Tan Sri Lee Siow Mong (李绍茂; 1915 – 1989), also known as Lee Shao Mao, was a distinguished civil servant who had served in both the Singapore Civil Service and the public service of Malaysia. Lee was one of the four pairs of locals who were inducted into the Straits Settlement Civil Service since its establishment in 1934. He began his career opening letters and disseminating them to relevant departments for the Accountant-General in the Treasury. One of his last assignments in the Singapore Civil Service was to oversee the formation of the National Theatre and the television service in Singapore as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture. He retired from the Singapore Civil Service in May 1965 and started work for the Malaysian government as General Manager of the Employees Provident Fund in December 1965, a position he held for the next 15 years till his retirement from the public service of Malaysia. He was conferred a Royal Award, the title of Johan Mangku Negara in June 1974 by Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Lee passed away in August 1989.
Selected books on Lee Siow Mong
Tan Sri Lee, S. M. (1985). Words cannot equal experience. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: Pelanduk Publications.
Call no.: RSING 354.595001 LEE
This is an autobiography of Lee Siow Mong that recounts his early life and education in Singapore, his recounts during the Japanese Occupation and later his illustrious career as a civil servant, having served in both the Singapore Civil Service and the public service of Malaysia.
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. 46.
Call no.: RSING 959.570092 WHO-[HIS].
The book contains the biographies of 1,175 Chinese personalities in Singapore, covering the period from 1819 to 1990. Each biography contains information on the birth and death date, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Tan Sri Lee Siow Mong’s biography is also included.
Selected works by Lee Siow Mong
Tan Sri Lee, S. M. (1988). Understanding jade: A layman’s guide. Singapore: Times Books International.
Call no.: RSING 736.240951 LEE
A guide to Chinese jade and its role in Chinese culture – including the use of jade, the categories of jade and the colour identification of jade.
Tan Sri Lee, S. M. (1983). Chinese culture and religion. Singapore: Singapore Buddhist Mission.
Call no.: RSING 305.8951 LEE
Published in commemoration of the Vesak Buddhist Cultural Exhibition held in Phor Kark See Temple on May 1983, the booklet introduces Chinese attitudes, tolerance and behaviour towards religion.
Tan Sri Lee, S. M. (1986). Spectrum of Chinese culture. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: Pelanduk Publications.
Call no.: RSING q301.2951 LEE
This book traces how the Chinese conduct business to the roots of traditional Chinese customs, beliefs and cultures, the reasons behind rituals and the value of “face”.
Tan Sri Lee, S. M. (1989). The Chinese art of studying the head, face and hands. Petaling Jaya: Pelanduk Publications.
Call no.: R 138 LEE
This title explains the rules in studying the human features to determine the character and future. The head, face and hands are part of the qualifications of a well-rounded Chinese scholar.
Selected newspaper articles on Lee Siow Mong
Zhou, M. (1989, September 1). Tan Sri Lee Siow Mong – a man of many talents. Business Times, p.2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
A eulogy to Lee Siow Mong. Lee was described as a widely-recognised and respected authority on Chinese tradition and culture. He is also tri-lingual, proficient in English, Chinese and Malay.
Lee Siow Mong dies of cancer, aged 75. (1989, September 1). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from The Straits Times.
An article written after his death. Besides his eminent career and outstanding contributions to both the Singapore and Malaysia’s civil services, he also lectured for nearly 10 years at the Department of Chinese studies at Universiti Malaya.
321 Deaths 321 Deaths 321 Deaths. (1989, September 1). The Straits Times, p.40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
An obituary of Lee Siow Mong. Lee passed away on 31 August 1989 at 75 and was cremated at Mount Vernon crematorium.
Selected oral history interviews on Lee Siow Mong
Wong, W. (Interviewer). (2005, December 22). Oral history interview with Lee, Grace Gek Eng nee Tan [Accession No. 003003, reels 1-4 of 4]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
An interview with Grace Lee Gek Eng, wife of Lee Siow Mong. She recounted how she met her husband in Raffles College, his years spent in the Singapore Civil Service and later in the public service of Malaysia and his hobby of collecting antiques.
Ng, D. (Interviewer). (2014, June 27). Oral history interview with Lee, Tzu Pheng (Dr) [Accession No. 003880, reels 1-4 of 34]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
An interview with Dr Lee Tzu Pheng, daughter of Lee Siow Mong. In her interview, Dr Lee spoke about her father, Lee Siow Mong, and described her father at home and at work.