Huang Man Shi (黄曼士; 1890 – 1963), or Huang Cong (黄琮) or Huang Mun Se, was an art collector and a prominent personality of the Chinese community in Singapore. Huang arrived in Singapore in 1923 to assume the position of managing director at the Nanyang branch of the Brothers Tobacco Company Limited. He retired from business after the company folded. Huang was well-known for his friendship with celebrated Chinese painter, Xu Beihong, who regarded Huang as his benefactor and referred to him as his “second elder brother”. In 1954, the governor of Singapore appointed Huang, along with 17 others, as a member of the Chinese Advisory Board, a committee that provided advice on Chinese customs and traditions in Singapore. Huang was also involved in setting up Mee Toh School and was elected as the chairman of the school’s board in 1960. Huang took up leadership positions in the Huang Clan Singapore Association, South Seas Society and Nanyang Confucian Association. He passed away in October 1963.
Selected books on Huang Man Shi
Huang, S. F. (1997). 《黄曼士纪念文集》 [A collection of essays in remembering Huang Man Shi]. Singapore: 南洋学会 [South Seas Society].
Call no.: Chinese RSING 959.57004951 HMS – [HIS].
Compiled by Huang Man Shi’s sister, this title is a collection of 18 essays about Huang’s life and contributions written by his friends, and also features pictures of Huang, his family and his home. It also highlights the paintings and artefacts Huang had collected throughout his life.
Xu, B. H. (2008). Xu Beihong in Nanyang. Singapore: Singapore Art Museum, pp. 22﹘25, 49﹘51.
Call no.: RSING 759.951 XU
This book was published in conjunction with the exhibition “Xu Beihong in Nanyang”, which was jointly organised by the Singapore Art Museum and Xu Beihong Museum. Featuring 90 of Xu Beihong’s works completed in Southeast Asia and India, the publication also recounts the friendship between Xu and Huang.
柯木林. (主编). [Ke, M. L. (Ed.)]. (1995). 《新华历史人物列传》 [Who’s who in the Chinese community in Singapore]. 新加坡：教育出版公司, p. 181.
Call no.: RSING 959.570092 WHO-[HIS].
The book contains the biographies of 1,175 Chinese personalities, including Huang Man Shi’s, in Singapore from the period 1819 to 1990. Each biography contains information on the birth and death dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality.
方百成, 杜南发. (编委主任). [Fang, B. C. & Du, N. F. (Ed.)]. (2012). 《世界福建名人录, 新加坡编》 [Prominent figures of the world Fujian communities: Singapore]. 新加坡: 新加坡福建会馆, pp. 261 – 262.
Call no.: RSING 920.05957 PRO
The book contains the biographies of 155 Chinese Hokkien personalities in Singapore from 1819 to 2012. Huang Man Shi’s early life in China, journey to Singapore and friendship with Xu Beihong is also included, together with his numerous contributions to Singapore.
Selected newspaper articles on Huang Man Shi
Owyang, X. Y. (1985, September 18). 学困巴黎缘结星洲. 《联合晚报》[Lianhe Wanbao], p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article details the life of Xu Beihong when he was in Nanyang, and includes his friendship with Huang Man Shi and his elder brother. Huang had played a vital role in helping Xu gain recognition as a painter in Nanyang. Xu regarded Huang as his benefactor who had helped him through his financial difficulties.
Yao, N. (1982, May 25). 黄曼士与徐悲鸿. 《联合早报》[Lianhe Zaobao], p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article was written after the death of Huang Man Shi by his junior, Yao Nan. Yao describes Huang as a respectable elder and notes Huang’s friendship with artist, Xu Beihong.
Selected oral history interviews on Huang Man Shi
Tan, B. L. (Interviewer). (1982, Dec 14). Oral history interview with Liu Kang (刘抗). [Accession No. 000171, reels 25﹘26 of 74]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
During this interview, Liu Kang, a pioneer Singapore painter, mentions the friendship between Huang Man Shi and Xu Beihong, Xu’s increased prominence in Singapore due to Huang’s recommendations and how Xu would stay at Huang’s home whenever he visited Singapore.
Pitt, K. W. (Interviewer). (1983, Nov 30). Oral history interview with Huang Pao Fang @ Huang San (黄葆芳). [Accession No. 000364, reels 8, 11, of 28]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
Local artist Huang Pao Fang, a member of the Huang Clan Singapore Association, recounts his meetings and encounters with Huang Man Shi at Jia Xia Tang, both the headquarters of the association as well as the living quarters of Huang.