Song Hoot Kiam

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Song Hoot Kiam (simplified Chinese: 宋佛俭; traditional Chinese: 宋佛儉; pinyin: Sòng Fó Jiǎn; 1830–1900) was a Singaporean community leader.

Early life[edit]

Song was born 1830 in Malacca, British Malaya.[1] His father was Song Eng Chong.[2] He attended an English educational institution, after following Christian missionary James Legge to England, alongside two of his Malaysian peers.[1] He also studied at Hong Kong's Anglo-Chinese College, taking up the Cantonese language as a subject.[3] He was a choir member at the Strait Chinese Church.[4]


After arriving back in Singapore, Song worked as a teacher for a short period of time,[5] before working as a cashier for much of his lifetime,[6] from 1853 to 1895.[5] He is cited as having "founded the oldest family of Straits Chinese Christians in Singapore",[7] as well as being the "first local Christian pioneer in Singapore".[8]

Personal life[edit]

Song had his first marriage some time after his return to Singapore,[9] though not to the girl his parents had chosen for him, for she was not of Christian faith.[5] His first spouse was Choon Neo (née Yeo),[9] an alumna of the Chinese Girls' School. He later wed Phan Fung Lean, a Thai Chinese, following the death of Yeo.[5] One of his children was author Song Ong Siang.[4] Song had fourteen children[5] and three marriages in total.[10] He was a Christian,[5] and could speak excellent English,[4][6] and could also converse well in the Malay language.[5]

Death and legacy[edit]

Song died in 1900, aged 70.[10] The Straits Chinese Magazine wrote that Song "was a specimen of the best type of the Chinese character", describing him as a "mighty rock to his large family".[5] Hoot Kiam Road, located near River Valley Road, is named after him.[7]


  1. ^ a b Song 1984, p. 76.
  2. ^ Smith, Carl (1995). A sense of history: studies in the social and urban history of Hong Kong. Hong Kong Educational. ISBN 978-962290313-5. 
  3. ^ Song 1984, p. 77.
  4. ^ a b c Chew, Phyllis Ghim-Liam (2012). A Sociolinguistic History of Early Identities in Singapore: From Colonialism to Nationalism. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 190–. ISBN 978-1-13701234-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Sng, Bobby Ewe Kong. "Song Hoot Kiam". Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "James Legge, Missionary and Scholar". Electric Scotland. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Lee, Kip Lin. "Hoot Kiam Road shophouses: general view". PicturesSG. 
  8. ^ "South East Asian woman ordained into Church of England". Anglican Church of Canada Continuing Education Plan. July 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Song 1984, p. 78.
  10. ^ a b "The Peranakan" (PDF). The Peranakan Association. January–March 1998. pp. 8–.