8) Chee Peck Bong; (9) Chee Quee Bong @ Chee Kwi Bong; (10) Chee Siang Bong; the lawful sons of Chee Yam Chuan deceased, late of No. 117, Heeren Street (now known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) 75200 Melaka (hereinafter called "the Members of Chee Family") will be held on the 28th day of December, 1991 at 2.30 p.m. at Aman Damai Room, Level 5, The City Bayview Hotel, Jalan Bendahara, 75100 Melaka, for the purpose of passing proper Resolutions:- (i) To elect and appoint Ten (10) members of Chee Family as "the Committee members" to represent the members of Chee Family"; (ii) To elect and appoint Seven (7) members of Chee Family as the New Trustees of "The Chee Yam Chuan Temple trust" of the movable and immovable properties of the said trust in place of the existing trustees; (iii) To approve the draft of the Trust Deed; (iv) To empower and authorise the Committee Members to execute the said Deed of trust thereby appointing the said New Trustees of the Chee Yam Chuan Temple trust to the intent that the title to and possession and management and control of all the movable and immovable properties of Chee Yam Chuan Temple Trust be vested in the said new Trustees to be held upon Trusts declared in the said Trust Deed; (v) To authorise and empower the New Trustees to execute the said Trust Deed and to apply to the High Court of Malaya in Malacca for the approval of the said trust Deed and for an Order vesting all the said properties to be held by them as the Trustees of the said Chee Yam Chuan Temple Trust; (vi) To approve, confirm and ratify all the acts, deed and things done or made by the existing Trustees from time to time of the said Chee Yam Chuan Temple Trust (formerly known as "the Chee Yam Chuan Temple") and to discharge and release them absolutely from any liability in respect of their management and/or administration of the said Trust until the date of appointment of the said new Trustees; and (vii) To approve, confirm and pass the Audited Accounts of the Existing Trustees' management and/or administration of the said Chee Yam Chuan Temple Trust (formerly known as "the Chee Yam Chuan Temple") up to the 31st day of December, 1990). dates this 14th day of December, 1991. By Order of the Trustees of Chee Yam Chuan Temple TAN SWI CHAY & CO. SDN. BHD. Secretaries SECRETARIES OFFICE: TAN SWI CHAY & CO. SDN. BHD. No. 22 (Upper Floor of No. 20) Jalan Hang Jebat 75200 Melaka Malaysia Notes:- i) A member entitled to attend and vote at the said Meeting has to be present in person, upon notifying the Secretaries in writing of his intention to attend and vote aforesaid not less than forty-eight (48) hours before the time of the meeting. ii) Draft copies of the trust Deed are available for inspection by any member during normal office hours on any day which is not a public holiday at the Secretaries office at No. 22 (Upper floor of No. 20), Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia.