Chew Joo Chiat (周如切; 1857–1926), also known as the “King of Katong”, owned several parcels of land in the Joo Chiat and Katong districts. In the 19th century, land prices in these districts had been cheap as the areas were undeveloped. After World War I, more people bought land in Joo Chiat and Katong and developed them into coconut plantations. Land prices soared after the nearby Geylang area became a business district. During this time, Chew sold off his land and made a fortune. For his contributions to the local community, several places were eventually named after him, such as Joo Chiat Road, Joo Chiat Street, Joo Chiat Avenue, Joo Chiat Place, Joo Chiat Terrace, Joo Chiat Lane and the Joo Chiat district itself. It was recorded that Chew had donated $100 when the Tou Mu Temple was built. He passed away in February 1926.
Selected books on Chew Joo Chiat
Chew, P. (2017). A penniless boy, Chew Joo Chiat. Singapore: Ethos Books.
Call no.: RSING 959.5703092 CHE
Through family history research conducted by Philip Chew, Chew Joo Chiat’s great-grandson, this book recounts the rags-to-riches story of Chew Joo Chiat, from a penniless boy who arrived in Singapore seeking his fortune to becoming a successful businessman. It also clarifies inaccurate published information about Chew Joo Chiat and his descendants.
Kong, L. and Chang, T. C. (2001). Joo Chiat: A living legacy. Singapore: Joo Chiat Citizens’ Consultative Committee in association with National Archives of Singapore, pp. 39 – 42.
Call no.: RSING 959.57 KON -[HIS].
Covering the history of the Joo Chiat district from its beginnings in the early 19th century to the 1990s, this book also includes a section on Chew Joo Chiat and his connection with the district.
柯木林. (主编). [Ke, M. L. (Ed.).] (1995). 新华历史人物列传 [Who’s who in the Chinese community of Singapore]. 新加坡: 教育出版公司, p. 140.
Call no.: RSING 959.570092 WHO-[HIS].
This book presents the biographies of 1,175 Chinese personalities in Singapore from 1819 to 1990. Each biography contains birth and death dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Chew Joo Chiat’s biography is also included.
方百成, 杜南发. (编委主任). [Fang, B. C. and Du, N. F. (Ed.)]. (2012). 世界福建名人录, 新加坡编. [Prominent figures of the world Fujian communities: Singapore]. 新加坡: 新加坡福建会馆, pp. 150 – 151.
Call no.: RSING 920.05957 PRO
This book features the biographies of 155 Chinese Hokkien personalities in Singapore from 1819 to 2012. Chew Joo Chiat’s biography is also included, with details on his business ventures.
庄钦永, 徐正光. (主编). [Zhuang, Q. Y. and Xu, Z. F. (Eds).]. (1998). 民族学研究所资料汇编12：马六甲、新加坡华文碑文辑录 [Field Materials Institute of Ethnology no. 12: A compilation of stele inscriptions found in Malacca and Singapore]. 台北 : 中央研究院民族学研究所, pp.136 – 137.
Call no.: RSING 929.509595 ZQY
This issue features a compilation of stele inscriptions found by the authors in temples and cemeteries in Malacca and Singapore. The inscriptions on Chew Joo Chiat’s tombstone, in particular, indicate that he was from Ho San, Xiamen, China.
Selected articles on Chew Joo Chiat
- Chua, A. (2012). Joo Chiat. Retrieved from Infopedia.
From its pre-war days to its recent developments, this article describes the history of the Joo Chiat district with a section on Chew Joo Chiat.
Selected newspaper articles on Chew Joo Chiat
如切与坤成. (1984, July 22). 联合早报 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article introduces Chew Joo Chiat and how he came to be known as the “King of Katong” and his connection with Joo Chiat Road.
[Untitled]. (1926, February 11). 南洋商报 [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
An obituary of Chew Joo Chiat in Chinese. Chew passed away on 5 February 1926 and was buried at Bukit Brown Cemetery.
[Untitled]. (1926, February 8). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
An obituary of Chew Joo Chiat in English. Chew passed away at his residence on 5 February 1926 and was the father of Chew Cheng Yam and Chew Cheng Swee.
[Untitled]. (1926, February 11). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
A short article on Chew Joo Chiat who passed away at his family residence at 246 Joo Chiat Road. Chew had come to Singapore penniless but ultimately left an estate – comprising land and property along Joo Chiat Road and in the East Coast district – estimated at a million dollars.
Joo Chiat: A Singapore name. (1948, October 8). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Written by Chew Ann Siong, Chew Joo Chiat’s grandson, this article describes the location of Chew Joo Chiat’s coconut plantation, and how Joo Chiat Road was named after him following his transference of the ownership of his privately built and maintained road to the government for free.
Selected oral history interviews on Chew Joo Chiat
Lim, J. (Interviewer). (1999, April 22). Oral history interview with Chew, Philip Peng Kia [Accession No. 002107, reels 1-4 of 7]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
In this interview, Philip Chew, Chew Joo Chiat’s great-grandson, speaks about his great-grandfather and extended family as well as describes the family house.