Saturday, 22 December 2012

China and her Overseas People

The Chinese Consulates 

The formation of the Chinese Consulates in Singapore and Penang in 1877 and 1890 respectively, was primarily to serve as communication platform between the Chinese Government and the overseas Chinese. Apart from that, it was also the Chinese Government's initiative to gain support and loyalty from her wealthy overseas members. 

The office of the Vice-Consul functions in various aspects and capacities. The diplomatic rule of the Chinese Vice-Consul was based in demography and geography of British Malaya. For instance, the Penang branch engaged with the Chinese affairs in Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Perlis. Whereas, the Singapore branch concerned in the area such as Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan and Terengganu. 

The primitive role of the Vice-Consul was also concerned in protecting the Chinese and their business interests. However, in the early 1900s, other Chinese organisations such as the Chinese Advisory Board (1890), Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Po Leung Kuk (1885) as well as other Chinese clan associations had surged in all major towns in the British Malaya, thus the importance of the Vice-Consul had apparently ceased.

In 1891, the Vice-Consul of Singapore was promoted to the rank of Consul General for Southeast Asia. And in 1933, a Chinese Consulate was established in Kuala Lumpur and dealt with the Chinese affairs in the Federated Malay States, the engagements were mostly in civil, commercial and political affairs. In subsequent to this newly formed Consulate in Kuala Lumpur, thus, the functions of the Consuls in Singapore and Penang were ceased. 

Although the function of the Chinese Consulate had relinquished many of its concerns. However, the issuance of visiting passports to the overseas Chinese still evident. These passports were permission granted to the overseas Chinese for returning to their home districts in China. In 1939, the Chinese Consul in Kuala Lumpur, Shih Shao-tseng made a new policy, by having the local Chinese associations to stand as witnesses to the applicants of passport.

List of Chinese Vice-Consuls in Penang
1890 - 1894 - Cheong Fatt Tze 張弼士 (Chang Pi-shih/Thio Tiauw Siat)
1894 - 1895 - Chang Yu Nan 張煜南 (Thio Chee Non/Chong Yit Nam/Chong Chee Non)
1895 - 1901 - Cheah Choon Seng 謝春生 (Tjia Tioen Sen)
1901 - 1907 - Leong Fee 梁輝 (Liang Pi-joo)
1907 - 1912 - Tye Kee Yoon 戴喜云 (Tai Hsin-jan)
1912 - 1930 - Tye Phey Yuen (Tai Shu-yuan)
1930 - 1931 - Yang Hsiao-tang 楊念祖
1931 - 1933 - Lu Tzu-chin 呂子勤
1933 - 1941 - Huan Yen-kai

In the first five appointed Chinese Vice-Consul in Penang, the office was held by the Hakka-origin Chinese with business interests in Southeast Asia. Most of these men were illiterate, and their connections were through family-link and business collaborations. Cheong Fatt Tze and Chang Yu Nan were cousins, and Cheah Choon Seng was a business partner with Cheong Fatt Tze, whereas Leong Fee was his son-in-law. Ironically, these leaders were not Straits Chinese or British subjects but Chinese from the Dutch East Indies and they were pro-Qing government's policies in China. Their representative in the Chinese Consulate could suggest unpopular and feudal, as most Straits Chinese were then received Western education and some had been influenced by Dr Sun Yat Sen's uprising movement against the Qing Government. In fact, there were already formed the silent community in resisting the Qing Government. Early pioneers such as Goh Say Eng, Ooi Kim Kheng, Loh Chong Huo were founders of Tongmenghui in Penang, which fight against the corrupted Qing Government.  On 17 August 1900, Tan Jiak Kim, Seah Liang Seah, Dr Lim Boon Keng and Song Ong Siang founded the Straits Chinese British Association in Singapore. Two months later, a similar branch was set up in Malacca. The Penang wing was established in 1920. This association was a pro-British movement led by the Hokkien-origin Chinese, many of their members held high government positions and recognized by the British as local Chinese leaders. They represented the Chinese in the Straits Settlements and British Malaya in the local Legislative Council and State Councils. Following with the fall of Qing Dynasty Government in 1912, the appointment of the Vice-Consul in Penang by the Republic of China were more selective-based in term of education and experience backgrounds. For instance,Yang Hsiao-tang was educated at the Kiangsu Provincial College in Suzhou and prior his appointment he had held various government positions in China. And Lu Tze-chin who acted for a short term was a capable young man graduated from the Peking Academy in 1922 and Nankai University, Tianjin in 1926. He was later appointed as the first Chinese Consul in Kuala Lumpur. 

NOTE: Yang Hsiao-tang was educated at the Kiangsu Provincial College in Suzhou born in Shanghai in 1890. He was educated at the Kiangsu Provincial College in Soochow. He joined the diplomatic service as a secretary in the Bureau of Foreign Affairs at Shanghai in 1911, and later became the chief secretary and director of the Land Office of the Bureau. In 1926, he was promoted Superintendent of Customs and concurrently Commissioner of Foreign Affairs at Nanking. He was appointed Chinese Consul-general at Penang in 1930 and transferred to Shanghai as Director of Shanghai Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1931. He was also in the Land Bureau of the City Government of Shanghai Municipality. 

Lu Tze-chin or Lu Tzu-chin was born in Hanyang, Hubei in 1904. He graduated from the Peking Academy in 1922 and Nankai University, Tientsin in 1926. In 1928 he passed the Diplomatic and Consular Service Examinations held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lu Tze-chin had held the office of Chancellor of the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver, Canada (1929), Deputy Consul in Penang (1930), Deputy Consul in Singapore (1932), and acting Vice Consul in Penang (1933). 

Qing Dynasty Titles and Honours 

After the collapsed of the Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty Government followed the Ming's ruling structure and system. The Emperor headed the six ministries (六部), each ministry was assisted by two chancellors (尚書) and four assistant-chancellors (侍郎). The only difference in the Qing's court is the ethnic classification. Each position in the Qing's court was filled by a Manchurian (the royal family member) and a Han Chinese official whom passed the state examinations. The Manchurian functions as an overseer to his Han Chinese counterpart in performing the duty. Despite the same ranking, both wore a different official attire. In which, the Manchurians will have a small round emblem on the robes and a square emblem for the Han officials. 

The Qing official attire design came with the identification of hierarchy known as the Mandarin Square (補子). This Mandarin Square distinguishes into the division of military and civilian with nine rankings (九品), each ranking has a unique emblem, the first class rank being the highest and the ninth class rank being the lowest. The Mandarin Square was first used during the Mongol rule in Yuan Dynasty, after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty, the Ming's court then adopted this official ranking system. In 1391, Emperor Hongwu decreed bird patterns on the squares should be restricted to civil officials, and animal patterns reserved for military officials. However, the Qing's court started to use this system in 1652, during the rule of Emperor Shunzhi. Below are the emblem patterns used in the division of military and civil officials: 

1. Qilin
2. Lion
3. Tiger - Leopard (after 1644)
4. Leopard - Tiger (after 1644)
5. Bear
6. Panther
7. Panther - Rhinoceros (after 1759) 
8. Rhinoceros
9. Sea Horse

1. Crane
2. Golden Pheasant
3. Peacock
4. Wild Goose
5. Silver Pheasant
6. Egret
7. Mandarin Duck
8. Quail
9. Paradise Flycatcher

The Mandarin square for the Han officials has two identical pieces, one for the chest and the other for the back, each measures 12 inches square. The Qing's official attire came in a set of dark robe, red floss-silk fringes headgear and beads. There are two type of headgear used according to the season. The summer headgear has a conical shape woven from strips of bamboo and edged with silk brocade and the winter headgear usually a black skull cap with upturned fur brim. There is also a peacock feather (hua ling) attached on the headgear, this plume is a special distinction conferred by the Emperor. A single-eye plume was conferred upon nobles and officials down to the sixth class official. On the top of the headgear there is a knob that identifies the ranking of the official. The colours of the knob also distinguish the ranks, as show in the following: 

1. Royalty and Nobility wore numerous pearls 
2. First class official = red ball (originally a ruby)
3. Second class official = solid red ball (originally coral)
4. Third class official = translucent blue ball (originally sapphire)
5. Fourth class official = solid blue ball
6. Fifth class official = translucent white ball (originally crystal)
7. Sixth class official = solid white ball (originally mother of pearl)
8. Seventh to Ninth class official = gold or clear amber balls of various designs

In the mid 19th and early 20th centuries, the Qing's court offered numerous official titles and honours to the wealthy overseas Chinese, this honour was known by the Europeans as Mandarin of the Blue Cotton. This was for the purpose in exchange of lucrative donations and investments to fund the government's expenditure in solving famine, natural catastrophe and major infrastructure investments (such as railways, factories, mining and banking). By then, many overseas Chinese had built considerable wealth and their purchase of these honorific titles was merely to enhance their social status. Most of the wealthy Chinese merchants purchased these titles under the category of Honorary, and had no absolute ruling power as of those officials in the same rank who had passed the state examinations in China.

For instance, Khoo Seok Wan (Singapore) received his Juren 举人 title in 1894 and Chan Yap Thong  (Perak) received his Xiucai 秀才 title, both lads had passed the provincial examinations in China. Unlike Cheang Hong Lim (Dao Yuan degree 道員) who had purchased numerous titles for his family in 1869 (including for his ancestors and his 11 sons), his father Cheong Sam Teow was given the title Jin Shi (进士), the highest scholar title. In between 1877 until 1912, there were 295 holders of Qing honour titles and ranks, of this figure, 5 obtained through the imperial examinations. These titles include civilian titles from First grade Guang Lu Da Fu to the lowest Ninth Grade Deng Shi Zuo Lang as listed below:

Qing's Court Civilian Degrees 
1st Class Official = Guanglu Dafu 光祿大夫
2nd Class Official = Jinshi Chushen 进士出身
3rd Class Official = Tong Jinshi Chushen 同进士出身
4th Class Official = Zhong Xian Dafu 中憲大夫
5th Class Official = Fengzheng Dafu 奉政大夫
6th Class Official = Chengde Lang 承德郎
7th Class Official = Zheng Shilang 征仕郎
8th Class Official = Xiuzhi Zuolang 修職佐郎
9th Class Official = Dengshi Zuolang 登仕佐郎

Cheng Hong Kok 清芳阁 in 1897, it was an elite merchants' club. Some of its members had purchased the Qing honours and showed off their mandarin robes.

Chinese community in Singapore presented the Queen Victoria statue to Sir Cecil Smith in 1889

Khoo Cheng Teow in his Mandarin attire

Low Kim Pong 劉金榜

Foo Choo Choon, 3rd Class Rank Civilian Official

Mei Quong Tat, 4th Class Rank Civilian Official in 1894
(Courtesy: State Library of Victoria)

  1. Chee, L.S. (1971). The Hakka Community in Malaya, with Special Reference to Their Associations, 1801-1968. Unpublished Dissertation (M.A.). Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya
  2. Khoo, S.N. (2008). Sun Yat Sen in Penang. Penang: Areca Books. page 22 - 23
  3. Tan, K.H. (2007). The Chinese in Penang: A Pictorial History. Penang: Areca Books. page 122
  4. Song, O.S. (1923). One Hundred Years' History of the Chinese in Singapore. London: John Murray
  5. Ramsay, C. (2007). Days Gone by: Growing Up in Penang. Penang: Areca Books. page 23
  6. The Straits Times, 4 October 1933, Page 12
  7. Ministry of Interior National Government of China. (1936). Who's Who in China: Biographies of Chinese Leaders 5th Edition. Shanghai: The China Weekly Review. page 181, 269 - 270
  8. Reynolds, D.R. (1995). China, 1895-1912 State Sponsored Reforms and China's Late-Qing Revolution, 28(3-4)
  9. Yen, C.H. (Sept. 1970). Ch'ing's Sale of Honours and the Chinese Leadership in Singapore and Malaya (1877-1912). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 20-32

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Kao Kuen 高錕

Sir Charles Kao
KBE, GBM (Hong Kong), PhD (London) 

Kao Kuen or Charles Kao was born on 4 November 1933 in Shanghai to Kao Chun-hsiang 高君湘, a Professor of Law at Soochow University. Charles' grandfather, Kao Sit 高燮 was a notable Chinese scholar. In 1959, Charles married Wong May Wan 黄美芸 in London, and has a son and a daughter. Charles is belonged to a well-educated family, his brother, Kao Wu 高鋙 or Timothy Kao was a Professor Emeritus in Civil Engineering at the Catholic University of America. And his uncle, Kao Ping-tse 高平子 was a notable astronomer, Kao Crater on the moon was named after him.  

Charles received his early education at home, studying Chinese classics together with his brother. He also attended an international school in Shanghai, and studied French and English. In 1948, his family migrated to Hong Kong, and Charles was enrolled to St. Joseph's College and completed his study in 1952. He then furthers his study at Woolwich Polytechnic and obtained a degree in electrical engineering. 

In 1965 he completed his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University College London under the supervision of Professor Harold Barlow. He was then an engineer for the Standard Telephones & Cables working as a researcher at the Standard Telecommunication Laboratories in Harlow.  It was during this time, he developed the transmission of light in fibre optic in telecommunications and was notably honoured with the Noble Prize in Physics in 2009. Today he is known in the modern science as the Father of Fiber Optic Communications.

In 1996, he endowed a research grant to the Yale University and founded the Charles Kao Fund Research Grant. Since early 2004, Charles suffered Alzheimer's disease and  has difficulty to talk. He is currently living with his children and grandchildren at Mountain View, California.

During his early time, Charles was awarded numerous accolades in recognition for his work and has received at least 17 honorary degrees  from the universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Italy. He also held various positions in public and private organisations, and was most notable for being honoured to be a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in the United States.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Khoo Siew Jin 邱守仁

Khoo Siew Jin

Khoo Siew Jin was born in 1884 in Penang to Khoo Hun Yeang. He was known as a young-business achiever. Khoo Siew Jin was first received Chinese education in Penang, and when his parents moved to Singapore in 1898 he enrolled to the Anglo Chinese School. After he finished his four-year studies in ACS, he went to Kuching, Sarawak and worked as an assistant in the Opium, Spirit & Gambling Farms, in which his father had the interest. Within two years’ time, he was promoted to General Manager of the Sawarak General Farm, a post in which he held for three years before commenced his own government farm. In partnership with his cousin, Khoo Sian Tan, they founded the Ban Hoe Kongsi in Rhio and Ban Lee Kongsi in Karimon, respectively. Both lads were well-known as strong tenderer for the Johore Opium & Sprit Farms on 3 November 1906. However shortly after that, the $90,000 worth contract was in dispute when they alleged the Johore Government had breached the contract. At a very young age, Khoo Siew Jin had built a considerable wealth, his property were distributed in Penang, Singapore and Sarawak. He was a member in the Sarawak Merchants’ Club, Honorary Secretary of the Penang Chinese Union and many other positions. Khoo Siew Jin married a daughter of Quah Mah Tek of Penang and had one son, Khoo Seng Kay (d. 20 November 1925). Khoo Siew Jin was belonged to an illustrious family, his grandfather Khoo Thean Tek was a well-known figure in the Straits Settlements, however, Khoo Siew Jin and his family remained a very low profile in public affairs.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Khoo Kay Kim 邱家金

Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim,
PSM, DPMP, DPMS, JSM, Ph.D (Malaya) 

Khoo Kay Kim was born on 28 March 1937 in Kampar, Perak to Khoo Soo Jin and Chuah Gaik See daughter of Chuah Cheng Cheong. His great grandfather, Khoo Su Cheow was a tin miner at Gopeng and lived in Ipoh. Khoo Su Cheow's tin mines were operating during the early 20th century and declined in 1930. Khoo Kay Kim's grandfather, Khoo Heng Wan (d. 1918) was an employer of his father-in-law's business in Kampar. Khoo Kay Kim's parents were married in 1935, in which his father was a government servant, whom had served in Batu Gajah, Teluk Anson, Grik, and Ipoh. On 28 March 1966, Khoo Kay Kim married N. Rathi Malar and has three sons, Eddin Khoo Bu-Eng, Rubin Khoo and Mavin Khoo Bu-Ann.

Khoo Kay Kim was educated at the Anglo Chinese School, Kampar (1945-1951) and later to the St. Michael's Institution, Ipoh (1956). He received B.A. (Hons) History and M.A. History from the University of Malaya, Singapore in 1960 and 1967, respectively. In 1974, he became the first Malaysian to obtain a PhD in History from the Faculty of Arts, University of Malaya. In which, his doctoral thesis titled 'The Beginnings of Political Extremism in Malaya 1915-1935,' was under the supervision of Professor Kennedy G. Tregonning. 

Khoo Kay Kim began his career as a teacher at the Anglo Chinese School in 1960. After four years teaching, in April 1964 he became a tutor at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. He was promoted to Assistant Lecturer in April 1966 until July 1968, where he became a full lecturer. Shortly afterwards, in July 1974, he was promoted to Associate Professor and held the Chair of History at the University of Malaya. In May 1975, Khoo Kay Kim was installed a full Professorship. He was the Dean of the Faculty of Literary and Social Science, University of Malaya (1984 - 1986) and was the founder and the first Director of Sports Centre, University of Malaya (1995 - 1996). 

Khoo Kay Kim is famed for being the co-founder of the National Principles (Rukun Negara) and has written and published numerous topic in the history of Malaysia and its social development interests. On 7 October 2001, he was honoured with the title Emeritus Professor of History by the University of Malaya for his contributions to the History Department and the Faculty of Literary and Social Science.

Khoo Kay Kim is a member of the Selangor State Museum Board, National Film Policy Consultative Panel, Copyright Tribunal, National Cultural Advisory Council, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Cluster Schools Advisory Board, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Anti-Corruption Advisory Board of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and many others. He is also the President of the Malaysia Branch Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS) and Advisor for Malaysian University of Southern California Alumni (MUSCA).

On 1 June 1983, he was honoured with the Johan Setia Mahkota (JSM) from the Federal Government. In April 1987, the Sultan of Perak awarded him Dato' Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP) which carries the title Dato' and subsequently on 11 December 2009, the Sultan of Selangor awarded him Dato' Paduka Mahkota Selangor (DPMS) which also carries the title Dato'. On 7 June 2008, Khoo Kay Kim received the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) which carries the title Tan Sri, the Malaysian second highest title awarded to a civilian. 

The contributions of Khoo Kay Kim to the national interests are often regarded as invaluable and insightful. His thoughts and views in the academia are highly sought-after. On 28 September 2012, he was admitted to the University of Malaya Medical Centre due to heart attack. Khoo Kay Kim pass away on 28 May 2019, leaving behind his wife and three sons.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Khoo Ewe Aik 邱有益

Khoo Ewe Aik

Khoo Ewe Aik was born in 1893 in Penang to Khoo Ban Seng and Yeoh Cheam Neo. He was a great grandson of Khoo Cheng Lim. His grandfather, Khoo Soo Teong was a brother to Khoo Cheow Teong. 

Khoo Ewe Aik was educated at the Penang Free School, and passed the Senior Cambridge Examination in 1911. He was then among the few English-educated Straits Chinese who had the knowledge in written Chinese. Khoo Ewe Aik married Ooi Jeu Yen and had two sons, Khoo Teng Cheang and Khoo Teng Chye. 

His firm, Ban Seng Huat Co., a construction and materials supplier company was well-known in Penang. The firm had joined many government contracts, among of it were the Penang Maternity Hospital, Tiger Hill Reservoir, the Glugor Marine Depot, two of Volunteers' Quarters at Perak Road and Peel Avenue and many others. Apart from that, Ban Seng Huat & Co. also carried on renovation works for the St George's Church at Farquhar Street, Penang Free School at Green Lane, Penang Hill Hotel, and many others. 

In 1937, Khoo Ewe Aik was appointed by the Governor to became a member of the Chinese Advisory Board replacing Lee Soon Theam, serving for a two-year term. He was also the President and managing trustee of Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi (his family clan temple), Committee Member of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and held many important roles in Chinese associations and clubs in Penang. 

In his later life, Khoo Ewe Aik spent his remaining time in looking after the welfare of his family clan temple. His business interests were taken over by his two sons and later renamed the firm as Khoo Ewe Aik Realty Sdn Bhd (邱有益实业有限公司). Khoo Ewe Aik's second son, Khoo Teng Chye (邱鼎才) who  was educated at the Melbourne University in Australia was a former Assemblyman for Dhoby Ghaut (Penang) during the time of Lim Chong Eu's leadership. Khoo Ewe Aik's contributions to the Penang Chinese is often regarded as invaluable, his name is highly respected by the Chinese community in various section. He died in 1978 in Penang.

  1. The Straits Times, 20 January 1937, Page 13
  2. The Straits Times, 25 September 1937, Page 12
  3. The Straits Times, 7 February 1925, Page 8
  4. The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 30 March 1931, Page 12
  5. Wong, C.S. (1964). A Gallery of Chinese Kapitans. Singapore: Dewan Bahasa & Kebudayaan Kebangsaan. (pp. 23 - 24)
  6. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi Museum 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Khoo Cheow Teong 邱朝仲


Khoo Cheow Teong was born in 1840 in Penang to Khoo Cheng Lim (b. 1808) and Koh Keng Yean (辜輕煙) daughter of Koh Kee Jin. His mother was a granddaughter of Koh Lay Huan (Chinese Kapitan of Penang), a prominent figure in Penang. Khoo Cheow Teong’s grandfather Khoo Wat Seng was a prominent leader in Penang and was a founder of Ee Kok Tong (later Leong San Tong), a family clan temple. 

Khoo Cheow Teong was educated in Chinese and began his career in a Chinese firm as an assistant. After served for some time, he went to Perak and commenced business on his own account. Khoo Cheow Teong later moved to Asahan, Sumatra to venture into food provision business. It was for his strong determination and hard work that made Khoo Cheow Teong became a successful general merchant. Eventually in 1878, he was appointed as the Chinese Kapitan Titular of Asahan. By then Khoo Cheow Teong was known to be able to speak fluent Dutch and English. 

In 1874 he married the eldest daughter of Lim Cheoh, a popular rice merchant in Malacca. The marriage was arranged by him within six months, in which he had conscientiously selecting his wife. During this time, Khoo Cheow Teong was well established in Perak and had the interest in the government revenue farms in Deli, Asahan, Bengkalis and Penang. 

After 26 years serving as the Kapitan, in 1904 he relinquished the post and spent his time in Asahan taking care of his business affairs assisted by his son Khoo Sian Wei. When it was reaching to a time where Khoo Cheow Teong thought he should spend his remaining time in a much peaceful place, in 1909 he returned to his birth place, Penang with his family, leaving his eldest son to in charge the business in Asahan. 

Khoo Cheow Teong was well-known for his generosity in supporting the education institutions in Penang. He was the benefactor of the St Xavier’s Institution, Anglo-Chinese School and the Penang Free School. In August 1908, he presented all boys’ schools in Penang each $1,500 for scholarships. Khoo Cheow Teong was also less known for his monetary contribution to a Muslim mosque in Asahan. Besides, the effort in assisting local schools in Penang, he also donated $2,000 to the King Edward VII Medical College in Singapore. During World War I, Khoo Cheow Teong and Gan Goh Bee donated a reconnaissance plane to Britain and the plane was named “Malaya No. 15 ~ Khoo Cheow Teong – Gan Goh Bee” 

In recognition for his contributions in Penang, he was made a Justice of Peace and Khoo Cheow Teong Court, a cul-de-sac off Fish Lane in Penang was named after him. Khoo Cheow Teong also became a trustee in Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi (his family clan temple), where he was belonged to Cheng Pang, a sub-lineage of his family clan and could trace his lineage for being the 20th generation descendant of the family progenitor, Khoo Chian Eng.

Khoo Cheow Teong died on 1 September 1916 in his mansion Sunbean Hall (opposite the Penang Supreme Court). He had three sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Khoo Sian Wei married daughter of Goh Khuan Leong. His second son, Khoo Sian Ewe first married Lee Sim Neoh, and later Lee Gaik Thye both were daughters of Lee Bian Tiong of Penang. His second daughter, Khoo Chooi Lian married Yeoh Guan Seok, a lawyer in 1908. Khoo Cheow Teong's another wife, Cheah Geok Swan was the mother of Khoo Sian Wei and Khoo Sian Ewe and two daughters.

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)
1923 - Quah Beng Kee (Penang)
1931 - Capt Koh Keng Bock (Malacca)
1935 - Wee Swee Teow (Singapore)
1937 - Leong Sin Nam (Perak)
1938 - Aw Boon Haw (Singapore)
1939 - Khoo Sian Ewe (Penang)
1941 - Cheah Ghim Leng (Perak)
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)
1958 - Pan Tsoh Chen (North Borneo)
1958 - Tay Teck Eng (Singapore)
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)
1958 - Ho Cheong Chin (Singapore)
1958 - Lim Teng Kok (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)
1934 - Foo Wha Cheng (Perak)
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.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Chee Yam Chuan 徐炎泉


Chee Yam Chuan also known as Chee Yean Chuan was born on 24 May 1818 in Malacca to Chee Kim Guan (died on 13 January 1839). Chee Yam Chuan’s family had long settled in Malacca, with his great grandfather, Chee Soo Sum first came in around 1750s. The family lineage then passed down from one generation to the other, with Chee Yam Chuan as the fourth generation of the early Chinese settlers.

Chee Yam Chuan’s father and grandfather, Chee Tiow Seng (died on 16 December 1832) were already well-established trading in the British Colony. And by the time of Chee Yam Chuan, he had no difficulty to commence business on his own account.

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 co-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, where both were business partners in tin mining.

Chee Yam Chuan was a good example in forging friendship bonds and partnership with the Malay community, he was an ally of Raja Jumaat, the son of a Riau prince in Selangor. 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.

Chee Yam Chuan died on 28 July 1862, leaving behind his wife Tan Lian Kian, ten sons and two daughters, and also bequeathing a large estate in Malacca and Singapore. His sons were, Cheah Jin Siew (also Chee Gin Siew), Chee Him Bong, Chee Pee Bong, Chee Teck Bong,Chee Hoon Bong, Chee Lim Bong, Chee Hee Bong, Chee Quee Bong, Chee Beck Bong (also Chee Peck Bong) and Chee Siang Bong.

Chee Swee Cheng 徐垂青

Chee Swee Cheng was born on 13 December 1866 in Malacca to Chee Hoon Bong. His family was well-known in the Malacca for being among the earliest Chinese settlers, where he could trace his direct lineage to five generations before him.

Chee Swee Cheng was educated at the Malacca High School and at the age of 16, he was employed at Lim Tiang Wah & Co. in Singapore and remained there until 1886. He then joined Leack Chin Seng & Co., a firm where his grandfather founded, in which he remained for four years. Chee Swee Cheng was later became the manager of Soon Tye & Co. and served for ten years, before ventured into the Opium and Liquor Farm in British North Borneo in 1900.

In 1890, Chee Swee Cheng was appointed as secretary of the Widows and Orphans’ Fund of Singapore and Malacca. Six years later he became a Visiting Justice of Prisons and was a committee member of the Chinese Weekly Entertainment Club of Singapore. Apart from that, he became the Chairman of Ho Hong Bank Ltd, Singapore founded in 1917, and also expanded his business to rubber, coconut and tapioca plantations.

 In 1906, Chee Swee Cheng and his brother Chee Sim Cheng leased the General Spirit and Opium Farms for British North Borneo and Labuan. He was also the principal shareholder in the Straits Industrial Syndicate, Singapore. Chee Swee Cheng also had an ice factory known as Atlas Ice Company, which able to produce five to twenty tons a day. This factory who recognised that the price of ice was expensive and as an outcome of his generous venture, the price of the commodity had been reduced to such an extent that even the poor can afford to buy it. Today the company is still owned by the family, and is run by the Chee members.

Being a generous philanthropist, he endowed a ward to the Medical Mission Hospital in Malacca, and a sum of $10,000 was donated to build a hall for the Chinese High School in Singapore.

Chee Swee Cheng had been married twice, by his first wife he had one daughter, and through his second wife who was daughter of Lee Keng Leat he had one son. His son, Chee Guan Chiang (3 April 1896 – 29 March 1959) had two sons, Chee Bay Hoon (b. 16 June 1924) and Chee Swee Hoon (b. 24 July 1943; d. 9 May 1972). Chee Swee Cheng's biggest contribution to his family was building the Chee family temple at 117 Heeren Street, Malacca, dedicated to his father, Chee Yam Chuan. Chee Swee Cheng died in 1938. 

Chee Sim Cheng


Chee Sim Cheng was born in 1873 in Malacca to Chee Hoon Bong, and a grandson to Chee Yam Chuan. He was educated at the Malacca High School. In 1905, he was a business partner in the Batam Paya Rumput Rubber Estate with his brother Chee Swee Cheng and brother-in-law, Chan Cheng Siew. The 1000-acre rubber estate was well-maintained under Chee Sim Cheng. and had interest in Opium and Liquor Farm in Malacca, Singapore and Labuan. He married daughter of Chan Kung Swee and had four sons.

Chee Lim Bong


Chee Lim Bong was born in 1849 in Malacca to Chee Yam Chuan, a prominent Chinese family in the Colony who had settled for generations. His family was well-known and highly respected among the Chinese community section in Malacca. At the age of 21, Chee Lim Bong was elected head of the Hokkien community in Malacca. He and Chee Eng Chen were partners in the Malacca Opium and Liquor Farm. Chee Lim Bong had two wives, Lee Seck Loon and Lee Seck Keng, both were daughters of Lee Cheng Yan. Chee Lim Bong was a business partner in the firm Lim Tiang Wah & Co. (Chop Swee Hong). He had one son and two daughters, eldest daughter Chee Siok Goh was married to Lee Chim Teck and the second one Chee Suat Goh was married to Lee Pang Seng son of Lee Choon Guan. Chee Lim Bong died on 18 December 1907.

Chee Kang Cheng


Chee Kang Cheng was born in 1876 in Malacca to Chee Lim Bong. He was educated at the Malacca High School, and at the age of 19, he joined his father’s business. Shortly afterwards, Chee Kang Cheng purchased the Diamond Jubilee Estate and commenced in planting tapioca and rubber, the estate was well-managed. In 1904, Chee Kang Cheng participated in the Agri-Horticultural Show at Kuala Lumpur, its tapioca products secured the first prize. In all his life, Chee Kang Cheng took an active role in the Malacca Chinese welfare, he was a Municipal Commissioner of Malacca, the Vice-President of Chinese Malacca Club and had profound interest in the Malacca Chinese Football and Malacca Union Club, as well as several other clubs and associations. He died on 19 October 1918 at his residence at Cheng Rubber Estate. His second daughter, Chee Lang Eng was married to Tan Eng Seng, eldest son of Tan Soo Ghi in 1929.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Chee Hoon Bong


Chee Hoon Bong was born in Malacca to Chee Yam Chuan. His family had lived in Malacca for up to four generations before him. Chee Hoon Bong was the owner of the City Saw Mills and Bukit Beruang Estate in Malacca, where he planted tapioca, and numerous fertile lands in Malacca. He was a director of his father’s owned firm, Leack Chin Seng & Co. and also a partner in the firm Lim Tiang Wah & Co. (Chop Swee Hong). Chee Hoon Bong was a headman for the Hokkien community in Malacca, and was appointed Justice of Peace for six years. In 1883, when the Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements passed the Ordinance X of 1883, in order to prevent encroachments upon the Crown Colony lands, he immediately called for a meeting among people of interest in their estates in Malacca for solving their problems of illegal lands. The Chee Hoon Bong Scholarship named after him was created and endowed to St Francis’ Institution, Malacca for the best-excelled students in term of academic achievements. He died on 28 September 1903, leaving four sons and three daughters. His sons were Chee Tye Cheng (1860 – 1921), Chee Swee Cheng (1866 – 1935) and Chee Sim Cheng (1873). His family residence was at Heeren Street.

Cheang Jim Chuan 章壬全


Cheang Jim Chuan was born in 1878 in Singapore to Cheang Hong Lim. He inherited considerable amount of his father’s estate and became a millionaire at a very young age. Cheang Jim Chuan took minor interest in business affairs, but he was a member of the Singapore Opium and Liquor Farm. He married Chan Kim Hong (1876 – 1934) and had two sons and two daughters. His sons were Cheang Theam Chu and Cheang Theam Kee. Cheang Jim Chuan’s eldest son, Cheang Theam Chu married Khoo Giang Neo daughter of Khoo Heng Wan, his second son Cheang Theam Kee married Cheong Tuan Neo, second daughter of Cheong Keong Chye of Singapore on 1 July 1931. His eldest daughter was married to Dr Cheong Chee Hai, the eldest son of Cheong Choon Beng. Cheang Jim Chuan’s second daughter, Emily Cheang Seok Cheng was married to Woon Chow Tat, fifth son of Woon Hong Heng of Kuala Lumpur on 27 September 1930. Cheang Jim Chuan and family first lived at the family house at Havelock Road (in 1931 the house was sold to the Scheut Missions), his family then moved to several places including the Maidstone at 42 Cairnhill Road and lastly, the Riviera at 112 Pasir Panjang Road and 10 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore. Cheang Jim Chuan died in 1940.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cheang Hong Lim 章芳琳


Cheang Hong Lim was born in 1825 in Singapore to Cheang Sam Teow. His family with ancestry at Tiang Thye (Chang Tai), Zhangzhou, was well-known in the Chinese community section in Singapore. Cheang Hong Lim had great interest in the Opium and Liquor Farm of Singapore. He was a member of Singapore Po Leung Kok (Women’s Shelter Home) where he was a co-founder, and was made a Justice of Peace. Cheang Hong Lim was also known as a generous philanthropist to various charity fundraisings. He was the largest donor for the building of a new convent in Singapore, where a sum of $3000 was endowed, and in 1876, a sum of $900 was given to the Portuguese Church of St Jose for the alterations of the gas chandeliers. And a sum of $3000 was also donated to convert the front space of the Central Police Station into a public garden, where the park was later named after him. In 1874, he donated $100 for the Bengal Famine, near Bihar, British India. In 1875, he founded the Cheang Wan Seng School (later Cheang Jim Hean School and Telok Ayer Grammar School). Cheang Hong Lim was the Headman for the Hokkien Community in Singapore, and was the owner of a private fire-brigade force, with 37 firemen. He also extended his charitable deeds to the French colonies in Southeast Asia, and had earned him recognition from the French Government, where he was presented with a medal. He also offered to fund the building of iron rail fence around the park near the Singapore Chinese Recreation Club ground, in which also donated by him in 1885. Cheang Hong Lim also funded the refurbishment of Fuk Tak Chi Temple in 1869 and the reconstruction of the Tiang Thye Temple in 1887, as the old one built by his father in 1849 was in a deplorable state, and a wet market at Havelock Road, where the market was named after him. He was the single largest sponsor for providing armed weapons, including contributed one of the four Maxim guns to the Singapore Volunteer Artillery. Cheang Hong Lim had two wives, Bek Chit Boey and Lim Kwee Eng, eleven sons and three daughters. He died on 11 February 1893, and left a Will of his estates worth millions of dollars dated on 30 October 1878 to his 14 children. His sons were, Cheang Jim Hean, Cheang Jim Chuan, Cheang Jim Kheng, Cheang Jim Khean, Cheang Jim Siew, Cheang Jim Ho, Cheang Jim Seong, Cheang Jim Eng, Cheang Jim Kwan, Cheang Jim Kong and Cheang Jim Khoon. His daughters were Cheang Cheow Lean, Cheang Kwee Lean and Cheang Sai Lean. His property at Hong Lim Market was given to his granddaughter, Cheang Tew Meuy. His eldest son Chean Jim Hean died in 1901 at his family residence, Annan Bank, River Valley Road and buried at Alexandra Road.