Tan Tock Seng

Topics: Thian Hock Keng, Singapore, Poverty Pages: 2 (544 words) Published: May 1, 2012
Tan Tock Seng
Tan Tock Seng was born in 1798 at Malacca, Malaysia and died at the age of 52 after catching an unknown disease on 24 February 1850 at Singapore. His grave lies along the grassy slope next to Jubilee Church, 256 Outram Road, Singapore. He was a Hokkien merchant, land owner, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In 1819, Tan moved to Singapore at the age of 21 and started out as a humble vegetable seller, selling fruit, vegetable and fowl. As he was hardworking and diligent, he was eventually able to set up a shop along the riverside at Boat Quay in 1827. He rose to become one of Singapore's early Chinese leaders. He donated money worldwide for poor people was famous for contributing money to set up a hospital for the poor in 1844, which now bears his name. Tan Tock Seng was the first Asian to be made a Justice of the Peace by the Governor Butterworth. His role in helping the early Chinese immigrants settle disputes earned him the title "Captain of the Chinese." Through a joint business in land speculation with J. H. Whitehead of Shaw, Whitehead & Co., Tan eventually became a wealthy businessman. His landed properties included 50 acres of land where the railway station at Tanjong Pagar is located, and the plot of land from the Padang to High Street and Tank Road. He also owned a block of shop houses at Ellen borough Building and a 14-acre fruit plantation opposite the St Andrew's Mission Hospital. Tan contributed generously to charity and became a renowned philanthropist amongst the Chinese. He was known to provide burial costs for the poor Chinese. He also contributed money to the construction of the Taoist Thian Hock Keng temple. His most famous gesture was the donation of Spanish $7,000 to the building of the Chinese Pauper's Hospital in 1844 at Pearl's Hill. It was at a time where crime, violence, disease and poverty were rife and the poor were dying from malnutrition, diseases, gangrenous sores and opium addiction. Mr. Tan contributed Spanish...
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