By Peace | May 15, 2008
What is Lee Foundation? This is what I found on the net.
Lee Foundation is a charitable foundation in Singapore created to fund programs that promote education and other philanthropic work. It was founded in 1952 by philanthropist and businessman, Lee Kong Chian (Li Guangqian, 1893-1967).
Born in the village of Furong , Fujian Province in 1893, Lee Kong Chian is a firm believer in the value of education. In 1903, he joined his father in Singapore and studied here for a few years before taking up a scholarship to study at Chi Nan School in Nanjing in 1911.
Born in China and came to Singapore in 1903.
Anglo-Tamil School; attended night classes at Yung Cheng School. Later switched to St. Joseph’s School and Tao Nan Chinese School. Won a scholarship to study in Shanghai at age 15. Studied civil engineering at Tangshan Engineering College in north China but returned to Singapore in 1912 due to the political turmoil in China.
1912 - Held positions of primary school teacher at Tao Nan School, later a municipal surveyor. Was also a translator for a local Chinese newspaper.
1929 - Started his own company, Lee Rubber Company.
1952 - Was well known as a philanthropist. Set up the Lee Foundation to help schools and charitable organizations.
1962-65 : Became the first Chancellor, University of Singapore. He was also one of its principal benefactors.
In 1915, Lee Kong Chian joined the China Guohua Company and soon caught the attention of Tan Kah Kee and joined the Tan Kah Kee Rubber Company. By 1931, he ventured out to start his own rubber business. The Lee Rubber Company grew rapidly into a multi-million dollar business and together with the success of his pineapple business, Lee Kong Chian was popularly known as the “Rubber and Pineapple King” and widely recognised as one of the richest men in Southeast Asia . He expanded his business to banking and real estate and by 1962, he became Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).
Lee Kong Chian poured his wealth into education and other philanthropic work. In 1958, at a time when charity was highly dependent on the rise and fall of business fortunes, the Lee Foundation was established as a philanthropic institution. Many education institutions in Singapore benefited from his generosity. In particular, The Chinese High School, under this chairmanship from 1934 – 1957, was able to refocus its attention on providing quality education, after experiencing many obstacles and repeated threats of closures. Lee Kong Chian did not forget his homeland in his contributions towards education. In 1939, he founded and financed the Guozhuan Primary School in his home villahe of Furong and in 1943, he set up the Guoguang Secondary School .
In 1962, Lee Kong Chian became the first Asian Vice-Chancellor of the University of Singapore . His work and generous contributions to education and society were recognized when he was conferred an honorary degree in law by the University of Malaya in 1958 and in 1964, the Agong of Malaysia bestowed on him the title Panglime Mangku Negara. An unassuming man who never lost the “popular touch”, Lee Kong Chian remained academically inclined throughout his life, giving night classes while working for the municipality, and also lectured at the Columbia University while stranded in the United States during World War II.
Lee died in 1967 at age 74. He left a major portion of his wealth to the Lee Foundation and continues, to date, to make a difference to education and society.
Between 1952 and 1993 the Foundation donated S$300 million to various causes, regardless of race, language, religion, nationality, and geographical location. Seventy-five percent of that amount went to education. In 2005, the Foundation makes a $30-million gift to the National University of Singapore.
The Art of Writing
Goh Yang Chye asked me to write a passage one day when I went for an interview. From my handwriting, he did an analysis for me. His secretary printed out the analysis. I had a ‘chat’ with Goh Yang Chye, an engineer. He was at the building behind Cathay Cinema, Dhoby Ghaut = 多美歌 there. I kept his personality analysis for me in my wallet for several years, until the year 2000, where I dumped away everything…. but I still have all his memories….