Monday, July 18, 2011

Lee Kuan Yew's grandfather: Recontructing Lee Hoon Leong

Lee Hoon Leong
A rich and famous person
There are many significant events and personalities that deserve to be dealt in more depth, in LKY's autobiography, Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Hoon Leong (1871-1942), LKY's grandfather is such fascinating person.

Lee Hoon Leong (1871-1942), is a managing director of the Heap Eng Moh Steamship Company Ltd, owned by the tax farmer, opium cultivator, Oei Tjiong Ham. He has 5 daughters 3 sons and 2 wives.
    The wives are
    • Mark Hup Sin,
    • Ko Liem Nio (LKY's grandmama)

    Sorting out the wives, sons and daughters
    Mark Hup Sin begets

    • Lee Chin Yam (eldest)
    • Lee Choo Neo (eldest) ( 7 September 1895, Singapore - d. 7 September 1947) 
    • Lee Leng Neo (3rd daughter)
    Ko Liem Nio begets the rest including

    • Lee Chin Koon (2nd son, LKY's dad ) (b. 1903, Semarang, Indonesia – d. 12 October 1997)
    • Lee Chin Tong (3rd son)
    • Lee Siok Neo (2nd daughter)
    • Lee Wee Neo (4th daughter)
    • Lee Kim Neo  (5th daughter)
    LKY's autobiography has it as below.

    (Lee Hoon Leong) a purser on board a steamer plying between Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. The ship was part of a fleet belonging to the Heap Eng Moh Shipping Line, which was owned by the Chinese millionaire sugar king of Java, Oei Tiong Ham.

    In between his travels he married my grandmother, Ko Liem Nio, in Semarang, a city in central Java. There is a document in Dutch, dated 25 March 1899, issued by the Orphan's Court in Semarang, giving consent to Ko Liem Nio, age 16, to marry Lee Hoon Leong, age 26.

    Chronologically, it appears very likely that LKY's grandma Ko Liem Nio is a minor wife. In addition, sources has indicated that Lee Choo Neo is a adopted daughter. However, the condition of her adoption is obscure.

    LKY's memoir contains little or almost nothing about his paternal uncles and aunt. Hence, not many know now that his aunt Lee Choo Neo is famous then, for being the first female doctor in Singapore.

    Lee Hoon Leong lost his fortune in the Great Depression and died just after the Japs conquered Singapore.

    Kindly email me if anyone has more info.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Read these: