Monday, 12 November 2012

Khoo Thean Tek 邱天德

Khoo Thean Tek

There are two variant accounts on the birth time of Khoo Thean Tek (also spelled as Khoo Thean Teik). According to Wright (1907), Khoo Thean Tek was born in 1826. However, in the Straits Settlements Law Reports as well as the family genealogy, it verified that Khoo Thean Tek was born in April 1818 in Penang. Khoo Thean Tek was the third son of Khoo Guat Cheow 邱月照 (1784 - 1857). He was belonged to Hai Teoh Pang, a sub-lineage of his family clan and was a 19th generation descendant of Khoo clan.

Khoo Thean Tek died on 8 April 1890 in Penang, living behind seven sons (including one adopted son) and four daughters. He first married Chew Hong Neo as her principal wife, and after her death, he married Ooi Lean Keow (黄娇娘) and had her as his principal wife. Besides, the principal wife, Khoo Thean Thek had many other secondary wives (t’sip) distributed all over Federated Malay States and Straits Settlements, respectively.

As Khoo Thean Tek’s two eldest sons died before him in 1880s, thus his third son (later the fourth son) Khoo Hun Yeang took over the management of the family’s estates. Khoo Hun Yeang worked at his father coconut estates in Province Wellesley for some time before moved to George Town and engaged in Opium & Spirit Farms and had tin mining interest in Perak, his business was carried out under the firm Chin Lee & Co. Khoo Hun Yeang was the Vice-Chairman, Penang Chinese Town Hall, as well a Board Member of the Kek Lok Si and the Cheng Hoon Giam Temple (Snake Temple). Later he moved to Kuching, Sarawak and involved in the construction industry. The main street, Khoo Hun Yeang Road, which he built in Kuching was named after him. Khoo Hun Yeang died in Medan at the age of 57 years. He was buried in Kampung Bahru, Penang, at his family burial ground. 

On 8 December 1888, Khoo Thean Tek executed three settlements of immovable property. One of these settlements, ‘Family Residence Settlement’ was declared void by a decree dated 19 July 1895 and made in Suit No. 202 of 1894. The other two valid settlements were referred to as the ‘Real Estate Settlement’ and the ‘Boon Eow Tong Settlement.’ By the Real Estate Settlement, Khoo Thean Tek, in consideration of the natural love and affection which he had towards his brothers (Thean Poh & Thean Lye) children and grandchildren conveyed certain immovable property the trustees to be held during the joint lives of certain named persons and the life of the survivor and a term of 21 years from the death of the survivor upon trusts. 

Khoo Thean Tek who received Chinese education was a well-known figure in the history of Malaysia. His pivotal role in the Chinese social and political influence had shaped the demography in Penang and Perak. He was referred as a leader for a notorious secret society in the early seventeenth century known as Kean Tek Tong Society (Tua Pek Kong), in which he succeeded Khoo Teng Pang.  Khoo Thean Tek was also a key figure in Hai San (a secret society) had involved in the Penang Riots in 1867. He was initially sentenced to death, but due to the consideration of his political and social influences, his sentence was lowered to imprisonment for a period of 7 years, and he was banished to Singapore (Pieris, 2002) for causing the riots and kiosks raged in Penang and Perak during 1862 until 1873. There are various accounts in the judgment of Khoo's trial. Khoo whom was the leader of Tua Pek Kong, a society with members largely formed from wealthy Hokkien merchants (many were authorized licensees in dealing weapon and gun powers businesses) were in favour by the British (due to the fact that these Hokkien merchants were naturalized British subject). And it is not the colonial's policy to provoke public anger, especially one that concerns of an important figure (Cowan, 1961). Thus, the actual execution of the sentences were justified but remained in a very low profile. According to Wynne (1941), it was said the sentences were lasted for 18 months in between the Christmas until Chinese New Year and not 7 years as reported in other resources.

Khoo Thean Tek in his later life had actively involved in business affairs, where he in partnership with Chung Keng Quee ventured tin mining in Larut, Perak. His firms Khoon Ho (坤和) and Chin Bee & Co. (振美公司) were engaged in sugar and coconut plantations (Province Wellesley), opium farming (Hong Kong & Penang) and tin mining (Perak). He was also a member in the Board of Directors of the Khean Guan Insurance Company, the first Chinese insurance company in the Straits Settlements. Apart from business affairs, he also actively involved in social welfare, and in 1851 he was a Trustee of Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi (his family clan temple), and founder of Boon San Tong Khoo Kongsi (Parentage Society of Khoo Clan) in 1878, to honour his branch patriarch, Khoo Kong Oon, a fifth generation of Khoo Chian Eng.  During the early establishment of the Penang Chinese Town Hall in 1881, Khoo Thean Tek was its Chairman, he also became a trustee of the Ong Seng Temple, and Hokkien Public Cemetery. 

Due to his invaluable contributions to his family clan temple, a large estate at Ayer Itam owned by Leong San Tong was named after him. On the other hand, Thean Teik Road in Penang was named in honour for his contributions in the development of Penang economy. 

1st Brother = Khoo Thean Sang 邱天送 (b. 1815)
2nd Brother = Khoo Thean Hoe 邱天厚 (b. 1817)
4th Brother = Khoo Thean Siew 邱天修 (b. 1821)
5th Brother = Khoo Thean Chai 邱天财 (b. 1821)
6th Brother = Khoo Thean Seng 邱天生 (b. 1824)
7th Brother = Khoo Thean Cho 邱天佐
8th Brother = Khoo Thean Poh 邱天宝 (b. 1833)
9th Brother = Khoo Thean Lye 邱天来 (b. 1837)

1st son = Khoo Hun Kang 邱汉江 (b. 1842 - died around 1880s) ~ 2 sons
2nd son = Khoo Hun Chin 邱汉津 (b. 1856 - died around 1880s) ~ 3 adopted sons
3rd son = Khoo Hun Tee 邱汉地 also known as Edward Edwin Gaudoin (Godyne) (22 January 1854 – 1906)
4th son = Khoo Hun Yeang 邱汉阳 (1859 – 1917) ~ 7 sons
5th son = Khoo Hun Yeam 邱汉友 (1862 – 1922)

Adopted son: 
Khoo Hun Boh
Khoo Hun Eng

Khoo Suan See married Lim Seng Kim second son of Lim Chooi Chuan

Khoo Tong Huan 邱懂返 son of Khoo Hun Kang
Khoo Tong Hean 邱懂狠 son of Khoo Hun Kang
Khoo Ngay Tuan 邱雅端 son of Khoo Hun Chin
Khoo Ngay Tean 邱雅殿 son of Khoo Hun Chin
Khoo Hooi Leong son of Khoo Hun Tee
Khoo Hooi Haw son of Khoo Hun Tee
Khoo Siew Keat 邱守节 son of Khoo Hun Yeang
khoo Siew Ghee 邱守智 son of Khoo Hun Yeang
Khoo Siew Jin 邱守仁 son of Khoo Hun Yeang
Khoo Siew Lee 邱守礼 son of Khoo Hun Yeang
Khoo Siew Yee 邱守义 son of Khoo Hun Yeang
Khoo Siew Teong 邱守忠 son of Khoo Hun Yeang
Khoo Siew Lian 邱守廉 son of Khoo Hun Yeang
Khoo Siew Kok 邱守国 son of Khoo Hun Yeam
Khoo Hooi Hye son of Khoo Hun Eng

Adopted grandsons: 

Khoo Heng Quee aka Khoo Hean Quee 邱显贵

Grand daughters:
Khoo Chye Lian 邱彩莲 daughter of Khoo Hun Chin

Khoo Thean Poh (1833 – 21 January 1919)
Mrs Khoo Thean Poh (Madam Toh Bee Beng 杜媚明)
Mrs Khoo Thean Choe’s (d. 22 July 1911)
Mrs Khoo Thean Chai (Madam Goh Hui Neo 吴惠娘)
Khoo Hun Eng's mother (Madam Boey Kooi Lan 梅桂兰)
Khoo Chin Keat son of Khoo Thean Poh
Khoo Hong Swee, Khoo Hun Yeang’s cousin
Khoo Sian Tan son of Khoo Hong Swee
Mrs Khoo Ngay Tean (Madam Yong Tuan Neo 杨端娘)
Khoo Bin Tuan second daughter of Khoo Chin Keat married Tan Bah Teik

Source of Reference:
  1. Khoo Hooi Leong v. Khoo Chong Yeok, Privy Council Straits Settlements Law Report (p. 129) 
  2. Re Khoo Thean Tek’s Settlements 1928, Supreme Court, Straits Settlements Law Report (pp. 51 - 52)
  3. Wright, A. (1907). Twentieth Century Impressions of British Malaya: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (p. 156)
  4. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Penang 
  5. Tan, K.H. (2007). The Chinese in Penang: A Pictorial History. Penang: Areca Books (p.101)
  6. Wynne, M.L. (1941) Triad and Tabut: A Study of the Origin and Diffusion of Chinese and Mohamedan Secret Societies in the Malay peninsular AD 1800-1935, Singapore: Government Printing Office
  7. Cowan, C.D. (1961) Nineteenth Century Malaya: The Origins of British Political Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  8. Emerson, R. (1969) Malaysia: A Study in Direct and Indirect Rule. Singapore: University of Malaya
  9. Pieris, A. (2002) Doubtful Associations: Reviewing Penang through the 1867 Riots. In Penang Story, Paper presented at International Conference 2002 18-21 April 2002, The City Bayview Hotel, Penang, Malaysia. The Penang Heritage Trust & STAR Publications
  10. The Genealogy of the Sinkang Khoo & Chan Clans (Vol. 1)
*1st Revision: 5 February 2013
*2nd Revision: 6 February 2013
*3rd Revision: 16 April 2017

Thursday, 8 November 2012

List of British Honours to the Overseas Chinese in the Straits Settlements and British Malaya


Knight Grand Cross Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG)

1972 - Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore) - ‘Honorary Knight’ which carries no title

Knight Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) 

1936 - Song Ong Siang (Singapore) - ‘styled as Sir Ong-siang Song’
1946 - Dr Lim Han Hoe (Singapore) - ‘styled as Sir Han-hoe Lim, also Sir Roger Lim’
1952 - Tan Cheng Lock (Malacca) - ‘styled as Sir Cheng-lock Tan’
1957 - Colonel Henry Lee Hau Shik (Selangor) - ‘styled as Sir Henry Hau-shik Lee, also Sir Henry Lee'
2009 - Tiong Hiew King (Sarawak) - ‘Honorary Knight’ which carries no title
2012 - Hii Yii Ann (Sarawak) - 'styled as Sir Yii Ann Hii'
2013 - Dr Khaw Peng Tee (Kuala Lumpur) - 'styled as Sir Peng Tee Khaw'

Knight Bachelor (Kt.) 

2017 -  Poh Sang Chung (Sarawak / Papua New Guinea) - 'styled as Sir Martin Poh / Sir Sang Chung Poh'

Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)

1876 - Hoo Ah Kay (Singapore)
1912 - Tan Jiak Kim (Singapore)
1915 - Loke Yew (Selangor)
1941 - Chan Sze Jin (Singapore)

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

1927 - Song Ong Siang (Singapore)
1930 - Choo Kia Peng (Selangor)
1933 - Tan Cheng Lock (Malacca)
1941 - Dr Lim Han Hoe (Singapore)
1947 - Dr Khong Kam Tak (Perak)
1948 - Colonel Henry Lee Hau Shik (Selangor)
1949 - Khoo Teik Ee (Selangor)
1951 - Tan Chin Tuan (Singapore)
1953 - Ng Swee Cam (Penang)
1955 - Thio Chan Bee (Singapore)
1956 - Dr Toh Eng Hoe (Perak)
2003 - Professor Khaw Kay Tee

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) 

1918 - Lim Boon Keng (Singapore)
1922 - Eu Tong Sen (Singapore)
1935 - Wee Swee Teow (Singapore)
1937 - Quah Beng Kee (Penang)
1937 - Capt Koh Keng Bock (Malacca)
1937 - Leong Sin Nam (Perak)
1938 - Aw Boon Haw (Singapore)
1939 - Khoo Sian Ewe (Penang)
1946 - Choy Khun Heng (Singapore)
1946 - Yong Su Moi, Elizabeth (Singapore)
1947 - Dr Soo Kim Lan (Selangor)
1947 - Wong Man Wai (Perak)
1947 - Chye Sin Wu (Perak)
1949 - Gunn Lay Teik (Selangor)
1951 - Lau Pak Khuan (Perak)
1951 - Ng Seng Choy (Singapore)
1953 - Lee Ewe Boon (Kedah)
1953 - Teh Eng Suan (Pahang)
1954 - Teoh Thye Moh (Penang)
1954 - Ong Hap Leong (Sarawak)
1955 - Koh Sin Hock (Penang)
1955 - G.H. Kiat (Singapore)
1955 - Chee Swee Ee (Penang)
1956 - Tan Kai Choon (Sarawak)
1956 - See Khoon Lim (Perak)
1956 - Oon Hoot Ewe (Penang)
1957 - Yeoh Cheang Kang (Perak)
2002 - Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat (Penang)
2007 - Dr Ng Mee Ling (Penang)

* Recipients with unknown year:
  1. Leung Cheung Ling (Selangor)
  2. Khoo Peng Loong (Sarawak)
  3. Dr Tay Teck Eng (Singapore)
  4. Yap Man Tatt (Negri Sembilan)

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

1918 - Lee Choon Guan (Singapore)
1925 - Ho Siak Kuan (Singapore)
1931 - Captain Koh Keng Bock (Malacca)
1935 - Dr Khong Kam Tak (Perak)
1936 - Captain Dr Tan Seng Tee (Malacca)
1938 - Mrs S.K. Wong alias Wong Siu Kit
1941 - Mrs Tan Chay Yan (Malacca)
1942 - Low Leng Chuan (Singapore)
1947 - Tan Hock Aun (Perak)
1947 - Chan Peng Sim (Singapore)
1947 - Low Leng Chuan (Singapore)
1948 - Moung Choo Yah (Selangor)
1949 - Sng Choon Yee (Singapore)
1949 - Chan Joo Chua
1950 - Fam Fong Hee (Singapore)
1950 - Goh Chiang Chuah (Singapore)
1950 - Law Ying Fong (Singapore)
1950 - Mrs Loh Poon Lip nee Teo Soo Choo (Singapore)
1950 - Mrs Chong Ah Khoon nee Ooi Hong Suat (Negri Sembilan)
1951 - Khoo Kim Lian (Malacca)
1952 - Tan Soo Ghi (Malacca)
1953 - Major Goh Guan Hoo
1953 - Dr Soo Hoy Mun (Selangor)
1953 - John Voon Yin Kui (North Borneo)
1953 - Thong Jin Hin
1953 - Lai Yew Chong
1953 - Pang Vui Chau (North Borneo)
1953 - Hsu Yaw Tang (Sarawak)
1954 - Goh Tan Teng (Malacca)
1954 - Pang Yong Wah (Malacca)
1954 - Lim Kim Seng (Singapore)
1955 - Eric Wee Sian Beng (Singapore)
1955 - Ow Kheng Law (Selangor)
1955 - Ang Keh Toh (Selangor)
1955 - Goh Tiong Tan (Malacca)
1955 - Sim Hung Liang (Singapore)
1955 - Lee Syn Hon (North Borneo)
1955 - Chew Jin Bee (Perak)
1956 - Ee Yew Kim (Malacca)
1956 - Too Chee Chew (Selangor)
1956 - Wong Yong Hew (Perak)
1956 - Tan Siew Inn (Singapore)
1956 - Tan Yam Thong (Sarawak)
1956 - Thien Tet Fui (North Borneo)
1956 - Mrs Ch'ng Lum Tong (Kedah)
1957 - Lt. Col. John Thong Sing Ching (Singapore)
1991 - Michael Chan Chew Koon (Singapore)

* Recipients with unknown year:
  1. Ong Beng Chye (Selangor)
  2. Goh Chee Yan (Malacca)
  3. Chin Thye Fong (Singapore)
  4. Dr Yeoh Bok Choon (Johor)
  5. Yap Pheng Geck
  6. Tay Gan Tin (Singapore)
  7. Ow Kheng Law (Selangor)

Certificate of Honour (CH) 

The Certificate of Honour was first created in 1927 to honour the people in the Straits Settlements and the Federated Malay States. The post-nominal title CH was used for the recipients in the Straits Settlements, while MCH (Malayan Certificate of Honour) was reserved for recipients from the Federated Malay States (later Malayan Union). The award certificate presented must be signed by the British High Commissioner of the Malay States and Governor of Straits Settlements, and shall not exceed six recipients per year. The award was terminated in 1941 in the Federated Malay States.

1927 - Tan Siak Cheng (Singapore)
1927 - Ho Siak Kuan (Singapore)
1927 - Khoo Beng Hock (Penang)
1928 - Cheah Choo Yew (Penang)
1928 - Lim Sun Kee
1929 - Lim Seng Hooi (Penang)
1929 - Liau Chia Heng
1929 - Wong Yick Tong (Negri Sembilan)
1929 - Leong Sin Nam (Perak)
1930 - Wong Kwan Tan (Pahang)
1930 - Loke Chow Thye (Selangor)
1931 - Lew Leong Gan (Selangor)
1932 - Dr Khong Kam Tak (Perak)
1933 - Aw Boon Haw (Singapore)
1933 - Chee Wor Lok (Penang)
1934 - Chan Kang Swi (Malacca)
1935 - Lim Boon Thin (Singapore)
1935 - Lim Keong Lay (Penang)
1937 - Chang Seng Long (Negri Sembilan)
1938 - Ng Seng Choy (Singapore)
1938 - Aw Boon Par (Singapore)
1938 - Heah Seng Whatt (Penang)
1938 - Ee Kong Guan (Penang)
1939 - Ching Kee Sun (Singapore)
1939 -Tan Ong Seng (Singapore)
1939 - Dr Ong Huck Chye (Penang)
1940 - Lim Eow Thoon (Penang)
1940 - Khoo Leng Gian (Perak)
1941 - Lee Choon Seng (Singapore)

Jubilee Medal Awards (1935)

Dato’ Wong Siew Qui (Johor)
Ng Seng Choy (Singapore)
S.B. Tan (Singapore)
Dr Cheong Chee Hai (Singapore)
Dr Ong Hick Chye (Penang)
Lim Eow Thoon (Penang)
Koh Sin Hock (Penang)
Tan Cheng Lock (Malacca)
Dr Lim Han Hoe (Singapore)
Khoo Sian Ewe (Penang)
Tay Lian Teck (Singapore)
Chung Ah Ming (Perak)
Lai Tet Loke (Selangor)
Toh Eng Hoe (Perak)
Yong Shook Lin (Selangor)
Wong Yick Tong (NS)
Chang Seng Long (NS)
Tan Chong Lek (Malacca)
Mrs S.Q. Wong (Singaproe)
Mrs Lee Choon Guan (Singapore)
Mrs Ng Sen Choy (Signapore)
Mrs Cheah Inn Kiong (Penang)
Mrs Tan Chay Yan (Malacca)
Mdm Lim Swee Eng (Selangor)
Ms Mary Lam (Selangor)
Ms Yong Koon Tho (Selangor)
Sng Choon Yee (Singapore)
Ong Kim Tiang (Singapore)
Lee Kwee Siew (Singapore)
Goh Chiang Chuah (Singapore)
Wee Gon Dol (Singapore)
Tan Hock Ann (Penang)
Mun Soon Hoong (Penang)
Yeo Seng Whatt (Malacca)
Qua Gong Kow (Perak)
Mrs Tan Cheng Choan (Selangor)
Tan Cheng Gam
Tai Sam Goon (Pahang)
Wong Peng Wah
Low Kee Boo (Selangor)
Moung Choo Yah (Selangor)

King George VI Coronation Medal (1937) 

Dr Lim Han Hoe
Khoo Sian Ewe
Tay Lian Teck
Lai Tet Loke
Dr Khong Kam Tak
Leong Sin Nam
Toh Eng Hoe
Yong Shook Lin
Wong Yick Tong
Chang Seng Leong
S.Q. Wong
Dr H.T. Wee
Ng Sen Choy
Seow Poh Leng
Chua Keh Hai
Dr Ong Huck Chye
Koh Sin Hock
Dr Ong Keng Cheng
Tan Chong Lek
Tan Soo Chong
Wong Chin Yok
Giam Ah Long
Mrs S.K. Wong
Mrs S.Q. Wong
Miss Loke Soo Lip
Tan Miang Kang
Tan Say Hoe
Tan Hock Ann
Mun Soon Hoong
Qua Gong Kow
Lim Tee Ee
Teen Ah Yeow
Ng Kheng Tan
Gunn Lat Teik
Chong Sin Yew
Song Ong Siang
Tan Cheng Lock
Dr Saw Ah Choy
Choo Kia Peng
H.S. Lee

British Empire Medal (BEM)

1954 - Chin Peng Leong
1954 - Khoo Paik Wan (Johor)
1954 - Khoo Soo Saik (Penang)
1954 - Lum Ah Hoi
1954 - Phua Thian Ern (Johor)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Yap Loong Kee

Yap Loong Kee was born in Malacca in 1864 to Yap Sam Kee. Yap Loong Kee who was a second generation of Chinese immigrant family had started to dealing in tin mining affairs at the age of 20 years. His success in tin mining venture in Petaling, Salak had helped him to acquire more mines. In 1879 he married Liew Hup Neoh (also Low Hup Neo) and had a daughter, and two adopted sons. His daughter Yap Kon Keow (b. 1894) married Khoo Soon Leong son of Khoo Hock Cheong and had inherited a significant amount of his estate. In 1901, through Yap Loong Kee's secondary wife, Chin Thye Lian, they had an adopted son, Yap Fook Siang.  Chin Thye Lian died in 1910 and left a will to her son who was still a minor, however, Yap Fook Siong died on 24 May 1924 without issue. 

Yap Loong Kee died in 1904 and his property was managed by his brother-in-law, Low Yang Hin, who was born in Ulu Langat in 1882 and educated at the Victoria Institution. Low Yang Hin joined the Customs Department at Port Dickson and later joined Yau Tet Shin in the Spirit and Gambling Farm. Upon the death of his brother-in-law, four years later, he undertook, at the request of his sister, the management of Yap Loong Kee's estate.

After the demise of Yap Loong Kee and Chin Thye Lian, the family went into a long legal dispute over the family wealth, spanning since 1919 until 1925. The family house was located at No 96, Ampang Street and a shop house lot at No. 123, Sultan Steet, both at Kuala Lumpur. 

Yap Loong Kee's Family:
  1. Liew Hup Neoh (also Low Hup Neoh) - principal wife
  2. Chin Thye Lian - secondary wife (t'sip)
  1. Yap Kon Keow was born in 1894 the natural and lawful daughter of Yap Loong Kee and Low Hup Neo.
  2. Yap Fook Chin was adopted in 1904 to Yap Loong Kee. 
  3. Yap Fook Siong was adopted in 1901 to Yap Loong Kee and Chin Thye Lian. 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Cheah Kok Phin


Cheah Kok Phin was born in 1881, and educated at Taiping. He was the son of the Cheah Fook, who was a tin miner in Larut. At the age of 16 years old, Cheah Kok Phin joined the police force. After four years’ service, he left the profession and left for Kampar. In Kampar, Cheah Kok Phin commenced tin mining business with the help from his father-in-law. Cheah Kok Phin was also the Mine Manager for his father-in-law’s mines. His tin mines at Sumput, near Gopeng had employed more than 500 miners and were generated by two pumps, with the capacity of 10 h/p and 12 h/p, respectively, and were able to produce 300 piculs of tin per month. Cheah Kok Phin had one son and two daughters.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Lee Choon Guan 李浚源

Lee Choon Guan, JP

Lee Choon Guan was born in Singapore in 1868. He was the eldest son of Lee Cheng Yan and Tan Leong Mow. Choon Guan received home education at the very young age. He began to assist his father’s business at the age of 16. During his life time, Choon Guan had six wives and ten children. He was a generous philanthropist and a smart businessman in Singapore. Being the sole proprietor of Lee Cheng Yan & Co. (Singapore), Choon Guan had made the company run by family members, including his cousins and nephews. Besides the business he managed, Choon Guan also an enthusiast tennis player, he was a committee member of the Chinese Recreation Club in Singapore and was the president of the Weekly Entertainment Club. His concern for public welfare was shown by his participation in various positions in the society. Choon Guan was an elected member for Central Ward on the Municipal Board in Singapore, member of the Chinese Advisory Board and the Committee of Management at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Choon Guan had given liberally to charitable and educational institutions, including a handsome gift of $ 50,000 to the proposed Methodist College, and another of $60,000 to the endowment fund of Raffles College. He and his wife, Tan Teck Neo each gave $5,000 to the building fund of the St. Andrew's Hospital for Women and Children. During the absence of Dr. Lim Boon Keng in China towards the end of 1918, Choon Guan was acting Chinese member of the Legislative Council. He also served on the Singapore Housing Commission and on the Board of Food Control. Choon Guan also posted as director of the Straits Steamship Co. Ltd. and the South British Insurance Co. Ltd. (Malaya Branch) and was the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chinese Commercial Bank. He died in Singapore in 1924 at the age of 56.

Lee Choon Guan’s wives and children:

Wee Guat Kim (1st wife) daughter of Wee Boon Teck
  1. Lee Pang Seng (M) 
  2. Lee Pang Chuan (M) 
  3. Lee Poh Lian (F) m. Choa Eng Wan son of Choa Giang Tye 
  4. Lee Poh Choo (F) m. Tan Soon Keng

Tan Teck Neo, MBE (2nd wife) daughter of Tan Keong Saik
  1. Lee Pang Soo (M)
  2. Lee Poh Neo (F)
  3. Lee Cheng Lian (F) 

Ang Ah Lee (3rd wife) 
  1. Lee Bah Chee (M) 

Wee Seah Lew (4th wife)
  1. Lee Poh Tin (F) 

Tan Ah Gan (5th wife)

Tan Chwee Neo (6th wife)

Lee Cheng Yan 李清渊

Lee Cheng Yan, JP
Lee Cheng Yan was born in Malacca in 1841. He was the third generation of Chinese immigrant in Malacca. His grandfather, Lee Toon Hong came to Malacca in 1775 and married a Malaccan woman, Tan Siok Kim. Lee Cheng Yan’s father Lee Chan Bee moved to Singapore in 1840s and earned a living there until he died in 1849. Lee Cheng Yan’s father died when he was only eight years old; therefore, he was put under the custody of his elder brother Lee Quee Lim of Malacca. When Lee Cheng Yan reached the age of 17, he and his younger brother Lee Cheng Gam commenced a commission agents and general merchants firm in Singapore under the name Chin Joo. The two brothers were famed for their hard works and well established their firm among the Europeans. In merely ten years, they managed to expand the company’s business into financial and property sectors, and managed to secure a large assets and properties in the Straits Settlements. Lee Cheng Yan first married Tan Leong Mow and blessed with two sons. During his lifetime, Lee Cheng Yan had other six wives. Knowing the importance of education, he sent his second son Lee Keng Tye to Herne Bay College and Haileybury College for English education, where the studies lasted for four terms began on 1 October 1916. Meanwhile, his first son Lee Choon Guan was responsible in assisting his business in Singapore. Lee Cheng Yan fully retired from active business life in 1900s and lived in Singapore. At the beginning of the 20th century, he built four villas; Magenta Cottage in Killiney Road, Hampstead Bath in Upper Bukit Timah, Mandalay Villa in Amber Road and a seaside bungalow in Changi Point. Lee Cheng Yan took a great deal of interest in all matters concerning the Chinese community. He was  in the Committee of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the Chinese Advisory Board and the Po Leung Kuk. Realising the necessity of doing something in the matter of education for the poor; he founded and endowed the Hong Joo Chinese Free School in Serangoon Road which was attended by over seventy scholars. He was also one of the trustees of the Gan Eng Seng Free School (now known as the Anglo-Chinese School), and in the Committee of the Toh Lam Chinese School in North Bridge Road (now in Armenian Street). Lee Cheng Yan died in May 1911, leaving his business to his eldest son, Lee Choon Guan.


Lee Cheng Yan & Co. was a successful commission agents and general merchants company in Singapore. The firm was founded in 1858 by Lee Cheng Yan under the name Chin Joo. Lee Cheng Yan the founding father of the firm first began his business in small scale at Telok Ayer Street, Singapore. His determinations and resilience had led him as a prolific figure in real estate business and banker as well as a respectable leader in the Chinese community in Singapore and Malacca. 

Lee Cheng Yan’s brother Lee Cheng Gam also joined the firm as shareholder. As the firm had prospered in a short time of ten years, the Telok Ayer Street premise was shifted to No.10, Malacca Street and expanded the business as banker and property investor. The directors were also on the boards of several important companies, the best known which were the local board of the South British Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and the Straits Steamship Company.

When Lee Cheng Yan died in May 1911, the management of the firm was handed to his eldest son Lee Choon Guan. Where, Lee Choon Guan had been the sole proprietor of the firm since then. The interest of Lee Cheng Gam in the firm ceased upon his death. This had led to destruction among the shareholders of the firm, where Lee Choon Guan finally moved his company to 127-A, Tanjong Katong and a branch office at No.81, Amoy Street. Meanwhile, the Malacca Street property was under Lee Cheng Gam’s son, Lee Keng Hee.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Chin Ah Yam 陈亚炎

Kapitan Chin Ah Yam

Chin Seng Yam 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 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.

Chin Ah Yam was known to have founded the Kwantung Association and the Ku Kong Chow Association (古冈州公会) in Taiping. Before Chin Ah Yam died in 1899, it was said that he had visited England. Chin Ah Yam died in his house at Eastern Road, Taiping and was buried at the Kwantung Cemetery, Tupai (in Taiping). 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.

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.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Choo Hu Seong


Choo Hu Seong was born in 1863 in Fujian, China to Choo Geok Han. He received Chinese education in Amoy, before preceded to British Malaya in 1880. Choo Hu Seong first came to Taiping, Perak and worked in tin mines for some time, before commenced on his own account. His business life in Perak lasted for only 13 years, as he then moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1893 and established a tin ore trading firm, Chop Seng Eng Guan. In partnership with other miners in Selangor, he formed the Eng Ann Mining Company, where he was the mine manager. His mine was equipped with modern machinery had employed more than 300 workers. Choo Hu Seong was a member of the Merchants Club in Penang and Selangor. He married daughter of Taoh Kim Leong and had one son and three daughters.

Choo Cheeng Khay 朱睛溪

Choo Cheeng Khay was born in 1868 in Penang to Choo Hoon Siew. Choo Hoon Siew who was born in China, was then a successful trader plying from Penang to Kedah thence to Aceh. In 1888, Choo Cheeng Khay left Penang for Kuala Lumpur and commenced business in partnership with his old schoolmate. His business thrived and few years later the partnership was dissolved. Choo Cheeng Khay later joined Loke Yew as a manager of the Attap Farm, leased from the government. When the farm lease was superseded by the government, he became assistant manager of Loke Yew’s infamous firm, Tong Hing Loong (Kuala Lumpur branch). At the same time, he acquired lime-kilns at Kuala Lumpur and later in partnership he ventured into tin mining at Kajang. His two-year experiment in mining business was a success, where he acquired more mining lands at Sungei Besi. He named his mines as Old Blondin, as a mark of the use of Blondin apparatus into mining activity. Where, he was among the first miners in the Malay States to use that quarry equipment. In order to manage his mining interest, he founded a company named after him with an estimated capital $40,000. The company capital value was too trifling to attract investors, and due to Choo Cheeng Khay’s insistence, the capital remained at that meagre value. Thus, Choo Cheeng Khay was left to run the business on his own expense. Nothing daunted, he acquired another mine at Sungei Krayong, Cheras known as the New Blondin, this time instead of using the Blondin apparatus, he applied the open-cast system to cast tin ore. With this new mine, he approached back the old shareholders, with the hope they would invest in his new mine, despite all the persuasions, they refused his offer. The Sungei Krayong mine was later closed down in 1913. By the age of 40 years, Choo Cheeng Khay was already a well-established businessman in Kuala Lumpur. In 1907, he was unanimously elected as the honorary secretary of the Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce. However, shortly afterwards he vacated his post in order to go for a business trip in China and Japan, where he planned to venture in timber business in Manchuria. In his later life, Choo Cheeng Khay became a contractor and founded the Choo Cheeng Khay & Sons Limited, a property developer firm at Birch Road, Kuala Lumpur. Choo Cheeng Khay was famed for being a staunch supporter of the anti-opium movement. On 3 November 1906, he co- founded the Selangor Anti-Opium Society, and had been generously helped the opium addicts to eradicate their smoking habits by giving free anti-opium decoctions. His devotion to the movement was further proved when he leased his house at 8 Weld Road to the Anti-Opium Society. In 1907, there were more than 400 patients cured of the habit of opium smoking and following with the success, it was reported that more than 2,000 patients seek treatment at the Society per day. Choo Cheeng Khay was also active in promoting education, where he had financially helped the establishment of several schools in Kuala Lumpur including being a co-founder of a prominent Chinese girls’ school, where many rich Chinese families in Kuala Lumpur sent their daughters to have Chinese education. In 1914, he retired from business affairs, and three years later he made a world-tour. It was in England, Choo Cheeng Khay thought that he will die soon, so he bought a special oak coffin which cost him £50. The coffin was kept in a room of his home in Gurney Drive, Penang. It was only after 42 years the coffin was made to use, when he died in June 1959 in Kuala Lumpur. He was buried at Mount Erskine, Penang. Choo Cheeng Khay lived most of his life in Kuala Lumpur and returned to Penang in his final two and a half years of life. In 1917, he built a spacious bungalow for his family at Birch Road, Kuala Lumpur. Choo Cheeng Khay was the Vice-President of the Selangor Anti-Opium Society, and member of Yin Han Club, Penang, Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce and many other clubs and associations in Selangor and Penang. One of his sons, Choo Thiam Khin was a Managing Director of Choo Cheeng Khay & Sons Ltd in 1964, he married Rosalind Wong Yuet Hing and they had one son (Choo Kook Yin) and two daughters (Choo Hooi Peng & Choo Hooi Sim). The family residence was then shifted to 104 Choo Cheeng Khay Road, Kuala Lumpur.