Oei Tiong Ham Park is located off Holland Road and situated in the ‘core’ GCB cluster, bordered by 9 GCB Areas including Queen Astrid Park, Leedon Park and Ford Avenue. This GCBA also includes houses along Jalan Sampurna. Some of the GCBs at Oei Tiong Ham Park are within walking distance to Holland Village MRT.
This is the only GCBA to be named after an Asian man with Eng Neo Avenue being the only GCBA to be named after an Asian woman. For those in the know, Oei Tiong Ham was a legend and visionary. At the point of his death in 1924, this Indonesian Chinese was said to be the richest man in Southeast Asia, triumphing contemporaries such as Eu Tong Sen, Tan Kah Kee, Loke Yew and Lim Peng Siang. Oei Tiong Ham controlled much of the global sugar market through his firm Oei Tiong Ham Concern (OTHC) which had branches in Amsterdam, Bangkok, London, Singapore and New York. Besides sugar, OTHC was also involved in opium, shipping, banking and property development before being forced to nationalise by the Indonesian government in 1961.
Make no mistake, Oei Tiong Ham grew the company rapidly but he did come from wealth. His father, Oei Tjie Sien founded Kian Gwan, a commodities trading company which prospered in the 1870s. However, one should not discredit the business acumen of Oei Tiong Ham for it is said that their management styles were worlds apart – the elder Oei espoused traditional Chinese-styled management while the young Oei embraced western ideologies. He snipped off his queue (pigtail hair) in an unprecedented move, embraced legal contracts (over gentlemen’s agreements)and employed professional management (Dutch university graduates, engineers etc) instead of hiring solely from the family.
Alas, succession did prove to be an issue following his untimely death in 1924. While he was still traditional in the sense that he excluded daughters from his inheritance, many of his sons who had joined OTHC’s management proved to be less than able to lead the company through the next chapter. Combined with a shift in political climate under Sukarno’s leadership, which saw a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment and OTHC being regarded as a symbol of Dutch colonialism, OTHC had its Indonesian assets nationalised and overseas subsidiaries significantly downsized over the years. There are still surviving entities, such as Kian Gwan Engineering Pte Ltd in Singapore and Kian Gwan Commercial in Thailand but I would not blame you if you have never quite heard of them.
This is one of the smaller GCBAs but also one of my favourites. I find the houses here rather homely and cosy, though I’m not if they are ironic descriptions of some of the largest homes in Singapore. That said, most of the GCBs here are on the smaller side, as highlighted by the recent transactions below.
Mar 2022: $22.8mil – 10,933 sqft ($2085psf)
Dec 2021: $17mil – 13,611 sqft ($1249psf)
Aug 2021: $18mil – 10,314 sqft ($1745psf)
Jul 2020: $15mil – 13,227 sqft ($1134psf)
May 2020: $16.2mil – 10,061sqft ($1610 psf)
Feb 2020: $19.5mil – 15,217 sqft ($1281psf)
Interestingly, there are also apartments within this GCBA. One is a small 6-unit walk-up apartment (Villaea Vista) within this GCBA at 31 Oei Tiong Ham Park completed in 1959 and while there is much newer 9-unit apartment (Oei Tiong Ham Residences) at 29 Oei TIong Ham Park completed in 2013. This is being held entirely by private investment firm Wywy Group founded by Dr Wong Yip Yan and put up for sale at $100mil in 2021.
Other famous owners / occupants in this GCBA are said to have included Chairman of Allgreen Properties and niece of Robert Kuok, Kuok Oon Kwong, Chairman of CWT Logistics, Loi Kai Meng and senior / board members of Asti Holdings and Altus Logistics.