The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project

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Wee Chim Yean (黃深淵, 1885-1926, LTA Peg No. 1838)



Wee Chim Yean was Kapitan Cina of Bengkalis, an area on the east coast of Sumatra opposite the Malaysian town of Muar.  He was the youngest son of Wee Leong Tan alias Wee Tan, who was once also the Kapitan China of Bengkalis, and brother of Wee Ann Kee and Wee Kim Cheng of Chop Kim Hock Hoe.

His father, Wee Leong Tan, came from the Amoy region to the Dutch East Indies at a young age and became an opium farmer. He was made a leader of the Chinese community, first as Kapitan Cina and later Majoor Cina. In 1900 he received an Imperial Order and Gold medal from Queen Wilhelmina of Holland.

Wee Leong Tan’s business expanded to shipping and also commissioning agents. He handed over his company officially to his sons to manage on 27 January 1911. His sons, Kim Cheng and Ann Kee, made it a limited company and the shipping business was incorporated in 1908 under the name of Wee Brothers Steamship Co. Ltd.

Wee Leong Tan was buried at the family vault in Bengkalis when he died in 1913 at the age of 78. The steamships of Wee Brothers provided free transport for mourners from Singapore to Bengkalis to attend the funeral. In the evening after the elaborate and grand burial ceremonies, the fleet provided firework displays and then set sail back to Singapore with "Will o the Wisp" taking lead.

Wee Chim Yean himself died at the age of 41 on 13 August 1926 at the residence of his sister-in-law (Mrs Wee Ann Kee) at 28 Stanley Street. He was reported to have died from typhoid fever and pneumonia. On his grave are the inscriptions 甲政 (Kapitan) and和國 (Holland).

Author: Peter Pak