Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lam Looking, Death 1 June 1937, Ipoh

(From Our Own Correspondent)
Ipoh, June 1.

One of the best-known Chinese in Perak, Mr. Lam Looking died this morning in his 74th year.

Mr. Lam Looking returned home very ill after attending the recent Singapore races, and was recovering, but suffered a relapse. He was a prominent racehorse owner and owned much property in Perak.

The Straits Times, 1 June 1937, Page 12
The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 2 June 1937, Page 6


Lam Looking's Career In Two Countries
Captain Dash

A link with the turf has been severed with the death of Towkay Lam Looking. A laconic announcement of his passing away at Ipoh on Tuesday morning must have caused a shock to sportsmen throughout the country.

Lam Looking was known to most Singapore people as the owner of Nonya Bukit Timah and other racehorses, but that is not all. He was an outstanding character in Chinese circles in Perak, a successful tin miner and rubber planter, besides being a successful racehorse owner.

Towkay Lam Looking was the son of the late Lam To Kai, a prominent citizen of San Wui district, Kwangtung, was born in Penang 74 years ago, and after being educated at the Penang Free School, he went to China and served with distinction in the Chinese Navy spending five years in the Chinese Imperial Naval Arsenal at Foochow. He served as a midshipman in the cruiser Fei Yuen, and rose to the rank of chief lieutenant. During the Franco-Chinese war he was in action in the gunboat On Lan, later being given command of the s.s. Emuy which was chartered during that war for the purpose of carrying ammunitions and supplies to Formosa.

He was created a Mandarin of the Blue Button for these services. Retiring from the Navy he became general manager of a spirit farm on the East Coast of Sumatra and later transferred to the F.M.S., where he took up mining with success, becoming proprietor of the rich Tongsang mines in Kinta. He also interested himself in rubber planting and at the time of his death was the employer of more than 2,000 labourers.

Racing Colours

A man of many parts, his interest in horse racing dates back to 1929, when he first registered as an owner with the S.R.A., his racing colours being green, red and yellow arm bands.//His first racing success was with Kingsma at the Perak summer race meeting in Ipoh in July, 1930, on the third day of the races. E. Donnelly was the jockey and Mr. F.O.C. O'Neill was then his trainer. This English gelding was greatly fancied on the fourth day and carrying all the money justified the confidence of the punters by repeating his success.//Kingsma brought him other successes, and in the same year he acquired another English gelding named Hatchet Lane who won on the third day of the Perak winter meeting in Ipoh on Nov. 15, 1930, the late Jockey Draman being the rider. Both these horses, trained by Mr. F.O.C. O'Neill were prominent performers in those days and carried Towkay Lam Looking's colours first past the post on several memorable occasions.

Governor's Cup

In 1933, at the opening of the new course at Bukit Timah, he had Van Breukelen in charge of his stables, and he regisrtered his first win there in the Singapore autumn gold gup meeting with that fine Australian mare Nonya Bukit Timah, who after several fine performances carried off the Governor's Cup in 1935.

That was a memorable event. Towkay Lam Looking led his horse amid muc applause, only to see the red cone go up, denoting that an objection had been raised by Jockey Woods who rode Vedas, for alleged interference. The objection was overruled and Towkay Lam Looking's name will go down to posterity as the winner of one of the principal classics of the Malayan turf.//In that memorable race Lam Looking had another candidate, that fine performer Prohibition, who was placed third, and later won many races, establishing a record on the third day of Selangor summer meeting, June 15, 1935, covering 1 1/4 miles in 2 min. 5-2/5 sec. which still stands as a Malayan record.

Name Empanelled

Death has removed a notable figure of the Malayan turf. Towkay Lam Looking's name will be remembered for a long time. His name is empanelled on the boards showing the winners of the Governor's Cup at the Bukit Timah grand stand.

He owned a fine string of horses, among them being Gee Up, Celestial, and Reform, and it is indeed a sad blow to racing that the popular colours which his horses carried, notably the red with orange sash, will no more denote that they belong to one of the finest Chinese sportsmen who ever raced horses in Malaya.

Source: The Straits Times, 6 June 1937, Page 23

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