No other bridge in Melaka is more popular than this bridge.
It connects one of the most popular tourist magnets in this historical city – the clock tower area (Dutch Square) to Jonker walk.
Yet many may not think much about it when you pass through in the excitement of catching the excitement on both sides of the river.
These days the government builds bridges for people. In the days of yore, the people had to depend on wealthy individuals to provide such assistance for the community.
One such generous soul was Tan Kim Seng, after whom the most famous bridge in Melaka is named after.
But not many know that this man had generously donated to the building of this important bridge when the people really needed it.
Even the recorded commentary on the sights along the river in the Melaka River Cruise boat did not mention this bridge which is steeped in history.
Tan Kim Seng, born in 1805 was popularly known as Baba Kim Seng as he’s a peranakan Chinese.
Jonker Street Landmark
There’s another landmark associated with his name. The ancestral home of the public benefactor is now Hotel Puri, a leading hotel along Hereen Steer (Jalan Tun Cheng Lock).
When Stamford Raffles founded Singapore, Baba Kim Seng moved there to seek his riches.
He left a mark in Singapore by building a bridge across the Singapore River and donated 880 Straits dollars to the building of the first Chinese school in Singapore.
He did not stop at that. In 1854, he donated a princely sum of $13000 to facilitate the British government to build a reservoir and introduce pipe water to the people of Singapore.
To honour his contributions, a fountain along Elizabeth Walk was named after him.
By the time, he died in 1864 at the age of 59, he was a prominent figure in Malacca and Singapore.
John Cameron in his book Our Tropical Possessions in Malayan India: Being a Descriptive Account of Singapore, Penang and Malacca, published in 1865, mentions Tan Kim Seng in this vein: “
“A Chinaman who had come to Singapore, a poor man about thirty years ago, died in March 1864, worth close upon two million dollars. He had grown up to be an extensive merchant, planter and tin miner, had adopted the settlement as his home and had left behind him many memorials of his public spirit and charity”