Group 13: Chew Joo Chiat


Chew Joo Chiat 



A picture of Chew Joo Chiat taken from “Joo Chiat – A Living Legacy” by Lily Kong & T.C Chang.


You can find his tomb on the DIY map under Group 13.

Chew Joo Chiat’s tomb (Photo: Andrew)


Read how Raymond and Charles God helped the great grandson find this tomb in this blog post, which features more photos.

The great grandson, Philip, writes on his blog:

“Chew Joo Chiat was born in 1857 at a place called He Shan (禾山) in Fujian Province, China. His father was a peasant and he married very young. At age 20 he already had 2 sons Chew Cheng Lian 周请廉 Chew Cheng Swee 周请水 and 2 daughters Chew Xian Neo 周羡娘 Chew Su Lan 周素蘭. In those days,  farmer’s children married young in order to have many children so that they could help out in the farm later. In fact, all the farm works were done manually from seedling to harvesting. At that time the Qing Dynasty government was corrupted and the people faced great hardship. A large number of them from the coastal provinces of south China risked themselves and left for South East Asia countries now known  as ASEAN. Many crossed over the borders to Thailand and Myamar. Others sailed overseas to Philippines, Indonesia and Malaya (now Singapore and Malaysia).

In 1877 at the age of 20 years, Chew Joo Chiat left his family in China and sailed to Singapore which took about 10 days by sailing boat. The boat was overcrowded and the people was badly treated. He landed in Singapore as a young man penniless. He experienced poverty and aimed to make a fortune for himself and also to better the lives of his family back home. He worked very hard to achieve his dream. Starting from a small business and  endowed with resourcefulness and business acumen he became a successful businessman.

He married a Peranakan girl Tan Quan Neo 陈颧娘 in 1890 and a daughter Chew Quee Neo 周桂娘 was born in 1891.”

To read more on the life of Chew Joo Chiat, click on his posts here and here.

P/S On your way to Chew Joo Chiat’s grave, you will pass by a cluster of graves for 8 nuns, in two rows of four graves. These Buddhist nuns are believed to have been killed during the World War II and the tiles before them feature flower-like symbols.