Project Canterbury

In Rubber Lands
An Account of the Work of the Church in Malaya

Edited by C.E. Ferguson-Davie, M.D., B.S.

London: The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1921.

Chapter III. Works amongst the Chinese

SINGAPORE, the "Gateway of the Far East," is the seventh in order of importance of the ports of the British Empire, and owes its position in the list to its splendid situation on the sea highway between Europe and India on the one hand and China and Japan on the other. The harbour, with its blue waters sparkling in the sun and crowded with shipping both Eastern and Western in type, forms a picture rich in beauty of form and colour; while the town is a combination of busy traffic at its centre and tropical vegetation on its outskirts. It was to the genius and foresight of Sir Stamford Raffles that the Empire owes the possession of this important colony, and its rapid growth is due "to three factors--(1) its geographical position; (2) the fact that in accordance with the policy of its founder it is a 'free port,' where import duty is levied only on opium, tobacco, wine, and spirits; and (3) the development of the Malay hinterland." Facing the harbour, and adding to the variety of the scene, are the islands of Pulau Brani and Blakan Mati, taking an important share in the defences of the port and occupied by part of the garrison. On Pulau Brani are situated also the largest tin-smelting works in existence, through whose furnaces passes annually more than half the total output of the world. The island of the same name on which the town of Singapore stands is twenty-seven miles long by fourteen miles broad, and separated from the mainland by the Straits of Johore, across which a causeway is now in course of construction; the south-western shore of the island is fringed with coral reefs. The red laterite of the roads contrasts pleasantly with the green of the foliage, but the luxuriant forest which formerly covered its rising grounds has now been mostly cleared to make room for rubber, and to a lesser extent for pineapples, the "canning" and exporting of which is one of the chief industries of the town. The temperature of Singapore ranges from about 76 to 90 degrees, the mean being slightly over 82 degrees; while the rainfall is about 100 inches, nearly half the days of the year having some rainfall.

The early history of Singapore, for which we are dependent on the "Sejara Malayu," in which it is extremely difficult to disentangle fact from fiction, goes back to a period many centuries ago, when a Malay prince known as Sang Separba established himself first in Sumatra and then in Java, and his son Sang Nila Utama in 1160 crossed over to the island of Singapore and founded there a city, which in the course of years became a great trading mart. About a century later it was, however, attacked and conquered by the Javanese Raja of Majapahit, the town was destroyed and the survivors fled to Malacca, which from that time became the centre of Malayan history. When Singapore, on January 29th, 1819, was ceded by the Sultan of Johore to the East India Company it was but a jungle-covered island with some 150 inhabitants, supporting themselves by fishing and piracy, but Raffles on taking possession looked back to its former glories and wrote that he was hoisting the Union Jack in the ancient city of Singapura.

Sir Stamford Raffles.--It is impossible here to give more than a brief outline of the life of Raffles the Empire builder, but a few of the main points may be noted. The son of a ship's captain, he was born at sea in July, 1781, and at the early age of fourteen was entered as a clerk at the East India Company's House. "I have never," he wrote later, "ceased to deplore the necessity which withdrew me so early from school, and the deficiencies of my early education have never been fully supplied." It is doubtful if any reader of his life would agree with this latter opinion, as there were few subjects with which Stamford Raffles, by his own study and observation, did not make himself widely acquainted. From the first days of his apprenticeship he devoted his leisure to the study of French, science, and literature. Later, during his voyages to and from the East, which in those days occupied many months, he apportioned his time between Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and in each country that he visited he set himself to master the history, archaeology, and natural history, as well as the language and characteristics of its people. His interest in natural history led to his laying out (as he himself writes in 1823) "the botanic and experimental garden," which is still one of the chief points of interest in Singapore; and later, after his retirement from the East, to his being the founder and first President of the Zoological Society and Gardens in London.

After serving for nine years at the East India House, Raffles was sent out in 1805 as Secretary to the Government at Penangf, and his powers thus got the needed opportunity to develop and to show their worth. Having made a careful study of Malay he passed rapidly from one position of trust to another, and became the intimate friend of such Oriental scholars as Marsden and Dr. John Leyden. From Penang, in 1808, Raffles was transferred to Malacca; in 1811 he accompanied Lord Minto, the then Governor-General of India, on his expedition to Java, of which island Raffles was himself appointed Governor. During' the five short years of his administration Raffles effected changes in the government which amounted to a revolution, overthrowing the old and vicious system of commercial monopoly and forced labour so effectually that it was never afterwards restored by the Dutch. His "History of Java," replete with valuable information, is, writes Crawfurd, a lasting monument to his ability and industry. By the Peace of Vienna (1818) Java was restored to the Dutch, and Raffles then became Governor of Bencoolen, in Sumatra, but his thoughts were at once turned to the establishment of the British in some central position which should compensate in some measure for the loss of Java and prevent British influence being ousted entirely from the Far East. It was this determination which led to the foundation of Singapore in 1819, which was first governed from Bencoolen, later from Bengal, and finally in 1826 was incorporated with Penang and Malacca to form a Presidency, which later became the Colony of the Straits Settlements.

Before his retirement in 1823, Sir Stamford Raffles had the satisfaction of seeing his beloved colony making rapid progress both in population and in commerce. In all his plans for its development Raffles showed himself not only a far-sighted statesman, but a high-minded and earnest Christian, "promoting," as the citizens in their farewell address acknowledged, "intellectual and moral improvement, and advancing the cause of humanity and civilization." He set himself to put down what he found to be the prevailing evils of piracy and slavery, of gambling and opium. "In the course of my public duties," he writes, "neither the cause of the slave nor the improvement of those under our influence has been forgotten."

The slavery here referred to is the system of debt-slavery, which prevailed throughout all Malay countries at that time, and was not finally abolished till 1884. "This custom consisted in the forcible detention of persons said to be indebted. Very often there was no real debt; the creditors invented one or imposed a fine for an offence never committed, and then compelled the reputed debtor with his wife and family to enter his service and treated them all as chattels. .... All menial work was done by debt-slaves, and forced labour could be requisitioned by any Sultan or Raja for either public or private work. The Mohammedan law does not recognize that a Mohammedan can be a slave, but there was practically no difference between this system and slavery." The first act of Raffles in Sumatra was to emancipate all the Government slaves, thus giving, as he himself explains, "an earnest of the principles on which his government would be conducted." "It has been a disaster for Singapore that, while piracy and slavery have been effectually put down, the enlightened policy of its founder in regard to gambling and opium was not followed by his successor in the government, with the result that these evils have not been entirely eradicated even to the present day." But beyond even these moral questions, Raffles took an active interest in education and the work of Christian Missions. "I am far from opposing missionaries," he writes; "the more we have of them the better, but let them be enlightened men." And again, "The arrival of the missionaries is most opportune, and I hope they will in time complete what they have so successfully begun." To his interest in the Bible Society, and especially in the translation of the Scriptures into Chinese by Dr. Morrison, of China, and Dr. Milne, of Malacca, his letters bear abundant witness, and in the foundation of the Raffles Institution, with its lofty aims "for the education of the higher order of natives and for research into the history and literature of the Further East," it was Dr. Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China, who co-operated with him. Of Mission work in Singapore, whether of our own Church or of the Roman Catholics, the Presbyterians, or the American Methodists, it is still that amongst the Chinese which takes the foremost place.

Singapore to-day is a cosmopolitan town, representatives of practically every nationality being found amongst its inhabitants; but its prevailing character is that of a Chinese town. The Malays are a rural people and live only on the outskirts of the city; the European residences, too, are in the suburbs; but in the town itself the great mass of the people are Chinese, and it is, therefore, amongst the Chinese that the largest amount of Mission work is being done.

The churches of Singapore belonging to the Church of England are four in number--the Cathedral, its daughter Church of St. Matthew, St. Peter's Mission Church, and Tanglin Church for the use of the garrison.

St. Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore, is the successor of an earlier church with the same dedication. The present edifice was consecrated in 1862, having taken eight years in building. The plans were made by Colonel Macpherson, R.E., Director of Public Works, during' a year's furlough in England, a good many of the architectural details being copied from Netley Abbey. Colonel Macpherson superintended the work till it had reached the summit of the arches of the nave, and it was completed by Major MacNair, R.A., who succeeded as Director of Public Works. To Major MacNair is due the erection of the spire, which experts had pronounced to be impracticable, the foundations being' considered incapable of bearing the weight. The difficulty was overcome by having hollow bricks specially made for the purpose. The church was built by convict labour (Burmese convicts) and at the expense of the Government, which had failed to keep the former church in repair. The dimensions of the building-are--length, 225 feet; breadth, not including the porticoes, 56 feet; height to ridge of main roof, 75 feet; to top of spire, 220 feet.

On Whit-Sunday, 1862, the year when the church was consecrated, St. Andrew's Church Mission was founded to be the instrument through which the worshippers in the church might offer the Gospel of God to the Oriental races in Singapore.

The history of the see is somewhat curious. The Straits Settlements were in the Diocese of Calcutta from the first occupation by the British till the year 1869, when, Sir Harry St. George Ord being Governor of the Straits Settlements, and Dr. Milman, Bishop in Calcutta, the colony was transferred to the neighbouring See of Labuan and Sarawak. Dr. McDougall, the first Bishop to be appointed here, was succeeded in the newly arranged diocese by Dr. Chambers who, in 1870, made St. Andrew's Church the Cathedral. In 1907, Sir John Anderson being Governor and Dr. Hose, Bishop, active steps were taken to divide the unwieldy diocese constituted in 1869. The business was completed in 1909, and Dr. Ferguson-Davie was consecrated Bishop of Singapore in St. Paul's Cathedra! on St. Bartholomew's Day in that year, Dr. Hose having retired in 1908 after an episcopate of twenty-seven years.

Penang.--As the name of Raffles is indissolubly connected with Singapore, so is that of Francis Light linked to the history of Penang. Having been instructed by the East India Company to look out for a station suitable for the anchorage of ships, Captain Light decided in favour of Penang, and in 1786 he concluded an agreement with the Sultan of Kedah, by which the island (then almost uninhabited) was ceded to the East India Company. Ten years later Province Wellesley, on the mainland, was purchased by the Company from the same ruler. Like Singapore, Penang was for some years a penal settlement for Burmese and Indian convicts. In 1826 Singapore and Malacca were incorporated with it into a Presidency under the Government of India, and Penang continued to be the seat of Government until, in 1867, the three settlements were severed from Indian control and formed into a Crown Colony with Singapore as the capital.

The name of "Pulau Pinang" signifies the "Island of the Areca-nut," and this and coconuts are its chief products, while in Province Wellesley rice is largely cultivated. Penang owes it special beauty to the hill that rises behind the town, and which is a favourite resort for those who wish to escape from the heat of the plains below.

St. George's Church, Penang, was built by the East India Company. The foundation stone was laid in 1817 and the church was consecrated in 1819. It was the first building of the Church of England consecrated in Malaya. Christ's Church, Malacca, which had been built by the Dutch, had been used for many years for Church of England worship before its consecration, which, like that of the first church in Singapore, took place in 1838.

St. George's Church is used by the English congregation and also by the Chinese and Tamils, but the latter have, in addition, a small chapel close to the church, in which many of their services are held. An English chaplain, a Tamil priest, and a Chinese catechist are in charge of their respective congregations. Penang, which at one time was a stronghold of Church education, has now fallen behind other places in the Peninsula in this matter. The Church Girls' School was many years ago handed over to Government, and later even the Church Hostel, for boarders attending the school, has been given up. For lack of efficient teachers the Tamil boys and girls' schools have also been closed, so that the Church in Penang is to-day doing nothing for the education of its own children. That we have in this matter been going not forward, but backward, should surely be cause for grave concern to all Church people of Penang who care for the welfare of the young. Let us trust that it is only a case of "reculer pour mieux sauter."

Province Wellesley, on the mainland opposite Penang, is the strongest centre in the diocese of work amongst Tamils. A Tamil priest is in charge there, and at Bukit Tengah there is a boarding school for Tamil boys, in which large numbers are receiving a useful education. Unfortunately, the diocese is still without a school for Tamil girls, a need which has long been felt, as it is difficult for many reasons to mingle Tamil with Chinese children in a boarding school, though in a day school all are encouraged to mix and learn side by side. The whole subject of the Tamil Mission work will be described in Chapter IV.

In both Singapore and Penang the Chinese form by far the largest element in the population; they are by nature industrious, and a large part of the trade of the country is in their hands. From very early times there had been constant intercourse between China and the Peninsula, the Chinese coming down to mine tin as well as for purposes of trade. But in the early days no women were allowed to leave China (a restriction now retained only by the natives of Hainan), and many Chinese in consequence intermarried with Malays and settled down in the country of their adoption. Thus arose the class of "Baba" or "Straits-born" Chinese, most of whom speak Malay in preference to their own tongue, while the women also adopt the dress of the Malays. Amongst these are many long-established families, British subjects, wealthy and respected; and amongst them, too, are not a few Christians. Missionary effort is, however, by no means confined to the Straits Chinese, but extends to all the different races which come down from South China to the Malay Peninsula. The Mission work begun during Raffles' lifetime in Malacca end Singapore was stopped by the transfer in 1842 of the missionaries to China, and for many years from that date little was done except by the Roman Church. Our own Church is now taking a somewhat more adequate share in the evangelization of the Chinese, as the following account of the work by one of those engaged in it will show:--


The earliest beginnings of missionary work amongst the Chinese in the Diocese of Singapore were laid, it is believed, in the city of Singapore itself in the year 1856. It is not intended to deal in this article with the work accomplished throughout that long vista of years, but with the work that is being done now. Let us take the three centres of the work which is being carried on in the three principal towns of Malaya--Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang. Beyond these places there is, as yet, no Chinese missionary work, except the indirect though very valuable kind done by the Malacca Medical Mission. The bulk of the population in these places, as indeed almost everywhere throughout the diocese, is Chinese, and work amongst them is rendered at once both difficult and interesting through the multiplicity of tongues.

1. Singapore.--In this huge city there are 300,000 members of the Chinese race, and immigration from China goes on at the rate of 70,000 a year. The majority of the immigrants hail from Amoy and Swatow, but the total includes the following varieties or clans:--Hokkiens, Cantonese, Teochews, Hailams, Khehs, Foochows, Hockchias, Hinghwas, Shanghais, Chian-angs, and others. These differ so widely in speech that they may almost be said to speak different languages. Missionary work amongst this heterogeneous mass is carried on through the agency of the St. Andrew's Church Mission, which employs two Chinese priests, four catechists, two Bible-women, and one honorary lay reader, besides the English missionary of the S.P.G., who, it may be remarked, is the sole European exponent of Christianity in the Chinese language throughout this huge diocese. The work is immense and necessarily slow. Opposition there is, but it is chiefly of the passive kind arising from indifference and the intense conservatism of the Chinese. But, while there are disappointments, there is also much to encourage--workers are received and listened to with respect, there are friendly discussions on the claims of Christianity, families remove the paraphernalia of heathen worship from their homes, women unbind their feet in obedience to Christian teaching, heathen clubs are lent as Christian schools, heathen children are permitted to enter a Christian church, and so on. All this shows that the Chinese are beginning very, very slowly it is true, but yet surely, to detach themselves from time-honoured cults and idol observances, and to appreciate the fact that most of what they have been accustomed to regard as important is not only useless, but harmful. It is interesting to know how thoughtful Chinese themselves view the Christian religion. Mr. Chen Tu Sen, a well-known progressive scholar and thinker in China, in a recent article in The China Review, gives his considered judgment thus--"Christianity has become an influential factor in the spiritual life of our people, and indirectly also in our national life.....In my opinion the rational attitude towards Christianity is to treat it seriously and study it as a subject of great social significance." Our Mission has definite accessions by baptism, of about forty adults a year. The number is not large, but a severe sifting process is necessary previous to baptism. Our catechumenate roll is always considerably over 100; thus for 1920 it numbered 140 from as many as seven different clans.

We have recently organized a method of out-of-door preaching, but the conditions of life in Singapore do not seem to be favourable to' the propagation of the faith, in this way, and we are not very hopeful of results. At 5.30 one evening, provided with lamps (darkness sets in at 6 o'clock) and suitably inscribed banners, we took our stand in the People's Park, where hundreds of Chinese (chiefly Cantonese) congregate to ply their various trades--barbers, vendors of a thousand different kinds of wares, exponents of the bewitching art of jugglery, and stump-orators. The melodious tones of an accordion accompanying the singing of a hymn soon drew around us a crowd of nearly 300, who, like the Athenians of old, were ever ready "to hear some new thing," and preaching began and was continued for an hour. The crowd was orderly and no opposition was offered. Thus, once a week on Saturday evenings, out-of-door preaching has been placed on its trial here, though we agree with the late experienced missionary, Father Benson, of the Cowley Fathers' Mission in India, who writes (in a book of his letters recently published): "I have not much faith in out-of-door preaching except to prepared hearts." It is, undoubtedly, the quiet, persistent, and prayerful dealing with individual souls which tells. This method of appeal our Mission possesses in the large number of what (for lack of a better name) may be called "cottage meetings," which are attended by non-Christians as well as by those already Christian. We have nine such meetings during the week, held in private houses or shops in as many parts of the city, each attended by its own clan--Cantonese, Foochow, Hokkien, Hinghwa, &c. It is through these meetings that we are able to fix first our hearers, then our catechumens.

Previous to 1902, when the writer was transferred from North Borneo to Singapore after thirteen years' work in the former place, only one Chinese service was held on Sundays in our Mission church (St. Peter's), which was in the Hokkien tongue--for all comers., irrespective of their language. This was, obviously, most unsatisfactory. There have since been added three Sunday services in Chinese--Cantonese, Foochow, and Hinghwa. Sunday services are also held at our out-station church--St. John's, twelve miles from Singapore--in the Teochew language.

Over 500 Chinese pass through the two churches and our church hall as worshippers on Sundays. The Foochow service is arresting. A spirit of great reality and devotion pervades it. All make the responses in firm and earnest tones, and the volume of sound produced thereby is thrilling;--but their singing!--the voice of the Foochow is like to the voice of the crow, raucous and harsh, yet by this very defect they are enabled to attain to the ideal of the psalmist, for they certainly do "make a merry noise unto the God of Jacob." Having regard to the humble status of the members of this congregation--rickshaw coolies, servants, cooks, water carriers (with a sprinkling of shopkeepers and others in the higher walks of life)--it is characterized by quite a remarkable degree of intelligence. On one occasion a rickshaw puller read the lessons, a cook played the organ, while another rickshaw puller preached the sermon. The Rev. Dong Bing Seng--a very worthy man--ordained to the priesthood on September 22nd, 1918, is in charge of this congregation. He has worked in the Mission since July, 1910. A good linguist, able to preach in three languages besides his own--viz., Hokkien, Hockchia, and Mandarin-- the extent of his influence is greatly increased.

While the work going on amongst the Cantonese is typical of that being done amongst the other clans, yet the Cantonese work is unquestionably of a still more progressive nature. The Cantonese people, more than any other, seem to be open to the appeal of Christianity. They are of a higher type, both socially and intellectually, not a few amongst our congregation being doctors and photographers. The work amongst them is finely organized, with committees, men and women voluntary workers, Bible classes, cottage meetings, open-air meetings, Sunday schools, choir (with sweet voices!)--all the necessary adjuncts, indeed, of a well ordered parish in England. The congregation aims at making its work eventually self-supporting. A highly commendable feeling of esprit de corps and much power of initiative is evident. These things exist amongst the other sections of our work, but to a much less degree. The Cantonese priest is the Rev. Chan Wing Tsuen, who has worked ten years in the diocese with great acceptance, successively as catechist, deacon, and priest. He was ordained to the priesthood together with the Rev. Dong Bing Seng, and has now the assistance of a catechist, Mr. Mo Yung' In, who arrived from Canton in March, 1920. This catechist has been definitely recommended to our Bishop by the Bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong, as one worthy of being advanced to the ministry. In this connection the hope may be expressed that others of our catechists may eventually be ordained -- the writer has especially in view the Hokkien worker, Mr. Ng Ho Le, who is able and earnest, young, a good organizer, a persuasive preacher, and respected by his people.

It is impossible, in the space at our disposal, to deal with the work being done amongst all the different clans embraced within the Mission, but a word may be said about the Hinghwa section -- the latest to be brought within the scope of its activities. The Hinghwas are very numerous in Singapore, numbering about 10,000; they speak a dialect peculiarly their own and earn their living largely as rickshaw pullers. The Christian Hinghwas who from time to time come here from their homes in China are mostly members of the Church of England, having been reclaimed from heathenism by the C.M.S., which has a flourishing Mission in Hinghwa city. We were able to begin our work amongst these people in 1912 largely through financial help given by the then Superintendent of the C.E.Z.M.S., Miss Abel. The work is encouraging though progress is slow. The Hinghwas are a difficult people to influence because of their tenacious hold on superstition and idol worship. They are also quarrelsome in their own country, where, dividing themselves into opposing camps, the white flags are for ever engaging in ferocious struggles with the black. Locally, this tendency is held in check through a wholesome awe of the Government. We had, until recently, a flourishing Hinghwa Mission school of nearly 100 pupils held in the Hinghwa church hall (a disused heathen temple). Largely owing to the great expense of running it and through lack of sufficient accommodation, we have, unfortunately, been compelled to hand it over to an influential non-Christian syndicate with plenty of cash. The principal, however, an ex-minister of the Methodist Church, remains, and many of the pupils still attend our Hinghwa services and meetings in the temple on Sundays and weekdays, the parents, though passively hostile, offering no opposition to this. The catechist, Mr. Guoh Iu Gong, is a devout and scholarly man, and able to preach in several Chinese languages.

The Mission possesses four very hopeful Sunday schools, containing 160 scholars, for Hinghwa, Hokkien, Cantonese, and Foochow Chinese.

A word should be said here about the Baba Chinese, who are also included in the work of St. Andrew's Church Mission. The Babas are Straits-born Chinese, descendants of the original Chinese settlers in this country, and their language is a corruption of the native tongue (Malay). The dress of their women (sarong and kabaya) approximates to that of the pure Malay. Though Chinese many, to their acknowledged regret and loss, are unable to speak that tongue. The Babas are very numerous throughout Malaya, and their speech, of which they are very tenacious, is one, comparatively speaking, easily acquired. Baba-Malay, as it is called, may almost, indeed, be said to be the lingua franca of these parts. Europeans largely use it when addressing Asiatics, and other Chinese resort to it when they do not happen to know one another's native tongue. The Methodist and Presbyterian missionaries specialize in work amongst the Babas and the number of their followers is considerable. One explanation of their success is that they possess a good staff of women workers. Without the aid of women missionaries it is impossible to appeal to the Chinese women, for a Chinese man (or any man other than the husband) who is seen in earnest conversation with a Chinese woman becomes suspect in the eyes of the non-Christians. We have, as yet, no method of intimate approach either to> Baba, Hokkien, or Hinghwa adult women folk, and two other great sections--Cantonese and Foochow--have only one female worker each. Our work amongst all Chinese women is thus seriously hampered. We need a whole army of female workers who will visit and teach the women in the seclusion of their homes; but, alas! there are no funds wherewith to engage them. But to hark back for one moment more to the Baba. The gentleman Baba has, as a rule, a very great idea of his own importance, and is inclined to look with a sort of supercilious pity on his brethren, the other Chinese. He is thus a difficult person to influence, and, if influenced, almost as difficult to retain. The Baba lady is usually rotund and amiable, shy and even suspicious at first of strangers, but with a heart which expands and responds to the touch of sympathy. The Mission has a fair following from this class of Chinese, and includes from 80 to 100 communicants. Our Book of Common Prayer, in Malay, is that translated some six years ago by our former Bishop, Bishop Hose, and the writer has in hand a revised and extended edition of the Malay hymn-book which is now in use.

We must pass on to speak, shortly, of the two other-centres of our work in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

2. Kuala Lumpur.--This is the highly prosperous inland capital town of the Federated Malay States. Its largo population is predominantly Cantonese Chinese, but, as in Singapore, the Chinese languages spoken are very heterogenous--Hokkien, Kheh, Amoy, Haitan, and others. Missionary work was commenced here many years ago through the agency of some of the Christians themselves, and afterwards carried on by catechists, but little progress was made until the arrival of the Rev. Chan Wing Tsuen in 1914, who received his "title" to Kuala Lumpur on his ordination to the diaconate in that year. In 1917 an English priest, the Rev. C. F. C. Elvin, who had acquired the Cantonese language in China (the first English priest to take up work among the Chinese in the diocese for a generation), was appointed. Unfortunately, his health broke down and he was forced to return to England in August, 1918, having laid, however, the foundations of a thriving Chinese Mission. Mr. Lau Cong De, a Foochow priest, succeeded Mr. Elvin, and is now in charge. He has no paid staff, but several voluntary workers, both men and women. His knowledge of languages other than his own--e.g., Mandarin, Hokkien, and Malay--is a valuable asset in his work, but he finds himself handicapped by his lack of knowledge of the Cantonese language. He sadly needs the help of a Cantonese catechist, for two-thirds of the population speak that tongue. His Sunday congregations are increasing; they now average eighty, and are composed of four clans of Chinese. The service is read in Mandarin, and the sermon delivered, sentence by sentence, first in Foochow, then in Mandarin, these sentences being then translated by an interpreter into Cantonese. It is a cumbrous method, but it is the only one available where it is impossible to hold more than one Chinese service in the church on Sundays. Many Christians, living in outlying districts, long distances from the town, are unable to attend the Sunday service, and these are visited regularly every month for teaching and prayer. The priest holds several evangelistic evening meetings in the town during the week, and conducts also a night school for the teaching of Mandarin.

3. Penang.--Penang, as everybody nowadays knows, is the most beautiful island in the Far East, and is remarkable for the rich luxuriance of its tropical vegetation. Being also a port of call for boats outward and homeward bound, its trade, like that of Singapore, is very great. There is, consequently, here a magnificent field for Chinese missionary work, but, so far, through many years, we have only been able to employ a catechist. The great potentialities of the work here call for at least one Chinese priest with two or three catechists under him. The thousands of Chinese are mostly Hokkien speaking, hence the language difficulty, so persistent in other places in the diocese, is reduced to a minimum. The congregation which assembles in the English church (St. George's) on Sundays reaches nearly 100, one-half of whom are communicants, and this service is supplemented by three meetings on weekdays in the Mission hall.

But it is time to draw attention to the general outlook and to some of our outstanding needs. As to the latter, first and foremost, more and more Chinese priests are needed to open up and shepherd work in other parts of this huge diocese. The town of Ipoh, the second largest town in the Federated Malay States, should claim our next attention in any projected plan of extension, though there are numberless places where we could set down priests if we had them. As will have been gathered, we have at present only three Chinese priests for the whole diocese, which comprises, not only Singapore and the other Straits Settlements (Malacca and Penang), but all the Malay States, Federated and Non-federated (Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perak, Pahang, Selangor, the Negri Sembilan, and Johore); and includes the whole of the Dutch East Indies and the Kingdom of Siam. What are three Chinese priests in such a vast extent of territory? But the species has to be slowly produced, and the diocese has, at present, no machinery for producing them. Catechists may from time to time be advanced to the ministry, but this method is, obviously, not ideal. What seems to be needed in such a diocese as this is some central institution, college, or seminary (small and unpretentious, it may be) into which likely young men might be drafted for testing of vocation and training, and from which the diocese could, without fail, draw its supplies. At present we are in the position of having to find our workers, haphazard and anywhere (thus, three out of the only five Chinese catechists in the diocese came to us from Nonconformist Missions), and this method of obtaining them has not in times past been invariably attended with success. It is difficult, at present, to see from what source we could draw recruits for a training college. Purely English schools have now been established many years, but not one has ever produced an embryo missionary, though, presumably, the ideal is held up before the scholars in schools where the Christian religion is taught. One or two instances there have, indeed, been where youths have come forward to be trained, but they have eventually withdrawn. It would seem, that the atmosphere in our English schools, utilitarian and materialistic as it tends to be, militates against a call to work in the Church. A knowledge of English and secular things is regarded, simply and solely, as a valuable medium for getting on in life and coining the almighty dollar. A padre, giving a Scripture lesson in one of these English schools recently, asked his class what their object was in learning English. The inevitable answer came--"To make money." Neither can the character of the Chinese boy be said to be improved by the associations of a purely English school. He tends to become conceited and self-opinionated, to lose the traditional politeness and reverence of his race, and to despise both the language and the-customs of his forebears. Such a soil, it must be granted, is not one in which the Christian religion may be expected to find root, or, finding it, to bring forth, much fruit. If it were possible (and it has been rendered impossible through the recent taking over and financing of all English, secular education by the Government) to convert our English schools for Chinese into seed plots for the planting of Christianity, and to dethrone the purely secular side from the first place that it now holds and to relegate it to a second place, what a vast spiritual force they might become! We plead for a more intense and purely missionary propaganda in the vernaculars of the people. But the position being what it is, we look not here for our future missionary workers. A much more hopeful source lies in boarding schools or hostels, where young Chinese boys are kept continuously under the direct guidance and supervision of a missionary priest, provided the boys are also taught Chinese and encouraged to remain Chinese; and these should be developed as much as possible. But we look chiefly to our converts who have kept themselves unsullied by contact with so-called Western civilization and have refused to succumb to the process of denationalization, so largely fostered by the English schools. Thousands of Chinese in these parts have no intention whatever of becoming Europeanized, and are making determined efforts to maintain their own language and the distinctive national characteristics of their race. They have schools everywhere (there are thirty in Singapore averaging 300 scholars each, with many others of smaller pretensions), and, while English is taught in most, if not all, of them, the first place is given to the teaching of Chinese literature and Mandarin, the official language of China, which it is hoped will in time become the binding link between the many clans, each of which has now its own distinctive speech.

The Straits Government is contemplating the establishing of a University of Singapore in memory of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of the colony. It would be a gracious thing, and also an eminently diplomatic one, if the Government were to endow a chair of Chinese literature and Mandarin-Chinese, as is being done now in educational institutions outside China--e.g., in Lyons College, France, where, it is understood, 300 Chinese students will be taught, in addition to French, their own language and literature by teachers of their own race. When the Mandarin tongue becomes universal amongst the Chinese it will be a manifest blessing, not only to themselves, but also to the Church.

All this, though somewhat of a digression, will serve to introduce and emphasize our third need--English priests (a small number, three or four, would do, if itinerating), learned in the Chinese language and things Chinese, who might, under the Bishop, guide the policy of the future great Chinese Church of this diocese. While the English work throughout the diocese is staffed with many priests (though, alas! these all too few), the Chinese work, which is a thousand-fold greater, both in its extent and possibilities, has only one Englishman engaged on it. This is a purely missionary diocese, and the fact must be recognized that, if we are to do any real good, we must have priests (not only Chinese, but English priests also) who are able to minister to the peoples in their own tongues. Speaking from a thirty years' experience in this and the neighbouring Diocese of Labuan and Sarawak, the writer holds this to be a matter of the highest importance, and one which cannot be too much insisted on. "A man should be ministered to," said Dean Vaughan, "in the language in which on his death-bed he would commend his soul to God." Can anyone doubt what that language would be for the conservative Chinese in that supreme moment? Further, the heart of the Chinese immediately warms to one who can speak his tongue, and he becomes singularly confiding and responsive. But we need not labour the point. English priests are sorely needed in this diocese who will devote their lives, or the best part of their lives, to purely Chinese work. To the lack of these must be attributed, in large measure, the pitifully small advance which missionary work amongst the Chinese has hitherto made. The work is strenuous, no doubt--'tis hot, one does perspire, and the cassock may have to be hastily sun-dried between the short intervals of many Sunday services--but to men of grit, patience, perseverance, and spiritual strength the work of building up the Chinese Church beyond the confines of the Chinese Empire, but linked up with the "Tiong Hoa Seng Kong Ho" (the Holy Catholic Church of China), will possess an irresistible attraction and will appeal with ever-increasing force. The future of the Chinese Church in this diocese is assured given the right sort of workers in sufficient numbers, with sufficient funds to carry on the work.

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