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Jul 27, 2008

Tan Quee Lan - The Man Who Donated a Monkey

Tan Quee Lan Street

I mentioned Tan Quee Lan Street in my discussion on 7th Storey Hotel and Farquhar Street. I even did a second shot on it.

However I do not know anything about the man after whom the street is named. This man, Tan Quee Lan (陈桂兰), is obscure among the Tan clan of Singapore. The Tan clan boasts of distinguished pioneers like Tan Tock Seng, Tan Kah Kee and Tan Kim Seng. According to statistics, Tan is the most common Chinese surname in Singapore.

Who is Tan Quee Lan? What is his legacy, his contribution to Singapore?

Google reveals nothing about the man. So I look for the man in the toponymic guides.

ROFL.

The four letter acronym is what describes my reaction.

Other than describing him as a "prominent Hokkien merchant and landowner", the guide also tells us "he presented a monkey to the Raffles Museum".

Well done!

I shall remember him as the man who donated a monkey. What about you?

On a side note, while exploring the street, I found traces of the old. The drain is right behind the car park. The buildings on that side of the street were demolished, so the grass patch is where the buildings used to be. I'm not sure why they spent money to tile the wall/floor beside a drain.

Tan Quee Lan StreetTan Quee Lan Street
Traces of the old at Tan Quee Lan Street.

9 comments:

Admin said...

i stay in this road when i am young. My grandfather has a shop there..... full of memories.. there was even a coffin shop in the road and i tried to avoid it when i walk down the road

Icemoon said...

Thanks for dropping by, Admin.

I think you could be referring to this undertaker shop

By the way, any idea about the tiles?

Adelin Lok said...

my guess is that there was a step up from the drain that connects the shop. In the past people (rich ones) would tile up their territory which means their own building, the flooring outside which could be for passengers to walk by and even downwards the step near the drain. If i'm not wrong, Serangoon gardens in the past also did this (i'm sure you remember us going together right???? ) LOL.

Then demolish the building le, so much energy wasted so they just leave the tiles near the drain untouched lor. My guess lah. :P

Icemoon said...

If I'm not wrong, the other side of Tan Quee Lan Street (demolished today) used to be a market.

Refer to the Archive photo from the usurper blog entry. This one.

The cars are on one side. The lorries on the other. :P

hunnypot said...

I do not know where you got your info but i think you should still respect the dead! It's disrespectful to his descendants that are still alive! Tan Quee Lan was my great great grandfather! You should remove your ROFL comment - it's not funny. Mind you, he had an entire road named after him, meaning that he had contributed a lot more to Singapore during his time than just a "monkey"!

Icemoon said...

Hi hunnypot,

Apologies if this old post of mine offended you. But I dont feel this is any disrespectful, considering we really do not know much about this "great man" and the monkey episode is what is written in Toponymics. Of all examples, the book chose this.

If you can do us a favour, do elucidate on some of his contributions. Thank you.

Joseph Wong said...

Hi Icemoon

Looking the photo, there is a back lane between Tan Quee Lan and Rochor Road. Do you know what is the name of that back lane? I used to hang out at Rochor Road when I was younger as my granddad had a shop there.

I remember too back in the early 90s, Tan Quee Lan Street had a number of bars similar to the Sin Poh Poh type.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hunnypot,
I am also decendent of Tan Quee Lan. Via Tan Jim Lay side. How am I related to you? How can I archive he donated monkey? I read it somewhere but can't trace it. I am sure it was a "rare" stuffed monkey.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hunnypot,
I am also decendent of Tan Quee Lan. Via Tan Jim Lay side. How am I related to you? How can I archive he donated monkey? I read it somewhere but can't trace it. I am sure it was a "rare" stuffed monkey.