Like Robert Kuok Century ago Loke Yew was the Richest in British Malaya – Local Tour Guide
Hi Guys, this is Johnson for JohnsonMalaysia.com – i guided a corporate group for feeding the poor at Medan Tuanku 2 charity program. Whiles there I had an opportunity to a photograph “The Loke Mansion” night view it was splendid! As a Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Local tour Guide, I have guided Tourist on Bike tours to Loke Mansion and explain the legacy of this great man of Old British Malaya (Malaysia’s former name). I felt to share his legacy to you tourist / visitors on my JohnsonMalaysia.com site.
Just like the richest Malaysian today Robert Kuok (the sugar King), Loke Yew or his Sir Name was Wong which He dropped while he was in Singapore. If you ask me why? This maybe because he wanted to have good fortune, but some say that he does not want to have his Sir name but either story could be right. However, I’m not a historian, that I leave to the experts to decide.
As a tour guide my research found. Loke Yew was a crazy workaholic till his last days. One of Loke Yew’s wive found him teaching his estate worker how use hoe properly. At another time he was working in the rain. Unfortunately, he passed on due the same sickness that killed the first wave of tin mine immigrants that came to Kuala Lumpur in 1857, Malaria.
Loke Yew story started when he came to Singapore as a young teenage boy on a sail ship from South China and worked in a sundry shop. After working for about 4 years, he managed to accumulate experience and money about SD 99. Don’t ask me why 99 that is what was recorded by old writers just like Langkawi has 99 island (book a Perhentian Island tour https://johnsonmalaysia.com/pulau-perhentian-island-6-months-alive-and-6-months-hibernating-local-tour-guide/ )
He stated his own, sundry shop on Market street under the name of Tong Hing Loong or Prosperity in the East. Loong also means dragon or the number 80. Today, if you google there are companies using the similar name for the restaurants / mining companies / Hardware products with bits of twig on the word arrangement.
The hardworking man does not want to settle for small but always looking for greater opportunity. Greater opportunity comes with greater risk. The Perak Tin struggles for land between the Chinese and Malay Rulers did open for Loke Yew one of his early opportune. He was willing to take the risk of shipping goods for the soldiers in the struggle. Loke Yew, he was not familiar with Malaysian Tropical Rain forest / Jungle (https://johnsonmalaysia.com/amazing-race-in-tropical-rain-forest/) but the solution is to find someone who knows well, with low cost but Who? Mmmm, Just like how James Brook or commonly known as Raja Brook used the Dayak (head hunters) of Sarawak (Borneo Island), Loke Yew offered to the orang Asli or the indigenous people in Peninsular Malaysia to supply food and good to the British soldiers (Sipoy). Fantastic!! idea being not well in formal academic he was a humanology graduate (Street smart ha ha).
Not always was bed of rose for Loke Yew there were many thorns too. His investment in tin mine when so bad he lost heavily. He was about bankrupt, but perseverance and hardship have thought Loke Yew a great lesson of sympathy in later years. He became a philanthropist want to give back to community.
Like in Chinese or non-Chinese also say “ong mali” – luck coming Loke Yew strike luck at Perak. Later he became the owner of many rubber estate’s, tin mine, Smelting and engineering, not for getting a good friend the State surgeon Dr. Travers who built the world best Leprosy hospital at his time, steam ship company and many many more.
The prestigious, Victoria institution which gave birth to modern Malaya think tanks. The school became the early foundation of Malaysian education contributors. The King of England gave Meddle of CMG (Order of Saint Michael and Saint George) to Loke Yew. Even today there is a hall in Hong Kong University with Loke Yew’s name for his generous contribution. Chan She Shu Yuen ancestral Hall with his good friend Chan Show Lin the father of modern industry work together in the contributing to people https://johnsonmalaysia.com/chan-she-shu-yuen-ancestral-clan-house-china-town-tour/
The 2 Lokes
The Photo I took shows Loke Mansion, some people get confused with Loke house at Jalan Tangis which original built by Loke Chow Kit. By CHRIST mercy, I will tell about him another day, for now let look at Loke Mansion. A wonderful Neo classic eclectic house it is a combination of Malay, Chinese, Dutch architecture, The entrance welcomes in Moon gate similar you find in Penang Botanical garden. The couple lion and lioness had its figure eroded by time at the entrance to welcome the guest.
Thank GOD Cheang & Ariff law firm gave a new breath for this decaying building before 2006 made restoration. Any historian will know it is not an easy job to restore lime plaster with load bearing bricks, old intricate design. You will need the experts to do it or it can be ruined. Thank you to Cheng and Ariff ‘s MD Doto‘ Loh Siew Cheng if he did not do something, don’t know what would happen. There could be eyes looking to do another Bok house number on this mansion.
We hope much that Loke mansion will stand to tell about the Legacy of the greatest man of British Malaya for many more years to come.
Across Loke Mansion a CSR join Project DBKL for miss fortune
Loke Mansion by night