Thursday, 17 November 2011

Aw Boon Par 胡文豹

AW BOON PAR 胡文豹, OStJ , CH

Aw Boon Par was born in 1885 in Rangoon and received English education. He was the third son of Aw Chu Kin. He lived all his childhood in Rangoon and helped his father to run the daily chores and also the family-owned business since he was very young. When his father died in 1908, he inherited his father’s medicine shop in Rangoon, known as Aun Eng Tong (Hall of Everlasting Peace). His famous invention including the Ban Kim Ewe (Ten Thousand Golden Oil), a concoction to remedy all maladies, later renamed to Tiger Balm.

Aw Boon Par and his brother Aw Boon Haw were best known to public as great philanthropists. He and his brother had generously donated more than USD20 million for charity purposes, all the money went to the construction and maintenance of hospitals and schools, Po Leung Kuk (Women’s Shelter House), disaster reliefs and many others to be named.

In 1938, Aw Boon Par was awarded the Certificate of Honour by King George VI, and in return for his valuable services to the Hong Kong St John Ambulance Association and Brigade, he was appointed Officer of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem.

He had three wives, Tay Piah Lan, Daw Saw and Teo Hong Yin. His sons were Aw Cheng Chye married Tay Chwee Sian daughter of Tay Kee Ming of Penang in 1949, and was a Director of Chung Khiaw Bank, and second son Aw Cheng Tek. Daughter, Aw Cheng Sim married Lee Aik Sim and was commissioned by his father to run the Sing Sian Daily in Bangkok. His daughter, Aw Cheng Hu was married to Lee Chee Shan (1909 – 1986), she was the President of family-owned Chung Khiaw Bank. Lee Chee Shan was a nephew to Aw Chu Kin’s wife. Aw Boon Par died in 1944.

Wives:
1. Tay Piah Lan (1888 - 1944) married in 1908
2. Daw Saw (1898 - 1985) married in 1914
3. Teo Hong Yin (1906 - 1965) married in 1927

Sons:
1. Aw Cheng Chye (1924 - 1971) married Tay Chwee Sian (b. 1926) in 1949
2. Aw Cheng Teik (b. 1932) married Lee Siew Chee in 1973.

Daughters:
1. Aw Cheng Hu (1915 - 2010) married Lee Chee Shan (1909 - 1986) in 1932
2. Aw Cheng Sim (b. 1921) married Lee Aik Sim (b. 1925) in 1950

Aw Boon Haw 胡文虎

AW BOON HAW 胡文虎, KStJ, OBE, CH

Aw Boon Haw was born in 1882 to Aw Chu Kin, a traditional medicine practitioner. At the age of 10 years he went back China to have Chinese education. When his father died, he was called back Rangoon by his brother, Aw Boon Par to work at his father’s shop, Eng Aun Tong Medicine Hall. Eng Aun Tong (Hall of Everlasting Peace) could only make the brothers meet the ends and survive for the day, but not really well-to-do.

In 1926, Aw Boon Haw and his brother migrated to Singapore. The idea to shift the business from Rangoon to Singapore was a risk. And the Aw brothers introduced the famous ointment Tiger Balm, a registered trademark of Eng Aun Tong and later became a famous household product. Aw Boon Haw’s success was not only limit to his ability in marketing the medicine. Over the years, he expanded his business and became a banker, financier, industrialist and newspaper proprietor.

His Sin Poh Amalgamated Ltd controlled 13 newspapers in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong (Sing Tao Daily), including two English language dailies, the Singapore Standard and Hong Kong Standard. He was famously known for being the owner of two popular Malaysia Chinese dailies, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Guang Ming Daily. His active involvement in settling newspaper, particularly the Sin Chew Jit Poh in 1929 was to serve the purpose to publicise his medicine products. Where he fully utilised the concept of advertisement to express his ideas and inventions to the public.

In 1950, he took a major step by establishing the Chung Khiaw Bank, aimed at small-scale business loan. Being an established man throughout the Straits Settlements and British Malaya, Aw Boon Haw moved to Hong Kong and left his brother in Singapore. Shortly afterwards, Aw Boon Par also left for Rangoon. It was after the World War II ended, Aw Boon Haw returned back Singapore and reorganised his business.

In 1929, he was honoured by the Chinese National Government of Taiwan with a First Class Gold Medal and a certificate, for the purchase of one hundred dollars Government Bond. In 1933, he was presented a Certificate of Honour in recognition of his loyal and valuable services to His Majesty’s Government. In 1936, Aw Boon Haw was honoured by the Chinese Government with a gold medal and a certificate of honour for his charitable bequests in donating a laboratory for the Shanghai Hospital, including a sum of $10000 was remitted for relief work in the China floods in 1935 and $7000 in 1931, and many other donations given to the people and government of China. The recognition was presented by Sze Zau Hsung, the acting Chinese Consul-General in Singapore. In 1938, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his philanthropic services in the British Malaya and Straits Settlements. In 1950, Aw Boon Haw was honoured by King George V with Associated Knight of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, the Order was presented by the Governor of Hong Kong and he was the only Chinese to have earned the distinguish coveted honour.

In 1954, while on his way back to Hong Kong from the United States, Aw Boon Haw suffered heart attack and he died at Honolulu Hospital. His body was sent to Hong Kong for burial. It was said that during his lifetime a sum of more than ten millions dollars was given away for charity goods, but Aw Boon Haw took no account to note his philanthropy deeds.

Aw Boon Haw had four wives, Cheng Peng Foong (1883 – 1959), Chan Kam Chi, Wong Yoke Seah and Khoo Siew Eng, his third wife was the occupant of his villa at Tai Hang Road, Hong Kong. He had seven sons and two daughters. His sons were Dato’ Aw Kow, Aw San, Aw Hoe, Aw It Haw, Aw Er Haw, Aw San Haw and Aw Si Haw. Daughters, Aw Sian and Aw Sin. After his death, the handover of the family business was disastrous, his heirs squabbled and left his wealth in tatters.

His adopted sons through his first wife, Dato’ Aw Kow married Tan Kah Joo daughter of Tan Leng Tian in 1940 was the Managing Director of Sin Chew Jit Poh, Singapore Standard and Chung Khiaw Bank, he was made a Dato’ by Sultan of Pahang in 1963. And Aw San who was appointed to General Manager of Eng Aun Tong. Aw Boon Haw’s another adopted son, Aw Hoe (1919 – 1951) was the Managing Director of Sin Chew Jit Poh and Singapore Standard, he died in an air-crash tragic. Aw Hoe and Aw Sian (original name, She Moi) was adopted by Aw Boon Haw’s second wife. Aw Sian who was adopted from a distant relative in Burma at the age of five years she was a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Through the third wife who lived in Hong Kong, Aw Boon Haw had two sons, Aw It Haw and Aw Er Haw. And by his fourth wife, he had two sons and a daughter, Aw San Haw, Aw Si Haw and Aw Sin. Aw Boon Haw also employed his nephew, Aw Cheong Yeow son of Aw Chung Chek (1876 – 1961) was the manager of his newspaper firm, Sin Chew Jit Poh and his brother Aw Cheong Lian who was educated in Singapore was employed at Aw Boon Haw’s gold mine in Pahang.

Aw Boon Haw in his full honour decorations


Wives:
1. Tay Piah Hong @ Cheng Peng Foong (1885 - 1959)
2. Tan Kim Wee @ Chan Kam Chi (b. 1906) married in 1919
3. Ooi  Geak Cheah @ Wong Yoke Seah (b. 1908) married in 1924
4. Khoo Siew Eng @ Yau Siu Ying (b. 1914) married in 1937

Children:
1. Aw Kow (1914 - 1983) married Tan Kah Joo (b. 1923) in 1940
2. Aw Swan (1915 - 1986) married Lim Saw Swee (b. 1918) in 1938
3. Aw Hoe (1921 - 1951) married Chan Sau Yong (b. 1919) in 1939 and Hoi Lan Yin (b. 1923) in 1947
4. Aw Sian (b. 1931)
5. Aw It Haw (b. 1930) married Akiko Nagase (b. 1927) in 1960
6. Aw Jee Haw (1930 - 1942)
7. Aw Seng (b. 1937) married Liow Yee Lee (b. 1932) in 1957
8. Aw Sar Haw (1941 - 1942)
9. Aw See Haw (b. 1950) married Ng Shun Yee in 1975

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Taik Ho & Co. 得和公司

Toh Khay Beng 杜啟明, JP
One of the oldest and renowned general stores in Taiping, was the Taik Ho & Co. (得和公司), stationed at No 82, Main Road. Its head company was at Taiping, with a branch office at No 93, Belfield Street, Ipoh. The firm was commenced by Toh Khay Beng in 1889. 

Born in 1859, Toh Khay Beng was among the early batch of Chinese immigrants settled in Taiping during 1870s. Being a son of Tong'an, Fujian, he came from China and commenced his early business in Penang in 1883. And for nine years he had been actively engaged in tin mining in Perak and managed to establish himself into various businesses. For twelve years Toh Khay Beng had been a member of the Taiping Sanitary Board and was one of the local Visiting Justices.

Taik Ho & Co. was a well-known provision shop selling liquors, opium, various imported food stuffs and was a licensed arms dealer. His firm also arranged sedan chairs and coolies to transport the Europeans to the Larut Hills. Toh Khay Beng died in July 1923 after battling with a long illness since 1916 and his firm was left to his sons Toh Eng Swee and Toh Eng Hoe. In order to honour the early pioneer of Taiping, the Sanitary Board decided to name a road after him. In 1910, his son Toh Eng Hoe founded the Guan Ho Distillery (源和酒廠), which located next to Taik Ho & Co. Today the management of Taik Ho & Co. has been incorporated with its subsidiary the Guan Ho & Co. Ltd. (得和源和有限公司), which was established by Toh Eng Hoe. Under its new name, Taik Ho & Guan Ho Ltd, the managing directors are Toh Theam Chuan 杜添全 and Toh Teck Au.

Toh Kay Beng was also known as a generous philanthropist to several  Chinese temples and associations, as well as endowed financial support to educational institutions in Taiping. In order to honour this early pioneer, the Taiping Sanitary Board named a road after him in the town. 


Taik Ho & Co., No 82 Main Road, Taiping was demolished in 1977 

The interior view of Taik Ho & Co.

Dato' Dr Toh Eng Hoe 杜榮和, CBE, AMN, DPMP, PJK, JP
Born in Taiping, Toh Eng Hoe was educated at King Edward VII School, Taiping, where he was awarded Sir William Taylor’s prize for the best essay and a silver medal as the head boy of the school in 1915. He was matriculated at Penang and went to Hong Kong University on 1916. But in a year later, he had to discontinue further studies on account of his father’s illness. With a Master of Surgery (MCh), Toh Eng Hoe was a registered doctor and served the Taiping General Hospital for some years.

On the death of his father, Toh Khay Beng in 1923. Toh Eng Hoe became the sole proprietor of Taik Ho & Co, well-known provision shop, Chop Guan Ho and the Taiping Spirit Distillery. He was also a well-known planter and a racehorse owner and had established a motor-garage in Barrack Road (Taiping) in 1926.

Being a busy man, Toh Eng Hoe had always taken an active part in public matters and was the president of the Chinese Sporting Club (Taiping), Chin Woo Athletic Association (Taiping) and the Chinese Benevolent Society. He was also a senior unofficial member of the Sanitary Board of Larut & Matang, member of the Rubber Licensing Board, Small Holdings (Restriction of Sale) Committee, Public Gardens Committee, Visiting Justice to the Taiping Jail, Visitor to the Larut District and General Hospitals and the Decrepit Settlement. He was also a member of the Perak State Council (1948 – 1955).

Toh Eng Hoe also associated himself with all social activities and his name was a valuable asset to the Hokkien Association where he was the president and also the Taiping Literary Improvement Association, Chinese Advisory Board of Perak, the Cheng Luan Seah (Penang) and a trustee of the Toh Kongsi (Penang) and a director of Taiping Cinema Ltd.

Toh Eng Hoe was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1933 by the Sultan of Perak and made an Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1956. The contributions and services of Toh Eng Hoe to the people and government of Perak were credited as invaluable. He was decorated with Darjah Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP) which carries the title Dato. In his later life, Toh Eng Hoe was made a Member of the Order of the Defender of the Realm (AMN) for his meritorious service to the country. And was conferred with a Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK) by the Sultan of Perak.

Toh Eng Hoe's Children:
  1. Toh Theam Hock: Second son. A lawyer, called to the Malayan Bar in 1959. On 10 March 1962, he married Mona Lim, eldest daughter of Lim Buan Tee of Ipoh. Toh Theam Hock was a Member of Parliament for Kampar. He died in Taiping and had an adopted daughter, through Mona Lim. Mona Lim was a teacher at Convent Taiping. Toh Theam Hock was the President of Malaysia Food Processors Association, where he himself was the Chairman of the General Foods Processing Company (M) Bhd, Taiping. 
  2. Toh Guat Cheng: Second daughter. Married Dr Ng Khye Weng, second son of Ng Ah Tuck of Penang. The couple had since moved to live in the United States of America.
    Chinese Sporting Club, Barrack Road, Taiping. Its president Toh Eng Hoe seated next to the right shield.

    Monday, 11 July 2011

    Lam Looking 林六經

    Lam Looking

    His name is pronounced as ‘Lam Loke Ying.’ Born in Penang in 1863, Lam was a native of Xinhui, Guangdong. He received his early education in Penang, where his family was well-known and respected for many generations. At the age of 18, Lam proceeded to study at the Chinese Imperial Naval Arsenal at Fuzhou, majoring in sea navigation, and became a ship commander in the Franco-Chinese War. He retired his military service and was knighted with Mandarin of the Blue Button decorated with the Chinese Imperial official attire and a peacock feather headgear.

    From China, Lam retired to Kampar and ventured into tin mining business and had contributed in the development of Chinese welfare and educations. He was awarded with Order of Merit with a gold medal presented by the Governor of Guangdong. His eldest son, Lam Weng Yoon was the president of Wah Seong Kok, the Literary Association of Kampar. While his second son Lam Weng Chak married Cheng Shaw Moiey, second daughter of Cheng Oi Seng (Hong Kong). 

    Lam Weng Yoon's daughter Selena Lam was the first Asian woman to receive University of Queensland research grant. Selena completed her Bachelor of Science from University of Adelaide in 1959, and Master of Science in University of Queensland. She spent seven years in Australia for her studies and returned back to Malaya in 1963 posted as lecturer of bacteriology at University of Singapore. 

    In 1946, Lam Weng Chak was charged to the court for voluntarily caused hurt for the purpose of extorting confession. The offenses were committed in March 1942, when Malaya was under Japanese Occupation. 

    In 1919, Lam Looking bought Mess House of the Straits Trading Co. Ltd in Gopeng Road for $85,000. Lam’s family residence was named as King’s Villa at Gopeng Road, Ipoh. During his final two years, Lam’s health was deteriorating and was treated at Singapore. On 1 June 1937, he died in Ipoh at the age of 74.

    Chu Kik Moon 朱戟門

    CHU KIK MOON 朱戟門, JP

    Chu Kik Moon J.P., was a prominent resident of Seremban, perhaps he was the only man in the town to have sent all his children to have university education during the early times.

    His eldest son, Chu Chin Hon earned a Degree in Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) from Lingnan University, while his daughter, Chu Tsuk Lin was also in Lingnan University studied literature, and Chu Kik Moon's youngest son, Chu Chi Kin was in Hong Kong University.

    Chu Kik Moon was a great beneficiary and promoter of education, he had financially supported the Anglo Chinese School and several other schools in Seremban. Chu Kik Moon was first educated at Queen’s College, Hong Kong and then at Raffles Institution, Singapore for a jiffy.

    He settled down in Malaya in 1907 and was made a Justice of the Peace in 1937. He was notably known for his post as the President of Negri Sembilan Athletic Association, a committee member of the Chinese Maternity Hospital, a member of the Board of Visitors to the Decrepit Hospital, Tampin and was an honorary Treasurer of the China Relief Fund.

    Chu Kik Moon's Town House at No. 86 Paul Street, Seremban

    Wednesday, 6 July 2011

    Quah Beng Kee 柯孟淇

    QUAH BENG KEE 柯孟淇, OBE, JP

    Quah Beng Kee was descended from a well established Straits Chinese family. His father Quah Joo Moye was born in China. Quah Beng Kee was born in 1872 in Penang. He married daughter of Chew Choo In, the Chinese Kapitan of Deli, Sumatra. Quah Beng Kee had five sons and two daughters and was the owner of coconut estates in the Province of Wellesley and Northern Perak. He was educated at the Penang Free School and later to the Roberts' College in Calcutta.

    Quah Beng Kee was an appointed Justice for the Peace and decorated with Officer of the Order of British Empire in 1923. His family residence was at No. 95 Bishop Street, Penang, while his summer house Castledale was at Province of Wellesley. Quah Beng Kee's brothers, Beng Hong, Beng Hoe and Beng Kang were proprietors of the Beng Brothers Co. premised at Beach Street, Penang.

    In 1895, Quah Beng Kee establised the Guan Lee Hin Steamship Company and provided logistic services in Penang and Singapore and proved to be one of the most successful steamship companies in the British Malaya. In 1897, the company extended its ferry steamship service in between George Town, Province of Wellesley, Kedah and minor ports in Perak, marking the history as the first firm to operate ferry services in Malaya. Besides the Guan Lee Hin, Quah Beng Kee also seated as Director to several other major companies, including the Taik Lee Guan & Co. and Graham & Co. Ltd. Quah Beng Kee also extended his business in exporting copra from his estates of Otaheite in Glugor and Sungei Nibong. He also ventured into large ironworks and known as the Penang Foundry.

    Quah Beng Kee played his importance in the Chinese welfare in Penang, he was a committee member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Municipal Commissioner of George Town, Penang Habour Board and held important role in various associations. He died on 13 Novermber 1952.

    Friday, 26 February 2010

    Kwa Chooi Seng

    Kwa Chooi Seng
    Kwa Chooi Seng was born in Penang. He was the eldest son of Kwa Soo. Kwa Soo was a merchant in Penang, where he came to Taiping in 1877 and commenced in tin mining and smelting business. Kwa Chooi Seng was one of the heads of the Hokkien community in Taiping and the owner of the large tin mines and lands in the Larut district.

    He owned a loaded property in several towns in Perak and other Malay States. Kwa Chooi Seng and his two brothers, Kwa Chooi Kim and Kwa Chin Chuan were proprietors of a 200 acres rubber estate in Kamunting, Taiping. In 1914, the Kwa brothers generously donated a piece of land nearby the Taiping Hospital to the Penang missionaries for building a Christian school, known as St. George's Institution in the town.

    Kwa Chooi Seng had two sons and one daughter and was married twice. The Kwa brothers were buried at the Hokkien Cemetery, Taiping, Perak. Began with Kwa Chooi Seng's son Quah Chye Soon, the family has changed the surname from Kwa to Quah.

    Kwa Chooi Kim was married three times, he decided to settle in Penang after the demise of his father Kwa Soo. Kwa Chooi Kim was a supporter of Kuomintang movements in China. He had offered Dr Sun Yat Sen, a Chinese revolutionist a house in Taiping, when Dr Sun was in the town.

    Kwa Chor Su
    Kwa Soo or also known as Kwa Chor Su was born in China. He migrated first to Phuket, Thailand. Kwa Soo married a Siamese wife and commenced his tin mine business there. He then moved to Penang in 1850s and later to Taiping in 1877, where he married second time there. Kwa Soo also involved in the Larut Wars, and partnered with Chung Keng Kwee. Kwa Soo was famed for his generosity in funding the welfare of Buddhist temples in Phuket and Taiping. The Siamese temple in Taiping was built on the land donated by him.

    Saturday, 9 January 2010

    The Loh Family in Perlis

    (revised on 22 Nov 2011 & 25 Nov 2012)

    Perlis is the smallest state in the Malay Peninsular. The history of the Chinese settlements in Perlis is very often lack of documentation. The early Chinese groups migrated to Perlis were the Hakkas from Cenxi of Guangxi and Dapu of Guangdong. Other Chinese ethnics including those from Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan came later. The Chinese influx to Perlis was probably due to the discovery of tin mines near the northern region of the State neighboring to the Thai border. 

    Located far away from the capital, Kangar, is the little mining town, known as Kaki Bukit or meaning foothill in English. This place is occupied by the Chinese Hakka descends and was once headed by a prominent Chinese miner, Loh Seng Heng and his family. Kaki Bukit was first discovered by Lt. Col. Sir John Campbell in the early 1930s when he led a team to explore the inner site of Wang Kelian. Around this time, there was already a Chinese chief, named Lee Lei Kam, who represented the Chinese community in Perlis. He was appointed as the Chinese Kapitan by the Raja of Perlis and lived in Kangar. Kapitan Lee Lei Kam served during the 1930s but shortly afterwards the Kapitan system was abolished.

    During the exploration led by Sir John in 1928, one of team members was Loh Seng Heng. He  later amassed large tin mining concession by the State Government of Perlis, as token of appreciation for his keenness to develop the newly-found tin mines at Wang Kelian. Loh Seng Heng, later the patriarch of the Loh Clan in Kaki Bukit was of Dapu Hakka origin. He co-founded the Kaki Bukit Tin Mines together with Sir John in 1935. During the early time of the mine establishment, Loh Seng Heng brought in Chinese coolies particularly selected from Guangxi region and neighbouring area of southern Guangdong in China.

    According to the folks, there was a time where more than 3,000 coolies were employed to cast the tin ore near the foothill. However, there were no  official documentation regarding with the records of coolies deployed and the actual capacity of tin mined there. Loh Seng Heng's eldest son, Loh Ah Tong inherited his father's property worth millions and they owned a beautiful spacious English mansion near the former mine sites in which still exist today.

    Loh Ah Tong who later joined politics and became a member of the State Council. In recognition to his contribution to the Chinese community in Perlis, he was conferred the title Dato' by the Raja of Perlis.

    Dato' Loh Ah Tong,
    AMN, PJK, JP
    Loh Ah Tong was born in 1904 in Lahat, Perak to Loh Seng Heng, he married Lee Leong Ying. Loh Ah Tong was educated at St. Michael's Institution in Ipoh and had various business interests, ranging from tin mining to rubber plantation and land proprietorship.

    Loh Ah Tong was the Unofficial Member of Perlis State Council and Perlis State Executive Council in 1948. He was also the Chairman of Local Council for Kaki Bukit (1957 - 1960), Member of Licensing Board, Committee Member of the Perlis State Welfare for the the Committee Chinese Advisory Board. Loh Ah Tong was the President of Adult Education Association, Perlis Football Association, Malaysian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, Henry Gurney Memorial Fund of Kaki Bukit, Vice-President of the Malayan Chinese Association. His other appointments including, Adviser Juvenile Court, Visitor of Kangar General Hospital, Chairman of the Board of Governors for Stella Maris School (Kangar) and Kong Hwa School (Kaki Bukit), Chairman of Ching Wah Koong Fooi Association (Kaki Bukit) and many other appointments.