Sunday, 9 March 2014

Where it all started for the Wus

The Dr Wu Lien-Teh commemorative symposium starts this week and last night, there was a welcome dinner at the City Bayview Hotel for the participants of the symposium.

The biggest surprise was the homecoming of the Wu clan. I would estimate that of the 100-plus people at the dinner, about 85 percent of them were the descents of their patriarch, Ng Khee Hock. Dr Wu Lien-Teh was the eighth of 11 siblings.

From what I understand, this was the first time that the Wu clan had descended in such numbers for a family reunion and meeting with relatives that they didn't even know existed. And they came from the far corners of the world such as San Francisco, Belfast, Perth and Sydney. Nearer to home, some of them came from nearby Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, Ipoh and of course, Penang.

As a committee member of the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society, I was privileged to have witnessed this gathering at the welcome dinner which also saw the official launch of the reprint of Dr Wu Lien-Teh's own auto-biography, Plague Fighter, by Areca Books. I've no idea yet how much it will cost when it hits the bookstands.

The book last saw print in 1959, the year before Wu Lien-Teh's death in his house in Chor Si Kheng Road, Ayer Itam, Penang. Maybe, there was only a single edition then as I doubt that it had a wide circulation. I'm one of a very few people that still owned a copy of that first edition, but nevertheless, I am still glad that there is now a reprint of this book. With careful promotion, I hope that many more of the present generation of Malaysians will get to know how great this man was.

Welcome speech by Anwar Fazal, the president of the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society

What's that behind the red cloth?

Plague Fighter, Dr Wu Lien-Teh's biography. The people behind the launch of the book were: David Yeoh (representing Star Publications which sponsored the re-printing of this book), Dr Alex Ooi (secretary-general of the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society), Khoo Salma (chairman of Penang Heritage Trust and the woman behind Areca Books), Dr John Wu (Dr Wu Lien-Teh's last surviving son) and Anwar Fazal (president of the Dr Wu Lien-Teh Society)

Of course, how could William and I not miss the chance to show Dr John Wu that section of Fidelis, the commemorative book of The Old Frees' Association, that featured his illustrious father?

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