Lim Chong Pang


Lim Chong Pang (b. 6 June 1904, Singapore–d. 21 July 1956, Singapore) was a prominent businessman and long-time member of the Singapore Rural Board. Chong Pang Village and Chong Pang Road (both expunged) were named after him.1

Education and marriage
Lim was educated at St Andrew’s School in Singapore and St Stephen’s College in Hong Kong.2 His father, Lim Nee Soon, was a rubber tycoon and prominent community leader in Singapore.3 Upon his graduation, Lim returned home to assist in his father’s plantation and film distribution businesses. In 1924, he married Lee Poh Neo, the daughter of another well-known businessman, Lee Choon Guan.4

Career

Lim’s father had made his name in the rubber industry, but by the mid-1930s, the industry was on the decline in Singapore.5 Lim diversified the family business into other areas, notably property and estate management.6 The construction of a British naval base from 1923 to 1938 led to an influx of labourers into the Seletar area, and Lim saw a need for more residential space. He drew up small residential plots in the old Westhill estate, with space for a hut in each plot, and leased them out to the labourers for 50 cents per month.7

Lim was also involved in municipal works around the area, including the erection of a bridge over the Seletar River to facilitate communication between villages,8 and the construction of Sultan Theatre in 1939, as he felt the growing population of the surrounding villages required some entertainment.9

After his father’s death in 1938, Lim took over the Apollo Theatre in Geylang and renamed it Garrick Theatre.10 He also opened and managed a number of other theatres.11

A few days before the Japanese invasion of Singapore in 1942, Lim’s family was evacuated to Bangalore, India, where his son Herbie Lim Eng Kwan continued his education.12

Lim continued working with his father’s business interests, including Thong Aik Company,13 and in 1945, set up South-East Asia Film Company.14 Singapore’s film industry was a vibrant and competitive one then, and Lim was one of the more prominent leaders in the industry, known for his outspokenness and fairness.15 He was a multiple-term president of the Indian Motion Picture Distributors Association of Singapore, and board member of the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association of Singapore and the Federation of Malaya.16

Besides his film business, Lim was also a director of the Overseas Assurance Corporation, a company which his father had co-founded.17 In addition, he owned estates and property in Singapore and Johor.18

Public service
In 1929, Lim was appointed to the Singapore Rural Board, a governmental body dealing with municipal issues such as water and electricity supplies, construction of maternity clinics, repair of main roads and the building of public standpipes. Entering the service when he was 25, he was the youngest-ever member of the Board, and went on to serve from 1929 to 1938.19 His father had also served on the Board.20


Lim also sat on the committee of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and was involved in efforts to support the cause of China in its war against Japan.21 He was honorary treasurer of a special committee of the Oleh Oleh Party, formed to assist the War Fund, and supported local Chinese volunteers receiving military training for the war effort.22

Like his father, Lim was concerned with education.23 He sat on the board of governors at his alma mater, St Andrew’s School, and was also the vice-president of the school’s Old Boys Association. He was a committee member of St Hilda’s School and one of the trustees of Gan Eng Seng Free School.24

Lim was a Justice of the Peace, and member of the Board of Visitors for St John’s Island Quarantine Station.25

Interests
Lim held a great interest in horse racing. From 1946 to the time of his death in 1956, his horses won more than 100 races in Singapore and Malaya.26 He was also vice-president of the Owners and Trainers Association of Malaya. Other sports that Lim participated in were tennis and swimming.27 He also revealed a love of travelling.28 

Death
Lim passed away in 1956 at the age of 52.29 Upon his death, the government renamed Westhill  Estate, a former rubber estate,30 to Chong Pang Village to mark Lim’s long service in the Singapore Rural Board.31 Lim is buried in the Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery.32



Author

Alvin Chua



References
1. Chong Pang Village. (1957, July 18). The Straits Times, p. 5; Turf man dies – his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 181, 201. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
2. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Liu, G. (1999). Singapore: A pictorial history 1819–2000. Singapore: Archipelago Press; National Heritage Board, p. 174. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 LIU-[HIS]); Forget Yishun, just remember Nee Soon. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 187. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
4. Liu, G. (1999). Singapore: A pictorial history 1819–2000. Singapore: Archipelago Press; National Heritage Board, pp. 174, 225. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 LIU-[HIS]); Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 187. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
6. Two nominations for commission vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 187. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
8. Oral History Department. (1987). A pictorial history of Nee Soon community. Singapore: The Grassroots Organisations of Nee Soon Constituency, National Archives, Oral History Department, p. 38. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 PIC-[HIS])
9. Forget Yishun, just remember Nee Soon. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
10. Turf man dies – his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p. 11; Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Forget Yishun, just remember Nee Soon. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 5; ‘Herbie’ Lim learned trade fast. (1965, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8; Two nominations for commission vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Turf man dies – his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
15. Turf man dies – his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Film exhibitors hold meeting. (1947, April 3). The Singapore Free Press, p. 5; Film exhibition Assn. officers. (1950, March 26). The Straits Times, p. 7; Film exhibition Assn. officers. (1955, July 4). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7; Lim Chong Pang again president. (1955, February 26). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Forget Yishun, just remember Nee Soon. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8; Two nominations for commission vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Oral History Department. (1987). pictorial history of Nee Soon community. Singapore: The Grassroots Organisations of Nee Soon Constituency, National Archives, Oral History Department, p. 122. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 PIC-[HIS])
20. Forget Yishun, just remember Nee Soon. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Two nominations for commission vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Chinese and volunteers. (1940, December 17). The Straits Times, p. 10; War fund’s week-end increase of $3,000. (1940, October 21). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Forget Yishun, just remember Nee Soon. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8; Two nominations for commission vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 11; St Andrew’s old boys. (1955, June 27). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 187. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
26. Turf man dies – his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 187. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
27. Two nominations for commission vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8; Two nominations for commission vacancy. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Turf man dies – his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 187. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
31. Chong Pang Village. (1957, July 18). The Straits Times, p. 5; Mainly about Malayans. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 8; Turf man dies – his horses won 100 races. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 187. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])
32. Tycoon’s tomb uncovered. (2006, June 4). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Lim, Chong Pang, 1904-1956
Personalities>>Biographies>>Community Leaders
People and communities>>Social groups and communities
Community leaders
Businessmen--Singapore--Biography