Sunday, 25 December 2011

Chan Kye Choo 陈继祖


Chan Kye Choo was born in Ipoh to Chan Kang Choon. He received English education at St Michael’s Institution, Ipoh. In 1923 he left for London to study law and was called to the English Bar at Middle Temple on 17 November 1927. After four years lived in Wandsworth, London, he returned to Ipoh in 1928, and started to initial as KC Chan. And some time later he was known as KC Chan Sr. and married daughter of Leong Fee in 1932. In 1934, together with Ho Pan Thong son of Ho Yuk Phooi, they established a legal firm, Chan, Ho & Co, premised at 29 Station Road, Ipoh and 40 Kota Road, Taiping. In 1902, he was also a partner in Messrs. C.S. Seng & Co. (Chew Seah Seng). During the Japanese Occupation in Malaya, KC Chan was an official leader of the Chinese community in Perak. He was the President of the Perak Turf Club and Honorary Secretary of the Perak Chinese Amateur Dramatic Association. His son, Colonel KC Chan Jr. was also a lawyer called to the English Bar in Middle Temple and to the Malayan Bar in 1956. One of his prominent cousins was Leong Yew Koh, the first Governor of Malacca who was also a lawyer.

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

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Chan Koon Cheng 曾混清

Chan Koon Cheng, JP
Courtesy: Dexter Y.P. Koh

Chan Koon Cheng was born in 1869 and educated at the Government Free School. Chan Koon Cheng was born to an old Straits Chinese family, where he can trace his lineage in a direct line for eight generations. In 1671, his ancestor who first came from China and settled in Malacca was Chan Pian Long who was a Chin Su. Chan Koon Cheng's grandfather, Chan Hong Luan was a lessee of the government spirit and opium farms in Malacca. While his father Chan Eng Hock was a tapioca planter.

In 1885, Chan Koon Cheng worked with Messrs Kim Guan & Co. as a shipping and goods clerk. He was also an agent for the Blue Funnel Liners (Alfred Holts' steamer). Two years later he was promoted to assistant agent and in 1888 acting agent. In 1889 he was made manager of the company and was transferred to Kuala Lumpur. However, he remained for only 10 months and had to resign due to ill-health. In 1891 he joined the SS Sappho as Chief Clerk, but shortly four years he resigned and commenced rubber plantation in partnership with Tan Chay Yan at a 60 acres land in Bukit Lintang (Kandang and Ayer Molek). In 1897 he planted 40 acres on his own estate at Bukit Duyong. Being established himself into plantation business, Chan Koon Cheng was also a manager for Messrs Guan Hup & Co, a post he held since 1895 until relinquished in 1900. In 1901, he commenced in planting 3,000 acres at Kemendor, Bukit Senggeh, Selandar, Kesang and Rim, and known as Kesang-Rim Rubber &Tapioca Estate and by the year 1906 he had the whole estate planted with tapioca and interplanted with rubber. By that time, he was a famous tapioca and rubber planter in Malacca. However, the estate was sold shortly afterwards.

Chan Koong Cheng had considerable houses and lands in Singapore, Selangor, Ngeri Sembilan and Malacca. He had five sons, three daughters and one adopted son. His sons were Yeo Chiang Hoe@Chan Soo Chin (died in 1935), Chan Soo Khim, Chan Soo Ann and Chan Soo What, daughters were Chan Eak Jin, Chan Eak Hin and Chan Eak Sheng. His only brother, Chan Koon Chiang lived at 137 Jonker Street died on 4 November 1908 at the age of 43 years. Chan Koon Cheng was a Municipal Commissioner in 1905 and Justice of Peace in 1906. He was a trustee of the Pulok Samah Burial Ground, a Visiting Justice of Malacca Prisons and a Licensing Justice under the Liquors Ordinance 1907. In 1911 Chan Koon Cheng was appointed to become the Adviser to the Malacca Plantations Limited. In 1912, together with E Kong Guan, Tan Chay Yan, Chan Cheng Siew and others they proposed the establishment of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Malacca and subsequently Chan Koon Cheng was elected as the President. In 1908, Chan Koon Cheng donated a sum of $10,000 to build a bridge for public use. He died on 26 October 1912 at the Paul Krudger Lodge, Klebang Besar, Malacca at the age of 44 years.  In order to honour Chan Koon Cheng’s contributions, a road was named after him in Malacca.

Lee, K.H. & Chow, M.S. (1997). Biographical Dictionary of Chinese in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Pelanduk Publications. (p. 5)
Wright, A. (1907). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources. London: Lloyd's Greater Britain Publishing Co. Ltd. (p. 843)
The Straits Times, 10 November 1908, Page 6
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 29 October 1912, Page 6
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 31 October 1912, Page 283
Malaya Tribune, 23 June 1928, Page 8
The Straits Times, 25 August 1935, Page 5

Chan Kim Boon 曾锦文


Chan Kim Boon was a famous, writer, poet, novelist, translator, and had profound knowledge in Chinese literature and mythology. He was well versed in English, Chinese and Malay. Born in Penang in 1851 to Chan Yong Chuan. His father was a merchant at Padang, Sumatra, who later moved to Penang. Chan Kim Boon was first educated at the Penang Free School, and later enrolled to the Foochow Naval School in China. In 1867 he became an assistant tutor in mathematics and from 1867 to 1871 he studied military intelligence but refused to become an army officer due to his ill-health. 

Chan Kim Boon was a book-keeper and cashier at Messrs Donaldson & Burkinshaw Co. Amongst his students at the naval school were Admiral Yin, Commander of the South Squadron of Guandong, Admirah Sah, the Rear Admirals Liu and Lin, Sir Chih-Chen Lo Feng Luh 罗丰禄, former Chinese Ambassador in London. 

In January 1872, he left Foochow and returned to Penang on a visit to his widowed mother in Foochow, In March 1872, a month before the Dutch-Acheh War, he joined a Singapore legal firm, Aitken & Rodyk (later known as Aitken & Co and thereafter Donaldson & Burkinshaw). Chan Kim Boon was best known for his excellent work in translating several Chinese legendary works into Malay language, this tedious work was written in series and claimed to be the earliest Chinese – Malay translations. His books were popular among the Straits Chinese who cannot read Chinese.

Chan Kim Boon in Singapore

Chan Kim Boon used a pen name in all his writings, where he named himself after a cemetery, Batu Gantong (Hanging Stone) in his writing. He had four sons, two daughters and six grandchildren. When he died in 1920 in Singapore, his body was sent to Batu Gantong Cemetery, Penang for burial. Chan Kim Boon was a member of the Celestial Reasoning Society, Chinese Philomathic Society and Lee Cheng Yan Club.

Chan Kang Swi


Chan Kang Swi was born in 1875 to Chan Tiew. Chan Tiew was born in China and arrived in Malacca in 1853, at the age of 13. He first worked as a servant for the wealthy Chinese family. At the end of 14 years old, he had managed to save a little money and with this he commenced business as a rice merchant. He was very successful and eight years later he became a tapioca planter. He had built up a large fortune, prior to his death in 1892. His estate descended to his only son; Chan Kang Swi. The estate comprised 8,000 acres of land, where 3500 acres were planted with tapioca by Chan Tiew.

In 1902, Chan Kang Swi commenced inter-planting para rubber with the tapioca, putting in 180,000 of these trees and 1,000 ficus elastica. In 1907, there were 7,000 acres planted with tapioca and rubber, where coconuts and pepper were also cultivated. Chan Kang Swi owned a wholesale dealer business in First Cross Street, Malacca.

Chan Kang Swi was educated at the Malacca High School, and married Ng Teh daughter of Ng Gong Kow. He was the President of the Malacca Hokkien Association, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Straits Chinese British Association, President of the Chinese Malacca Club and member of Chinese Advisory Board, Po Leung Kuk, Chinese Lawn Tennis Club and was one of the four trustees of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple.

In 1916, he was appointed a Commissioner of the Peace. In order to honour Chan Kang Swi’s meritorious services to the community, a life size portrait of him was unveiled by Sir Shenton Thomas at the Stadthuys in 1935. In 1934 he was conferred with a Certificate of Honour by King George VI.

Chang Kang Swi was a great supporter to education institutions, he donated $150,000 for the maintenance of the Amoy University Library and helped to establish the Nanyang Normal School in Singapore.

Chan Kang Swi’s eldest son, S.C. Chan was a lawyer, and his third son, Chan Seng Kee married Tan Kim Tin, the eldest daughter of Tan Cheng Lock in 1935. While his eldest daughter, Chan Gek Cheow was married to Dr Ho Pao Jin, a prominent economist and financial banker.

In 1937, Chan Kang Swi opined that Malaya should have a university, as the domiciled population was ready to subscribe finally, provided the government met part of the concurrent expenditure form its surplus funds. He died on 4 June 1942.

Chan Kang Choon


Chan Kang Choon was born in Guangdong, China. In 1872, he arrived at Penang and ventured business partnership and had known Leong Fee, who was later the Chinese Vice-Consul in Penang and had great tin mining interests in Perak.

At the end of 1882, Chan Kang Choon was a well-established merchant. Besides being a partner in the Penang Opium and Spirit Farm, he had tin mining interests in Perak. Where, later he lived in Kinta valley, Perak and had his children there.

Chan Kang Choon owned large property in Penang, Hong Kong and Guangdong, China. His son, Chan Kye Choo was a lawyer and his daughter, Chan Peik Kwan was the wife of Wang Jingwei (1883 –1944), the President of the pro-Japanese Nanjing government. One of Chan Kang Choon’s nephews was Leong Yew Koh, the first and the only Chinese Governor of Malacca.

Cheong Fatt Tze 張弼士


Cheong Fatt Tze as he is known today was born in 1840 in Dapu, Guangdong. He was a Hakka, with birth name Chang Chin Hsun, and when he lived in Batavia and Penang, he was then known by his Hokkien name, Thio Tiauw Siat. His Cantonese name, Cheong Fatt Tze is much popular in today’s history.

Cheong Fatt Tze was born to a very poor family in China, at the age of 17, he left his native and lived in several places under the Dutch East Indies empire. He did some odd jobs before landed at Batavia and worked at a provision shop. As time passed, he married his employer’s daughter, Choo Neo (b. 1867). It was through the marriage, he was given financial support by his father-in-law to commence business on his own account and used Thio Tiauw Siat as his signature. His name Thio Tiauw Siat was spelled in a Dutch way, and was used in the Dutch and British colonies throughout his entire business life. However, he was commonly known in China as Chang Chin Hsun. 

In 1859, he secured a government contract in supplying food and daily provisions to the Dutch army and navy forces in Batavia. Through these contracts, he was then a well-known figure in the Dutch East Indies, and from Batavia he moved to Aceh when he was 35 years old, where he secured another contract in in supplying food and daily provisions to the Dutch army and navy forces in Aceh. Because of his articulate social life with the Dutch elites, he successful obtained the Opium, Liquor and Pawnbroker Farm in Aceh and by 1877, his farming interest had extended to half of the northern region of Sumatra, with vast interest in Government Farms in Edi, Temiang, Deli and Bengkalis, and in 1893 expanded to Rhio and Indragiri. In May 1893, he became the Honorary Vice-Consul of China in Penang. 

Followed by his business success in the Dutch colonies, in 1875, he commenced business in Penang in partnership with Lee Ah Ghee (Captain of Batavia) and Wong Boon Sin, under the name Chop Thio Joo Hoe at 15 Pitt Street. And ten years later he managed to obtain the Penang Pawnbroker Farm and became the Chinese Consul-General in Singapore, where another three years later he secured the Opium and Liquor Farm of Penang and Singapore. The onerous duties of this responsible Chinese diplomat position he fulfilled for five years and in return for his services was created a Mandarin of the Highest Order (First Rank Officer). In 1886, he established the Ban Joo Hin in Penang, and took great interest in steamship, tin mining, coconut, sago, fruit and pepper plantations, all distributed over Province Wellesley, Perak and Selangor. During his stay in Singapore when he was the Chinese Consul, his business was left to his attorneys and agents who were Cheah Chen Eok and Lee Ah Kam, with headquarters at Penang. 

It was not known why Cheong Fatt Tze drastically shifted his interest from the Dutch colonies to the British ones. He also owned a settlement called Karatan near Batavia, the place with a population of 8,000 with the length about 10 miles and width about 8 miles. This place was planted with paddy and fish was amongst the products. In partnership with a Dutch company, he owned various farms in Tjebaraosa, Tjelengsa, Klapa Moengal, Kongbong and Boyoung. The total area of all these districts was 60 miles in length and 305 miles in width and had over 100,000 populations. Where the principal produce was rice, birds’ nests and coffee. In 1879, he purchased a steamer, the Raja Kongsi Aceh, which plied between Penang and Aceh. In 1883, he acquired another steamer, the Hock Canton, which also had the same route as the former. After 14 years of experience in running the steamship business, in 1893 he established a steamship company at Penang, known as Kong Hock Kiok Limited Company and had nine steamers running to Perak, Tongkah, Klang, Asahan, and Deli. 

In 1904, he led a group of prominent Chinese leaders in Penang to establish the Chung Hwa Confucian School, and was claimed as the first modern Chinese school in Southeast Asia. Cheong Fatt Tze’s name had gained high reputation and recognition in the Imperial Chinese Palace, and was made a High Commissioner for Railways and Commerce in China in 1902, and later became the Special Commissioner for Trade in Southeast Asia in 1911. At one time he was given the opportunity to monopoly steamship business in China, but he declined as he was not able to run such a big venture. In 1905, he became a member of a commission to study the commercial affairs in Southeast Asia on behalf of the Chinese Board of Commerce. Upon his return to China, he had few audiences by the Emperor and Empress Dowager of China, their Majesties were satisfied with his reports. Little was known that, Cheong Fatt Tze had also established business affairs in his homeland, engaged in manufacturing bricks, textile, glass and salt farm by using modern machineries. In 1892, he founded the Chang Yu Winery in Shangtung, China, producing mainly fine Western wines with some traditional Chinese herbal wines. And in 1896 he founded various Chinese commercial banks and was a well-known banker in China and Dutch East Indies and was on the Board of Directors of the Canton Railway and the Bank of China. He was also a shareholder in the Sze Hai Tong Banking & Insurance Company Limited in Singapore. 

In 1912, together with Loke Yew, he personally endowed $50,000 to the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Arts during its early establishment. In return for his generosity, the University conferred him Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa in 1916.

Cheong Fatt Tze had at least eight wives and was the father of eight sons and six daughters, all distributed over the Dutch and British Colonies in Southeast Asia. His mansion at 14 Leith Street, Penang was occupied by his third, sixth and seventh wives. All his sons were educated at the St Xavier’s Institution. He died in 1916 in Batavia due to pneumonia and as a mark of respect, the Dutch and British decreed to fly their flags at half-mast. 

His fourth son, Chang Kiam Hoe (Thio Nghean Leong) was a well-known figure in Penang and Perak. He had vast interest in tin mining business in Ipoh, Perak as well as large plantation estates in Province Wellesley and Kedah. He was appointed as a trustee in Cheong Fatt Tze’s Will. 

Cheong Fatt Tze had uncountable number of fine houses all over China, Dutch and British Colonies in Southeast Asia, among of all, he laid a legacy that remained forever by building the finest Chinese mansion in Southeast Asia, which was then known as Le’ Bleu Mansion. The double-story mansion built in between 1897 to 1904 was enough to accommodate his large extended families with 34 rooms. Where he expected the mansion shall live for nine generations after him. The most intriguing part of Cheong Fatt Tze’s Will, besides the inheritance of his estate to all his wives and children, he mentioned the future management of his favourite mansion in 14 Leith Street, Penang. In his will, he said that ordinary repairs of the mansion shall be paid for a monthly sum not exceeding $250. And the house was given to his seventh wife Tan Tay Po @ Chan Kim Po and his last son, Cheong Kam Long and must not be sold until the death of Cheong Kam Long. 

Cheong Fatt Tze’s business affairs in the Straits Settlements were under the management of his cousin Thio Chee Non also known by the name Chong Yit Nam and Chong Chee Non who was the Kapitan of Deli. While his Penang estate was managed by Thio Siow Kong at 5 Beach Street. Cheong Fatt Tze Estate first appointed Henry Haley Busfield, Choo Shou San and Soo Beng Lim as Executors and Trustees of his estate in Penang, and in 1937 under the Court’s order the positions were taken by Cheong Hock Chye and Wee Sin Choe. 

Throughout the time after his death, one by one Cheong Fatt Tze’s considerable property was sold out, and the most significant sale which almost ended up his entire estate was in 1939. And in 1988 the last call for the sale of old porcelain and Chinese furniture belonged to Cheong Fatt Tze at the family mansion at 14 Leith Street was auctioned by Dominion Victor & Morris of Singapore. Cheong Fatt Tze’s illustrious life ended with the death of his last son, Cheong Kam Long in 1989. Where the family sold the last property of Cheong Fatt Tze at 14 Leith Street, Penang to a cooperate company by Cheong Kam Long’s wife Thong Siew Mee. One of Cheong Fatt Tze’s sons, Thio Phin Long who was also a trustee of his estate violated his capacity by defrauding the estate through illicit transaction involving the three wholesale and retail druggist businesses, and since then escaped to Hong Kong with his son Thio Chee Fook to avoid the warrant arrest on him in 1931. Today many of Cheong Fatt Tze’s descendants lived in Australia.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Aw Chu Kin 胡子钦


Aw Chu Kin was born in Yonding, Fujian with Hakka descent. He was descended from a family engaged with traditional medicine background in China. Aw Chu Kin first arrived in Singapore and lived for some time until he proceeded to Penang to practice traditional Chinese medicine. By the time he came, Penang was a prosperous bustling place. He found no opportunity to expand his career there, thus he moved to Rangoon in 1868. In 1870, with the help from his uncle, he established the Eng Aun Tong Medicine Hall in Rangoon and passed down to his children when he died in 1908. Aw Chu Kin married Lee Kim Peik (李金碧) of Rangoon and had three sons, Aw Boon Leong, Aw Boon Par and Aw Boon Par. Eldest son, Aw Boon Leong died at the age of 18.

Aw Boon Par 胡文豹


Aw Boon Par was born in 1885 in Rangoon and received English education. He was the third son of Aw Chu Kin. He lived all his childhood in Rangoon and helped his father to run the daily chores and also the family-owned business since he was very young. When his father died in 1908, he inherited his father’s medicine shop in Rangoon, known as Aun Eng Tong (Hall of Everlasting Peace). His famous invention including the Ban Kim Ewe (Ten Thousand Golden Oil), a concoction to remedy all maladies, later renamed to Tiger Balm.

Aw Boon Par and his brother Aw Boon Haw were best known to public as great philanthropists. He and his brother had generously donated more than USD20 million for charity purposes, all the money went to the construction and maintenance of hospitals and schools, Po Leung Kuk (Women’s Shelter House), disaster reliefs and many others to be named.

In 1938, Aw Boon Par was awarded the Certificate of Honour by King George VI, and in return for his valuable services to the Hong Kong St John Ambulance Association and Brigade, he was appointed Officer of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem.

He had three wives, Tay Piah Lan, Daw Saw and Teo Hong Yin. His sons were Aw Cheng Chye married Tay Chwee Sian daughter of Tay Kee Ming of Penang in 1949, and was a Director of Chung Khiaw Bank, and second son Aw Cheng Tek. Daughter, Aw Cheng Sim married Lee Aik Sim and was commissioned by his father to run the Sing Sian Daily in Bangkok. His daughter, Aw Cheng Hu was married to Lee Chee Shan (1909 – 1986), she was the President of family-owned Chung Khiaw Bank. Lee Chee Shan was a nephew to Aw Chu Kin’s wife. Aw Boon Par died in 1944.

1. Tay Piah Lan (1888 - 1944) married in 1908
2. Daw Saw (1898 - 1985) married in 1914
3. Teo Hong Yin (1906 - 1965) married in 1927

1. Aw Cheng Chye (1924 - 1971) married Tay Chwee Sian (b. 1926) in 1949
2. Aw Cheng Teik (b. 1932) married Lee Siew Chee in 1973.

1. Aw Cheng Hu (1915 - 2010) married Lee Chee Shan (1909 - 1986) in 1932
2. Aw Cheng Sim (b. 1921) married Lee Aik Sim (b. 1925) in 1950

Aw Boon Haw 胡文虎


Aw Boon Haw was born in 1882 to Aw Chu Kin, a traditional medicine practitioner. At the age of 10 years he went back China to have Chinese education. When his father died, he was called back Rangoon by his brother, Aw Boon Par to work at his father’s shop, Eng Aun Tong Medicine Hall. Eng Aun Tong (Hall of Everlasting Peace) could only make the brothers meet the ends and survive for the day, but not really well-to-do.

In 1926, Aw Boon Haw and his brother migrated to Singapore. The idea to shift the business from Rangoon to Singapore was a risk. And the Aw brothers introduced the famous ointment Tiger Balm, a registered trademark of Eng Aun Tong and later became a famous household product. Aw Boon Haw’s success was not only limit to his ability in marketing the medicine. Over the years, he expanded his business and became a banker, financier, industrialist and newspaper proprietor.

His Sin Poh Amalgamated Ltd controlled 13 newspapers in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong (Sing Tao Daily), including two English language dailies, the Singapore Standard and Hong Kong Standard. He was famously known for being the owner of two popular Malaysia Chinese dailies, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Guang Ming Daily. His active involvement in settling newspaper, particularly the Sin Chew Jit Poh in 1929 was to serve the purpose to publicise his medicine products. Where he fully utilised the concept of advertisement to express his ideas and inventions to the public.

In 1950, he took a major step by establishing the Chung Khiaw Bank, aimed at small-scale business loan. Being an established man throughout the Straits Settlements and British Malaya, Aw Boon Haw moved to Hong Kong and left his brother in Singapore. Shortly afterwards, Aw Boon Par also left for Rangoon. It was after the World War II ended, Aw Boon Haw returned back Singapore and reorganised his business.

In 1929, he was honoured by the Chinese National Government of Taiwan with a First Class Gold Medal and a certificate, for the purchase of one hundred dollars Government Bond. In 1933, he was presented a Certificate of Honour in recognition of his loyal and valuable services to His Majesty’s Government. In 1936, Aw Boon Haw was honoured by the Chinese Government with a gold medal and a certificate of honour for his charitable bequests in donating a laboratory for the Shanghai Hospital, including a sum of $10000 was remitted for relief work in the China floods in 1935 and $7000 in 1931, and many other donations given to the people and government of China. The recognition was presented by Sze Zau Hsung, the acting Chinese Consul-General in Singapore. In 1938, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his philanthropic services in the British Malaya and Straits Settlements. In 1950, Aw Boon Haw was honoured by King George V with Associated Knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, the Order was presented by the Governor of Hong Kong and he was the only Chinese to have earned the distinguish coveted honour.

In 1954, while on his way back to Hong Kong from the United States, Aw Boon Haw suffered heart attack and he died at Honolulu Hospital. His body was sent to Hong Kong for burial. It was said that during his lifetime a sum of more than ten millions dollars was given away for charity goods, but Aw Boon Haw took no account to note his philanthropy deeds.

Aw Boon Haw had four wives, Cheng Peng Foong (1883 – 1959), Chan Kam Chi, Wong Yoke Seah and Khoo Siew Eng, his third wife was the occupant of his villa at Tai Hang Road, Hong Kong. He had seven sons and two daughters. His sons were Dato’ Aw Kow, Aw San, Aw Hoe, Aw It Haw, Aw Er Haw, Aw San Haw and Aw Si Haw. Daughters, Aw Sian and Aw Sin. After his death, the handover of the family business was disastrous, his heirs squabbled and left his wealth in tatters.

His adopted sons through his first wife, Dato’ Aw Kow married Tan Kah Joo daughter of Tan Leng Tian in 1940 was the Managing Director of Sin Chew Jit Poh, Singapore Standard and Chung Khiaw Bank, he was made a Dato’ by Sultan of Pahang in 1963. And Aw San who was appointed to General Manager of Eng Aun Tong. Aw Boon Haw’s another adopted son, Aw Hoe (1919 – 1951) was the Managing Director of Sin Chew Jit Poh and Singapore Standard, he died in an air-crash tragic. Aw Hoe and Aw Sian (original name, She Moi) was adopted by Aw Boon Haw’s second wife. Aw Sian who was adopted from a distant relative in Burma at the age of five years she was a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Through the third wife who lived in Hong Kong, Aw Boon Haw had two sons, Aw It Haw and Aw Er Haw. And by his fourth wife, he had two sons and a daughter, Aw San Haw, Aw Si Haw and Aw Sin. Aw Boon Haw also employed his nephew, Aw Cheong Yeow son of Aw Chung Chek (1876 – 1961) was the manager of his newspaper firm, Sin Chew Jit Poh and his brother Aw Cheong Lian who was educated in Singapore was employed at Aw Boon Haw’s gold mine in Pahang.

Aw Boon Haw in his full honour decorations

1. Tay Piah Hong @ Cheng Peng Foong (1885 - 1959)
2. Tan Kim Wee @ Chan Kam Chi (b. 1906) married in 1919
3. Ooi  Geak Cheah @ Wong Yoke Seah (b. 1908) married in 1924
4. Khoo Siew Eng @ Yau Siu Ying (b. 1914) married in 1937

1. Aw Kow (1914 - 1983) married Tan Kah Joo (b. 1923) in 1940
2. Aw Swan (1915 - 1986) married Lim Saw Swee (b. 1918) in 1938
3. Aw Hoe (1921 - 1951) married Chan Sau Yong (b. 1919) in 1939 and Hoi Lan Yin (b. 1923) in 1947
4. Aw Sian (b. 1931)
5. Aw It Haw (b. 1930) married Akiko Nagase (b. 1927) in 1960
6. Aw Jee Haw (1930 - 1942)
7. Aw Seng (b. 1937) married Liow Yee Lee (b. 1932) in 1957
8. Aw Sar Haw (1941 - 1942)
9. Aw See Haw (b. 1950) married Ng Shun Yee in 1975