He was born in 1875 in Swatow, South China. He was a Teowchew. Hardworking, and intelligent with the rare gift of vision and a sound belief that life is full of opportunities, he had a great urge to get away from China and seek his fortune in the wide world. He had to choose a country where opportunities were abundant. With courage, confidence, foresight and a great belief in himself he left China in 1914 with his family and came to Penang. Penang was one of the three Straits Settlements under British rule along with Malacca and Singapore.
It was in Penang that his first vision was realized. He was the pioneer of the horse and carriage business and thereafter his company Chin Seng & Co. was born. Subsequenthly Chin Seng was the first importer of motor cars in Penang. When the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward the Eighth, visited Penang, our grandfather took the Prince ceremonially sightseeing in his car.
He was an entrepreneur and from cars he expanded his vision to rubber planting. He developed rubber estates: Napoh Estate and Chang Loon in Jitra, near the Thai border. He amassed land in Transfer Road and Kelawai Road and also a substantial plot of land stretching from Gurney beach to Kelawai Road and part of Burmah Road. He built residential properties at Phuah Hin Leong and retail outlets in Pulau Tikus and also at Trusan Road. In 1928 he built houses which are now Heritage houses in Bangkok Lane and it was his aspiration that the houses would be for his descendants. True to his dream some of us are living there today or have a house to cherish his memory. In 1935 he donated 22.5 acres of land in Sungai Dua for the Jubilee Home in honour of the anniversary of the coronation of King George V. He wanted to give 50 acres but it was considered too large a plot to handle at that time. He gave alms to various charities, the Buddhist association at Anson Road was one of them and also at Beow Hong Lim temple near the foot hill of Ayer Itam. There are a hundred and thirty one units of residential and commercial properties which are rented out or lived in at Bangkok Lane by his descendants.
He was decorous in manner and conduct and though Bangkok Lane could be named after him, it seemed he would rather remain anonymous and let Bangkok Lane be a historical name.
He was a philanthropist and in his lifetime helped finance the poor, young entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in business. He was awarded the very rare and highly honoured title, in those days, Justice of the Peace.
A great man of honour and integrity, he died on 25 March 1941, never suspecting that within a few months the Japanese would overrun his beloved Penang.