'Ancestral Home of Tun Tan Siew Sin' unveils family and Baba Nyonya history

'Ancestral Home of Tun Tan Siew Sin' unveils family and Baba Nyonya history
Tan Siok Choo (centre), co-author of ‘Ancestral Home of Tun Tan Siew Sin’, showing Sultan Sharafuddin two watercolour illustrations by Chin Kon Yit (right) depicted in the book.

KUALA LUMPUR - It has been described as a labour of love and it provides valuable insights into a notable 18th century house at No. 111, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock in Malacca.

Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah officially launched the Ancestral Home of Tun Tan Siew Sin at Concorde Hotel here yesterday.

The book, authored by Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock's granddaughter Tan Siok Choo and architect, the late Chen Voon Fee, a founding member of Badan Warisan Malaysia, also features watercolour illustrations by artist Chin Kon Yit.

"The book is truly a labour of love by the authors. It is well researched and the sketches of the house in the book are inspiring work of arts," said Sultan Sharafuddin.

"It brings to life the history, tradition and culture of Tun Tan Siew Sin's ancestors, who are closely linked to Malacca. It is therefore important that this house is not only physically preserved, but its oral traditions are presented in written form for the younger generation to learn more about the Baba Nyonya influence in Malacca history," he added.

Siok Choo, 63, said the launch date, May 21, was significant as it was her father's date of birth.

The former finance minister and MCA president would have turned 99 this year.

"I wrote the book to document the Tan family history and values my ancestors espoused, in the hope that my four nephews and niece will treasure the family history and continue to uphold the same familial values," said Siok Choo, chairman of United Malacca Berhad founded by Cheng Lock.

"The other reason I wrote this book was to showcase No. 111 as the ancestral home of the Tan family. Ancestral remembrance is a central tenet in Confucianism and a core value in the Tan family," said Siok Choo, who holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Bristol, Britain.

Proceeds from the books sold at the launch will go to two charities - the Rumah Amal Cahaya Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Selangor and the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College's Tun Tan Siew Sin loan fund.

Also present at the launch were Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, royal dignitaries and corporate figures.

The Tan ancestral home was bought by Tan Choon Bock, Cheng Lock's grandfather, in 1875. Choon Bock was the grandson of Tan Hay Kwan, the first ancestor to arrive in Malacca between 1771 and 1775.

Cheng Lock was one of the key players in Malaysia's journey towards independence and founder of MCA.

His only son, Siew Sin, was MCA president from 1961 to 1974 and the country's longest serving finance minister from 1959 to 1974.

For a more in-depth story on No. 111, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, look out for the articles in Star2 and Star2.com this Sunday.

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