Our company Tai Tong Ah Company Pte Ltd (大东亚私人有限公司) manufactures high quality traditional Chinese medicinal products under the “Double Prawn” brand (双虾标).
Tai Tong Ah was founded by the late Mr. Yeoh Liew Kung (杨柳江), an experienced Chinese physician, who had come to Singapore from South China in the 1930s. The business started in the 1950s when Mr Yeoh produced the first few bottles of Double Prawn Herbal Oil in his home using a secret formulation passed down from his ancestors. The product proved to be a hit with users because of its great efficacy in treating a range of common injuries and skin diseases. As word spread among satisfied users, Mr Yeoh and his wife decided to start a company to produce Herbal Oil and several other TCM products. Presently, the company that he founded, Tai Tong Ah Company Pte Ltd has 2 main products under the Double Prawn brand, namely Herbal Oil (青草油) and Rumagon (风湿油).
Tai Tong Ah has come a long way since the early days when production was done by hand at home by Mr Yeoh and his wife and children. Over the years, automation was gradually introduced and quality control processes put into place. The company moved into its first factory in Genting Lane in 1979 and then relocated to Pasir Panjang Industrial Park in 1993. It is now located at the Tai Seng Industrial Park. In 2008, the company received certification for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) from the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
Tai Tong Ah is committed to delivering high quality products to our customers. We use principles of modern scientific processing in combination with traditional formulation of Chinese medicines in our manufacturing processes. Quality assurance is implemented throughout the entire production process, following the best practices of GMP. Our products are therefore safe, consistent and effective. We have received the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for import into the United States as well as import licences for China and many other countries.
Double Prawn Brand TCM products are well accepted by consumers in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Thailand and Hong Kong for many years. More recently, our market has expanded to countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, South and Central Africa and the United States of America.
Our founder, the late Mr. Yeoh Liew Kung (杨柳江), was born in Fujian Province (福建), China in 1912. Like many young people living in poverty-stricken Southern China in those days, Mr Yeoh headed for ‘Nanyang’ (南洋 or South-East Asia) to look for a better life. He eventually settled in Singapore in the 1930s, married Soon Soo Keow, a Teochew (Chaozhou 潮州) opera actress who came to Singapore from Jieyang (揭阳) in China’s Guangdong Province and together raised a family of 9 children.
Mr Yeoh, a physician in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), created the Double Prawn brand Herbal Oil (双虾标青草油) in the 1950s from a secret formulation passed down from his ancestors. He started using Herbal Oil to treat friends and neighbours suffering from various common afflictions such as minor wounds, bites, burns and scabies. He gave the oil away as gifts to his friends and neighbours who could not afford to see a doctor. Herbal oil proved to be extremely effective. With the strong encouragement from many satisfied users, Mr Yeoh and his wife decided to start a small business with the name Tai Tong Ah Company (大东亚公司) to manufacture and sell Herbal Oil and other TCM products. Over time, the company decided to concentrate on just 2 products, namely Herbal Oil (青草油) and Rumagon (风湿油), a liniment for muscle aches and pain.
In the early days of the business, marketing was simply done through word-of-mouth by users, mainly in Singapore and Malaysia. At that time, Tai Tong Ah’s TCM products were peddled by itinerant salespersons carrying the products in a basket going door to door. In addition, Mr Yeoh and his wife would drive their colourfully painted van to make brief sales stops in the villages. They would set up shop using the back of the van for 20 minutes or so at each stop, using loudspeakers to announce their presence. Villagers, especially children would gather around the van out of curiosity. Simple gifts such as toys or calendars were given with each purchase. So confident was Mr Yeoh about the efficacy of Herbal Oil that even in those days, the company offered a money-back guarantee if the product did not turn out to be as effective as claimed. Over time, Herbal Oil acquired a strong reputation within the local community and business grew steadily. Many people suffering from a variety of skin diseases came to Singapore to purchase the product.
Besides running the TCM business, Mr Yeoh led a busy life of active community involvement. He was a great supporter of charitable organizations and activities promoting Chinese music, art and culture, both within and outside Singapore. Under his leadership, the company actively sponsored many charitable events. He regularly distributed thousands of bottles of Herbal Oil and Rumagon to events involving the elderly, such as the People’s Association Senior Citizens’ week and activities for the elderly organised by churches. Mr Yeoh was also actively involved in many business and clan associations in Singapore including the Traditional Chinese Medicine Manufacturers Association (新加坡制药厂商公会), where he served as President for many years), the Singapore Chinese Druggists Association (新加坡中药公会, as Honorary Chairman), Chao Ann Association (诏安会馆 - his ancestral village was Chao An (诏安) in Fujian Province) and the Singapore China Friendship Association (新加坡-中国（新中）友好协会). He spent many years serving in the Residents’ Committee for the River Valley Constituency. In recognition of his numerous contributions to the community, Mr Yeoh received the PBM* award from the Singapore government in 1975.
Mr Yeoh is regarded as one of the key players in the development of Teochew opera in China and South-east Asia. He enjoyed Teochew opera and was a principal instrumentalist in several popular Teochew opera troupes. He fought to improve the welfare and living standards of Teochew opera actors in the region by setting up the Malayan Teochew Opera Association (马来亚潮剧职工联合会). During the days of high unemployment and low literacy in the 1950s, he founded the “Chit Hoon Teochew Opera Company (织云潮剧团)” to create jobs. He even established strict rules for employees of the company to help them in their personal development. He expected all employees in the opera company to observe the following rules:
In his later years, well into his eighties, Mr Yeoh developed a serious interest in ‘qigong’ (气功), learning from a famous qigong master from China. He soon mastered the techniques and began to conduct classes in Singapore regularly at the MacRitchie Reservoir in the morning. At its peak, he had more than a hundred students from all walks of life, faithfully learning the graceful qigong moves from him.
Mr Yeoh maintained a very disciplined lifestyle for most of his life, taking healthy food and exercising daily. He remained fit and alert and was still managing his company in his nineties. Unfortunately, he eventually succumbed to cancer and passed away peacefully on 15 Feb 2004 at the ripe old age of 92, leaving behind many children, grand children and great grand children, plus a rich legacy from his contributions in TCM and Chinese culture in South-East Asia.
* The Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Medal) was instituted in 1973. The medal may be awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore or for his achievement in the field of arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement