The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project

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See Tiong Wah (薛中華, 1886-1940, LTA Peg No. 1919)



See Tiong Wah came from an illustrious Peranakan line from Malacca. His ancestors moved from Dongshan Island in the Zhangzhou region of Fujian to Malacca in the 18th century, founding the firm of Gim Hin. One of them, See Hoot Kee, was the de facto leader of the Hokkiens in Singapore during its early years as well as in Malacca. Educated at St. Joseph's Institution, See Tiong Wah joined the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank at the age of 18 to assist his father who was the compradore. When his father retired, he took over and held the position for more than 30 years.

See was a prominent public figure. As Municipal Commissioner from 1916 to 1930, he was instrumental in the setting up of Bukit Brown cemetery with Tan Kheam Hock. He was also a Justice of the Peace, President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Chinese Advisory Board, honorary treasurer and committee member of the Singapore Chinese British Association, and auditor of the Royal Asiatic Society. As chairman of the Hokkien Huay Kuan, one of his notable achievements was that he successfully intervened in a dispute between Henghua and Hockchew trishaw riders and prevented what would likely have turned into a violent riot.
When the Leng Shan Temple was renovated in 1915, he was one of its three directors. In 1918, he was one of the directors of Siong Lim Temple during its renovation. He also sat on the first board of Chung Hwa Girls’ School. See played a big part in contributing to the British cause during World War I, particularly in raising funds and through his work on food control.


He was buried together with his wife, a sister of Khoo Seok Wan. The names of 2 sons and 2 daughters were inscribed on his tombstone. His daughter Lucy was the daughter-in-law of Chen Tiao Yuan, one time Provisional Governor of Shantung, and his son Bong Him was the son-in-law of Lim Nee Soon. The tomb is part of a family cluster, with his mother buried behind him together with her sister-in-law, while one of his sons is to the side.


Author: Ang Yik Han



Song Ong Siang , One Hundred Years’ History of the Chinese in Singapore , London : John Murray, 1923

柯木林(主编),《新加坡历史人物列传》,新加坡:EPB Publishers, 1995