Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice restaurant founder dies; employees vow to keep his legacy alive

In a Facebook post on Oct 13, Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice announced Mr Wee Toon Ouut's passing but did not give details on the cause of death.
In a Facebook post on Oct 13, Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice announced Mr Wee Toon Ouut's passing but did not give details on the cause of death.PHOTO: ST FILE
Mr Wee Toon Ouut founded Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice in 1989 and oversaw its successful growth here.
Mr Wee Toon Ouut founded Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice in 1989 and oversaw its successful growth here.PHOTO: ST FILE
Mr Wee Toon Ouut founded Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice in 1989 and oversaw its successful growth here.
Mr Wee Toon Ouut founded Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice in 1989 and oversaw its successful growth here.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Mr Wee Toon Ouut founded Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice in 1989 and oversaw its successful growth here.
Mr Wee Toon Ouut founded Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice in 1989 and oversaw its successful growth here.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Hainanese chicken rice from Wee Nam Kee.
Hainanese chicken rice from Wee Nam Kee.PHOTO: WEE NAM KEE
The Wee Nam Kee outlet in the Tamachi neighbourhood of Minato in Tokyo.
The Wee Nam Kee outlet in the Tamachi neighbourhood of Minato in Tokyo.PHOTO: WEE NAM KEE
A Wee Nam Kee outlet in the Philippines.
A Wee Nam Kee outlet in the Philippines.PHOTO: WEE NAM KEE
Mr Wee Toon Ouut and his wife, Madam Sim Suy Gek.
Mr Wee Toon Ouut and his wife, Madam Sim Suy Gek.PHOTO: COURTESY OF WEE TOON OUUT
Mr Wee Toon Ouut and his wife, Madam Sim Suy Gek, with their sons, Liang Lian (left) and Liang Chee in a picture taken in the 1960s.
Mr Wee Toon Ouut and his wife, Madam Sim Suy Gek, with their sons, Liang Lian (left) and Liang Chee in a picture taken in the 1960s.PHOTO: COURTESY OF WEE TOON OUUT
Mr Wee Toon Ouut (centre) was the national team manager of the national badminton team in 1992.
Mr Wee Toon Ouut (centre) was the national team manager of the national badminton team in 1992.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Wee Toon Ouut, founder of popular local chicken rice brand Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant, died on Sunday (Oct 13), aged 81.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice announced Mr Wee's passing but did not give details on the cause of death.

"As a mark of respect, all our restaurant and outlets will be closed on Saturday 19 October 2019, to send him off on his final journey," it wrote.

"We seek your kind understanding and apologies for any inconvenience caused."

The Straits Times understands that Mr Wee has been in and out of hospital in the past few months, eventually succumbing to his illness on Sunday morning.

The restaurant has several restaurants and outlets across Singapore, including United Square, Marina Square and the Esplanade.

The restaurant said in its Facebook post that Mr Wee's philosophy of cooking for customers was like how a "mum cooks with passion for their children".

 

It also said that Mr Wee's "warm smile and sincere personality will be missed by all".

The post added: "Rest In Peace, Towkay! - From all of us in the WNK family!"

News of Mr Wee's death prompted many of his friends and Wee Nam Kee's regulars to offer their condolences online, with some commenting on Mr Wee's personal touch and recalling fond memories that the restaurant had helped to forge.


Mr Wee Toon Ouut with an employee in a photo taken in 2001. PHOTO: ST FILE

Facebook user Francis Poulose wrote: "It's the chicken rice I grew up with...Started bringing my kids there and every time we dined there, (Mr Wee) will bring extra bowls of rice for them and tell them to grow up strong and (to) study hard.

"Thank you for so many memorable meals," Mr Poulose added.

Mr Albert Tan, the manager of Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice, told ST that Mr Wee was a boss who never kept aloof from his employees.

"He is very humble and makes it a point to be in his restaurants almost every day. He interacted with his customers like they are his old friends," said Mr Tan.

The 48-year-old manager said it is a difficult time for all who knew Mr Wee, even though they had been prepared for the worst when Mr Wee was battling his illness for months.

"We will ensure his legacy carries on and do our best to not let him down," he said.