Hoon Thing Leong, owner of the coffee shop in Kim San Leng, died after several operations in recent months, Thursday, April 29. Lianhe Wanbao reports that Hoon died two weeks after an excess of fever at the Singapore General Hospital. The well-known Kim San Leng coffee shops, which are spanned around more than 30 brans, have been created by Hoon, known as the coffee-shop king.
His son, Hong Qiqiang, told Wanbao that his father was poorly healthy and in and out of the hospital in recent months. Four months ago Hoon had a heart surgery and two months later a brain surgery. Hoon has recently gone to the hospital because of persistent fever two weeks ago – but the causes could not be found in the tests. Only the day before his father passed, Hong added, the doctors had carried out a standard procedure to obtain tissue from the liver. But his condition later that evening began to deteriorate.Again Hoon must have gone under his knife to stop his liver bleeding. His household was told in the wee hours of the morning that Hoon could not pull.
His son shared that Hoon stopped beating his heart several times, affecting the functioning of his heart and brain. For his failed kidneys he also had to undergo dialysis. Following an emergency operation of eight hours Hoon died to save his life.
If Hong could only say that “it was very sudden,” if the family had not realized the seriousness of his condition. The family is still waiting for confirmation of the cause of death by the hospital due to the complications that have arisen. The body of Hoon currently stays at the funeral parlour in Singapore and the funeral will be on Wednesday (May 5). Three sons and two daughters are left behind his wife.
A post on the Facebook account of Kim San Leng paid tribute on 30 April to his late founder. Reading:
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Mr Hoon Thing Leong.
“For those who have met Mr Hoon, his tenacity for life and continuous strive for self-improvement is second to none. He founded Kim San Leng in the 1960s, and built the chain from one coffeeshop in Hougang to more than 30 outlets around Singapore today.
“Mr Hoon was also constantly on the lookout to help other businesses and established The Bosses Network in 1995 which has grown into a thriving community. Not forgetting his love for martial arts which got him involved as an active committee member of the Wushu Association for the past 13 years. His legacy will live on at Kim San Leng and in all our hearts. He will be greatly missed.
“Thank you for all your calls, messages and support during this difficult time for his family and all of us at Kim San Leng.”
Hoon, the eldest of six children, came with his mother from Fuzhou, China to Singapore at the age of five to join his father. Hoon senior had earlier arrived in Singapore and had saved enough to open his initial coffeeshop in Hougang in the 1950’s: Kim San Eating House. In his teens Hoon joined the business of his father as a coffee runner and worked from the ground up his way. He remembered that at five a.m. he had waked up and washes and toilets were cleaned. Interviews he conferred on the media show a hard worker who was not happy to be a normal “kopi kia.”
“I told myself I would succeed,” he said in response to customers who mocked him.
With his own savings and some money borrowed from his father Hoon began his first coffeeshop at 23. In 1990, Hoon purchased a $3.52 million princely amount of a coffeeshop in Bishan in honor of his father and named him Kim San Leng. He simply said in an interview, “I have seen potential,” but he said, “knowledge, awareness, understanding, analysis, assessment and conclusion.”
Hoon has added in another interview: “Everyone thought I was insane in bidding this exorbitant sum out. Since then, the profits from this coffee shop have multiplied its investment ten times.”After that, the business grew steadily to more than 30 outlets and now is run by the children of Hoon.