Seah Eu Chin – Found!


Seah Eu Chin (1805-1883)

Singapore’s Pioneer Gambier and Pepper Plantation King

Founder of Ngee Ann Kongsi

The very distinguished Seah Eu Chin ( National Archives)

 It started with a breaking news flash on the Heritage Singapore Bukit Brown Cemetery  Facebook page posted by Raymond Goh just after 2 pm on Friday 16 November 2012:

Breaking news….the Goh Brothers have found the triple tomb of one of foremost Teochew pioneers of Singapore – Seah Eu Chin and his two wives, sisters of Tan Seng Poh. Details to follow…”

This was followed by the first photo of the tomb described as :

“Tomb of Seah Eu Chin, founder of Ngee Ann Kongsi, with his two wives Tan Beng Guat and Tan Beng Choo. Eu Chin passed away in 1883. We will take exact measurements tomorrow, but his tomb is believed to be as big as Ong Sam Leong.

Tomb of Seah Eu Chin, founder of Ngee Ann Kongsi, with his two wives Tan Beng Guat and Tan Beng Choo. (photo Raymond Goh)

The tomb inscriptions included imperial titles, but Raymond reports, reading the inscriptions is proving a challenge as some of  characters are missing. The lettering is done with some kind of metal which has fallen off.

This is Charles’ account of the search for Seah Eu Chin

“Like the previous finds of Ann Siang and the elder Gan, minutes before the find, there will be rain.  For Seah, there were additional ‘help’. On the 1st day, a cobra reared its head preventing us from going one way. Another hissed to stop our tracks when we tried another way. And we met a monitor lizard on the start of the 3rd route. Thinking something’s wrong, we stopped our search minutes after we started. (After Eu Chin’s find, we knew we had went the wrong side of the hill then.) The 2nd day we tried a new location. The trek was smooth, and when rain fell, a sense of hope, and there rose a feeling that something was right. We found it in 10 minutes.”

The next morning, the Goh brothers were back at the grave and posted a photo of the grave in full glory:

The tomb stone is a head  over the brothers (Photo: Raymond Goh)

The brothers have cleared a path towards the grave so his descendants, members of the Teochew Community  and Brownies can visit later. The location of the grave is under wraps at the moment  until such time as  the descendant who made the request for help to find Seah Eu Chin is informed.

An extract on Seah Eu Chin from The Straits Times, 24 Sept 1932, Page 12

Chinese Benefactor of 1845 – Ngee Ann Kongsi:
In or about the year 1845 the late Seah Eu Chin, at that time a prominent Teochew merchant in Singapore and 12 other Teochew merchants then in Singapore, promoted the formation of a fund for the propagation and observance in Singapore of the doctrines, ceremonies, rites and customs of the chinese religions as observed by the Teochew community, a community of Chinese originating from certain districts in the Kwantung Province of China, and for other charitable purposes for the benefit of the members for the time being in Singapore of the Teochew community…

map of Grave Hill, where Seah Eu Chin’s tomb lies (Photo: Raymond Goh)


There is a blog post on Seah Eu Chin here.


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