History

The plague outbreak in late 1910 spread with the use of railways. There were many cases and deaths in northeast China, and the Qing dynasty government pumped in plenty of medical resources. In this photo, medical staff gather in front of an inn. At the time, there were many confirmed and suspected cases, and there was a serious lack of medical spaces, leading to the use of inns as medical facilities.

[Photo story] The Manchurian plague outbreak and the Malayan doctor Wu Lien-teh

The current coronavirus outbreak is not the first epidemic in China. Historian Hsu Chung-mao looks at a plague outbreak in Manchuria over a century ago and the role played by a Malaya-born doctor and Nobel Prize nominee.
This Christmas tree in the home of early US immigrant Seid Back in the 1890s is full of decorative lights, with lots of presents below. But the children are not dressed as Santa Claus, or the three wise men visiting baby Jesus in the manger as written in the Bible, which are Western observances. Instead, we see the children quaintly dressed in Chinese-style Han clothing, reminiscent of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai in the classic Chinese story of The Butterfly Lovers.

Early Chinese immigrants: Embracing the American way of life

America has long been known as the land of opportunity for people from all over the world, not least China. As 2019 draws to a close, photo historian Hsu Chung-mao retells the stories of the first wave of Chinese immigrants to America in the 19th century, capturing how they quickly embraced the American way of life, some even accepting Christianity and celebrating Christmas.
Centenarian Ho Weng Toh is not only a WWII veteran, SIA pioneer pilot, but also a published author of his autobiography. A picture of him taken in 1945, hangs on the wall. (Long Kwok Hong/SPH)

War, love, and passion: The life of a WWII Flying Tiger (Video and text)

He was a student studying in Hong Kong in the 1940s. He flew the B-25 bomber during WWII. He was a pioneer pilot of SIA, and at the age of 90, returned to the US to seek closure on his love. Centenarian Ho Weng Toh chats with Chow Yian Ping, Editor of ThinkChina, about life, loss and love, at the launch of his book, Memoirs of a Flying Tiger: The Story of a WWII Veteran and SIA Pioneer Pilot.
Edgar Snow (left) and John Stuart were two Westerners in China who did their part to improve the country. (Internet)

John Stuart and Edgar Snow: Two Americans in China

As the PRC celebrates its 70th anniversary, and amid the China-US trade war, Prof Tian Fangmeng remembers two Americans who left their marks on China in the first half of the 20th century. One became the face of American imperialism and the enemy of communism, while the other became a familiar face in the Chinese government’s official propaganda. But are they so different?
2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Jimei School. The photo shows Tan Kah Kee interacting with the students at the school he founded. (The Information Office of Xiamen Municipal People's Government)

Tan Kah Kee: The Confucian merchant's relevance in contemporary societies

Professor Wang Gungwu gave a keynote address at the Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series 5 detailing his memories about prominent Chinese community leader, Tan Kah Kee. He shares from his personal experiences before elaborating on Tan's huge influence on the Chinese community, and what we can continue to learn from him.
Sun Yat-sen is widely regarded as the foremost revolutionary of his time.

Sun Yat-sen and the Xinhai Revolution: A pictorial journey

Between October and December 1911, fierce fighting broke out between the revolutionaries and the Qing troops. And by early 1912, China's 2,000 years of imperial rule was history. The Xinhai Revolution led by Sun Yat-sen had successfully united the Chinese people against the imperial system, and built the first Republic in Asia, changing the fate of China and East Asia. Hsu Chung-mao takes us on a visual journey through that period of chaos and upheaval.
Zhao Ziyang (left) and Yin Haiguang were visionaries ahead of their time.

Zhao Ziyang and Yin Haiguang: A common vision, a common fate

Two men, both patriots with a vision for China. They worked hard for their country and spoke up against what they saw was going wrong - they tried to change the system and put things right. But in the end, their efforts were not rewarded in their lifetime. This is their story.
By 1965, the people of Singapore had internalised the early imperial linkages. They set out to build on that heritage to seek its place as a global city and turn its plural society into a viable and prosperous state. The photo shows a view of Boat Quay, Singapore River and the financial district in 1978. (SPH)

Singapore history: A tale of separating and connecting (Video and text)

While Hong Kong's largely Chinese population never stopped being engaged in all of China's affairs, Singapore's Chinese population's engagement with China and the Southeast Asia region could be described as connected yet separated. Prof Wang Gungwu reflected on Singapore's distinctiveness at The Singapore Bicentennial Conference organised by The Institute of Policy Studies on Sept 30 and Oct 1. This article is written by Prof Wang based on his speech at the conference.
Chen Cuifen was not recognised. History does not remember her name. Her relationship with Sun Yat-sen was never made public. (SPH)

Sun Yat-sen’s lover Cuifen and her Malaysia villa

What will matter most on one’s deathbed? For Chen Cuifen, partner of Sun Yat-sen, it was a gold ring and a pocket watch, engraved with Sun’s English name.