History

Professor Wang Huning (left) with the writer at the international university Chinese language debate competition in Singapore, 1993.

Taiwanese photo collector: How I met Xi's top brain, Wang Huning, in Singapore

Photo collector Hsu Chung-mao tells us how he first met current Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning over 30 years ago at an international university debate competition in Singapore, when Wang was a university professor in charge of a debate team. Wang subsequently became a prominent strategist for Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, as well as current President Xi Jinping. This article gives a glimpse into Wang’s approach to debating and politics.
Nadine Hwang, who led a storied life, was known as the 'Chinese Joan of Arc'.

The story of Nadine Hwang: The ‘Chinese Joan of Arc’

Photo collector Zou Dehuai tells the story of Nadine Hwang, a half-Chinese woman who was a rare breed in every sense of the term. Her dramatic life took her from Madrid to China and the salons of Paris, to a concentration camp in Germany, and eventually to Belgium. Amid the tragedy of war, she found love, and through it all, lived life with great spirit.
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew goes through an overnight rehearsal of a ceremony at City Hall on the eve of Singapore’s first anniversary in 1966. A large image shows Singapore’s various ethnic groups holding up the national flag, symbolising the nation coming together to forge a bright future.

[Photo story] Taiwanese historical photo collector: My ties to Singapore

As his three-volume set of historical photographs of Singapore, Singapore Yesterday, is rolled out this year, historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao describes his professional and personal connection to Singapore, and his impressions of Singapore, alongside a collection of old photos of Singapore.
Collyer Quay in the 1950s. Directly ahead is Cavenagh Bridge built in 1870, with Anderson Bridge further on. On the right is the General Post Office of the British colonial period, today the Fullerton Hotel. As Singapore was an important international commercial port, many goods were subject to shipping tariffs, so the post office and customs department were usually connected. The post office building was named after the first Governor of the Straits Settlements, Robert Fullerton.

[Photo story] A Taiwanese collector's treasured photos of old Southeast Asia and Singapore

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao showcases photographs of Singapore at the cusp of great change, from a more rural environment with many kelongs and farms to a bustling trade, finance and tourism hub. Through it all, the Singapore River has witnessed many of these changes, as seen in this collection.
A Malay family on the banks of the Kallang River, 1900s. They were mainly farmers.

[Photo story] When tropical Singapore was ‘too potent to be conquered’

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives a glimpse into how he started collecting old photographs, and why collecting historical photos of Singapore is a passion for him. One of his most prized finds is a photo album that used to belong to a Japanese soldier posted to Singapore and Southeast Asia. He shares some of these photographs here.
In April 1943, the Koreans in China held a rally in Chongqing. The photo shows a Korean revolutionary giving a rousing speech while standing in front of a slogan that says “Up with an independent great Korea”. The meeting included a resolution to ask for other countries to support an independent Korea.

[Photo story] How Korea and China fought together against Japanese colonial control

The Korean independence movement actually began soon after the Russo-Japanese war, when Korea and China fought together against Japanese colonial control. For some 30 years, Korean activists carried out resistance movements against the ruling Japanese government, until the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was established with Kim Gu as one of its most important leaders. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives a glimpse into the period.
Aisin Gioro Puyi and wife Wanrong, 1925.

[Photo story] Puyi: The last emperor of China

The tragic life of the last emperor of China has been the subject of much popular culture, not least the movie The Last Emperor. But why was he often thought of as a political puppet and how did he go from emperor to commoner? Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao provides a glimpse into the final period of China’s imperial rule.
Old Chinese-language textbooks featuring language and math.

What old Chinese textbooks say about life and times in Singapore

Former journalist Lim Jen Erh gets nostalgic about the Chinese textbooks he used growing up in Singapore. He remembers the illustrations depicting daily life in the 1960s and 1970s, not to mention historical events and the larger social milieu. In fact, the textbooks are not only a window into times past but a peek into the minds of those who wrote and studied them.
In June 1937, German leader Hitler received China’s Finance Minister H.H. Kung at the Kehlsteinhaus in the mountains, representing the peak of China-Germany military cooperation. Kung was the special personal representative of Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek.

[Photo story] The secret pre-World War II diplomacy between China and Germany

Before World War II, an unlikely alliance and friendship sprang up between China and Germany. As diplomatic ties warmed, Germany provided China with arms and equipment against the Japanese invasion. However, because China and the Soviet Union were military allies, Hitler drew closer to Japan, resulting in the subsequent deterioration of China-Germany relations, and the division of camps in WWII.