Friday, July 2, 2010


"Chew Joo Chiat came to be known as the undisputed King of  Katong in the 1930s" said Chew's grandson Lee Beow Guan in the book JOO CHIAT a living legacy. The book was published in 2001 by the Joo Chiat Consultative Committee in association with the National Archives of Singapore.

The National Library of Singapore used the title The King of Katong in a poster to advertise my talk there on 30 August 2008. The topic of my talk was 'how I traced my family history' and not on the King of Katong in particular. The next organisation to use the phrase 'King of Katong' was the Joo Chiat Grassroots Organisations in its 5th issue Apr-Jun 2010 quarterly newsletters to Joo Chiat Constituency residents. Copy of the newsletter is shown below.


As Chew's great grandson, I am very proud of him being known as the King Katong. But my intuition told me it could not be true. I am a very close member of Chew's family and I have not heard of it mentioned by my parents or grand parents when they were still alive. In the case of how Joo Chiat Road got its name, the matter was talked about from one generation to another. My grand son was so proud of his heritage that he told his teacher about it. My conscience was pricking me without probing the matter further. Finally I decided to investigate and went to the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library to do my research. I browse throught the micro films, books and publications of Joo Chiat. The result was zero. Therefore, Chew Joo Chiat became the undisputed King of Katong was not substantiated.

Below are some of the articles about Chew Joo Chiat and the roads named after him, but there was no mention that he was known as the King of Katong.



My purpose of this post is tell the true story of Chew Joo Chiat. I noticed some websites still state that Chew Joo Chiat was a wealthy Peranakan land owner when he was a Chinaman.