Mr Tan passed away on January 11th, 2016 in Vancouver B.C., Canada. A fine and generous man he was a friend to all who met him. He is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and two grand children.
According to Mr Gann, he was the man who sold the first Fender Stratocaster and Fender Reverb in Singapore to pop guitar group, The Trekkers ( 1962 ). Mr Tan and his equally enthusiastic electrician assistant helped the Trekkers build their first guitar amplifiers to simulate the sound of the Fender Showman and the Fender Bassman.
Thank you Mr Gann for your personal tribute.
"The Trekkers tribute to the man they called Mr Tan of TMA (Pte) Ltd - Singapore 1960's.
The year was 1960. The 2 major guitar shops were Swee Lee and TMA. The former had an advantage guitar product being the sole agent for Gibson. TMA only had the Bellafonte calypso guitars and ukelele and was focused on Hohner harmonica and accordion.
I had just met Peck Soo. He had returned from a tour of the musical factories in Europe TMA represented. I showed him a Fender catalogue. He convinced his dad to import Fender even though Fender was a little unknown custom shop company in America. The Fender Stratocaster was later made famous after the death of Buddy Holly and the surfing music of the 60's.
Peck Soo was a born banker
I was just a kid. Peck Soo offered me one of his first Stratocasters on credit. Buying things on credit was almost unheard of at that time least of all to a kid with no credit. The man knew relationship was key to business success.
Peck Soo was a gifted salesman
Store products were primarily displayed in the showroom and occasionally advertised in the newspaper for early Singapore. Peck Soo went a step ahead of the others. He had the Trekkers played his showcase amplifier on stage and especially at the British R n R club on Beach Road and the stores would be filled with British servicemen asking for the Fender products the next morning.
Peck Soo loved his electronics
We had one travel together from North America to Singapore. The year was 1985. Yes we did travel on SIA business class. Our first stop was Taipei,Taiwan. Peck Soo had his Sherlock Holmes rain jacket on and moved impatiently from one line to another as we were clearing immigration till I lost sight of him.
When I found him after clearing customs he was the only person left at customs and they were making him empty his pocket and unroll his US$100 bills while another official was looking closely at his passport. He looked bewildered after the cross examination by customs.
Peck Soo said to me many times that he had a full life.
He was a good son to his father and moved to Canada only after his father decided to close down the business in 1980's. He immigrated to Canada to give his children and wife a better life. And he achieved his Canadian dream by having a good life in his retirement years.
Thank you Peck Soo and I like to send this closing song tribute to you...
Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven - Eric Clapton."
Many band members from the 1960's are familiar with Mr Tan. If you are, do write in to tell us.
Henry Chua (Quests) and Horace Wee (RTS Orchestra) letters will be posted after this one next week.
Images: 1) Courtesy of Lee Kip Lin and National Library Board;
2) Henri Gann's Private Collection.
Video: You Tube by Toni Charlie - cs.
Article: Henri Gann Copyrighted.