Grave of Singapore pioneer found

The final resting place of wealthy land owner, Chia Ann Siang, after whom Ann Siang Hill in Chinatown was named, has been found.

Yesterday, five of his descendants went to view the tomb and pay their respects at the tomb, which is located in the forested area across St Joseph's Institution, just in time for their ancestor's 120th death anniversary.

The Straits Times reported that finance manager, Mr Anthony Sng, had embarked on a quest to find out his family's ancestry, after his mother, Madam Dorothy Chia, 81, told him that their family had a very important relative buried in the cemetry. However, she could not recall the ancestor's name.

Madam Chia only remembered that her mother used to take her there to pay their respects at a grave before World War II.

A cousin also told Mr Sng's brother that their family was related to Chia Ann Siang - and that they were his great-great-grandsons.

Mr Sng's research led him to connect with a cousin, Mr Alvin Lee, 50, a pastor who is based in Perth.

And while Mr Sng continued his search for Chia Ann Siang's grave, Mr Lee contacted cemetery guide Raymond Goh, 48, to find the tomb.

After cross-referencing old maps with details from a 1977 Public Works Department notice which said that four graves belonging to the estate of Ann Siang would be exhumed, Mr Goh found a small square-shaped burial plot marked out in an area across Malcolm Road.

Mr Goh and his brother Charles managed to locate the tomb within an hour. Mr Goh had also previously located two of Ann Siang's sons in Bukit Brown - eldest son Keng Beng and fourth son Keng Sian.

The names of Ann Siang's four sons, three daughters and two grandsons were engraved on the tomb, which was erected in 1892 - the year he died. Other engravings stated that Ann Siang was a fifth-rank official of the Qing Dynasty.

cynloh@sph.com.sg

Become a fan on Facebook