Monday, 5 March 2012

Cheah Tek Thye


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