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.