Established in 1916, Chop Wah On is now 104 years in business. Like many businesses which have been around for more than a century , it has gone through events which threatened its survival. Fortunately, through sheer resilence and determination ( and some good luck), Chop Wah On emerged through these trials and tribulations, stronger and better equiped to take on the challenges ahead.
Now as Singapore, China and many other parts of the world are facing the perils of Corvid-19, we are confident that like the other global turmoils, we will prevail and emerge stronger.
Tong Chee Leong
In the 1900's our Founder emigrated from his own village in NanHai, Guangzhou, China (中国广东省南海区）to seek a better life for his family. During the initial years ,he was dismayed to find many of his fellow emigrants were suffering from illnesses, injuries and poor health. This was because most of them had to do very laborious work, lived in poor conditions and had little or no medical care. Using his experience and expertise as a herbalist, our Founder blended 3 types of medicated oils for his fellow emigrants, namely : Red Flower Oil (紅花油), Eucalyptus Embrocation (白樹油） and Citronella Oil (香茅油） using the essential oils which were transhipped from the Europe & US to the neighbouring countries. The emigrants found the 3 medicated oils very efficacious for their sprains and injuries, cuts and insect bites and for repelling mosquitoes. In later years, China seamen and "Ma Jie" (媽姐）brought these medicated oils back to China and Hong Kong for their friends and families. This marked the start of the Singapore medicated oil legacy.
In 1916, he founded Chop Wah On (華安藥行）and set up shop in Chinatown at No. 67, Pagoda Street, Singapore. (牛車水，們牌67 號寶塔街/廣合原街).
Tong Seng Mun
Our Father, Tong Seng Mun took over the helm of Chop Wah On （華安藥行）with the passing of our Founder/Grandfather. Inspite of a number of world political and economic upheavals such as Japanese Occupation of Singapore, , Korean War, Indonesian Confrontation etc, he soldiered on and went on to expand the range of medicated oils and balms after careful research.
Among the items developed by our Father were : Wah On Shake Hand Brand Farm Crocodile Oil 100% (華安握手商標鰐魚油100%），SMTong's Pepo Embrocation Oil (八寳百花油）and Chop Wah On Shake Hand Brand Eucalypthol Balm (握手商標華安駆風鎮痛膏）.
While managing the family business, he put his love for animals to good use. He ran an animal trading business . He was importing and exporting a number of animals, fish and birds to overseas zoos, research laboratories etc. This was before Cites came into place. He had as a family pet, a tigress, Margaret (shown in photo above) which was kept in our former shop at Pagoda Street. He even had a zoo : Singapore Miniature Zoo at West Coast Road.