Snapshots with Stories

45 – Jeweller Tan in Malang; part 2

Photo : Malang, the corner of Kayutangan and Semerustraat, 1935, Tiek Sen Photography.

The above photograph from 1935 by “Photographie Tiek Sien” illustrates a familiar view of Malang. This landmark has been photographed many times and was featured in many books on the city. The building on the left is the Jeweller Tan Siauw Khing’s, my grandfather’s shop. It was his third shop location. Commissioned by Tan Siauw Khing and designed by K. Bos, the building was con-structed in 1934 on the corner of Kayutangan (Riebeekstraat) and Semerustraat. Across the street is a “twin” building built by Han Thiau An, the owner of a sugar factory in Pasuruan. The city council demanded that the building be designed in symmetry and in the same white finish

45-foto-2-met-tekstPhoto : Land price of 30 guilders / m2 was a high price at the time


While the shop occupied the ground floor, the upper floor served as the family home. The new shop was opened with a festive ceremony on December 1, 1934. Business prospered until the war. After independence it was more difficult to run the business, and none of his four sons were willing to take over the business as they chose to work as engineers or lawyers after their studies in the Netherlands. Grandfather and grandmother sold the property in 1964 as they no longer felt safe in the new Indonesian Republic. They emigrated to the Netherlands in 1967, where all their sons and their eldest daughter were already settled.

I returned in Malang in 2011. The building still exists, and now houses the Commonwealth Bank. Downstairs is the reception area for customers, with offices upstairs.

It now has the status of an historical monument, which supports the preservation of its original fea-tures. This regulation could unfortunately no longer be applied to the twin building.

Tan Tiong Boen, February 2017


45-foto-4-met-tekstPhoto : Situation in 2011: an additional bedroom was built on the roof around 1955, as can be seen on the right side of the picture; the former open gallery on the upper floor is now closed.


45-foto-5-met-tekstPhoto : It was too late to obtain the status of historical monument for the twin building.


45-foto-6-met-tekstPhoto left : The sign reads: “Jeweller Tan will open here”.
Photo right : On the stairs: K. Bos, 2nd from left, and Tan Siauw Khing, 3rd from left.


Photo : Flowers at the opening of the shop on December 1, 1934.