Sunday, November 6, 2016


Tong Meng Hui (TMH)

The Tongmenghui aka the Chinese United League was a secret society and underground resistance movement organized by Sun Yat-sen in Tokyo, Japan, on August 20,1905. Its aim was to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty and to establish a Chinese republic. In 1906, a branch was formed in Singapore, following Sun's visit here and it was known as the Nanyang branch covering South-East Asia. The Singapore Nanyang branch Tongmenghui had only 250 members and my great grand-father Chew Joo Chiat was one of them.

Chew Joo Chiat's family suffered hardship in China. He came to Singapore to find wealth, to better the lives of his family back home. He was a patriot and supported the society, hoping the Qing Dynasty would collapsed and China would be restored to the Chinese. In1908 Chew had a ship chandler business which supplied provisions and hardwares to ships that called at Singapore port. His shipping business was probably used by the society to ship provisions and firearms to the resistance forces in China.

Chew was a man who kept a very low profile. It was a personal secret and nobody in the family knew his membership in the TMH. In 2013 a relative who visited the exhibition at San Yat Sen Memorial Hall at Tai Gin Road found out his TMH membership. He prompted me. By the time I went there, the exhibits had been removed. Later, Raymond Goh, gave me a copy. The list had his name in both Chinese and English as indicated by a red arrow..

                           Name list of Tongmenghui memebers

On Saturday 5 November 2016 evening, I attended the opening ceremony of Wan Qing Culture Fest 2016 at San Yat Sen Memorial Hall, at Tai Gin Road. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean was the guest of honour. I met him at the reception hall and I had a picture taken with him.

On that evening there was also exhibits of “One Night In Wuchang” 1911 Revolution and Nanyang. My purpose of attending the function was actually to see the TMH name list. Secondly, I hope to find Chew Joo Chiat's picture among the group photo. As he kept a very low profile, it was unlikely I would succeed.

While other guests were busy on the ground floor, I went upstairs to check the name list of TMH. Instead I found another name list written in Chinese. Red arrow pointed to Chew Joo Chiat's name. As for the photo I had search in vain.

                                                        TMH name list in Chinese

                                                   With Dy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean

A Chew Joo Chiat's secret had been discovered. Has he another secret we do not know? Watch out for my next posting.