Monday, 5 March 2012

Cheah Tek Thye


Cheah Tek Thye was born in 1860 in Penang to Cheah Chow Pan. He was educated at the Penang Free School, St Xavier’s Institution and Doveton College in Calcutta. His father in partnership with Khoo Seck Chuan was the principal importer of China goods in Penang. Cheah Tek Thye first worked as assistant to his brother, Cheah Tek Soon’s company, the Sing Eng Moh & Co. Shortly afterwards, he joined the Kean Guan Insurance Company in Penang as secretary. He was the owner of Eng Moh Hui Thye Kee Estate in Semelin, Kedah, a 3400-acre land planted with 20,000 coconut trees and 30,000 rubber trees. He was a director of the Chinese Overseas Bank, and was an agent for Lipton’s wines. Cheah Tek Thye was famed for being an active sportsman. He owned several racehorses and won numerous tournaments in the Straits Settlements and also in the Federated Malay States. He had been elected as a Municipal Commissioner of Penang for two terms, the President of the Cheah Clan Temple of Penang and an ex-officio of the Penang Free School. In 1903, a two faced turret clock with dials three feet in diameter on the tower of the grand stand on the Penang Turf Club was donated by him. In 1925, he was made a Commissioner of the Peace. Cheah Tek Thye was married twice, whom his first wife was the youngest daughter of Koh Teng Choon (a grandson of Koh Lay Huan), but she died after thirteen years of married life and within a year later, Cheah Tek Thye married daughter of Gim Tong. Cheah Tek Thye had four sons and four daughters. One of his sons, Dr Cheah Toon Lok was awarded a research grant of the Jordan Scholarship in Tropical Medicine, where he based at the Medical Hospital of Hong Kong University and later became a prominent politician in the country. Cheah Tek Thye died on 11 January 1935 at his house at Northam Road and was buried at the Cheah Cemetery, Mount Erskine.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Cheah Tek Soon 谢德顺

Cheah Tek Soon was born in Penang to Cheah Chow Pan, and was brother to Cheah Tek Thye and Cheah Tek Lee. Cheah Tek Soon was the owner of the Sing Eng Moh & Co., and had founded the first Chinese insurance company in the Straits Settlements, known as Kean Guan Insurance Company. Cheah Tek Soon was best known for his impressive five-story house at Northam Road. In spite of the spacious house, Cheah Tek Soon never married, he invited his brothers to live with him. One of his brothers, Cheah Tek Thye had given his daughter, Cheah Liew Bee for his adoption. Cheah Tek Soon was active in the Chinese community affairs, he was a donor to the establishment of the Penang Chinese Town Hall in 1881 and donated a Bandstand at the Penang Town Hall in 1884. 

Cheah Tek Soon in partnership with Cheah Eu Ghee 谢有义 was a government contractor. In 1893, both men were in charged for repairing the road from Tanjong Tokong to Tanjong Batu in Penang which cost $5,000. Besides that, he and Cheah Eu Khay had business interest in steamships 

When Cheah Tek Soon died, he left all his estate to his adopted daughter, Cheah Liew Bee, including his mansion at Northam Road. Cheah Liew Bee who had married to Goh Say Eng (1875 - 1941), was a loyal supporter of Dr Sun Yan Sen's revolution movement in China. Had contributed all the Cheah’s properties to keep Dr Sun's movement alive and had led the couple live in dire conditions. Cheah Tek Soon’s another brother, Cheah Tek Lee was a business partner with Cheah Chen Eok, where he acted as intermediary for Thai merchants in Penang, Perak and Kedah. Cheah Tek Lee had married two daughters of Khaw Teng Hai@Khaw Soo Cheang (1797 – 1883), the Governor of Ranong.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Khoo Hock Cheong 邱福種

Khoo Hock Cheong

Khoo Hock Cheong was a tin miner, planter and contractor. He was born in 1855 in Fujian, China and was son of Khoo Tek Heok. Khoo Hock Cheong came to Penang in 1870, where he left his ancestral village, Xinjiang in Sandou district, Haicheng county of Fujian province.

He first started a provision shop in Penang and three years later he was joined by a partner and extended his business. At the same time he took charge of a sugar plantation and factory and commenced to import European goods. Twelve years later the partnership was dissolved and for few months he did no business at all.

In 1887, he started to trade as a merchant and in 1888 held the lease of the Situl General Farms in Kedah. Losing heavily in this venture, he was obliged to give up business and start another, with several partners, he became the dealer in indigo and tapioca. Two years later, finding that this business did not pay him well, he withdrew from it and went to Telok Anson, where he established himself as a rice and tin merchant.

At the end of two more years he went to Kuala Lumpur and opened up a business in partnership with a Singapore firm as a dealer in tin, opium, rice, coffee, etc. there he remained for about nine years. He then entered into contracts for supply of labours to load and unload the goods conveyed by the Federated Malay States Railways in Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Malacca. In 1912, he was the loading and unloading contractor for Port Swettenham.

In his later life, Khoo Hock Cheong ventured into rubber plantation and tin mining and owned numerous landed properties in Kuala Lumpur, Port Swettenham and several parts of Selangor. His main office was at the Old Market Square under the name Chop Hock Cheong. Through his illustrious business life, Khoo Hock Cheong soon assimilated into the Western culture, by sending his children for English education as well as actively socialising with the European elites.

Khoo Hock Cheong was a committee member of the Selangor Miners in 1914 until 1917. He died in 1917 in Kuala Lumpur. In 1917, his youngest son Khoo Soon Leong married Yap Kon Keow, the only daughter of Yap Loong Kee and Low Hup Neoh. Khoo Hock Cheong’s family residence was located at No. 117-B Ampang Road, Kuala Lumpur, next to Chua Cheng Bok’s Mansion. The names of his children are taken from his tombstone, however there are contradictions between the Chinese names and the Roman-spelled names. 

Yeoh Geok Kheng

1. Khoo Soon Ghee 邱順義 (probably is Khoo Chye Poh)
2. Khoo Soon Heng 邱順興 (probably is Khoo Chye Beng)
3. Khoo Soon Leong 邱順隆

1. Khoo Chye Poh 邱彩樊 (probably is Khoo Chye Huan)
2. Khoo Chye Hoon 邱彩雲 married Law Yew Swee
3. Khoo Chye Ha 邱彩縀 (probably is Khoo Chye Tuan)

1. Khoo Hong Shaw
2. Khoo Hong Chye
3. Khoo Hong Kuan
4. Khoo Khee Seng
5. Khoo Khee Huat
6. Khoo Khee Choon
7. Khoo Khee Leong
8. Khoo Hong Chow
9. Khoo Hong Leng
10. Khoo Hong Cheng
11. Khoo Hong Poh

1. Khoo Cheng Hoon
2. Khoo Cheng Choo
3. Khoo Gaik Choo
4. Khoo Gaik Kim married Chua Boon Peng son of Chua Cheng Liat in 1938

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Cheah Tat To


Cheah Tat To was born in 1871 in Penang, and was the eldest son of Cheah Chen Eok. He was first educated at the Convent Penang and St Xavier’s Institution, before to the St George’s College, England. In 1894, he left for England to study law and by 1897, he was called to the English bar of Lincoln’s Inn but did not complete his terms. In 1900, he returned to Penang and became a member in the Opium and Liquor Farm, where his father was the Superintendent of the Farm. Shortly afterwards, he planned to continue his law studies in England, but the intention remained with no proceed.

Cheah Tat To was a Director of Menglembu Lode Mining Ltd, member of the Penang Turf Club and Chinese Recreation Club. He had two sons and one daughter. Both his sons, Cheah Wat Hye and Cheah Wat Sun were well-known tennis players in the country. On 12 February 1925, Cheah Tat To only daughter Cheah Guat Teong Kooi married Dr Lee Tiang Keng, a prominent figure in Penang. The Cheah family lived at the Coombe Hill, a spacious private residence owned by Cheah Chen Eok.

Cheah Tat Jin 谢达仁


Cheah Tat Jin was born in 1886 in Penang and was the second son of Cheah Chen Eok. He was educated at St Xavier’s Institution before served the Penang Opium and Liquor Farm as Supervisor, where his father was the Superintendent of the Farm. Cheah Tat Jin was a business partner of Keng Bee and the Director of the Eastern Trading Co, Eastern Shipping Co., Eastern Smelting, Tongkah Harbour Tin Dredging Co and Menglembu Lode Mining Ltd. He also had interest in the Gambling Farm of Singapore and tin mining interest in Perak. Cheah Tat Jin was a member of the Penang Turf Club and the Chinese Recreation Club. 

On 11 May 1906, he married Lim Kwee Guan, third daughter of Lim Leng Cheak. His eldest son, Cheah Wat Lum married Lily Lim Bin I (1911 – 1952), eldest daughter of Lim Kar Chang and a granddaughter of Lim Chin Tsong of Rangoon in 1926. His only daughter, Cheah Chew Teong See (6 December 1911 - 21 February 1999) married Lim Kean Chuan (10 October 1906- 25 February 1993), the only son of Lim Cheng Law on 8 March 1926. 

Cheah Tat Jin and family lived at Holland House, Northam Road and had three sons and one daughter. Cheah Tat Jin and family were heavily influenced by Western lifestyle, they had dressed and mannered like Europeans.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Cheah Kee Ee


Cheah Kee Ee was born in 1867 in Penang, and was a relative to Cheah Choon Yew. He was a well-known miner and planter in Penang and Perak, and a member of the Federal Chamber of Mines, Ipoh. 

Cheah Kee Ee and Dr R.M. Connolly were business partners in the Tin Trust Limited. His company was also an agent of Ipoh Marble & Lime Works Syndicate Ltd. He also owned large coconut plantation estates at Bagan Datoh, and was the proprietor of the infamous Ban Kee Wine & Spirit Distilleries

Cheah Kee Ee who was English educated, was best known for his vocal stand against polygamy marriage among Chinese community, in which making him unpopular among his people of older generation. He was in the committee of the Chinese Widows' and Orphans Institution, Perak during the when Chung Thye Phin was the President. 

In 1924, he was the Chairman of the Straits Chinese British Association of Penang. However in the same year too he was defeated to J. Crabb-Watt in an election for the seat in the Penang Association of Municipal Commission. In 1926, he was appointed as a committee member in preparing the Straits Settlements Chinese Marriage Report to be presented before the Governor of Straits Settlements, Sir Laurence Guillemard. 

Cheah Kee Ee married Lee Keong Onn and lived at the family residence, Morningside at Burmah Road, Penang. His daughter Cheah Swee Hoon was married to Dr Lim Chwee Leong (1891 – 1957) son of Lim Cheng Sah, where one of their prominent sons, Lim Chong Eu was later the second Chief Minister of Penang. While his nephew, Dr Cheah Poh Cheng was the first holder of Cheah Kongsi Scholarship, where he received a degree in Licentiate of Medicine and Surgery from the King Edward VII Medical School, Singapore. Cheah Kee Ee's another daughter, Cheah Keng Hoon was married to Ong Swee Hoon.

Cheah Eng Wah 谢荣华

Cheah Eng Wah 谢荣华

Cheah Eng Wah was born in 1873 in Penang to Cheah Chan. He was educated at Penang and employed by Low Boon Kim in Kuala Lumpur as office clerk for six years, before went to Khoo Gin Ho’s firm of Chop Wan Hong as manager. He remained for two years at Chop Wan Hang and later served Khoo Kai Chai and Low Boon Tit’s mines as mining clerk in Kuala Lumpur. After two years, he was then transferred to Seremban by the company and promoted to mine manager. A position that he held for three years before resigned and ventured into tin mining on his own account. 

Cheah Eng Wah’s mine at Rasa, Selangor was operated by about one thousand workers. He also owned a mine at Ulu Yan, where about 400 workers were employed. In partnership with J.A. Russell, he commenced tin mining at Kuala Kubu, where about 250 workers were employed. Cheah Eng Wah was a member of the Merchants’ Clubs of Penang and Kuala Lumpur. He had a daughter.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cheah Choon Seng 謝春生


Cheah Choon Seng or Tjia Tioen Sen (spelled in Dutch) was born in 1848 in Pontianak, Indonesia and received Chinese education. He was also known as Cheah Meng Chi (謝夢池) and Hsie Yung Guang (謝榮光). He married daughter of Chong Hi, the Burgermeester (Mayor) of Pontianak. With the help from his father-in-law, during his early time, Cheah Choon Seng was a contractor supplying food and daily provisions for the Dutch East Indies Government. For eight years he secured various government contracts in Pontianak, before moved to Kota Raja (now Banda Acheh) and took the contracts for railroad constructions and other government contracts. Cheah Choon Seng also engaged in opium, liquor and gambling farm interests in those Dutch colonies.

He was appointed Lieutenant of China and served the position for 21 years before given the title Kapitan. During his time in Dutch East Indies, Cheah Choon Seng was the catalyst in forming goodwill and friendship bonds between the Chinese and Dutch governments. He was decorated with the Ster voor Trouw en Verdienste (Gold Star Loyalty and Merit)  for his significant and meritorious services rendered to the Dutch Government. 

Cheah Choon Seng was the founder of Deli Bank in Medan and became the Managing Director of the firm. He also owned considerably property at Kota Raja and several parts in the Dutch colony. In 1895, Cheah Choon Seng was appointed as the third Chinese Vice-Consul to Penang. He took this post seriously, where in 1897, he ceased all his business in Dutch East Indies and passed it to Leong Mok On. In return, he focused his task as the Chinese government representative in the Southeast Asia. 

Cheah Choon Seng who was then a well-known Hakka Chinese merchant, retired from the government post in 1903 and handed it to his son-in-law, Leong Fee. But had been reappointed as Acting Chinese Vice-Consul to Penang from 1906 to 1907. In the British colony, Cheah Choon Seng took great interest in tin mining. He owned the Tambun mines in Perak and Bentong mines in Selangor. He was also an active member in the social circle in Penang, where he joined the Penang Chinese Town Hall and various Chinese associations and co-founded the Chung Hua School in Penang. Cheah Choon Seng had one son, four daughters and three adopted sons. He died on 4 February 1916 at his Penang residence, 8 Leith Street, and was buried at his ancestral village in Songkou (嵩口镇), Meixian County of Guangdong.

Cheah Choon Seng's mansion at 8 Leith Street, Penang was situated next to Cheong Fatt Tze's mansion, it was later demolished to make way for adjoining Northam Road and Farquhar Street. The legacy of Cheah Choon Seng in supporting Chinese education was passed to one of his grandsons, Cheah Sinn Kee. Where the Cheah Sinn Kee Shield was founded to support Chinese schools sport events in Penang.

On 31 March 1912, Cheah Choon Seng made his will and appointed Cheah Hee Nyan as the will executor and trustee.  

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Cheah Choo Yew 谢自友

Cheah Choo Yew CH, JP

Cheah Choo Yew was born in 1841 to Cheah Yam with ancestry in Sek Tong, Fujian. Cheah Yam or also known as Cheah Hun Yam was an early settler in Penang, in around 1750s, when the Colony was founded by Sir Francis Light. Cheah Yam first settled at Bagan Dalam, Province Wellesley as an angler, before moved to Penang. By then he was already a successful merchant. During the early time, he owned two houses and a shop lot in Penang and was then a wealthy man where his property worth 2,700 Spanish dollars. Cheah Yam soon recognized as the leader for the Cheah clansmen, and in 1801 he acquired a building at Armenian Street to form the Cheah ancestral temple and housed the Patron Saints Hock Haw of Sek Tong. 

In 1820, the under the name of the Cheah temple, a property was purchased and named the Jee Lye Hock Haw Kongsi. Cheah Yam died in 1845 and was then a well-established man among the Chinese community in the Colony. His active involvement in assisting and concerning the welfare of Cheah clansmen in Penang was passed to his wife, Ong Sin Neoh. 

In 1858, Ong Sin Neoh and her son, Cheah Choo Yew founded the Cheah Kay Sek Tong Seah Hock Haw Kong Kongsi (Cheah Clan Temple) at Armenian Street, the establishment of the temple cost 12,367 Spanish dollars. The construction work commenced in 1858 and ended in 1873. Cheah Choo Yew continued the work of his parents and in 1901 he acquired a 12-acre land at Mount Erskine and used as the burial grounds for the Cheah clansmen. 

Cheah Choo Yew commenced his early life at Langkat, Sumatra, and was for about two years trading in small sailing ships from one port to another. He was afterwards the government licensee for Opium Farming in Deli, Sumatra, where he engaged the business for about 17 years. Cheah Choo Yew partnered with Khaw Joo Choe managed to the Opium and Liquor Farm in Thailand and Penang, and in 1906 he partnered with Lim Ah Siang in the Farm interest. He also managed the Gambling Farm in Siam for three years, a gambling farm at Hong Kong and also the Singapore Gambling Farm for about 12 years. 

Cheah Choo Yew was a member of the Penang Advisory Board, Managing Director of Khean Guan Insurance Company Ltd., shareholder of the Eastern Shipping Company. In 1919, he founded a Chinese school in the Cheah Clan Temple, where the school ended its service in 1942. Cheah Choo Yew was awarded the Certificate of Honour in 1928 for his invaluable public services and was made a Justice of Peace. He died in 1931 in Penang. The family obligation to serve the Cheah Clan Temple was continued by his son Cheah Seng Khim, a prominent politician in Penang during the 1950s.

1) Lim Soh Yew
2) Lim Chye Yam
3) Lim Hoon Neoh

1) Cheah Seng Yean (b. February 1886)
2) Cheah Seng Khim (b. April 1906)

Cheah Geok Suat (b. February 1913)

Cheah Chen Eok 谢增煜


Cheah Chen Eok was born in 1852 in Penang and was the only son of Cheah Sim Hean. He was educated at the Penang Free School and first worked at the Messrs Boon Tek & Co. and later to the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China of Penang branch. Where he served the firm for eight years. His father, Cheah Sim Hean was born in China with ancestry in Chang Tai District, Fujian. 

In 1872, Cheah Chen Eok married daughter of Foo Tye Sin and had six sons and three daughters. With financial support from his father-in-law, in 1876, he commenced business in partnership with Foo Boon Sean, his brother-in-law, under the firm Chen Eok & Co., principally engaged as a ship chandler and trading general goods. After six years of prosperous business, he joined the Opium & Liquor Farm with interests in Penang and Singapore. In 1902, he became the Superintendent for the farm, backing by his vast experience in business affairs. In the farm business where he had engaged for almost 25 years had made him a great success to-be-told. The farm was one of the biggest income revenues for the colony and had employed more than 200 workers. 

Cheah Chen Eok’s business by then had expanded to tin mining and plantations. Besides business concern, he was active in playing pivotal role in public affairs. He was a Justice of Peace, Municipal Commissioner of Penang, Visitor to goals and hospitals, member of the Chinese Advisory Board, a trustee of the Penang Free School and member of all local clubs. Cheah Chen Eok regarded himself as a loyal British subject and had great interest in English educations. In 1897, when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, he offered to fully fund the erection of a clock tower in commemorating the event. The clock tower was constructed at King Edward Place, costing him $35,000. Cheah Chen Eok died in 1922 at the age of 70 years.

Cheah Chen Eok in his youth