Tan Kim Ching 陈金钟


Tan Kim Ching (陈金钟, also spelt as Tan Kim Cheng) (1829–1892) was the eldest son of Tan Tock Seng. He inherited and expanded his father’s business, in particular, he set up branch offices in Bangkok and Saigon where he had expanded the rice business. He continued Tan Tock Seng’s philanthropic activities, donating generously to renovate Tan Tock Seng Hospital and set up Chong Wen Ge (崇文阁) and Cui Ying School (萃英书院), two of the earliest Chinese schools in Singapore. Tan Kim Ching was highly regarded in Singapore. Some of the positions and appointments he held included president of the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, justice of the peace, consul for Siam, Japan and Russia respectively, among others. He was also noted for his close relationship with the Thai royalty.



Selected books on Tan Kim Ching

  • Chong, A. (Ed.). (2015). Great Peranakans: Fifty remarkable lives. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, pp. 89–90.
    Call no.: RSING 305.895105957 GRE
    This book was published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name and included the biographies of 50 Peranakans as well as articles on the politics, community and society in Singapore from 1819 to 1965. The 50 Peranakans featured in the book had made contributions to their respective fields. Tan Kim Ching is noted as a community leader and having close connections with the Thai kings.


  • Dhoraisingham, K. D. and Samuel, D. S. (2003). Tan Tock Seng: Pioneer: His life, times, contributions and legacy. Kota Kinabalu: Natural History Publications (Borneo), pp 79–83.
    Call no.: RSING 338.04092 KAM
    In this title, the authors charted the life of Tan Tock Seng, growth of his business, his contributions to the society and the history of Tan Tock Seng Hospital in this book. A chapter entitled “The Legacy of Tan Tock Seng” is dedicated to the prominent personalities, which includes Tan Kim Ching, among his descendants and their contributions..


  • 方百成, 杜南发. (编委主任). [Fang, B. C. and Du, N. F. (Eds.).] (2012). 世界福建名人录, 新加坡编. [Prominent figures of the world Fujian communities: Singapore]. 新加坡: 新加坡福建会馆, pp. 69–70.
    Call no.: Chinese RSING 920.05957 PRO
    This title contains the biographies of 155 Chinese Hokkien personalities in Singapore, covering the period from 1819 to 2012. Tan Kim Ching’s biography in the book introduced his business ventures, highlighted his role in Chinese education in Singapore and outlined in detail Tan’s social standing locally and his overseas connections, especially with Siam.


  • 柯木林. (主编). [Ke, M. L. (Ed.).] (1995). 新华历史人物列传 [Who’s who in the Chinese community of Singapore]. 新加坡: 教育出版公司, p. 82.
    Call no.: Chinese RSING 959.570092 WHO-[HIS].
    The book contains the biographies of 1,175 Chinese personalities in Singapore, covering the period from 1819 to 1990. Each biography contains the particular birth and death dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Tan Kim Ching’s biography is also included.


  • Song, O. S. (1975). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. San Francisco: Chinese Materials Centre, pp. 92–93.
    Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON -[HIS].
    A reprint of the publication first published in 1923, this book is a chronological history of the Chinese in Singapore by Song Ong Siang. It comprises 13 chapters that detailed the history of the Chinese in Singapore from 6th February 1819 to 6th February 1919 into ten decades. In each decade, Song included prominent personalities, companies, organisations, events and phenomena that concerned the whole or part of the community. Tan’s brief biography is also included under Chapter 5, “The Fourth Decade (1849–59).”



Selected newspaper articles on Tan Kim Ching

  • Death of Mr. Tan Kim Cheng. (1892, March 1). Straits Times Weekly Issue, p. 126. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    This article reported the passing of Tan Kim Cheng, outlined his lifetime and highlighted his major contributions to society as well as the appointments he held.


  • Death of Tan Kim Ching. (1892, February 29). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    This is the obituary of Tan Kim Ching. It gave an account of his last days and a brief introduction of his family background, and outlined his businesses and social standing.


  • Tan Tock Seng’s descendants celebrate Tiong Bahru Link. (2014, July 28). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    This article reported on the plaques erected at Tiong Bahru to commemorate the men after whom Kim Cheng Road and Chay Yan Road were named, namely Tan Kim Cheng and Tan Chay Yan, who were the son and grandson of Tan Tock Seng, respectively. The article also included a brief biography of the two personalities.


  • The Free Press. (1853, September 30). Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
    This notice stated that the Siam King has appointed Tan Kim Cheng as the Consul of Siam at Singapore, and provided a translation of the edict of appointment.



Selected oral history interviews on Tan Kim Ching

  • Lim, H. S. (Interviewer). (1983, January 24.). Oral history interview with Tan Hoon Siang [Accession No. 000077, reel 1 of 3]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
    This is an interview with Tan Hoon Siang, grandnephew of Tan Kim Ching. In the selected reel, Tan Hoon Siang briefly mentioned his granduncle’s connection with Siam and his descendants.

Written by Mervin Teo