Chapter 2: The Children of Chong Soon Fan – by IpohBornKid
In a previous Ipoh World blog which I now called Chapter 1, (http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=3342), I wrote a short biography of the late Chong Soon Fan, JP, who was the Penghulu of Menglembu. As a Menglembu village headman, he was well respected and despite his wealth, he stayed in Menglembu with his fellow villages instead of living in plush suburbs of Ipoh.
In the picture above taken around 1939, was a family photograph of the patriarch with his children (Photo -courtesy of Mr Chong Yong Fook, a grandson of Chong Soon Fan).
Among his sons, the eldest was HC. HC, an old boy of Ipoh St Michael’s Institution followed his father into business. He served as a Councillor in the Ipoh Town Council in the late 1950s during the PPP era. Whilst a Councillor for MCA, his cousin in Belfield Street was a Councillor for PPP, He was honoured by the Sultan of Perak twice.
KC, the second son, was Chinese educated. His father took some of the family members to Daipu, the Hakka ancestral village in Guangdong Province in the late 1940s. For some reason, Kong Chew stayed behind when the family returned to Malaya. During the KMT retreat to Taiwan, KC was conscripted into the KMT army and was on his way to Quemoy Island and Taiwan. He served in Quemoy Island for several years and he used to tell the story of how the artillery barrage started in the morning and before sunset, the loudspeaker from the mainland would broadcast some women pleading for his son to return to the mainland. Of course, some villages made a living out of collecting the metal casings of the artillery shells. KC later returned to Malaya in the late 1950s and married a Singaporean. The couple and their children later moved to Singapore.
WC, the youngest son, attended Ipoh MAS (ACS Afternoon) school in the early 1950s. Of course, the Japanese occupation disrupted many youth from going to school and getting an education, hence there were a lot of matured student enrolments in the old days. WC also worked in his father’s business.
Chong’s daughters, MY2, MO3, MS4, MY5, MH6, and MN8 married into the Pun, Wong, Khoo, Lee, Bush, and Chew families respectively. The youngest daughter MC9 was not in the photograph since it was taken before she was born. She later married to the Poon Family.
Chong’s first son-in-law, a Pun, was an Ipoh ACS old boy (class of 1932) and his occupation was an electrician working in the tin mines. Wong was a school teacher in Yuk Choy High School Ipoh. Khoo was in the Police force and retired as a Superintendent. Lee was a former Ipoh Council worker and later became a successful businessman. Bush was an UK engineer and he worked in Malaya for a few years before returning to UK. Chew was a university graduate from Taiwan when he met MN8, a fellow graduate. He was a school teacher in Yuk Choy High School and later became Acting Principal in Sam Jai High School, Ipoh. Poon was an Industrial Executive working in the Tasek industry area for many years in Ipoh.
This article has two purposes. Firstly, it is intended to put into history the children of Chong Soon Fan and secondly, to allow the third generation to identify their father or mother in the picture and share their history with the people of Ipoh and beyond. The latter will remove any bias by the author. Chapter 3 will feature a short story on the first 12 grandchildren of Chong Soon Fan. The global Chinese diaspora is well known and who would have guessed that the grand children of Chong Soon Fan are now part of this global phenomena. Other Chapters will follow.