Tso Ping Lung (左秉隆; 1850–1924) was the first officially appointed Chinese consul of Singapore by the Qing empire. He served for 10 years from 1881 to 1891, and was subsequently transferred to Hong Kong. Tso returned to Singapore for the second time in 1907 to serve as consul-general for the Straits Settlements until his resignation in 1910. He remained in Singapore until 1916 before moving to Hong Kong, subsequently returning to Guangzhou, China that the same year. Tso was a qualified translator and was fluent in English. During his term in Singapore, he focused on strengthening cultural links with China and also established several free schools. He started the first Chinese literary society in Southeast Asia known as Hui Hsien She (会贤社), with the aim of spreading Chinese culture. He also served as the first president of the English-medium debating society for Chinese called the Celestial Reasoning Association (英语雄辩会). Besides culture and education, Tso promoted the protection of women and girls, and banned the trafficking of Chinese workers. Tso passed away in Guangzhou in 1924.
Selected books on Tso Ping Lung
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 of Singapore]. 新加坡: 教育出版公司, pp. 12–13.
Call no.: RSING Chinese 959.570092 WHO -[HIS].
This 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 dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Tso Ping Lung’s biography is also included.
柯木林 & 林孝胜. [Ke, M. L. & Lin, X. S.] 1986. 《新华历史与人物研究》 [The study of historical personalities and the history of Singapore Chinese]. 新加坡: 南洋学会, pp. 113–121.
Call no.: RSING Chinese 959.57 KML -[HIS].
This book contains a collection of essays on the history of Singapore Chinese and historical personalities in the 19th century. One of the chapters describes the Chinese society during Tso’s first 10 years as Chinese consul in Singapore.
黄尧. (Huang, Y.) (2003). 《新马华人志》 [The history of Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore]. 吉隆坡: 元生基金会: 马来西亚黄氏联合总会, pp. 192–194.
Call no.: RSEA Chinese 959.5004951 HY
This book contains information on the overseas Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore. It also describes Tso’s second assignment as the Chinese consul in Singapore, and his contributions to culture and education.
Selected works by Tso Ping Lung
- 左秉隆. [Zuo, B. L.] (1959). 《勤勉堂诗钞》 [A representative poetry collection from the dwelling for diligence]. 新加坡: 南洋历史研究会.
Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 811.07 TPL
This book is a collection of poetry written by Tso, which also features works reflecting his experiences and thoughts during his time as consul in Singapore.
Selected articles on Tso Ping Lung
朱杰勤. [Zhu, J. Q.] (1947). 左秉隆与曾纪泽. 《南洋杂志》 [Nanyang Miscellany], 1(4), 75–76.
Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 959 NM
Zeng Jize (曾纪泽) was one of China’s earliest consuls to London, Paris and Moscow. It was due to his recommendation that Tso Ping Lung was assigned as consul of the Qing government in Singapore.
陈育崧. [Chen, Y. S.] (1959). 中国派遣第一领事左秉隆先生驻新政绩. 《南洋学报》 [Journal of the South Seas Society], 15(1), 18–21.
Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 959.005 JSSS
This describes Tso’s achievements as the first officially appointed Chinese consul to Singapore.
柯木林. [Ke, M. L.] (2009). “我视新洲成旧洲”——左秉隆与新中关系” in 《南洋学报》 [Journal of the South Seas Society], 63, 109–130.
Call no.: RSING Chinese 959.005 JSSS
This essay examines Tso’s historical position and his contributions to the Chinese in Singapore. It also includes an interview with Tso’s descendants in China.
刘凡. [Liu, F.] (2013). “中国驻新加坡的首位职业外交官左秉隆领事” in 《源》 [Yuan], No. 108, 8–11.
Call no.: RSING Chinese 369.25957 Y
This essay traces the establishment of the Chinese consulate in Singapore in 1877, as well as Tso’s contributions during his appointment as consul for China in Singapore from 1881 to 1891 and 1907 to 1910.
Selected newspaper articles on Tso Ping Lung
The Chinese Consul General. (1907, August 15). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Weekly), p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a short report on Tso Ping Lung’s return to Singapore for his new appointment as Chinese consul-general to the Straits Settlements in 1907. He was previously the Chinese consul of Singapore in 1881.
Chinese Consulate. (1907, October 14). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This is a notice about Tso Ping Lung’s arrival by ship to assume the position of Chinese consul-general to the Straits Settlements in 1907.
杜南发. [Du, N. F.] (2011, April 10). 清朝驻新加坡总领事外交“秘密”. 《联合早报》 [Lianhe Zaobao], pp. 12–13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
The writer shares the discovery of as well as interesting facts about the certificate of appointment that was presented to Tso Ping Lung by the Qing government in 1907 for his post as consul-general to the Straits Settlements.