Gong Gong says

This is a posthumous blog of our father's (Lim Kok Ann) life. When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography. We'd like to celebrate his life by sharing his autobiography through this blog.

"I have dredged these anecdotes from memory just to pass the time; if they amuse my grandchildren their purpose will have been served; if they provide any instruction, it will be a happy coincidence; that they are disjointed is probably to be expected.

Aurora was the name of my grandfather’s house in Kulangsu.   Amoy, where I spent the first five or six years of my life.   I still have vivid memories of events that took place when I was barely three years old.

Lim Kok Ann
October 1996"

Sunday, September 07, 2008

3:1 Return to Singapore
The British Military Administration had taken charge from the Japanese occupation forces and left its mark on us by overprinting the old stamps with the initials B.M.A. Before the war Malaya was divided into three administrative territories. There were, firstly, the Crown Colonies, Singapore, Penang and Province Wellesley, Malacca, Dingdings (on the Perak Coast) and Labuan (adjacent to Sarawak in Borneo). Then there were the Federated Malay States, Negri Sembilan& Selangor, Pahang and Perak, and the Non-Federated (what else?) Malay States, Johore, Kelantan, Trengganu, Kedah and Perlis. When the British came to Malaya they treated the rulers of the Malay States with the same approach as they did in Africa. The Paramount Chief (a colonial term) in charge was recognized as the ruler, or sultan (a Moslem term) or raja (an Indian term). He had the protection of the British troops so long as he accepted the advice of the British Resident. It was generally the British policy not to interfere with native customs and natives, including the Indian and Chinese immigrants, were considered subjects of the raja. For convenience, wherever it could be managed, the local administrations followed a common plan, and in the case of the Federated Malay States, such joint action had taken the form of common laws and regulations. The Sultan of Johore, however, had a mind of his own and resisted any encroachment on his authority by the British Resident. He refused to have any of the federation business and was allowed to go his own way along with some other sultans. When the BMA gave way to civilian administration in 1948, the Federation of Malaya was created, comprising the former Malay states, federated or not, Penang and Malacca, but excluding Singapore which remained a Crown Colony. After a brief union with the Federation of Malaysia that included Sarawak and North Borneo, Singapore gained her independence as the Republic of Singapore in 1965.

I had not given much thought as to where we should live when we got to Singapore, and Rosie had assumed that we would live with her mother in Oberon, her home. We found that beside ourselves, there was the family of Rosie’s sister Betty to keep us company. Betty’s husband was Lim Koon Teck, a lawyer, and he had a son, Han Cheng, a daughter Cheng Kim, also known a Shirley, and an adopted daughter, Penelope Cheng Sim. Rosie’s mother, whom my children called Amak (grandmother, in nonya patois), thus had a large household to manage: the Lim Koon Tecks were five, the Lim Kok Anns were four, making ten altogether, including herself.


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