Wong Nai Siong (黄乃裳; 1849–1924), also known as Huang Jiu Mei (黄九美) or Huang Mu Hua (黄慕华), was a member of the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance and editor of Jit Shin Pau, a local newspaper. Born in Fujian, China, Wong came from a poor family where he grew up helping out at his family’s farm. When he was six, he started receiving tuition at home from his uncle and was later able to join a traditional private school where he studied the traditional Chinese syllabus whenever he is not required to work in the field.
In 1895, when Wong was in Beijing for his metropolitan examination, he joined the “Letter to Bus” reform and encountered the Kang You Wei, leader of the 1898 Reform Movement in China. He was conferred the title of fifth-rank official and became involved in the Reform movement, but soon left Beijing to escape persecution after the movement failed to take off.
At the invitation of his son-in-law Lim Boon Keng, an eminent figure of the Chinese Straits community, Wong moved his family to Singapore in 1899 and became the chief editor of Jit Shin Pau. Wong soon left Singapore for Sibu, where he set up the New Foochow Settlement Company and recruited Chinese immigrants to open up the land. However, the company was closed down in 1904.
Wong then dedicated himself to the revolutionary movement and joined the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance after meeting Sun Yat Sen at Wan Qing Yuan in 1906. After the establishment of the Republic of China, Wong took up several positions in the Chinese government. He retired from his position as Senior Advisor at the Fujian Provincial Office in July 1924 due to a recurrent heart disease. Wong passed away in September 1924, aged 75.
Selected books on Wong Nai Siong
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. 170.
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 the birth and death dates, dialect group, occupation and affiliated organisations of the Chinese personality. Wong Nai Siong’s biography is also included.
Yeap, C. L. & Singapore Society of Asian Studies. (2001). Wong Nai Siong and the Nanyang Chinese : an anthology. Singapore: Singapore Society of Asian Studies.
Call no.: RSING 959.54004951 YEA
This book is divided into two, the first covers Yeap Chong Leng’s thesis of the biography of Wong Nai Siong. The second part consists of published articles by Wong and a written response from him to answer the query of the Fujian Province Inspector Dao Xun regarding the New Foochow Settlement.
孙毓经. [Sun, Y. J.] (1956). 黄乃裳：名人传之十五. [Wong Nai Siong: Biographies of Prominent Figures – 15] 台北: 海外文库出版社.
Call no.: RCLOS 959.5220994 SYC
This book is part of a series that highlights prominent overseas Chinese personalities. Wong is highlighted as one of them. The title recounts his journey from Fujian to Beijing, down south to Singapore and Sibu before returning to China to participate in the revolution and serving the Chinese government thereafter.
Pang, A. (2011). 黄乃裳：a Chinese Christian reformer in late Qing and early republican China. Sarawak, Malaysia: Distributor, World Fuzhou Heritage Gallery.
Call no.: RSEA 951.035092 PAN
Published in celebration of the 110th anniversary of the New Fuzhou Settlement, the publication offers insights into the life of Wong, with a focus on Huang’s Christian solutions to the urgency of “saving China” during the Chinese Revolution.
刘子政. [Liu, Z. Z.]. (1979). 黄乃裳与新福州. [Wong Nai Siong and New Fuzhou]. 新加坡：南洋学会.
Call no.: R CO 959.52200994 LTC
This title recounts the history of Sibu before Wong, his plans for the land and his involvement and contributions in developing Sibu. The book also contains a series of photographs including that of Wong with his family and friends at various official and private occasions.
Selected newspaper articles on Wong Nai Siong
Pei, X. (1957, March 6). 開發詩巫之黃乃裳. [Developing Sibu: Wong Nai Siong ]. 南洋商报 [Nanyang Shang Pau], p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article recounts the life of Wong Nai Siong and his participation in the Chinese revolution. The author also praised Wong for his care and contributions to the Chinese immigrant community.
Li Ying (1979, December 23). 開闢新馬的功臣. [Prominent figures in the development of Malaya]. 南洋商报 [Nanyang Shang Pau], p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
This article credits Wong as a prominent Chinese figure recognised for his efforts to develop Sibu into the ‘New Fuzhou’ through investment and bringing Chinese immigrants to the area.
新福州和小福州. [New Fuzhou and Small Fuzhou]. (1990, May 13). 联合早报 [Lianhe Zaobao], p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
The article covers Wong’s journey from China to Singapore, and his eventual settlement in Sibu. It also explains comprehensively how Wong led the Chinese immigrants from Fujian personally to settle in Sibu.