Mr. Tan Kah Kee, a well-known philanthropist and an outstanding Chinese leader in Southeast Asia, passed away in Beijing on 12 Aug 1961. The Singapore Hokien Huay Kuan, together with 50 other Chinese associations, urged the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry to hold a memorial service for Mr. Tan Kah Kee In view of his invaluable contribution in promotion of entrepreneurship, social reforms, cultural and educational developments as well as political and charitable movements.
The memorial service was held on 10 September 1961. More than 5,000 representatives from over 280 associations and clans came to pay their respects. During the event, the Tan Kah Kee Scholarship Fund was established through donations of S$100,000 by the participants, with the aim of keeping the Tan Kah Kee's spirit of education alive.