Cheong Ann Bee

Cheong Ann Bee





One Hundred Years’ History of the Chinese in Singapore by Song Ong Siang





Re-interred on 17 Jun 1952 to Bukit Brown Cemetery Blk 5A No 136

One Hundred Years’ History of the Chinese in Singapore by Song Ong Siang 

Cheong Ann Bee was born in Malacca in 1833 and came to Singapore at the age of 10. His father, Cheong Koe Boon, who was a China-born, migrated to Malacca, where he settled down as a trader. Cheong Ann Bee knew no English, but as a boy he attended a Chinese school. After serving in the European  rms of Messrs Dare & Co and W Mans eld & Co, he started a shipchandlery business in partnership with Tan Eng Siew in 1867 under the name of Ann-bee, Eng-siew & Co. In 1870 the two partners decided to carry on business separately. Six years later Ann-bee & Co. became Ann-bee, Keng-lam & Co, un- til the retirement of Keng Lam, and Cheong Ann Bee took Syed Mo- hamed Alsagoff and Lim Eng Keng into partnership with him in the  rm of Ann-bee & Co, which was wound up in 1898. Cheong Ann Bee died on the 9th March 1896 in his sixty-third year.83 He was a man of charitable disposition and used to give away freely eye salve to people suffering from any complaint of that organ. People of the coolie class often sought his aid when troubled with their eyes. On one occasion in June 1890 while Mr Ann Bee was examining the eyes of a coolie, he was stabbed by the patient, fortunately not severely: the injuries being a cut on the shoulder and two cuts on the head. His assailant also attacked a European police constable, who tried to arrest him, and afterwards appeared at the Assizes, where he received a sentence of two years’ imprisonment.

Mr Ann Bee left two sons, Koon Seng and Koon Hong,84 who built the well-known Theatre Royal in North Bridge Road and are the proprietors of the Star Opera Co which performs nightly (except Thursday) in the Malay language dramatic pieces ranging from Shake- speare’s Hamlet and stories from the Arabian Nights to Chinese legends like Sam-pek Eng-tai.85 The theatre is under the management of Mr Cheong Koon Seng, a well-educated young man, who has begun to take an intelligent interest in public affairs.86 His thorough training in the auctioneering  rm of Powell & Co and the Commercial Rubber Co Ltd,87 coupled with [190] a sound business head and an affable and obliging disposition, will ensure for him a successful career when he launches out in a business of his own.88