Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tan Kim Tian

Kim Tian Road is a street located within the Tiong Bahru Estate.

The buildings along this road are much taller and newer than those found in historic part of Tiong Bahru Estate.

This road is named after Tan Kim Tian.

Tan Kim Tian was born in Malacca and received little formal education when he was young.

He came to Singapore from Malacca in 1847 and joined Paterson Simons & Co as a storekeeper when he was a small boy.

Tan Kim Tian was quick to take advantage of the good times as Singapore was enjoying very good economic growth as her entrepot trade benefitted greatly from the advances made in steam ship technology as well as the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

Tan Kim Tian learned and mastered the role of a comprador and head storekeeper in Paterson Simons & Co through sheer determination and diligence.

He also taught himself how to read and write English as well as acquired knowledge in costal shipping.

In 1871, he and his son, Tan Beng Wan, set up Tan Kim Tian and Son Steamship Company, the first local Chinese company to build and purchase steamships.

Tan Kim Tian was also the 1st president of the
Tan Si Chong Su temple.

The temple is also known as Po Chiak Keng (保赤宫) as well as Tan Seng Haw, and was constructed between 1876 and 1878. It was built as the ancestral temple of the Tan clan, in the Chinese belief that people with the same surname share a common ancestry.

By the turn of the century, the Tan family was one of the most well known families in Singapore.

Note: Another road bearing Mr Tan’s name, Kim Tian Place, was officially named in 1968.

Source :
Living hell By Chor Boon Goh & Wikipedia


rodneytan said...

Tan Kim Tian was born in China. Not in Malacca. He was my great grand father. Kindly correct the error.

Anonymous said...

Rodney, Tan Cheng Siang (TCS) is my great grandfather and the grandson of Tan Kim Tian (TKT). I'd like to find out more of our family--can you email me at

Anonymous said...

Rodney, Tan Cheng Siang (TCS) is my great grandfather and the grandson of Tan Kim Tian (TKT). Could you email me at, I'd like to learn more of our family.

David Neo

Deity Exmachina said...

Kim Tian? As far as I know there's a lot of development and upcoming residential building there which is Anyway, who's who between the 2 of you? so both of you are his great grand child?