Mah’s Family Biography


Mohd Salleh Mah Soo Lan 马 苏蓝 was of 回族Hui descent.

He was the only son of very strict Hui parents  born and brought up in Shanghai.

His parents were doing business in Shanghai. When World War 2 broke out and the Japanese occupied  SouthEast Asia, Salleh Mah sailed to Singapore to look for business  opportunities.

He came to Singapore in  the early 1940s and set up a dairy business  乳制品业务

He married a local Han Chinese girl (whose parents were from Guangzhou) She was in her early twenties although he was in his late 30s. Mah decided to stay in Singapore after his marriage instead of returning to Shanghai. 

He started his dairy business by importing cows from Thailand and manufactured Condensed milk. When his first daughter Mariah was born he decided to brand his Condensed milk as Salleh’s Baby Brand Condensed Milk and to use his baby daughter to advertise his product.

His business prospered as there were very few competitive companies at that time! So he became extremely wealthy and was always smartly dressed in his signature white suit and tie.

Pioneer Chinese Muslims
Haji Ibrahim Mah & Haji Salleh Mah

Salleh Mah on the right with black tie.
Ibrahim Ma Tien Ying on the left.

Ibrahim Mah was sent as a consul General of Ipoh Malaya, by the Kuomintang Government of China at that time. He and Salleh Mah worked closely to bring about an understanding of Islam in a diverse multicultural and religious society in both Singapore and Malaya.Tengku Abdul Rahman, the 1st Prime Minister of Malaya was crucial in giving their efforts support! Tengku helped to set up PERKIM, a Muslim welfare association, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Islam. And Ibrahim Mah was its First President. Both Muslim Brothers Ibrahim Mah and Salleh Mah worked effortlessly to help the Chinese Muslims.

Tengku Abdul Rahman with Hj Salleh Mah

Salleh Mah was an Umno member, the same political party as Tengku Abdul Rahman and they became close friends.

Salleh Mah used to host Haj pilgrims from China whose ship would stop by Singapore on its way to Mecca.

Salleh Mah would host the pilgrims for meals till their ship departed. His wife Madam Leong Sow Ying would be busy cooking the meals.

Besides his dairy business Salleh Mah  also owned a fleet of taxis and rented them out to hirers. He was quite an entrepreneur! Well I guess Shanghainese are well known for their business acumen having been  brought up in a cosmopolitan city.

However after the Japanese occupation and the British took over Singapore, Japanese  currency known as the Banana currency became worthless.

Salleh Mah Su Lan ventured into restaurant business and opened the first Chinese  Muslim restaurant  at the then New World  Amusement Park. He was in restaurant business until he retired. His Son Jaafar Mah followed his footsteps in later years to set up a food catering  business ( as he believed that serving food especially to those in need is one of the best charities to help humanity.(Sunnah of the Prophet S.A.W)

Like Ibrahim Mah who founded PERKIM (MALAYSIA MUSLIM ASSOCIATION  FOR CONVERTS), Jaafar had always wanted to set up an association to serve the needs of Chinese Muslims especially converts who are straddled between 2 different cultures and may face many challenges as converts to an entirely new way of life.

Finally in 2019 before he passed away, Huihui Cultural Association was officially registered in Singapore. The association hopes to revive all the cultural and traditional practices of our Chinese heritage although as converts they are practising  Muslims. As such the converts do not lose their rich Chinese Cultural heritage.

Salleh Mah was a very strict Muslim and insisted  that his children learn the Arabic alphabets in order to read the Quran. A Malay Quran teacher was engaged to come to the house to teach them.

Brought up in his strong faith his two elder children could recite Quran at an early age and his son Jaafar Mah followed the example of his father and taught his grandson Mayi how to recite Quran and perform prayers at a young age.

Mayi can lead prayers and be groomed to be a future Imam. He has memorised all the Juz Amma, Ayat Kursi and Surah Yasin. He was 9 years old at that time.

Ismail Mayi

Hj Salleh Mah’s son Jaafar Mah also wished to continue the legacy of helping the Chinese Muslims in Singapore especially those who have converted by marriage or by personal conviction. So in 2019 after much endeavour he managed to set up HuiHui Cultural Association with Imam Habib Hassan Al-Atas as the Patron.

Bro Jafaar Mah with Imam Habib Hassan Al-Atas

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