The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project

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Gan Teong Tat (颜仲逹, 1878 – 1969, LTA Peg No. 1190)



Gan Teong Tat was born in Penang and his ancestral origin can be traced to Yong Chun永春, Fujian 福建. He was the eldest son of Gan Hong Kee and was educated at the Penang Free School and St. Xavier’s Institution where he excelled in his studies by winning numerous medals and even the Centenary Scholarship in 1896. The scholarship was founded by Koh Seang Tat辜尚逹, a prominent merchant and community leader, in 1886.
In 1897, Teong Tat married Kam Chooi Lean, the fourth daughter of Kam Beng Chan甘明赞, a merchant and community leader of Penang.  Upon finishing school, he worked in the Chartered Bank. After two years, he left the bank and joined the Opium and Spirit Farm, Ban Gee Bee, as a clerk. In 1900, he went to Singapore as an assistant manager of the Singapore Opium and Spirit Farm, Chin Ho Bee, and later returned to Penang as the manager of the Spirit Farm, Ban Chin Bee. Apart from farms, Teong Tat was also involved in tin mining. Together with his younger brother, Gan Teong Teik, he prospected for tin in Perak. In 1909, he became bankrupt due to losses in opium farming, tin prospecting, and tin mining.

In 1904, Teong Tat was qualified and liable to serve as a juror in Penang in accordance with the provisions of the law. He was appointed a Municipal Commissioner in Penang and served on the Committee of the Chinese Recreational Club. He was also a member of the Turf Club, Cycling Club and the Penang Mutual Improvement Association. He also held a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in No. 2 Penang Volunteer Corps up to 1916.

In 1911, Teong Tat, together with his siblings, Gan Teong Teik, Gan Teong Liang, and Gan Choon Gnoh, and mother, Lee Seok Kim, took legal action against Gan Ngoh Bee, claiming for the administration of the estate of the late Gan Hong Kee, a share in the house at No.3 Light Street, and an account of the estate. Ngoh Bee, a younger brother of Hong Kee, was appointed the executor of the estate of Hong Kee, who passed away in 1895. The estate was valued at $312,216.67.  Teong Tat and his siblings each received $48,721.34, while their mother, Lee Seok Kim, received $97,442.67. The court hearing lasted for about three months and in December, the judge ruled that Ngoh Bee had no acts of willful default or breach of trust and dismissed Teong Tat’s and others’ claims to administration and account of the estate. However, on 22 March 1912, the Penang Appeal Court unanimously held that Ngoh Bee had been guilty of serious breaches. Hence, the administration of the estate of Gan Hong Kee was given to Gan Choon Gnoh and Gan Teong Liang and the house at Light Street was held to belong, in equal shares, to Gan Ngoh Bee and the estate of Gan Hong Kee.

In the 1930s, Teong Tat moved to Singapore and became a diamond merchant. On 5 November 1969, Teong Tat passed away in Singapore and was buried in Bukit Brown Chinese Municipal Cemetery.


Author: Wong Yee Tuan




Lee Kam Hing and Chow Mun Seong, Lee Kam Hing and Chow Mun Seong, Biographical Dictionary of the Chinese in Malaysia, Pelanduk Publications, Kuala Lumpur, 1997, pp.46-7.


Hui Yew-Foong, “Recording for Posterity”, The Peranakan, issue 2, 2012, p.17.


The Singapore & Straits Directory for 1901, p.120.


The Straits Echo Mail Edition


The Straits Times


Teoh Shiaw Kuan张少宽, Binlangyu Fujian Gongzhong Jijia Beimin Ji槟榔屿福建公冢暨家冢碑铭集[Epigraphic Inscriptions of Penang Hokkien Cemeteries]. Singapore: 新加玻亚洲研究学会Singapore Society of Asian Studies, 1997, pp.205-6.