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  • Kwa Chong Guan Collection


  • 2008

    Record Date

  • 00:48:01

    Recorded Duration

  • Mandarin

    Recording Language

  • 2013004973

    Accession No.

  • Audiovisual


  • DVD (Video)


  • Access permitted

    Conditions Governing Access

  • Use and reproduction require written permission from copyright owner(s). Processing of reproduction request may require 7 working days.

    Conditions Governing Reproduction

  • Synopsis :

    Episode 2 covers the rebuilding of hospitals, the relentless advocacy of medical education and the regaining of China's quarantine sovereignty.

    Channel NewsAsia commemorated the fifth anniversary of the SARS outbreak with a special 3-episode documentary series dedicated to those who fought the disease bravely in the front line in 2003.

    Taking one-and-a-half years to complete, the documentary was filmed in nine cities from Singapore to Penang, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Harbin, Shenyang, Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing in China. It focuses on the life of distinguished scientist and Cambridge-trained physician Dr Wu Lien-teh and his trip to Manchuria, China, in 1910 to control the spread of pneumonic plague which had claimed 60,000 lives. Dr Wu researched intensively and managed to contain the plague in just four months. Almost one hundred years later, his scientific methods were applied again when SARS broke out across Asia in 2003.

    Seen for the first time on television is Dr Wu’s private collection of 300 photographs released by his daughter, Dr Wu Yu-lin, on the Manchurian mission to save lives. The series also features interviews with Dr Wu Yu-lin, who now lives in Singapore as well as the grandson of Dr Yan Fu Qing and Dr Yu Feng Bin, who together with Dr Wu Lien-teh, set up the Chinese Medical Association in Shanghai.

    Besides being recognised in China as the founding father of modern medicine, Dr Wu (1879-1960) was also known in Singapore and Malaya as one of the three editors of the “Straits Chinese Magazine”. He was a Public Health expert, Medical Science historian and pioneer of the Plague Quarantine and Prevention.

    Born in Penang, Dr Wu was awarded the Queen’s Scholarship of the Straits Settlement at the age of 17 (1896), making him the first Chinese Medical Science student in Cambridge, England. In 1902, he obtained his Medical Science and Surgical degrees (B.A.) from Cambridge University. In 1903, after his return from England, Dr Wu Lien-teh continued his medical research in Malaya (Federated Malaya States). In early 1905, he practised medicine in Penang. In 1908, he was serving under the invitation of the governor-general of Qing Dynasty/Government Yuan Shi-Kai as Vice-Director of the Imperial Army Medical College in Tientsin (now Tianjin).

    In 1910, there was a sudden outbreak of plague in three provinces of North-East China. At the age of 31, Dr Wu Lien-teh was appointed Director by the Qing dynasty/government. Being the Chief Medical Director, Dr Wu led a team of plague prevention personnel to probe into the epidemic area despite immense difficulties and risk. He also took many preventive measures in order to prevent the spread of the epidemic. Within four months, his timely measures prevented the plague epidemic from spreading further and rescued countless lives and avoided a world-wide disaster. In 1911, the International Plague Conference was held in Mukden (now Shenyang), chaired by Dr Wu Lien-teh. In 1912, the Manchurian Plague Prevention Service of the North-Eastern provinces was officially established with its headquarters at Harbin and Dr Wu as its Director. He used this place as a base and had contributed a great deal in both the modernisation of the Chinese Medical foundations as well as the setting up of many medical hard-wares in China. For the past 30 years in China, Dr Wu Lien-teh had contributed a great deal in the Medical arena. He was appointed the President for the 2nd and 3rd terms of the Chinese Medical Association, establishing more than 20 hospitals and medical schools in China.

    In July 1937, Dr Wu Lien-teh’s residence in Shanghai was invaded by the Japanese. Dr Wu returned to Malaya after both the Quarantine hospital and his home were bombed. His whole family returned to his home town in Malaya to take refuge.

    In 1938, he continued his medical practice as a form of contribution to the society in Ipoh. For the past 20 years, from his return to Malaya, Dr Wu was actively involved in community work and public welfare services. He also spent 7 years writing his autobiography, sharing his wisdom with others and had enjoyed a peaceful and healthy life in his elderly years.

    Dr Wu Lien-teh died of a stroke in his home town of Penang on 21 January 1960.

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