Seah Eu Chin


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Portrait of Seah Eu Chin (silver albumen print)
Courtesy of the National Museum of Singapore, National Heritage Board. (Catalog listing, alternative version)


Seah Eu Chin 佘有进 (1805-1883) is remembered today as the founder of the Ngee Ann Kongsi, which is the oldest Teochew Chinese community organization and charity in Singapore. He was responsible for much of the early development of gambier and pepper agriculture here; eventually, he and his family were also involved in revenue farming.

He appears in school books as one of Singapore’s early pioneers, whose rags-to-riches story is as much a morality tale as economic history. But how exactly did he make his fortune? His success was due to more than just good business sense and hard work. Business did not exist in isolation from other spheres of activity; it was shaped and motivated in many ways by kinship and other social relationships.

This biography explores Eu Chin’s rise to prominence in the context of the fledgling economy of 19th century Singapore, and how politics, family, and social class were important in his ascent. It was not straightforward, and good fortune was on his side on more than one occasion. Finally, we shall consider his legacy and what his story means for Singapore’s national history.


佘有进(1805-1883)是十九世纪新加坡潮州华侨的早期领袖之一。他与其他姓氏的潮侨领袖在1830年成立了义安群(1845年之后的义安公司)。 他也开辟了本地的甘密农业,被称为新加坡的“甘密王”。佘有进是怎么白手起家的呢?这篇传记于新加坡十九世纪的经济和社会历史为背景,来调查佘有进的故事,以显示他成就的因素,和给予后代的遗产。



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Background information and short digressions are included as short infoboxes in the text.


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Original content and web presentation Copyright (c) 2007-2016 Brandon Seah