The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project

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Oon Chim Neo (温深娘, 1886?-1917, LTA Peg No. 77)



Oon Chim Neo was one of the first Chinese ladies in Singapore to receive a Western education, and came out first at the Singapore Chinese Girls' School.


When she passed away on 12 March 1917, at the age of 31, she was given an “impressive funeral”. The Malaya Tribune reports:


“The coffin was covered by a magnificent embroidered canopy and after the usual preliminary ceremonies had been concluded, it was borne to the burial ground preceded by a long procession of banners, paper figures, and men carrying wreaths. The wreaths were a mass of beautiful colour, being composed chiefly of mauve orchids, and were a distinctive feature of the procession.


“In addition to a Chinese band, there was a Sikh military brass and bagpipe band and among the selection played by the latter was the impressive funeral march from ‘Saul’.”



Oon Chim Neo was the daughter of Oon Chin Soon, head cashier of Messrs Katz Bros. She married Ong Boon Tat, elder son of Ong Sam Leong on 15 October 1908. It was a grand event at that time, as the wedding reception and entertainment lasted 10 days, with many European and Chinese guests attending.


She was the mother of Ong Tiang Wee, who was prominent in the Straits Chinese British Association, which later became the Peranakan Association. Ong Tiang Wee served as President of the Association and later was made Honorary Life President.


Distinctive grave features:

At almost 16 by 24 metres, this is the largest single person tomb among the affected graves. There are also interesting fengshui (geomantic) features such as the carp structures on the ground, the curving drainage system that extends beyond the retaining wall, and how the flank of the grave is jagged on one side and rounded on the other.