Seah Song Seah (佘松城; She Songcheng; 1857, Singapore–1910s, China) was a Straits-born Chinese Teochew merchant. He was the third son of pioneer businessman Seah Eu Chin (佘有进), who arrived in Singapore in 1823. Seah was educated at St Joseph’s Institution.
Besides owning gambier and pepper plantations, Seah was also a chief partner of the syndicate that operated opium and spirit farms in Singapore, Johor and Melaka. Beyond his business interests, Seah was keen on horticulture, being a regular exhibitor at the annual Flower Show during the late 19th century. His plants and flowers often garnered awards. Seah was also a long-time member of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and the Singapore Sporting Club, as well as an honorary member of the Singapore Volunteer Infantry.
In 1896, Seah’s two-storey house on River Valley Road was completed. Besides this townhouse, he also had a country house on Thomson Road, which has been demolished. The River Valley Road residence is a traditional Chinese house with some European elements. It is now part of the premises of the Nanyang Sacred Union (南洋圣教总会), a Chinese religious organisation.
Selected books on Seah Song Seah
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, pp. 105–106.
Call no.: RSING 959.570092 WHO-[HIS].
The book contains the biographies of 1,175 Chinese personalities in Singapore, covering the period from 1819 to 1990. Each biography contains the birth and death dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Seah Song Seah’s biography is also included.
Lee, K. L. (2015). Singapore house, 1819–1942. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 76, 80, 82–83, 127–128, 195.
Call no.: RSING 728.095957 LEE
In this title, there is a detailed description of Seah’s residence on River Valley Road, and includes the building plans and photographs of the house.
Seah, S. (2017). Seah Eu Chin: His life and times. Singapore: Shawn Seah, pp. 103–104.
Call no.: RSING 338.092 SEA
A brief biography is included in this title.
Wright, A., & Cartwright, H. A. (Eds.). (1908). Twentieth century impressions of British Malaya: Its history, people, commerce, industries and resources. London: Lloyd’s Greater Britain Publishing Co., Ltd., pp. 635–636.
There is a brief biography of Seah in this title, which includes his membership in various organisations and a portrait of Seah, as well as photographs of his two homes.
Selected newspaper articles on Seah Song Seah
[Untitled]. (1892, February 10). Straits Times Weekly Issue, p. 79. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Despite appeals from Chinese taxpayers, Seah “definitely declined” to be nominated as a municipal commissioner.
Auction sale. (1933, June 14). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a report of an auction sale of Seah’s properties including four shophouses along Purvis Street.
Sales by auction. (1912, April 13). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a notice of auction of Seah’s 10,000-acre Bukit Kepong estate in Muar, Johor, following his death.
Singapore annual Flower Show. (1887, April 18). Straits Times Weekly Issue, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article describes Seah’s involvement in the Flower Show, and the prizes won in that year’s exhibition.
Singapore Flower Show, 1886. (1886, June 24). Straits Times Weekly Issue, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Seah’s exhibition in the year’s Flower Show is described to have garnered the “lion’s share of admiration”.
The municipal election. (1891, December 8). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Weekly), p. 351. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Seah is mentioned during the municipal commissioners’ meeting that he and his brother, Seah Liang Seah, were not keen to be nominated to take up a recently vacated municipal commissioner seat.
The revenue farms. (1897, August 6). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a report of Seah winning the tender for operating the revenue-farming syndicate.
Selected photographs on Seah Song Seah
- Lee, K. L. (1972). [Various]. Retrieved from PictureSG.
Included are photographs of Seah’s former house on River Valley Road, now housing the Nanyang Sacred Union.