PETALING JAYA: Not many give a second thought to the person whose title is lettered on “Jalan Boo Bee”, an outdated street bordered by Jalan Kota and Jalan Panggung Wayang, in Taiping. Fewer nonetheless know in regards to the man’s huge contributions to each Taiping and the nation.
Ng Boo Bee was one of many financial pioneers of the nation, a mining tycoon with a coronary heart. So essential a person was he that at any time when he made a visit from, say, Taiping to Penang, it acquired a point out within the native newspapers.
There was a time when Boo Bee owned greater than half of Taiping city and offered appreciable employment to residents, particularly at his tin mine in Kamunting, a brief distance from Taiping.
He’s credited with serving to within the development of the early railway traces within the nation and within the reconstruction of Taiping city after a serious fireplace razed all of the then picket homes with attap roofs.
Boo Bee was one of many mining kings, if not ‘the’ mining king, and his Kamunting mine was described in an official 1905 report as “the most important open-cast and finest labored mine within the Federated Malay States”.
No surprise then that the Straits Settlement’s governor-general Sir John Anderson travelled by particular practice proper as much as Boo Bee’s Kamunting mine for a go to on July 24, 1904.
Boo Bee was one of many earliest buyers in property, of which he had loads in Taiping, Penang, Ipoh and Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan now).
Recollecting household historical past, Ng Teng Hin, 77, stated his nice grandfather went from China to Medan earlier than shifting to Penang within the Eighties. After a brief stint in Penang, the eldest of three boys to Ng Koh Sung and U Choot Kwah, settled in Taiping, changing into a railway contractor.
“He established a sawmill alongside the street from Taiping to Batu Kurau, borrowing from chettiars to fund his enterprise,” stated Teng Hin, the son of Ng Say Choon and grandson of Ng Ann Tang, one among Boo Bee’s sons.
Boo Bee additionally established a brick-making manufacturing unit and commenced supplying sleepers and bricks to the railway authorities. Teng Hin stated Boo Bee was concerned within the development of the nation’s first railway line from Taiping to Port Weld in 1885.
“However the bulk of his cash got here from mining. He introduced employees from Lam Wah, Fujien, his native place in China and at one time had virtually 5,000 individuals working at his Kamunting mine. He had mines in Kampar, Ipoh and Teluk Anson too.”
Boo Bee was concerned within the brewing and sale of toddy and alcohol, the sale of opium and the operating of playing operations – all of which have been authorized at the moment – in Perak and Selangor.
He additionally received authorities tenders, in partnership with others, to gather taxes on behalf of the British authorities in what was then generally known as “income farming” in Perak, Selangor and Pahang.
Boo Bee was one of many first few justices of the peace in Malaya, being made a JP in 1920, a 12 months earlier than he died.
“He owned properties in Penang and Perak, particularly in Taiping and Teluk Anson. I’m advised that at one time, he owned greater than half the properties in Taiping,” Teng Hin stated.
Data present that Boo Bee divided his properties into three parts: one-third to his spouse Ewe Keoh Neoh, one-third to his second eldest son (because the eldest had died) and the steadiness to the remainder of his 11 kids. Ewe’s share alone included greater than 100 properties in Taiping.
Nevertheless, after Boo Bee’s dying in 1921, a lot of the properties have been bought off by his descendants.
It should be famous that each one of Boo Bee’s kids – eight boys and three ladies – have been adopted. He didn’t have any organic kids. This was confirmed by Teng Hin.
One of many properties which stays is 81, Jalan Kota. That is the place Teng Hin, a chartered accountant, runs his enterprise.
In keeping with Teng Hin, Taiping city was razed by fireplace twice and the second time it occurred, within the Eighties, Boo Bee not solely equipped a lot of the materials however was additionally concerned within the precise reconstruction work.
“Earlier, Taiping had grown randomly however after the second fireplace, the British deliberate the development of the city. That’s the reason you’ll discover that the homes that have been constructed then, and that are nonetheless standing, are related in design. The roads have been made wider and the centre of city was immediately’s market sq..”
Boo Bee gave freely to welfare and schooling causes.
He donated giant tracts of land to be used as cemeteries to bury employees who died in Malaya – distant from house in China. The land for the Hokkien cemetery in Taiping was donated by him, as have been cemetery plots in Padang Rengas, Kuala Kangsar, Ipoh and Penang, Teng Hin’s spouse Ong Bok Kin chipped in.
“The Hua Lian Excessive College was constructed by him on land that he donated. He introduced in academics from China to show right here. He gave some huge cash to charity. He helped set up Chinese language colleges and donated the land on which the Taiping Hokkien Affiliation constructing stands immediately.
“He even donated cash and constructed colleges in China. He made two visits to China, the second to attend his father’s funeral,” stated Bok Kin.
Boo Bee additionally donated a big sum of cash for the development of the well-known Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang.
It was no surprise then that given his prominence and charity work, Boo Bee’s funeral procession was about two miles lengthy. Boo Bee died on Sept 24, 1921 after a protracted sickness nevertheless it was solely on Nov 13 that he was buried on the Hokkien cemetery – after 50 days of observing the wake.
The Straits Echo of Nov 14, 1921 reported: “The attendance was the most important ever seen at a Chinese language funeral in Taiping through which the entire of British Malaya was strongly represented. At least two thousand Chinese language adopted the procession.”
Among the many many messages of condolence was one by the chief secretary to the federal government of the Federated Malay States W George Maxwell who stated: “As you recognize, he was a really outdated good friend of mine, and I had a really excessive regard for him. I really feel positive that his reminiscence will stay lengthy in Taiping.”
It seems that Maxwell was incorrect as hardly anybody immediately remembers Boo Bee.
Maybe it’s time to present the person who performed a key function in not simply Taiping’s improvement however within the emergence of Malaya’s financial system the popularity he deserves as Taiping prepares to have a good time the a hundred and fiftieth anniversary of its institution subsequent 12 months.
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