Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grandson desires to honour a patriarch - The Star

A GRANDSON of the late Leong Sin Nam, one of Ipoh’s famous tin miners and philanthropists, plans to hold an exhibition highlighting the contributions of the patriarch and Perakians in the Chinese Revolution led by Dr Sun Yat Sen.

Dr Leong Oon Keong said this year was the 100th anniversary of the Wuchang Uprising of 1911 which paved the way for the founding of the Republic of China.

“Perakians had contributed significantly in terms of time, money and lives to the Chinese Revolution,” he said, adding that Dr Sun had maintained that the financial con-tributions from the Overseas Chinese were indispensable and often called them the “Mother of the Revolution”.

Looking back: Guests viewing a slide show on Dr Sun Yat Sen during a memorial dinner for Leong Sin Nam at the Perak Kaying

“His descendants Victor Sun and Leland Sun who visited Ipoh after attending a conference in Penang in November last year also acknowledged and praised the people in Perak for their contributions towards the Chinese Revolution,” he said recently during an annual dinner organised by the Perak Kaying Association in memory of Sin Nam who died on Jan 19, 1940 at the age of 60.

Dr Leong said his grandfather, a Hakka from the Guangdong province in China, was one of the founders of Perak Kaying Association and had bequeathed his bungalow and land in Ipoh to the association.

The bungalow was subsequently demolished and the land sold to help finance the building of the current association building on Jalan Sultan Yussuf in Ipoh.

Great man: A portrait of Ipoh's famous Leong Sin Nam.

Dr Leong said the association holds a memorial service at Leong Sin Nam’s tomb in the Cantonese cemetery off Jalan Gopeng in Ipoh on Jan 19 followed by a Hakka dinner every year.

He said his grandfather, who lived from 1880 to 1940, worked his way up as a mining labourer to own several tin mines and managed several large rubber estates in Perak.

He said Sin Nam was known for his contributions to charity, education, sports and social institutions in Perak. He was the founder of SJK (C) Min Tet in 1913 in Falim and the SJK (C) Wan Hwa in Menglembu in 1914.

Sin Nam held several posts, including that of a member of the Perak State Council, president of the Perak Chinese Association, president of the Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce, president of the Perak Kaying Guild, chairman of the Overseas Chinese Mining Association and vice-president of the Khek Community Guild in Singapore.

Tribute to a philanthropist: A street named after Leong Sin Nam in the centre of Ipoh.

He was also chairman of the Malayan Chinese Daily News in Kuala Lumpur and managing director of the Perak Chinese Daily News in Ipoh.

Sin Nam had also received various awards, including meritorious service from the Republic of China and the Order of the British Empire conferred by King George VI.

Dr Leong said his grandfather was a strong supporter of Dr Sun and his successor Chiang Kai Shek in overthrowing Yuan Shi Kai and the warlords after the 1911 revolution in China.

Due to his fame and contributions to China, Leong Sin Nam was appointed Warden of Mines for Yunnan, adviser of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, member of the Economic Committee of the Chinese Government and committee member of the Kwantung Branch of Reconstruction Commission.

During the second Sino-Japanese War, he was chairman of the Perak Overseas Chinese Distress Relief Fund and he gave cash aid to alleviate the wounded in the war zones in China.

A road in Ipoh and another in the Cameron Highlands were named after Sin Nam after his death.

Dr Leong said the ad-hoc committee for the Dr Sun Yat Sen exhibition wished to receive assistance from Perakians who have information, pictures and family links with the Chinese Revolution. He can be contacted at 05-2556302

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