Dato Choo Ching Hwa

The Founder of Xiao En Group

Dato Choo Ching Hwa was born in Malaysia in 1931. When he was sixteen years old, he moved back to his ancestral hometown Meizhou, Guangdong, China to study in DongShan secondary school. A year later, he moved back to Malaysia due to the China Civil War and he continued his studies in Penang Chung Ling High School.

Born in an average family, Dato Choo Ching Hwa had to rely on the minimal wages he earned as a primary school’s principal after graduating from high school in the 1950s. Not only he had to support his younger brother’s education, he also needed to save his tuition fee to further his study in Australia. After graduated from abroad, he return to his hometown in Terengganu to opened an accounting firm, and fell in love with his then-to-be wife, Datin Choo Lein Sei Keng. They worked and managed the accounting firm together.

After Dato Choo Ching Hwa stepped down from the political scene, he developed his business enterprise, starting from property development and then expands into other sectors, including the Xiao En Bereavement Care & Cultural business that represents the historic and habitual Chinese traditions of commemoration of the deceased.

During his prime time, he moved from politics scene into social community activities and devoted himself in mobilizing the masses of Malaysian Chinese enterprises to develop and establish a university fund that helps needy students to pursue further studies.

Dato Choo Ching Hwa believes that the memorial cemetery is a place for masses to mourn and grieve their loved ones who departed to other world. Thus, the design, location and operation management of the cemetery must be carried out thoughtfully. In order to restore the traditional funeral and cemetery reverence of our ancestors and heritage mission, Dato Choo Ching Hwa dedicated his time in researching and studying the funeral cemetery and its facilities by traveling the world through observation and examination.

During the interview with Min Sheng Daily in 1994, Dato Choo Ching Hwa said: “The thought of naming the first Malaysia modernized Chinese cemetery as “Xiao En Memorial Park” is to deliver the importance of Chinese virtues of filial piety (Xiao) and gratitude (En) towards parents and elderly.” Also, the revival of Chinese traditions of commemoration of the deceased is vital as inheritance of the historical and cultural aspects for the Chinese. By visiting and pondering the deceased and those who has contributed for the greater good, the younger generation can pay respect and tribute to memorize the ancestors.

In the eyes of Dato Choo Ching Hwa, the thoughts and inheritance of historical culture are the most important purpose of a cemetery.

“Xiao En Memorial Park” is the first Malaysian private cemetery granted by the government. While preserving the traditions of spiritual reverence for ancestors, the cemetery also emphasizes on the nature and landscape architecture. It also become the significant leader in the industry and opens the pathway for other Chinese cemetery in terms of management and embellishment.