Teo Eng Hock (张永福; 1872﹘1959) was a revolutionist, with ancestral roots in Raoping County in Guangdong province, China. He invested in rubber plantations during the early days and established a rubber shoe factory. His domination of the rubber shoe industry, along with Tan Kah Kee, in the early 20th century, provided him with the finances to support his revolutionary activities.
During the late Qing Period, Teo supported the reformists and was a member of the Chinese Philomatic Society. He became a revolutionist and later supported Sun Yat Sen and his revolutionary activities. Together with Tan Chor Lam, Teo set up and was the editor of the newspaper Thoe Lam Jit Poh. The newspaper folded after two years due to financial issues. Despite this, Teo continued to share his revolutionary ideas through the Sin Chew Reading Room. His bungalow, Wan Qing Yuan, also served as the headquarters of the revolutionists.
In 19061, Sun Yat Sen established a Tongmenghui branch in Singapore with Teo as the deputy chairman. At the same time, Teo set up another newspaper, Union Times. However, control of the newspaper fell into other hands three months later, and the newspaper became an anti-revolution paper instead. Sun Yat Sen returned to Singapore from Japan in June 1906 to reorganise the Singapore branch and Teo became its chairman. In 1907, together with Tan Chor Lam and Lim Nee Soon, Teo again launched a newspaper, Chung Shing Yit Pao. He also established and headed the Tung Teh Reading Room that year.
After the establishment of the Republic of China, the Tongmenghui branch in Singapore became the Kuomintang branch in February 1912 with Teo as its honorary chairman. It was dissolved by the colonial government in 1926. In 1932, Teo returned to China and became involved in politics. He was appointed chief of the Central Bank in Swatow, mayor of the city and head of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau. However, he subsequently became unhappy with the collaboration between the Kuomintang and Communists, and supported Wang Ching Wei instead. Teo became a member of the Central Supervisory Committee under the Central Government set up by Wang with the support of the Japanese in 1939. After the war, Teo was arrested by the Kuomintang as a traitor. After his release, he returned to Singapore and became a trustee of Ngee Ann Kongsi, and lived a reclusive life. He passed away in Hong Kong.
Teo’s daughter, Teo Soon Kim was the first female lawyer to be called to the Singapore Bar, and his great-grandnephew, Teo Chee Hean, has been Singapore’s deputy prime minister since 2009.
Selected books on Teo Eng Hock
Suryadinata, L. (Ed.). (2012). Southeast Asian personalities of Chinese descent: A biographical dictionary. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asia, pp. 1155﹘1157.
Call no.: 959.004951 SOU
This is a dictionary of Chinese personalities, which includes Teo Eng Hock, who settled down across Southeast Asia.
Chen, M. H. (1967). The early Chinese newspapers of Singapore, 1881-1912. Singapore: University of Malaya Press, pp. 80, 83, 86.
Call no.: RSING 079.5702 CHE
The newspapers launched by Teo Eng Hock are featured in this book. A Chinese edition (2008) is also available.
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. 109.
Call no.: RSING 959.570092 WHO-[HIS].
This book contains the biographies of 1,175 Chinese personalities in Singapore, covering the period from 1819 to 1990. Each biography contains information on the birth and death dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Teo Eng Hock’s biography is also included.
刘常平 & 李可. [Liu, C. P. & Li, K.] (2011). 《风雨晚晴园: 不应忘却的辛亥革命勋臣张永福》 [The story of Wan Qing Yuan: Remembering the revolutionary hero Teo Eng Hock]. 北京: 中国文史出版社.
Call no.: RSING 951.08092 LCP
This book documents the life of Teo Eng Hock and his contributions to the 1911 revolution.
柯木林, 林孝胜 & 张清江. (主编). [Ke, M. L., Lin, X, S. & Zhang, Q. J. (Eds.).] (2015). 《新加坡华人通史》 [A general history of the Chinese in Singapore]. 新加坡: 新加坡宗乡会馆, p. 750.
Call no.: RSING 959.57004951 GEN
Appended to this book are the biographies of 50 selected prominent Chinese, including Teo Eng Hock, who contributed to the Singapore Chinese community in one way or another.
Selected works by Teo Eng Hock
张永福. [Zhang, Y. F.] (1933). 《南洋与创立民国》 [Nanyang and the founding of the Republic]. 上海：中华书局.
Call no.: RRARE 951.08 CYF
In his memoir, Teo Eng Hock published about a hundred letters and memos, along with receipts, documents and photographs that he collected during his involvement with the Tongmenhui. Teo also shares his experiences in establishing the Singapore branch of the Tongmenghui, and describes the involvement and sacrifices of the Nanyang Chinese in various uprisings in China. This book was reprinted by the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall in 2013.
Selected articles on Teo Eng Hock
张永福传. [A biography of Teo Eng Hock]. (1950). In 潘醒农. [Pan, X. N. (Ed.)] 《马来亚潮侨通鉴》 [The Teochews in Malaya]. 新加坡: 南岛出版社, p. 158.
Call no.: RCLOS 305.895105951 PXN
This book documents the history of the Teochew community in Malaya, including their heritage, culture, prominent personalities, professions and industries. A biography of Teo Eng Hock is included.
Ang, S. L. (2017). Singapore’s role on the Chinese revolution. In Singapore National Library Board. The rare materials collection: selections from the National Library, Singapore. Singapore: National Library Board, Singapore, pp. 74﹘75.
Call no.: RSING 016.95957 SIN-[LIB].
The book showcases materials from the Rare Materials collection held at the National Library, Singapore. It includes an article by Teo Eng Hock about the publication Nanyang and the Founding of the Republic (1933).
Selected newspaper articles on Teo Eng Hock
张永福土生土长的 辛亥革命先驱. (2011, October 6). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article documents the life of Teo Eng Hock, from his activities in Singapore and China to his passing in Hong Kong.
“发现与认识”晚晴园主人张永福. (2011, June 5). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article reports that Teo Eng Hock’s final resting place is at the Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong.
张永福后人聚首狮城. (2011, October 7). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a report on the gathering of Teo Eng Hock’s descendants, and includes their names and countries of residence.
晚晴园昔日主人 张永福. (2011, October 6). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Part of a series of articles based on interviews with Teo Eng Hock’s descendants, this article documents the family life and personal beliefs of Teo.
榜鹅故居的张永福后人. (2011, October 6). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Part of a series of articles based on interviews with Teo Eng Hock’s descendants, this article examines Teo’s family life in his later years.
孙中山设计第一面国旗 由张永福妻子亲手绣制. (2011, October 6). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Part of a series of articles based on interviews with Teo Eng Hock’s descendants, this article focuses on Teo’s revolutionary activities.
张永福女儿 是本地第一位女律师. (2011, October 6). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Part of a series of articles based on interviews with Teo Eng Hock’s descendants, this article highlights Teo’s views on women’s education.
张永福踪迹. (2010, October 24). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article features the buildings and organisations related to Teo Eng Hock and presents what stands in their places today.
Former Singapore “Rubber King” dies in Hong Kong. (1959, April 11). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a report of Teo Eng Hock’s passing in Hong Kong on 5 April 1959.
Rubber pioneer. (1937, October 15). Morning Tribune, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article announces that Teo Eng Hock, a former resident of Singapore, was a member of the Overseas Chinese Committee at Nanking. It also includes a short description of Teo.
Death of Mrs Teo Lee. (1933, January 3). Malaya Tribune, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a report of the passing of Mrs Teo Lee, Teo Eng Hock’s mother. It contains a write-up about Teo Eng Hock, including information about his business, revolutionary activities and involvement in Chinese politics.
Domestic occurrence death. (1932, December 24). Malaya Tribune, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
The article reports the passing of Mrs Teo Lee, Teo Eng Hock’s mother. It lists the names of extended family members related to Teo Eng Hock.
Selected oral history interviews on Teo Eng Hock
- Chew, D. (Interviewer). (1992, December 23). Oral history interview with Teo, Moh Tet [Accession No. 1392/02, reel 1 of 2]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
This is an interview with Teo Moh Tet, Teo Eng Hock’s daughter. In this interview, Teo recounts her father’s rubber business, his revolutionary activities and impressions of him as a father.
1 There are some disagreements regarding the year in which the Singapore branch of the Tongmenghui was established. Some put the year at 1905, while others at 1906. For a summary of the arguments, please see 空白的足迹（下篇） 星洲同盟会 到底何时成立？ (2011, October 6). 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.