Friday May 15, 2009
Grand honour for Penang
By JEREMY TAN
PENANG will play host to the annual joint conference of Dr Sun Yat-Sen and Song Qing Ling Memories next year — the first time such an event is held outside China.
Penang Sun Yat-Sen pro tem committee secretary Goh Mai Loon said the event was tentatively scheduled to be held over two weeks, although the exact date and venue were yet to be determined.
“At least 60 museums and organisations from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Macau and even Canada will take part in the event,” she said.
She said this during a recent celebration to mark the 98th anniversary of the Huanghuagang Uprising, also known as the second Guangzhou uprising, at the Sun Yat-Sen Penang Base on Armenian Street.
It was at this very house, almost a century ago, that Dr Sun sowed the seeds of the uprising.
Khoo Salma Nasution, the centre’s executive advisor, said the conference was usually held in a different city each year in China, but Penang was granted the honour of hosting it next year to commemorate the role early Chinese settlers played in supporting the revolution.
She said it was on Nov 12, 1910, that Dr Sun convened the Penang Conference to plan the uprising, in which he uttered the famous words, “You can help shoulder the responsibility of saving our country by donating your money, while our comrades in our country are sacrificing their lives.”
His moving speech raised around 8,000 Straits Dollars.
Tan Joo Bee, 74, maternal granddaughter of Goh Say Eng, one of Dr Sun’s strongest supporters, was also present to give her account of her grandfather’s efforts in hel-ping his countrymen.
“He was a very patriotic Chinese, and sold all his possessions to support the revolution.
“When he met Dr Sun, he was so impressed with his speech that he gave up everything he had,” Tan said.
Dr Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1925) was one of the foremost Asian nationalist figures of the early 20th century.
In 1911, he led the Chinese Revolution that ushered in the first republic in Asia. Today, he is regarded as the father of modern China.
The Sun Yat-Sen Penang Base at 120, Armenian Street is preserved to commemorate the role Dr Sun and his supporters played in shaping the course of history.
Among its objectives include raising awareness on the historical events, promoting conservation of heritage sites, organising events related to Dr Sun and promoting it as a tourist attraction.
The base offers guided bilingual tours for interested parties. It is open from Monday to Saturday (10am to 2pm).
For information, call 04-2620123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.