Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dr Sun Yat Sen(1866-1925) & Penang

Dr Sun Yat Sen

Dr Sun Yat Sen & China

Dr Sun Yat Sen(孫逸仙), the father of Modern China (國父). He was a political and revolutionary leader, Dr Sun played a leading role in overthrowing the Manchu dynasty (or Qing dynasty) in 1911.

Dr Sun Yat Sen's original name was Sun Deming, he is also known as Sun Zhongsan(孫中山), Sun Wen(孫文), Sun Yixian (孫逸仙) & Sun Itchisen or Sun Itchiyama (Japanese names).

He was born on 12-11-1866 in the village of Cuiheng, Xianshang county, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China; which is 26 km north of Macau. But a certificate of birth issued by Hawaii that he was born in Kingdom of Hawaii on 24-11-1870, but the claim of Hawaii birth was based on typewritten testimony, and without any documentation from witnesses. He died on 12-3-1925 after illness in Beijing, China.

Dr Sun was in Malaya, Penang and Singapore during his preparation for the revolution. He make a total 8 visits to Singapore between 1900 and 1911. Dr Sun started the chapter of Tongmeng hui on 6-4-1906 at Wan Qing Yuan(晚晴園), now is Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall(孙中山南洋纪念馆).

His personal plead to the Nanyang Chinese to financially support the revolution, and on 13-11-1910, at 120, Armenian Street or a shop house named Chng Eng Joo, the meeting called Penang Conference helped launch a major drive for donation across Malaya peninsular. The effort that helped to finance the 2nd Guangzhou Uprising( also known as Yellow Flower Mound Revolt 黄花岗起义) on 27-4-1911. The revolution was led by Huang Xing(黃興). Many oversea Chinese participated in the revolution.The uprising was defeated with heavy casualty, only 86 bodies was found but 72 identified.The failed uprising was the direct cause of Wuchang Uprising( 武昌起义) on 10-10-1911, which led to the collapse of Qing dynasty, and formation of Republic of China(中華民國). Today, the date of uprising was known as Double Ten day(雙十節), which is the national day of Taiwan, and memorial day for the mainland China, People Republic of China(PRC) as Anniversary of Wuchang uprising( 武昌起义纪念日).

The role of oversea Chinese from Nanyang was so significant that Dr Sun recognized the oversea Chinese, and stated that "Oversea Chinese is the mother of the revolution".

Dr Sun Yat Sen, Malaysia, and Penang


One of the greatest influence in Dr Sun's life is Christianity, he was baptized in Hong Kong while study in Queen college, Hong Kong. Dr Sun equal the salvation mission of the Christian Church to a revolution, his revolutional idea was from Christianity. That is the reason why his baptismal name is Rixin((日新), literally means daily renewal.

The other important influence of the younger Dr Sun was the Taiping Rebellion(1850-1864), The Taiping Heavenly kingdom of Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全1814-1864). Dr Sun was born in 1866, two years after the Taiping Rebellion ended. Hong Xiuquan was born in Fuyuanshui village(福源水村), Hua county(花縣), Guangdong, he is a hakka. While going to Guangzhou to take civil service examination in 1836, he heard a Christian missionary and received a bible written by Liang Fa(梁發 1789-1855) , who was the first Chinese protestant minister.

Liang was also from Zhaoqing (肇庆) in Quangdong Province. Liang was helping Robert Morrison to print Chinese bible, which is illegal at that time. In 1815, Morrison's associate, William Milne moved to Malacca, as the result of restriction of preaching of Christianity by Qing government, he continue his missionary work among oversea Chinese. Leong was employed by Milne and went with him to Malacca. Leong Fa was baptised in Malacca by Milne on 3-11-1816, and was ordained as a minister of London Missionary Society by Morrison at Macau. He wrote books and pamphlets introducing Christianity to Chinese. One of the books, Good words Exhorting Mankind in 1832. This book prompted Hong Xiuguan to join "Worshipper of Shang-Ti "which lead to Taiping Rebellion. Liang returned to Malacca in 1834, when his work was threatened by Qing government, and continue his work in translating and printing bibles. He returned to China during Opium War in 1839, he did not support the war and argued that if Britain start the war, Chinese will not believe in bible and British missionary anymore, but his effort was in vain. He died in 1855.

But unfortunately, Hong did not followed completely the Christianity introduced to him by Leong Fa's book. He has his own version of Christianity, which resulted in the downfall of the Taiping Rebellion due to their own internal problem. Dr Sun came from the same area as Hong Xiuguan, both are Hakka people, he was reported to be identified with Hong since his childhood days.

The influence of Leong Fa from Malacca to Hong Xiuguan, and from Hong to Dr Sun Yat Sen; the first Chinese bible was printed in Malacca. Malacca is the source of inspiration for Dr Sun in his ideal in Christianity, sourced from Leong Fa, through Hong Xiuguan. What Hong Xiuguan failed to achieve, Dr Sun completed the overthrown of Qing dynasty in 1911. I am amazed by the historical relationship.

Hope that someone will also do the research on Dr Sun's Three Principles of the People(sanmin zhuyi, 三民主義),which included nationalism(minzu, 民族), democracy(minquan, 民權) , and people's livelihood(minsheng, 民生), and its relationship with the biblical teaching. Another interesting fact was , that most of revolutionists and reformers, including Dr Sun Yat Sen(1866-1925) & Hong Xiuguan(1814-1864) are from the southern Chinese and mainly Hakka, this will be another interesting research topic.


Dr Sun also did visit Taiping, and was reported to have a wife of Nanyang Chinese. He has a daughter from the wife.


1.Dr Sun's early alignment with Kang Youwei(康有為/康有为), a reformer of late Qing dynasty, who had visited Penang. Kang led a movement of western style constitutional monarchy, he was also from Kwangdong Province. He was born in Nanhai, Kwangdong Province on 19-3-1858. His reform movement failed and was poisoned in Qingdao, Shandong, and passed away in 1927 at the age of 69 years old.
visited Penang 1st time on 9-8-1900, and left on 7-12-1901 to India, and on 22-7-1903 visited Penang while on the return trip to China. He gave public talk in St Xavier Institution and Penang Free School. He left on 18-8-1903 by train to Ipoh. On 3-5-1904, he visited Penang the 3rd times, and left on 26-5-1904 by ship. In 1908 visited Penang for the 4th times after visit USA, Europe & Africa, and left on March 1909. The 5th visit was on 16-8-1909, and the 6th time was during the winter 1909. The 7th visit was on May/June 1910. Kang visited Penang 7 times.

Kang had his calligraphy" Do not forget our country" in Chinese, left on a rock at Kek Lok Si temple in Air Itam, Penang. I wonder the said calligraphy still around. The last time I visited the place,I cannot find the calligraphy.

2. Dr Sun Yat Sen visited Penang 5 times:-
(1) 1905 - Dr Sun & Song Jiaoren
( 宋教仁) formed underground resistance movement,Tungmenghui(中國同盟會) in Tokyo on 20-8-1905. The objective was to overthrow the Manchu. He was chased out from Japan, arrived in Penang first time from Singapore.
(2)1906- A branch of
Tungmenghui(中國同盟會)for Nanyang was formed in Singapore. Dr Sun's 2nd visit to Penang
(3)1907 -
The Penang Philomathic Union was found by Dr Sun in 1908, its premise at 65, Macalister Road is now Dr Sun Yat Sen museum.
(4) 1910- Dr Sun shifted his headquarter to Penang with the family,where he organised the Penang Conference and planned the 2nd Guangshou Uprising at 120, Amenian Street base of Nanyang Tungmenghui(中國同盟會). Kwang Wah Daily was formed in 1910.
(5) 1911-
Wuchang Uprising( 武昌起义) on 10-10-1911, after received the good news that it has overthrown the Manchu, Dr Sun returned from England to China, on the way he stopped at Penang

The Penang Philomathic Union was found by Dr Sun in 1908, its premise at 65, Macalister Road is now Dr Sun Yat Sen museum.

Penang Conference, was held on 13-11-1910 at 120, Armenian Street, Penang or a shophouse named Chng Eng Joo.

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