Home/People, Yuan #159, Yuan Magazine/Seah Liang Seah – King of the Streets

Seah Liang Seah –
King of the Streets

Author: Nyonya Linda Chee


Four generations ago, life was much dazzle and spectacle with the Seah brothers, Liang Seah and Peck Seah. They were, as researched by descendant Shawn Seah, “incredibly wealthy business people who lived at Orchard Road and Boat Quay, in beautiful houses surrounded by flowers.”

Shawn, 34, is the great-great grandnephew of Seah Liang Seah, a cofounder and vice-president of the Straits Chinese British Association (SCBA), and the great-great-grandson of Seah Peck Seah, the SCBA honorary treasurer.

Upon Liang Seah’s death, he reportedly left behind real estate consisting of 87 acres of land in Serangoon Road; 84 acres of rubber land at Thomson Road; seven houses in North Bridge Road; two houses on North Boat Quay; one house in River Valley Road; his sons’ properties consisting of 230 acres of land off East Coast Road all the way to Bedok; and other lands scattered throughout Singapore.

The Seah family played such prominent roles in Singapore society that many streets were named after them: Seah Street, Liang Seah Street, Peck Seah Street and Eu Chin Street, named after their father, Seah Eu Chin. This was a fact that fascinated Shawn since he was young.

Mr Seah Eng Kwang’s home, Seah Eng Kwang was one of Seah Peck Seah’s sons

Mr Seah Eng Kwang’s home at Orchard Road. Shared by Shawn Seah; courtesy of the Seah family

“My father, Simon, would occasionally talk with much passion about the prominent pioneers we were descended from. This inspired me to find out more about them.” His aunt Florence also regaled him with stories about the famous Seah brothers. Shawn was intrigued by, as he describes, Liang Seah’s “most unusual will” after he passed on in 1925. It stipulated that his estate could only be distributed 21 years after the death of King George V’s last surviving child. In 1996, 71 years after his death, Liang Seah’s estate with a value of about $13 million was finally distributed.

Shawn’s curiosity about his forefathers led to a decade of research in earnest. “I found out most of the significant and comprehensive details on my own.” These uncovered facets of a lavish, extravagant lifestyle.

Both brothers were Anglophiles and loved parties. Shawn discovered Liang Seah to be “a colourful character who was a consummate diplomat.” Bilingual in English and Chinese, he organised many “prominent and well-attended wedding parties” (as he had six sons and six daughters from three wives) where bands and wayang Peranakan entertainment were standard fare. The ostentatious display seemed never-ending. Seah Liang Seah hosted royalty in his magnificent home called Bendemeer House. It had a huge ballroom, a four-storey tower and sweeping grounds. Shawn elaborated: “He would have driving competitions, miniature rifle-shooting, and guessing games with one person whistling a tune with a biscuit in his mouth while his hapless teammates would be trying to figure out what the tune was. He also sported clock golf, croquet, driving competitions and even a merry-go-round once!”

Notwithstanding his vast wealth, the St Joseph’s Institution alumnus was far from being a feckless degenerate. He was a high-ranking community leader who was well respected by both the British and Chinese. He gave generously to charitable causes.

Inspired by his forefathers, Shawn has published three local history books since 2017. These are titled, Seah Eu Chin: His Life and Times; Leader and Legislator: Seah Liang Seah; and My Father’s Kampung: A History of Aukang and Punggol, published in 2020.

The Seahs meet at a Singapore Seah Clan Association, of which he is an Executive Committee member and also the head of their youth group, or qing nian tuan. The Association has an annual gathering. There is also an active Facebook group online called Seah Eu Chin Descendants. “I love this online group, because I am able to communicate with many people who are interested in searching for their roots.”

“I have gathered digitally along with many members of my extended family. Through these offline and online activities, I am constantly reminded that I have a family and it helps me remember my roots: Where I came from, and who I am,” says Shawn on a thankful note.

(Source: Linda Chee, Seah Liang Seah, King of the Streets,  THE PERANAKAN Magazine Year 2020 Issue 2)




在佘连城去世时,他留下的庞大地产包括在实龙岗路(Serangoon Road)87英亩的土地、汤申路(Thomson Road)占地84英亩的橡胶园、桥北路(North Bridge Road)的七栋房产、驳船码头北(North Boat Quay)的两栋房产以及里峇峇利路(River Valley Road)的一栋房产。他儿子的财产包括从东海岸路(East Coast Road)一直到勿洛(Bedok)的230英亩土地;以及分散在新加坡各地的其他地产。

佘氏家族因为在新加坡社会扮演了如此杰出的角色,后人们为了铭记他们的贡献而以这个家族的著名人物命名了本地的许多街道:佘街(Seah Street)、连城街(Liang Seah Street)、柏城街(Peck Seah Street)和以佘氏兄弟的父亲——“甘蜜大王”佘有进命名的有进街(Eu Chin Street)。这都是从小就让峇峇佘立松感到好奇的事。







佘家在新加坡佘氏公会聚会,而峇峇佘立松便是该公会的执行委员会成员,也是其青年团的负责人。该公会也有年度聚会,并在线上有个活跃的脸书群组,名为佘有进后裔(Seah Eu Chin Descendants)。“我喜欢这个线上群组,因为我能跟诸多对追溯根源有兴趣的人们交流。”


Home/People, Yuan #159, Yuan Magazine/Seah Liang Seah – King of the Streets