Tuesday, December 31, 2013 | By: Rudi Butt

Sun Yat-Sen And The Medical Gentlemen Of Hong Kong



Updated (partial) February 25, 2014.

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Notes, before you read on:
  1. The present day version of conventional place names are shown in “mouse over text” boxes. For example: Canton.
  2. The word “unknown” used here means “unknown to me” as opposed to nobody knows. In some cases, these are matters I think I know but do not know for a fact.

Preface


Dr. Sun Yat-sen, LMSH, a soldier at heart[2]
(lud.1/5/2014) The eight years (1883-92) in Hong Kong[1] in which Dr. Sun Yat-sen had spent his young adulthood was to have great influence in his most extraordinary life. It saw the first half of his metamorphosis from an aimless youth with vandalism tendency to a vehement, patriotic man suited with the noble profession of medicine and the matching social station. Still quite aimless, nonetheless. It was in this period of his life more than any other that he came to be cocooned by men of the medical profession. To some of them, he was their source of pride (an experiment came to fruition), and to others, he and his idealism was a breath of fresh air, the existence of which they had but long forgotten. This is the story about the medical gentlemen of Hong Kong whose paths had one way or the other crossed with that of Sun Yat-sen, who, before settling for medicine, had wanted nothing but to be a professional soldier.




Dr. Sun Yat-sen, LMSH, a soldier at heart[2]
(lud.1/5/2014) The eight years (1883-92) in Hong Kong[1] in which Dr. Sun Yat-sen had spent his young adulthood was to have great influence in his most extraordinary life. It saw the first half of his metamorphosis from an aimless youth with vandalism tendency to a vehement, patriotic man suited with the noble profession of medicine and the matching social station. Still quite aimless, nonetheless. It was in this period of his life more than any other that he came to be cocooned by men of the medical profession. To some of them, he was their source of pride (an experiment came to fruition), and to others, he and his idealism was a breath of fresh air, the existence of which they had but long forgotten. This is the story about the medical gentlemen of Hong Kong whose paths had one way or the other crossed with that of Sun Yat-sen, who, before settling for medicine, had wanted nothing but to be a professional soldier.
[1] Sun spent a year in 1885 in Honolulu and a year in 1886 in Canton studying at the medical school attached to the Canton Hospital.

[2] A soldier at last. Sun was photoed in the uniform of the Generalissimo of the Military Government of the ROC. He was elected (rather than appointed) to that position on September 1, 1917.

The Roll

  • Dr. Kuan Huang 黃寬 - The Inspirator
  • Dr. Wan Man Kai - High School Classmate; Business Partner


Kuan Huang
Dr. Kuan Huang 黃寬

(lud.1/7/2014) The first doctor I wish to present in this roll is Dr. Kuan Huang who in fact died the year Sun went to live with his brother Sun Mei 孫眉 in Honolulu, or five years before he fled his home country fearing reprisal after vandalizing a Taoist temple and moved to Hong Kong. I've included Huang despite the fact that he and Sun had never met [at least I've found no records that show they had] was because I believe he was very inspirational to Sun, probably no difference in the manner John F. Kennedy was to Bill Clinton (except that Clinton has actually met Kennedy).

Kuan Huang (name variations: Wong Fun, Wong Foon; alias Huang Jiechen 黃傑臣, alias Huang Chuoqing 黃綽卿) was born in 1829 and hailed from the same county in Kwangtung as Sun, i.e. Heung Shan 廣東省香山縣. Both his parents died when he was very young and so he was raised by his paternal grandmother. Huang moved to Macau in 1841 when he turned 12 and there he matriculated at the Morrison Education Society School 馬禮遜紀念學校. The Protestant boarding school was founded in 1839 by Yale-trained school headmaster the Rev. Samuel Robbins Brown 鮑留雲 (b.1810, Connecticut - d.1880, Monson, Massachusetts) for the purpose to educate Chinese children as a part of the evangelism program. The core curriculum were English language and biblical studies. A decision was made in 1842 by the Society to move the school to Hong Kong following the island's ceding to Britain, and on November 1 that same year, Brown, his family and 11 students including Huang, moved from Macau and took occupancy of the new school premises located where the Morrison Hill Swimming Pool is today. While the school progressed well in the new British colony, the physical condition of Brown's wife went from poor to alarming and as a result Brown handed in his resignation after having spent almost five years in Hong Kong. The Browns were to move back to the US. At the time they announced their imminent departure to the class, they did something very extraordinary – they asked the students if anyone of them was willing to go with the Browns to the United States to receive education there. They got three: Yung Wing[1], Wong Shing[2] and Huang. Several Hong Kong businessmen were in sympathy with Brown's idea to expose the Chinese youths to Western education and ways of living (it goes without saying that it was also Brown's wish that they would one day follow his path and became evangelists, and that they would return and work in China) and lend their support[3], so off they went in November 1847.

- TO BE COMPLETED -

Yung Wing p1
[1] Yung Wing (Rong Hong) 容閎 (b.1828-d.1912) dropped out of Monson in 1949 after he rejected the condition the board of trustees of the academy had set forth: his agreement to become an evangelist to work in China in exchange for the academy's continuous financial support. Yung entered Yale (who had provided the means is unknown) and in 1854 received a BA degree. He would be remembered as the first Asian to receive a baccalaureate degree in America. [continue in Supplementary Notes]

Wong Shing
[2]Wong Shing (Huang Sheng) 黃勝 (alias Wong A-shing, alias Wong Tak-kuen 黃達權, alias Wong Ping-po 黃平甫) (b. 1827 – d. August 5, 1902) attended Monson Academy for only one year (1847-48) and returned to Hong Kong because he had been ill since arriving in the US. He was hired by Andrew Shortrede to work at The China Mail where he learned printing and newspaper editing. He was appointed in 1850 the interpreter of the Court of Small Claims. In 1853 he became the Superintendent of Ying Wah College Printing Press. [continue in Supplementary Notes]

Samuel Robbins Brown p2Archibald Alexander Ritchie p3 David W.C. Olyphant p4
[3] Andrew Shortrede 蕭德銳, of Edinburgh, was the founder, publisher and editor of the newspaper The China Mail 德臣西報. Shortrede was a member of the Morrison Education Society and the founding secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch; he in fact wrote the by-laws of the branch. Shortrede was also the key founder of St. Andrews School (1855-61), Hong Kong first non-government, non-missionary school to admit European students. A. Campbell, also a Scotsman, was a merchant. American ship captain and tea merchant Archibald Alexander Ritchie. Ritchie moved to California during the Gold Rush and became famous when he bought Rancho Suisun from General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Free passage from Hong Kong to New York (via Shanghai) was made available by David, Talbot and Robert Olyphant, the three brothers who owned the New York based The Olyphant Brothers, a mercantile and shipping operator that also had offices in Hong Kong and Canton, traded under the name of Olyphant & Co. 衕孚洋行. The Olyphants were Quakers and because of their anti-opium stance, they were among a handful of foreign merchants permitted by Qing China to trade at its southern ports in the lead up to the First Opium War.
Selected bibliography: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity [internet]. Chen Weifen, Exotic Experiences and Cultural Identities - A Comparative Study of Yung Wing and Joseph H. Neesima. The Historic Stone House at Hidden Valley Lake; The Oldest Building in Lake County, California [internet]. The Official Website of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch [internet]. Sweeting, Anthony, Education in Hong Kong Pre-1841 to 1941: Facts and Opinion, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1990.

Photo Credits: p1 Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation. p2 protestant150.org. p3 The Historic Stone House at Hidden Valley Lake; The Oldest Building in Lake County, California. p4 Electric Scotland.


Supplementary Notes


Wong Shing 黃勝 [continued]

(lud.2/24/2014) Two significant events took place with Wong in 1858 – first, he was appointed a common juror, significantly the first Chinese to be appointed; secondly, he partnered with Ng Choy and established Chung Ngoi San Po 中外新報, significantly the first newspaper in Hong Kong published solely in the Chinese language. Wong was also responsible for the creation of Hong Kong's second Chinese newspaper, 香港華字日報 (The Chinese Mail) in 1872. There was a mentioned of a Chinese publication by the name of Assing's Daily General Price Current [Chinese name unknown] in 1864. He became a naturalized British Subject (within the limits of Hong Kong) on December 28, 1883, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace the following day. Wong was made Hong Kong's second Chinese Member of the Legislative Council (1884-90) succeeding Ng Choy, who had fled Hong Kong due to failure in his property speculation dealings. Wong's daughter, Wong Yuk-hing (Wong Yung-tsing) 黃玉卿, married Wei Yuk 韋玉 (alias Wei Boshan 韋寶珊) who was made Hong Kong's fourth Chinese Member of the Legislative Council in 1896 [Ho Kai was the third][1]. Wong's son, Wong Wing-seung (Huang Yung-shang) 黃詠商 was introduced to Sun by Ho Kai. Wong, who went to Stoneygate School in Leicester and Dollar Academy in Clackmannanshire, instantaneously became a diehard follower of Sun's. He was appointed the provisional (inaugural) president of the Hong Kong Hsing Chung Hui 香港興中會臨時會長 in 1894. He practically sold his entire family estates and donated the proceeds to fund the First Canton Uprising in 1895. He went into hiding in Macau when the uprising failed and there he died soon afterward.
[1] Intermarriages among elite Chinese Protestant families in Nineteenth Century Hong Kong were the key to keep wealth and prominence within the circle. Thus was how the houses of Wong and Ho were related. The daughter of Wong Wing-seung, Wong Oi-lin 黃愛蓮, married Ho Shan-yau (alias Ho Guen-seung 何眷商; Ho Yow), businessman, Qing Consul General in San Francisco, and the younger brother of Ho Kai. One doesn't need to look further than the Legislative Council to see how the system worked. The first Chinese member, Ng Choy (1880-82), was Wong's business partner. Wong himself took the second office (1884-90). He was succeeded by the brother-in-law of his granddaughter, Ho Kai (1890-1914), who was in turn succeeded by Wong's son-in-law, Wei Yuk (1914-17). The four were also the first Chinese Justices of the Peace ever appointed in Hong Kong. "Keeping it all in the family" was it not the time-honored modus operandi.

Selected bibliography: The Hong Kong Government Gazette, December 29, 1883, #428. Smith, Carl T., Chinese Christians Elites, Middlemen, and the Church in Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2005. 葉琛銘, 百年回首, 志上無名 - 香港興中會臨時會長黄詠商生平述略.

Yung Wing 容閎 [continued]

Morrison Brown Yung (1898) p1Bartlett Golden Yung (1898) p2
(lud.2/25/2014) Upon returning to China, Yung worked as an interpreter for missionaries in Hong Kong and Canton. He was one of the few Chinese who got away for serving the opposing camps of Da Qing and the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the bloodiest civil war in world history. Yung was given a Qing government commission in 1871 to establish the Chinese Education Mission 幼童出洋肄業局, which was his brainchild, with the purpose to send supervised groups of Chinese children to read science and engineering in Western countries. Between 1872 and 1875, 120 Chinese students (with an average age of 12) went to the United States to study under Yung's program. He received a LL.D. from Yale on June 29, 1876. Books authored by him included My Life in China and America (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1909). Yung became a naturalized U.S. citizen on October 30, 1852, but his citizenship was revoked in 1898 under the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882). He married Mary Louise Kellogg of Avon, Connecticut, on February 24, 1875. Kellogg was a school teacher, and daughter of Edward Kellogg, a doctor of homeopathic medicine, who once cared for the children of Mark Twain. [Edward Kellogg was also the fifth-generation ancestor of Clint Eastwood.] The marriage bore tow sons, Morrison Brown Yung and Bartlett Golden Yung.
Lieutenant-General Homer Lea of Da Qing's Pao Huang Army 保皇軍大將軍, ca.1904. The Army was the military arm of the royalists loyal to Emperor Kuang-hsu (Guangxu) 光绪帝 p3
In 1908, Yung, then 70 years of age and residing in Hartford, Connecticut, was recruited by Homer Lea 荷馬李 (b.1876-d.1912), the Denver-born author and adventurer and one time lieutenant-general of Emperor Kuang-hsu's own regiment 保皇軍, to be the figurehead of Lea's Red Dragon Plan - an insurgence, to be privately funded by American financiers and led by Lea, intended to attack and take control the southern provinces in China with the eventual aim to topple the Qing Empire. The American kingmakers would install Yung as head of the new government, who, in return, would grant them generous financial concessions. Lea was unable to promote the Plan beyond initial discussions because potential funders were not convinced that Yung was good enough a figurehead. In the year next following, Yung brought the Red Dragon Plan to Sun offering him the figurehead position which was once his. Sun and Lea conferred in February and again in March in California. The forming of an alliance was agreed upon as a result of the meetings whereby Sun was promised US$5,000,000 in private American backing to underwrite his republican revolution; Yung, high positions in the new government for him and his children; Lea and Co., lucrative deals. [As you can see, when came to raising expensive money, Sun was no different from his arch-adversary, Yuen Sai-hoi (Yuan Shikai) 袁世凱.] At the end of the day, the Red Dragon Plan never took off since Lea was unsuccessful in raising the money, but he remained a trusted confidant of Sun's. When Sun was elected ROC's provisional president in 1911, he announced his intention to appoint Lea the chief of staff of the ROC Army. The intended appointment was severely opposed by everybody in his government, Sun yielded and instead made Lea his (unofficial) military advisor. Lea died from illness the following year and so did Yung. J.P. Morgan, a financial backer hopeful, had this to say after he turned Lea down, "I am ready to do business with any established government on earth but I cannot help to make a government to do business with."
Selected bibliography: Kaplan, Lawrence M., American Soldier of Fortune: Homer Lea, Lexington: The University Press of Kennedy, 2010.

Photo Credits: p1 Picasa, Cassandra. p2 Picasa, Cassandra. p.3 Joshua B. Powers collection, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University.








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