Tan Kah Kee
|Died||12 August 1961 86) (aged|
|Other names||Chen Jiageng|
|Occupation||Businessman, investor, philanthropist|
|Parent(s)||Tan Kee Peck (father)|
|Relatives||Tan Keng Hian (younger brother)|
Lee Kong Chian (son-in-law)
|Tan Kah Kee|
|Hokkien POJ||Tân Kah-kiⁿ|
Tan Kah Kee (simplified Chinese :陈嘉庚; traditional Chinese :陳嘉庚; pinyin :Chén Jiāgēng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī :Tân Kah-kiⁿ, 21 October 1874 – 12 August 1961), was a Chinese-born Singaporean businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was a community leader and philanthropist active in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xiamen, and Guangzhou. A prominent figure in the overseas Chinese community in Southeast Asia in the 20th century, he was responsible for gathering much support from the community to aid China in major events such as the Xinhai Revolution (1911), the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition (1926–28), and the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45). Apart from donating most of his assets and earnings to aid China in those major events, Tan set up funds in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong and contributed to the establishment of several schools in Southeast Asia and China's Fujian Province, including Xiamen University.
Tan Kah Kee was born in Xiamen, Fujian Province in 1874 during the Qing dynasty of China. In 1890, at the age of 16, he travelled to Singapore in the Straits Settlements to help his father, who owned a rice trading business. In 1903, after his father's business collapsed, Tan started his own company and built a business empire from rubber plantations, manufacturing, sawmills, canneries, real estate, import and export brokerage, ocean transport and rice trading. As he was proficient in Hokkien, he achieved much success doing business in Singapore because Hokkien was the lingua franca of overseas Chinese in Singapore throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries. His business was at its prime from 1912–14, when he was known as the "Henry Ford of the Malayan community".
Tan had a leading role among the 110 founders of Tao Nan School in Singapore.In 1919, he set up The Chinese High School (now Hwa Chong Institution) in Singapore. Earlier, in 1918, he established the Jimei Schools (now Jimei University) in Xiamen. Tan was also a member of the Anglo-Chinese College Council and had pledged S$100,000 to the proposed Anglo Chinese School College in 1919. However, when the proposal was turned down by the Government, he agreed to channel the $30,000 he had given to the Anglo-Chinese School fund for physics and chemistry. This helped to complete the Secondary School at Cairnhill in 1928. In 1921, he set up Xiamen University and financially supported it until the Nationalist government of the Republic of China took over in 1937. In 1920, Tan arranged a marriage between his daughter, Tan Ai Leh, and Lee Kong Chian, his protégé and a businessman.
Tan was one of the prominent overseas Chinese to provide financial support to China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He organised many relief funds under his name, one of which alone managed to raise ten million Straits dollars in 1937. He was also a participant in the Legislative Yuan of the Nationalist government in Chongqing. After the Japanese invaded and occupied Malaya and Singapore in 1942, they deemed these contributors "undesirable" and conducted a systematic extermination of anti-Japanese elements in Singapore through the Sook Ching Massacre. Tan survived because he escaped from Singapore before it fell to the Japanese, and went into hiding in Malang, a town in East Java province, Indonesia. He strongly rejected proposals to attempt to negotiate with the Japanese and regarded such attempts as characteristic of a hanjian (a Chinese term for race traitor). He also attempted to dissuade Wang Jingwei from such activities. He exercised considerable effort against the governor of Fujian Province, Chen Yi, for perceived maladministration.
In 1943, while he was in Java, Tan began writing his memoirs, The Memoirs of an Overseas Chinese of the Southern Ocean (南僑回憶錄; 南侨回忆录; Nánqiáo Huíyìlù), which later became an important document of the history of the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia.
Tan was the de facto leader of the Chinese community in Singapore, serving as chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and helping to organise the Hokkien clan association. However, he lost this role when the Chinese Civil War divided Singapore's Chinese community into Communist and Kuomintang sympathisers. Tan was a Communist supporter because he was disillusioned with the corruption within the Kuomintang.[ citation needed ] After the Communist victory in China and the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Tan tried to return to Singapore in 1950, but was denied entry by the British colonial authorities, who were concerned about communist influence in Singapore and Malaya. He then moved permanently to China and served in numerous positions in the Chinese Communist Party.
Tan died in 1961 in Beijing and was given a state funeral by the Chinese government. In Singapore, the Tan Kah Kee Scholarship Fund, which later became known as the Tan Kah Kee Foundation, was established in memory of this philanthropy.
His sons were:
Tan Chay Bing (陳濟民; Chén Jìmín), Tan Khuat Siong (陳厥祥; Chén Juéxiáng), Tan Pok Ai (陳博愛; Chén Bó'ài), Tan Pok Chay (陳博濟; Chén Bójì), Tan Kok Kheng (陳國慶; Chén Guóqìng), Tan Guan Khai (陳元凱; Chén Yuánkǎi), Tan Guan Chay (陳元濟; Chén Yuánjì), Tan Kok Whye (陳國懷; Chén Guóhuái) and Tan Guan Aik (陳元翼; Chén Yuányì)
His daughters were:
Tan Ai Leh (陳愛禮; Chén Àilǐ), Tan Lay Ho (陳麗好; Chén Lìhǎo), Tan Ah Hui (陳亞輝; Chén Yàhuī), Tan Mary (陳瑪麗; Chén Mǎlì), Tan Lay Choo (陳麗珠; Chén Lìzhū), Tan Poh Tee (陳保治; Chén Bǎozhì) and Tan Ai Eng (陳愛英; Chén Àiyīng)
Many of his children maintained close relationship with or even married other prominent Chinese figures in Singapore. For example, Tan Ai Leh, his eldest daughter, was married to Lee Kong Chian; Tan Lay Ho was married to Lim Chong Kuo, the eldest son of respected merchant Lim Nee Soon.
In recognition of Tan's contributions to education and society throughout his lifetime, there are places and establishments in China and Southeast Asia named after Tan or built to commemorate him, including: the Tan Kah Kee Memorial Museum in Tan's hometown in Jimei; the Tan Kah Kee Foundation, which offers postgraduate scholarships; the Tan Kah Kee MRT station along the Downtown MRT line in Singapore. The schools in the Anglo-Chinese School family have houses named after Tan. Chongfu School's Main Hall is named after him.
The asteroid 2963 Chen Jiageng is named after him.
Xiamen, alternately known as Amoy, is a sub-provincial city in southeastern Fujian, People's Republic of China, beside the Taiwan Strait. It is divided into six districts: Huli, Siming, Jimei, Tong'an, Haicang, and Xiang'an. All together, these cover an area of 1,700.61 square kilometers (656.61 sq mi) with a population of 3,531,347 as of 2010. The urbanized area of the city has spread from its original island to include parts of all six of its districts, with a total population of 1,861,289. This area connects to Quanzhou in the north and Zhangzhou in the west, making up a metropolis of more than five million people. The Kinmen Islands (Quemoy) administered by the Republic of China lie less than 6 kilometers (4 mi) away.
Chen is a common East Asian surname and one of the most common surnames in the world. It is the most common surname in Taiwan (2010) and Singapore (2000). Chen is also the most common family name in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Macau, and Hong Kong. It is the most common surname in Xiamen, the ancestral hometown of many overseas Hoklo.
Xiamen University, colloquially known as Xia Da in Mandarin Chinese or Ha Tai in Xiamen dialect, is a public research university in Xiamen, Fujian, China. Established in 1921 by Tan Kah Kee, a member of the overseas Chinese diaspora, the university is perennially ranked as one of the top academic institutions in Southern China, with strengths in economics and management, fine arts, law, chemistry, journalism, communication, and mathematics.
Jimei University (JMU), colloquially known as "Jídà" (集大), is a public university in Xiamen, Fujian, People's Republic of China.It offers doctorate degree programs. It is authorized to enroll postgraduate candidates exempt from admission exam and enrolls students from all over the country.
Tao Nan School, is a co-educational primary school in Singapore. One of the six Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan schools, along with Ai Tong School, Chongfu Primary School, Kong Hwa School, Nan Chiau Primary School and Nan Chiau High School, Tao Nan School is among the 30 most popular primary schools listed by the Ministry of Education.
Kapitan China Tan Tock Seng was a Singaporean merchant and philanthropist, who served as acting Kapitan China of Singapore. The present day Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Jalan Tan Tock Seng in the hospital area are named after him.
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Tan Lark Sye was a prominent Chinese businessman and philanthropist active in Singapore.
Lee Kong Chian, also known as Li Guangqian or by his alias Lee Geok Kun, was a prominent Chinese businessman and philanthropist active in Malaya and Singapore from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was the founder of the Lee Foundation and one of the richest men in Southeast Asia in the 1950s and 1960s. He was also the son-in-law of Tan Kah Kee, another well-known Chinese businessman and philanthropist based in Southeast Asia.
The Old Tao Nan School is a historic building in Singapore, located along Armenian Street in the Museum Planning Area, within the Central Area. The building was originally built for the Tao Nan School to serve the local Hokkien community, but the school has since been relocated to its current location in Marine Parade. The building was then used as a wing of the Asian Civilisations Museum, and now houses the Peranakan Museum. It was gazetted as a national monument on 27 February 1998.
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The Amoy dialect or Xiamen dialect, also known as Amoynese, Amoy Hokkien, Xiamenese or Xiamen Hokkien, is a dialect of Hokkien spoken in the city of Xiamen and its surrounding metropolitan area, in the southern part of Fujian province. Currently, it is one of the most widely researched and studied varieties of Southern Min. It has historically come to be one of the more standardized varieties.
Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK), or the Singapore Hokkien Association in English, is a cultural and educational foundation. It was established in 1840 to promote education, social welfare and the preservation of the Chinese language and culture among Chinese Singaporean and other Overseas Chinese groups in Southeast Asia. As of 2014, the SHHK, which has 5000 members, is the largest clan association in Singapore.
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Singaporean Hokkien is a local variant of the Hokkien language spoken in Singapore. In Chinese academic circles, this dialect is known as Singaporean Ban-lam Gu. It is closely related to the Southern Malaysian Hokkien (南馬福建話) spoken in Southern Malaysia, as well as to Riau Hokkien (廖內福建話) spoken in the Indonesian province of Riau. It also closely resembles Amoy spoken in Amoy, People's Republic of China, and Taiwanese Hokkien which is spoken in Taiwan, Republic of China.
Tan Boo Liat was a wealthy Singapore philanthropist. He was the son of Tan Soon Toh, grandson of Tan Kim Ching and great-grandson of Tan Tock Seng.
Gaoji Causeway is a 2,212-meter-long causeway in Xiamen, Fujian, China. It links Gaoqi in downtown Xiamen Island across the Xiamen Bay to Jimei District on the mainland. It used to serve as a road and rail link, as well as water piping into Xiamen Island. In order to improve the water quality around Xiamen Island, part of the causeway was blasted off and removed, replaced by bridge, and it would serve only as road link. Completed in 1955, along with Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, the causeway is considered one of the major construction projects in the early years of the People's Republic of China. It remained Xiamen Island's sole link with the mainland until 1991. The Gaoji Causeway has a museum devoted to its construction and history founded in 2013.
Wong Ker-lee, GBM was a Fujianese Hong Kong businessman and politician. He was first Mayor of Taichung after the Chinese resumption of Taiwan from 1946 to 1947 when he resigned for the February 28 Incident. After he moved to Hong Kong, he founded several banks including the Overseas Trust Bank and the Hong Kong Industrial and Commercial Bank. From the 1980s, he was the member of the National Committee of the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and member of its standing committee from 1988 to 2003.
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