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Thread: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    My uncle has replied! No flames, please, this is from memory. He says:

    TO DREAM MEARCHANT (My dad and your dad are cousins!)
    Of course I know A_____, one of our cousins. He was a Health Inspector, and we met quite often in the 1960s - 1970s, at the Dept. of Chemistry. Also I remembered H____ too, and their mother which i addressed as "the 8th Aunty". When there was any function at 26, Dublin Road, we usually met.

    TO KELTZAR (not sure how we are related)
    As whether he (sorry i still did not have his name yet) is from Lee Shiu Loon @ Yin Funn family branch, i am not too sure, because i do not have an 8th Aunty. When we say "Yong Fong" branch can be quite misleading. Because Tat Loon & Tit Loon also had shares in "Yong Fong Studio" or "Tin Seng Studio" earlier. I remembered visiting my 8th Aunty at Kee Sun Av. I also remembered that she had blue tinted eyes. Most likely she is the sister or cousin of Lee King Yan (Lee Tit Loon or Tat Loon descendants). If he needs to know more, then Marjorie Lee (Mrs Lau) daughter of Lee King Yan, may know better. Anyway who is the other. Like to hear from him too.

    ==============================

    The plot thickens....

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    hi,
    Very likely we are third cousins, or you might be a "third uncle" if you're a generation ahead.

    Assuming Gretchen's book is correct, Yin Fun and Sou Yan+King Yan would be cousins.
    Being two generations down, that would make us third-cousins.

    On a related note, is there a David Lee from the "Eastern" branch somewhere in your extended family?
    Last edited by Keltzar; 7th January 2008 at 12:03 AM.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltzar View Post
    Based on Gretchen's book, the Lee Brother's studio would have been in two locations. From the mid-1930s, it would have been on Hill Street approximately the physical location between Cathay Photo at Peninsula and the Grand Plaza hotel is today
    I heard yesterday that it was near Loke Yew Steet, and what surprised me, my brother-in-law who married my eldest sister is his grandson who started the bank (since sold to Malayan Banking, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loke_Yew). Seems that there is history on my sister's side also.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    ================
    From Keltzar:

    Can your uncle clarify something for me...?
    I noticed that "Tin seng" has been mentioned at some points in gretchen's literature and "Tien Seng" in others... is this a preceding name to Yong Fong, or is this another name for "Tien Seng", which is a name I more easily find in public records?

    Who is "the other" your uncle is referring to?

    re: Yong Fong ... I have a copy of a Dec.1935 Straits Time orbituary for Yong Fong. Perhaps King Yan/Poh Yan did have a share earlier but by the time of Yin Fun's death, he is named as the sole proprietor in the ST article.

    I have been meaning to go to the national archives to pick up a copy of a 1932 Wah Heng filing at the registrar of companies. Apparantly it holds good information as to the cross share holdings.

    Have you managed to clarify which branch you come from?

    ============================

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Time for a Wikipedia entry....

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    yah, I have been toying with a wikipedia entry for a long time... just never got to it. And sometimes I think its more my own enthusiasm than most people else really being interested... but if you start the page I will help out.

    I figure what is required is some sort of focal point that distant clan members can gather around... which will help to connect interested people.

    According to Gretchen's book, the original address is around Loke Yew street, but after that area was acquired for re-development, they moved to the location I mentioned (hence I made specific reference to this as being "later"). I have acquired commercial Lee Brothers work some with the earlier address and some with the later.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltzar View Post
    but if you start the page I will help out.

    According to Gretchen's book, the original address is around Loke Yew street
    Yes, I'm quite jealous that Loke Yew has an entry! And he is my brother-in-law's grandfather!

    Definitely, my brother has started to be interested and I'm sure I can gather quite considerable resources to help .

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    You may also know this, but at least some members of the extended family used to stay at the apartments on loke yew street ...
    Last edited by Keltzar; 7th January 2008 at 09:12 PM.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    My grandfather was Keltzar's grandfather's brother! Our grandfathers were brothers! Another mystery solved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacker View Post
    My uncle has replied! No flames, please, this is from memory. He says:

    TO KELTZAR (not sure how we are related)
    As whether he (sorry i still did not have his name yet) is from Lee Shiu Loon @ Yin Funn family branch, i am not too sure, because i do not have an 8th Aunty. When we say "Yong Fong" branch can be quite misleading. Because Tat Loon & Tit Loon also had shares in "Yong Fong Studio" or "Tin Seng Studio" earlier. I remembered visiting my 8th Aunty at Kee Sun Av. I also remembered that she had blue tinted eyes. Most likely she is the sister or cousin of Lee King Yan (Lee Tit Loon or Tat Loon descendants). If he needs to know more, then Marjorie Lee (Mrs Lau) daughter of Lee King Yan, may know better. Anyway who is the other. Like to hear from him too.

    ==============================

    The plot thickens....

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    ... yes
    Based on a back-of-envelope calculation I did some time back, between the 3 brothers Tit Loon, Tat Loon and Shui Loon ... there are probably between 500-1000 related family members in Singapore today. And I'm sure most people don't know because the heritage has been forgotten after so long.

    I have an outstanding appointment with the National Museum to view the original signboard of Yong Fong studio which my aunt donated 30 years ago.

    Their curator would like more information about Yong Fong, as they already know about Lee Brothers. Are you keen to go? Is your uncle interested in talking to them?

    BTW, the building of the original yong fong studio still stands. It is an award-winning conservation building today. It was apparantly the first 3-story on South Bridge Road, and faces Mosque Street. It was built by Yin Fun.
    Last edited by Keltzar; 8th January 2008 at 12:04 PM.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltzar View Post
    ... yes
    Based on a back-of-envelope calculation I did some time back, between the 3 brothers Tit Loon, Tat Loon and Shui Loon ... there are probably between 500-1000 related family members in Singapore today. And I'm sure most people don't know because the heritage has been forgotten after so long. BTW, the building of the original yong fong studio still stands. It is an award-winning conservation building today. It was apparantly the first 3-story on South Bridge Road, and faces Mosque Street. It was built by Yin Fun.
    More and more nuggets of history and achivements. Good also that everyone is on first name basis now.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Hmm... I noticed that you are an RF fan. I was re-reading Gretchen's book last night and it was Leica's RF camera that kinda killed the family business... :X

    Just as a point of reference (and interest to others reading this thread), my uncle once told me that the cost price of the materials to for one sitting to a photographer in those days is equivalent to S$650 today... hence you can see just how affordable it is to do a sitting these days and why 35mm killed the business.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    More from the saga:

    ==========START==========

    Possible error on page 9 of the ”From the Family Album”:

    1. Lee Yin Funn is stated as the eldest son of Lee Tat Loon. Lee Yin Funn and Lee Sui Loon is the same person. He preferred to use his schooling name Lee Yin Funn until his death. Also the sons of Lee Tit Loon, Lee King Yan and Poh Yan called Lee Yin Funn the “Third Uncle”. Also the sons of Lee Yin Funn (Tan Seong, Tan Whye, ……….) called Lee King Yan their cousins.

    2. Yong Fong Studio was at 227 South Bridge Road.My mother Leong Siew Laan used to tell me that she watched the Indian Fire Walking ceremony held at the Sri Mariamman Temple which is across the South Bridge Road from the roof terrace of Yong Fong Studio. Lee Yin Funn family resident was at 90/92 Neil Road. Its name was “Song Lai “.Please note that these are not the mistakes of the author Gretchen Liu. It is because she could not get the help that she wanted from the Lee Yin Funn descendants. Actually she contacted me sometime in 1990 for information about Yin Funn, my GrandFather. I told her at that time that I’m very sorry I couldn’t help her, because I was born after my GrandFather died, so any information that I can tell her would be Hearsay. But I gave her a lead that she could contact some of my older cousins. Anyway I did not hear from her again. Disappointed maybe?

    ===========END===========

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltzar View Post
    Hmm... I noticed that you are an RF fan. I was re-reading Gretchen's book last night and it was Leica's RF camera that kinda killed the family business... :X

    Just as a point of reference (and interest to others reading this thread), my uncle once told me that the cost price of the materials to for one sitting to a photographer in those days is equivalent to S$650 today... hence you can see just how affordable it is to do a sitting these days and why 35mm killed the business.
    Not by choice, but a pleasant switch anyway. SLR killed my elbow. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) is a really sad thing to have: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00068

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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    ouch. Sorry to hear.
    As mentioned previously, your uncle and I will be visiting the Museum's warehouse to take a look at the old signboard of the studio which is now in their collection, as well as some other furniture from 'Song Lai' this week.
    Sorry you can't join us.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    How did the visit go? Sorry I could not make it. Anyway, the publisher of the book has contacted me, and can put Lee Poh Yan's son, Francis, in touch.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Just saw your posting ... ! I should subscribe to the thread I think.

    The visit was fascinating in many ways. The curator showed us photos so old, incl. one where the studio name was spelt differently and before the embossing was created... and represents the only studio logo I don't have in my collection.
    These photos were donated by my aunt in 1977 and the oldest one must date back to about 1899.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    Been a long time! How are you stephen?

    Coincidentally I found out one of the descendents of Lee Poh Yan is a colleague of mine.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    What interesting info. Stumbled upon this forum when I googled my grandfather's name - Lee Ying Keng. Will be finding out more details after I speak with my dad and relatives. Watch this space!

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Pioneers of Singapore Photography: Grand Old Man of Photography

    ... as in Dr Lee Ying Keng (1889-1992) ?

    That would mean your great grandfather was Lee Tat Loon.... and you are from the line of Lee Tat Loon in Gretchen's book (which by the way, contains one primary error - Lee Yin Fun was Tat Loon's brother, not son).

    Drop me a note! I have questions...

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