Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Cheah Choo Yew 谢自友

Cheah Choo Yew CH, JP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daughter:
Cheah Geok Suat (b. February 1913)

3 comments:

  1. His great grandson was Michael Cheah Eu Jin a famous baba in Penang.You can reach him at - 0124630449

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for visiting. Do you mind to introduce yourself, instead of appearing as anonymous?

    ReplyDelete