Lim Chong Pang
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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.
Education and marriage
Lim was educated at St. Andrew's School in Singapore and St. Stephen's College in Hong Kong. His father, Lim Nee Soon, was a rubber tycoon and a prominent community leader in Singapore. Upon his graduation, he returned home to assist in his father's plantation and film company businesses.
In 1924, Lim married Lee Poh Neo, the daughter of another well-known businessman Lee Choon Guan.
Lim's father had made his name in the rubber industry, but by the mid-1930s, the rubber industry in Singapore was on the decline. Lim diversified the family business into other areas, notably property and estate management. The construction of a British naval base from 1923-1938 meant there was an influx of labourers into the Seletar area, and Lim recognised 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 labourers for 50 cents per month.
He was also involved in municipal works around the area, including the erection of a bridge over the Seletar River to facilitate traffic and the construction of the Sultan Theatre as he felt the growing population of the surrounding villages required some entertainment.
After his father's death in 1936, Lim took over the Apollo Theatre in Geylang and renamed it the Garrick Theatre. He also opened and managed a number of other theatres, but the Garrick was one of the most prominent and modern theatres in Singapore at the time.
Two 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. Both Herbie and Lim's other son, Bertie, served in the British Army during the war.
Lim continued working with his father's business interests, including the Thong Aik company, and in 1945, set up the South-East Asia Film Company. 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 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.
Besides his film business, Lim was also a director of the Overseas Assurance Corporation, a company which his father had co-founded, and owned estates and property in Singapore and Johor.
In 1929, Lim was appointed to the Singapore Rural Board, a governmental body dealing with municipal issues such as water supply, markets and building inspections. Entering at the age of 25, he was the youngest ever member of the Board. His father had also served on the Board, and Lim would serve from 1929-1938.
He 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. He was honourary treasurer of the China Relief Fund Committee of Singapore, and supported local Chinese volunteers receiving military training for the war effort.
Like his father, Lim was concerned with education. He sat on the board of governors at his alma mater, St. Andrew's, and was also the vice-president of the Old Boys Association of the school. He acted as one of the trustees of Gan Eng Seng school as well.
Lim was also a Justice of the Peace and member of the Board of Visitors to the St. John's Island Quarantine Station.
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. He was also on the board of the Owners and Trainers Association. Other sports that Lim participated in were tennis and swimming. He also revealed a love of travelling. His family's holidays around the world were often reported in Singapore newspapers.
Lim passed away in 1956 at the age of 52. Upon his passing , the government renamed Westhill Estate, a former rubber estate, Chong Pang Village to mark Lim's long service in the Singapore Rural Board. Lim is buried in the Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery.
Chong Pang Village [Microfilm: NL1809]. (1957, July 18). The Straits Times, p.5.
Forget Yishun, just remember Nee Soon. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times. Retrieved on March 2, 2011, from NewspaperSG.
Liu, G. (1999). Singapore: A pictorial history 1819-2000 (pp. 174-175, 224-225). Singapore: Archipelago Press; National Heritage Board.
(Call no.: SING 959.57 LIU -[HIS])
Mainly about Malayans [Microfilm: NL2370]. (1939, June 11). The Straits Times, p.8.
Oral History Department. (1987). A pictorial history of Nee Soon Community (pp. 107, 121-179). Singapore: The Grassroots Organisations of Nee Soon Constituency, National Archives, Oral History Department.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 PIC)
Sequerah, P. (1995). Chong Pang Village. In B. S. A. Yeoh & L. Kong (Eds.), Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore (pp. 180-201). Singapore: Times Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR -[HIS])
Turf man dies His horses won 100 races [Microfilm: NL3739]. (1956, July 22). The Straits Times, p.11.
Two nominations for commission vacancy [Microfilm: NL4161]. (1940, July 25). The Straits Times, p.11.
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.