This is a tribute to the matriarch of the Peranakan household, who always managed the household.
Here you can see the matriarch of the Lim Nee Soon household
Here is the matriarch of the Tan Kheam Hock household
Here is the matriarch of Ong Sam Leong's family. She was buried together with Ong Sam Leong in Bukit Brown.
I once saw another matriarch, that of Yeo Bee Neo, of the Cheang Hong Lim family. Somehow I was drawn to her haughty looks, and I was determined to find her tomb,
ever since I found out that Cheang Hong Lim family cluster was moved from Alexandra Road burial ground to Bukit Brown.
Finally I found her grave in Bukit Brown. She has the title of a First Ranking Official Wife as well. She was buried in Hill 3, whereas her husband Hong Lim was buried in Hill 4.
Her children were scattered all over in Bukit Brown.
I put upright her tombstone, which have fallen down, to make sure everyone can now see clearly and identify her grave.
I once recalled I have to crawl under one tree to see a big tomb somewhere further up on the hill where Yeo Bee Neo's grave is.
At that time, I have no idea who she was.
But I certainly knew the graves next to her. It was Cheang Jim Chuan and Chan Kim Hong Neo.
Chan Kim Hong Neo died in 1934 while Cheang Jim Chuan died in 1940.
Before both died, their sons Theam Chu and Theam Kee were very filial, and used to host annual parties to celebrate their birthdays.
Above was one example whereby the two children host the celebration with Cantonese wayang, ronggeng and other entertainment and whereby they invited about 500 persons !
Their house at 112 Pasir Panjang Road "Riviera" must be a big grand house, and I have no doubt that Chan Kim Hong Neo
would be a matriarch of the house as well.
Recently I was given a task to find a grand old lady. I was given a picture by her descendant to aid in the search and the BBC burial plot no as follows:
CHIA GIN TEE
Died on 7 February 1937;
Buried at Bukit Brown on 13 February 1937
Burial Plot No.741
Block 4 Section A
I went to Blk 4 Section A to search. I could not find tomb 741, although tomb numbers 730 series were close by and the dates of death match.
Where would tomb 741 be? Somehow the grand old lady intrigue me, and deep inside my mind, she seem familiar, I have seen her somewhere.
I decided to go down to the archives to take a look again at the entry.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw the BBC entry, It was in Blk 3, she was not buried in Blk 4 as originally planned with other similar death dates, but because there was a family plot,
she was buried in Hill 3. I noted that her tomb no was closeby to Cheang Jim Chuan and Chan Kim Hong Neo!
Furthermore the descendant has informed me that Chia Gin Tee was the mother of Chan Kim Hong Neo.
It couldn't be ?! I rushed to Bukit Brown Cemetery as quickly as possible.
Yes, it is still like a jungle there, and worse, a tree has fallen across the tomb and blocked the access.
I crawled under this time, and remembered the old lady who have looked at me before last time I saw her but don't recognise her.
This time I fully knew who she was, for I have found the matriarch of the Chan family.
It is indeed Mrs Chan, nee Chia Gin Tee.
The photo I have been given has matched her tomb picture.
I have found the matriarch, mother in law of Jim Chuan after so many years. She had died sometime in Feb 1937, the family has bought a family plot for 3 graves then.
And coincidentally, another matriarch, that of Jim Chuan mother, Yeo Bee Neo was reburied just 50 metres below them, when Hong Lim burial ground was cleared for redevelopment.