Sunday, August 19, 2007


Done by:Stephanie,Vanessa,Shervin:)
2 Endurance

Famous Philanthropist-Tan Tock Seng

The Birth and Growing up Years of Tan Tock Seng
Tan Tock Seng was born in Malacca in 1798. He was the third son of an immigrant from Fujian province in China and a Hokkien Peranakan mother.
Tan Tock Seng, one who grew up from humble origins and also a young man full of entrepreneurial drive travelled to Singapore at the age of 21 to start a small roadside business. He would buy fruits, vegetables and fowl from the countryside and sell them in the city. Being a hardworking and thrifty man, he saved up enough money to open a shop in Boat Quay in 1827. He became a wealthy businessman through a joint business with J.H Whitehead of Shaw.
He rose to become one of the richest merchants in Singapore and founded the Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Contributions to Singapore
In 1844, he helped set up a hospital to help the poor which now bears his name. This well-known hospital is known as Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He contributed generously to charity and became a renowned philanthropist amongst the Chinese. He provided burial costs for the poor Chinese and his most generous gesture was the donation of Spanish $7000 to the building of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital in 1844 at Pearl’s Hill.
Tan Tock Seng was the first Asian to be made a Justice of Peace by Governor Butterworth. He was skillful at settling feuds among the Chinese and much of his time was engrossed in acting as an arbitrator in disputes between his countrymen. Because of this, he earned the title of ‘Captain of the Chinese’. As he was a wealthy businessman, his landed properties include 50 acres of land where the railway station at Tanjong Pagar is located. He also owned a block of shop houses at Ellenborough Building and a 14-acre fruit plantation opposite the St Andrew's Mission Hospital.

Later Years of Tan Tock Seng
Tan Tock Seng got married to wife, Lee Seo Neo, who owned a large coconut estate in Geylang. Like him, she also contributed financially to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Thus, the woman’s ward is named after her.
Tan Tock Seng died at the age of 52 after catching an unknown disease leaving behind his wife, three sons, and three daughters. His three sons are Kim Ching, Swee Lim and Teck Guan. The eldest son, Kim Ching continued in his father’s business and charitable contributions.