Extract from H A Wittenbach's Report on his East Asia Tour 1953-1954

Report on the Diocese of Singapore

Source: Church Missionary Society Archives ASE AD2 (Adam Matthew Microfilms CMS Section 1 Part 3, Reel 54, filed under the AC2 section)

Compiled with Introduction by Michael Poon, February 2006

Return to CSCA Anglican Documents in SE Asia


Harry August Wittenbach was Church Missionary Society's East Asia Secretary from 1947 to 1957, and their Asia Secretary from 1957 to 1961. His East Asia tour to Nippon SKK (Anglican Church in Japan), the newly reconstituted Diocese of Hong Kong and Macao, and finally to the Diocese of Singapore from 1953 to 1954 sought to assess how the churches fared in the new socio-political situation following the Communist take-over in China. Wittenbach formerly worked as a CMS missionary in South China, and was interned in the prisoner-of-war camp, Hong Kong during the Japanese Occupation. In 1947 he succeeded Gurney Barclay to become CMS's East Asia Secretary.

The Report he filed (catalogued under ASE AD2 in the Church Missionary Society Archives) gave detailed information on the Anglican work in East Asia, and more importantly, shed light to the dynamics between the emerging national churches and nation-states, mission societies, and dislocated missionaries. How to compete with the Communists to capture the hearts and minds of the young was a central concern of the missionaries in those confusing days. (See the Anderson-Smith Report on Theological Education and their assessment on Singapore and Trinity College in the same period.) The impact of perceived Communist threat on the propagation of the Gospel among the Chinese in South East Asia deserves greater attention among mission scholars and church leaders.

The following extract is from Wittenbach's tour in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Missionaries who left China in the early 1950s found a new sphere of service in Malaya.

Background information as perceived by CMS and SPG:

(1) Jocelyn Murray gave the following account of this beginnings of CMS's involvement in SE Asia:

It soon became clear that China was closed to outside workers. Some missionaries were relocated to completely new cultures ¡ª such as Dr. David Milton Thompson and his wife Beatrice, who were to serve in Kenya for another thirty years. But was there no sphere where the particular experiences of the 'old China hands', especially their hard-gained knowledge of a very difficult language, could be used? There was, in Malaya.

Malaya had been under British influence, direct and indirect, since the 1860s, and Anglican work there had been initiated first by chaplains (sent primarily to the British officials and settlers) and then by the S.P.G. Of the peoples living in Malaya, the Malays were strongly Muslim, and evangelising among them was practically forbidden by the administration. There were two large immigrant populations. The south Indians ¡ª Tamil-speakers for the most part ¡ª had come to work on the rubber plantations. Some of them were Christians on arrival. The Chinese came initially to work in the tin mines, but many became prosperous through commerce. From the Chinese and the south Indians came most of those who became Christians.

The Japanese conquest of Malaya in 1942 was rapid and brutal. About 166,600 British soldiers lost their lives. Europeans, including missionaries, were interned. The peoples of Malaya were treated in very different ways. The Malays were employed in positions of responsibility; the Indians were encouraged to form an army which would help to free India from British rule; the Chinese were persecuted and brutally treated. There already existed a Communist Party among Malayan Chinese, and in the jungles was organised the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA). Many Chinese labourers fled away into the jungle join it.

When the war ended and the British came back, it was not so easy to go back to the pre-war situation. The Malays were now pressing strongly for independence. But the guerrilla bands which had fought the Japanese were now disrupting the economy and seeking to bring in a Communist regime. The guerrillas could not survive in the jungle without food coming in from outside, and this was supplied by their relations and friends in the villages. In 1948 when the Communist Party rose in open revolt, a state of emergency was declared.

Very slow progress was made in the struggle to eliminate the Chinese guerrillas from the jungles. Finally, in 1950, it was decided to bring all the Chinese squatters into large, guarded 'new villages', where they would not be able to communicate with the Communist bands or give them food. So, in a very short time, 420 'new villages' were formed and thousands of Chinese were uprooted from their homes and transported for shorter or longer distances to rebuild a home and a new way of life.

Obviously the Bishop of Singapore saw the opportunities, as well as the problems, of these new population centres. His diocese had never been well-staffed; now the needs were even greater. And not far away were experienced missionaries, already speaking Chinese languages, asking for assignments. Needless to say, he invited them in.

The CMS agreed to send and support ten missionaries. The Carpenters, already in Hong Kong, were asked to prepare the way. They arrived in Kuala Lumpur in July 1951. By the end of that year there were fourteen CMS missionaries in Malaya; the original ten had been increased by some from the NZCMS and Australian CMS. The CEZMS and the Australian branch of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship - the new name of the old CIM - were also invited to send former Chinese missionaries, and they accepted.

The main task for the newly arrived missionaries was to establish a presence and a witness in the new villages, and to build up a church in each one. On the whole the method adopted was to send a team of two women, usually one missionary and one Chinese nurse, to start a clinic, where welfare work could be centred. The women would live as nearly as possible like the villagers, breaking down the suspicion which would inevitably arise. Play groups, school classes, women's groups, would follow. It was desirable for the first attempts to be made in villages fairly near Kuala Lumpur, so that the Chinese priests already working there could come out for services and baptisms. After delays permission was given for clinics to be established in Sungei Buloh, Jin Jang, and Salah South, all quite close to Kuala Lumpur, and later in more distant villages. The first witness came when the villagers saw the workers living together as friends and colleagues.

Missionary clergy and senior women were able to travel from a central spot giving help and encouragement. Kathleen Carpenter, who did just that, wrote moving accounts of this new work. Her first book is titled The password is love. And it was the love of Jesus seen in the nurses and others which drew many Chinese men, women and children into the fellowship of the Church, while they lived as semi-prisoners behind the barbed wire of the villages.

Gradually the fight for the country was won. An anti-Communist but also anti-colonialist Chinese party, the Malayan Chinese Association, joined forces with the Malay Nationalists, and in 1955 their alliance won almost all the seats in the legislative assembly. In 1957 the British Government handed over the government of the country to the local leaders. The emergency did not end till 1960. Singapore gained full self-government in 1959, and in 1963 Malaysia was established as a separate nation, leaving Singapore as another country of the Commonwealth. The work in the 'new villages' continued as the emergency measures were gradually withdrawn. The number of CMS missionaries in Malaysia increased to over twenty, and some were assigned to work other than in the villages. But the churches established in the villages put down roots and continued. So out of the closing-up of China to CMS missionaries came the opening-up of Malaya, and in addition contributions from ex-China missionaries in many other parts of the world.

Source: Jocelyn Murray, Proclaim the Good News. A Short History of the Church Missionary Society (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985), 225-228.

(2) From Daniel O'Connor's USPG's History:

An interesting sidelight on 'the missionaries' withdrawal from China in 1950 was an appeal to the Society, as to other missionary societies, from the British Colonial Office on behalf of the Federation of Malaya, 'for the loan of such missionaries to undertake work in the social welfare department and at rehabilitation centres under the Government, where their knowledge of the language and their humane outlook would be of particular value', an accompanying letter concluding, 'I hope you will emphasize the part that can be played in Malaya today in combatting Communism by men and women who can mix freely with the Chinese and earn their confidence.' Roberts responded cautiously, noting that 'There are certain difficulties about the proposition political and otherwise', but adding that SPG might be willing 'to encourage support of any measures which commend themselves to the Bishop of tlie Diocese'. What the bishop wanted, however, were theological educators, and at this the correspondence with the Colonial Office fizzled out. That Malaya did get missionaries from China at this time is evident from a comment in a letter to the Society by a later bishop, Savarimuthu, about those from CMS abd the OVerseas Missionary Fellowship of the China Inland Mission. 'The diocese is plagued with internal problems created mostly by the missionaries who invaded the diocese when they were turned out of China. These extreme fundamentalists ... do not have a right concept of Church, Sacraments and the Ministry.' It was a situation which at least helped prompt the creation of the Seminari Theoloji Malaysia. [Roberts's circular, 9.10.50, and Roberts' to H. E. Sir Henry Gurney, 17.10.50, H.20]; [Savarimuthu to thistle, 18.10.74, TF. 2557].

Source: Daniel O'Connor and others, Three Centuries of Mission: The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 1701-2000 (London: Continuum, 2000), 134-135.

Wittenbach's Report


It was most fortunate that my arrival in Singapore coincided with the Diocesan Synod meetings, for I was thus able to meet most of the clergy and some of the leading laymen and to gain a comprehensive picture of the work of the Diocese as a whole before commencing my visits to some of the districts in which our own representatives are at work.

It was something of a shock to find that I was expected to conduct the Quiet Day with which Synod opened, the Bishop's letter to me having gone astray. However, I had with me notes of some Bible studies I had been working on before I left England and these proved acceptable.

It was a good Synod. Reports on different aspects of the work were full and very informative. What was so thrilling was to have meeting together in close fellowship Europeans (English, Irish, Welsh, Dutch and Australian - Diocesan, S.P.G., C.M.S., C.E.Z.M.S. and O.M.F.), Indians and Chinese. And the questions on which Synod concentrated were not finance, as is too often the case, but evangelism, Christian education and extension work. The Bishop was an excellent chairman, with great skill in detecting the essential points in any speech or resolution, scrupulously fair in debate, never obtruding his own opinions but always courteously yet firmly keeping speakers to the point under discussion. It was a brilliant performance over three days in that very trying climate.

Nor will I forget the Communion Service on the final morning before people dispersed. Archdeacon Woods celebrated, discarding for this Service the customary vestments worn in the Cathedral and wearing surplice and stole. Assisting him were the Bishop, a Tamil clergyman who real the Epistle in Tamil and the Rev. George Williamson, leader of the Anglican section of the O.M.F., who read the Gospel in faultless Mandarin. Here was the Anglican Church at its best, uniting within its fellowship people of different races and traditions.

Nevertheless, I could not but feel that this Diocese with its predominantly Asian population is overweighted with European leadership. There are Indian and Chinese clergy of great faithfulness but there is urgent need for the appointment of Asians of higher intellectual qualifications who will be capable of leadership of the Church, spiritual, administrative, educational and medical. The Bishop is aware of this need. He already has Dr. Chelliah, but he, unfortunately, is no longer young. The Rev. Chiu Ban It is a graduate of Cambridge University, but is more European than Asian in his outlook. The Rev. Roland Koh, formerly Vicar of St. Mary's Hong Kong, and. now studying at St. Augustine's College, Canterbury, will be appointed to the Chinese congregation in Kuala Lumpur in the autumn, and will be a great asset to the Diocese. And the work that the Rev. Sverre Holth is doing as the Anglican representative on the Staff of Trinity College, Singapore, preparing men for the ministry, holds great promise for the future.

The difficulties, however, are many. For instance, there is the multiplicity of languages spoken in the Diocese, and people are not concentrated in language areas. In Singapore the Anglican Church has fourteen centres of worship, churches, chapels and mission halls, but there is only one Parish of Singapore and one Vicar, Archdeacon Woods. For all the other places of worship there are 'Priests-in-charge'. Holy Trinity Church, under Canon Lee, holds services in Foochow and Hokkien dialects 'but draws its worshippers from all over Singapore. St. Matthew's holds services in Cantonese and similarly draws its congregation from the same wide area. So, too, does the Church of the True Light, with services in Hinghua dialect. The Priest-in-charge of each of these churches ministers to the same geographical area of Singapore, though to a different language group of the population. To add to the complication there is also Canon Baboo, Priest-in-charge of Christ Church, who conducts services in Tamil, Malayalam and Hindustani and draws his congregations from within the same geographical area. Similar situations are to be found- in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and the other large towns,

But that is by no means the end. The young people of these diverse communities tend to seek their education in English schools and many of them are literate only in English. Since they cannot follow the services in the vernacular they tend to attend English services. This has several consequences, First it breaks up the healthy tradition of families worshipping together. Then it weakens the vernacular churches of their intelligent youth who should be in the choir and helping in the Sunday School. This inevitably tends to create friction between English and vernacular Churches. Vernacular churches are more and more having English Sunday Schools and Bible classes to retain their young people. Yet there is great need for closer fellowship between young people of different language and racial groups which is one contribution the Church can make towards the development of a healthy Malayan citizenship.

There is no easy solution of these difficulties but the Church must face them frankly and seek to build a truly Malayan Christian Church in which there will be true fellowship and community. In this connexion, it would seem desirable that the Chinese churches should cease to describe themselves as Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui (Holy Catholic Church of China) and use the name Ma Lot A Sheng Kung Hui (Holy Catholic Church of Malaya.)

Perhaps the greatest lack in the past has been that none of the English clergy knew any of the languages used in the Asian churches. The recent addition to the Diocesan strength of former China missionaries with a good knowledge of one or more of the Chinese vernaculars has been hailed with Joy by the Chinese churches. The further experiment of the C.M.S. in appointing a young recruit the Rev. Tony Norton to serve as Curate to a Chinese clergyman in one of the Chinese churches has amply justified itself and I hope will provide a new pattern of recruitment to the Diocese, replacing in part the former system of appointing older men as vicars with Asian clergy serving under them.

Somewhat similar and of great significance has been the location by S.P.G. of a young clergyman who had taken his degree in Malay, the Rev. Geoffrey Marrison, to explore the possibility of developing Christian literature for the Malay-speaking people whom the Church has hitherto mainly from political considerations, carefully avoided.


There is a serious lack of suitable Christian literature available for use in the Diocese? Fortunately there is a written Chinese language understandable to -the various vernacular groups, but there are great diversities of scholarships The Committee on Christian Literature for Overseas Chinese in Hong Kong is doing good work but the workers in Malaya are feeling the need for books and pamphlets in simpler Chinese for village folk and also for books written with a Malayan background. There is a serious lack of Christian literature in the Indian vernaculars,

The- arrival of the Rev. James Sutton of the B.M.S. to assist as Executive Secretary of the Literature Commission of the Malayan Christian Council gives reason .for hope that some of these difficulties will be overcome.

Mr. Stanley Weller, Manager of the S.P.C.K. Bookshop in Singapore, who formerly served in the C.M.S Nigeria Bookshops, is another asset to the Diocese, though he has no knowledge of Chinese or of the Indian languages. It is significant that his Chinese assistants are also unable to read Chinese and one has been sent to night school to remedy this defect in his education.

But even more serious than the question of literature production is 'that of literature distribution. In contrast with Japan where everyone seems to read for pleasure if not for profit; few people in Singapore or Malaya seem to like readings I believe the Church should actively promote a programme of readings The M.C.C. in cooperation with Trinity College is offering several Correspondence Courses on Biblical and Doctrinal subjects. These should be accompanied with a selected list of books for further readings.

The O.M.F. are providing display shelves and book stalls in their centres in the New Villages and this practice should be adopted in all the C.M.S. centres. Simple lending libraries could also be established with a minimum of initial outlay. A church will be healthy only as its members are instructed in their faith. Without such instruction they will fall easy prey to such groups as Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and schismatic groups that seem to aim primarily at the members of existing churches rather than at evangelism of the non-Christians.


The Diocese is committed to co-operation in united theological training at Trinity College, Singapore, This college is now finding its feet and with the arrival of Dr. Sydney Smith, for many years President of the Nanking Theological Seminary, who has now taken over the leadership of the College, and the appointment of an adequate fulltime staff, the work of the College should prove a great strength to the different churches of Malaya.

The Diocese has, with the help of a generous capital grant of ₤10,000 from the S.P.G., commenced the erection of an Anglican Hostel in connexion with Trinity College, Unfortunately, since there was no site available adjacent to the College, this hostel will be in the grounds of St. Andrew¡¯s School, some distance away. But I strongly approve of the hostel system, which enables Anglican students to have their own corporate worship and special lectures on prayer Book and Anglican Church History, while still sharing in the fellowship of the wider Christian community and studying together with ordinands of other communions the theology, doctrine and Scriptures which we have in common.

Two course's are offered at Trinity College, one in English and one in Chinese.

There is a query in the minds of some up-country workers whether the location of a Theological College in Singapore will not tend to make students urban-minded. There is already noticeable a tendency towards a cleavage between Singapore Colony and the Federation of Malaya, It would be tragic were this cleavage to exist within the Anglican Church.

Another danger is that, while there are only five Anglican ordinands studying at Trinity College, there are six studying overseas, two in Australia, two in India and one each in America and in Sarawak. While such overseas experience; is invaluable for the men who will return to serve in the Diocese, my own belief is that it should be reserved for graduates of Trinity College who have proved themselves to be suitable both spiritually and academically for further training and should not be regarded as an alternative to Trinity College. Such post-graduate facilities would then be an incentive to recruitment of ordinands and an encouragement to study rather than a source of potential resentment and of suspicion of discriminatory treatment.

Consideration should be given to the possibility of bringing to England, of experienced clergy for parochial experience.



Very great appreciation was expressed by the Bishop and by .Canon Lee of the work Miss Collier is doing in connexion with Holy Trinity Foochow congregation, Miss Collier lives simply with a Chinese family and is happy with them and they with her. I am satisfied that she is adequately housed and is taking care of her health. She makes use of the .facilities of a Y.W.C.A. hostel nearby for privacy and for her mid day meal and is able to .get away occasionally to the Swimming Club for rest and recreation. She has bought a car, which is essential for her work which involves visiting over a very wide area. I do not believe that it la right 'to expect our workers 'to- provide their own cars. I have advised her to sell the car when she leaves .on furlough and. we should assist her in the purchase of a new oar before she returns to her work,

Miss Collier feels that her position would be made easier were she to be ordained as a deaconess. The Bishop would be prepared to ordain her now, but Miss Collier wants to study on furlough for the Interdiocesan Certificate which would give her a recognised standing. 1 hope that this can be arranged and, if necessary, Miss Collier should, be given an extension of furlough for this purpose,


There is a possibility that Deaconess Bell will not be invited to return to the Diocese after her furlough. She hag not fitted in too well and is rather insensitive and inclined to upset people. The work she is doing in connexion with the Cathedral is good and is appreciated and she always seems to be very busy,, but there are difficulties. It is possible that the Cathedral, Council will feel that the expense of her support, is not justified. Deaconess Bell is not suitable for work in the New Villages. The only alternative would be her appointment to a school. as a teacher' of Scripture. 'The deaconess, however, feels this would be incompatable with her status as an ordained worker. The question of her future will have to be faced at the end of this tour of service.

(c) MISS BLANCHE TOBIN (New Zealand)

Miss Tobin, after excellent work in Kuala Lumpur, has been transferred to Malacca, I am not certain by whom this transfer was made and this needs clarifying. In Malacca, which is very largely a Chinese city, Mandarin is widely understood and Miss Tobin will be free of the frustration of working amongst Chinese with whom she found great difficulty in communicating. She will be housed in a flat in the Vicarage, the question of the amount of rent yet needing clarification. Her work will be with the Chinese congregation, with perhaps a little teaching in the school. She will have accommodation in her flat to provide a rest centre for workers, particularly Chinese workers, from the New Villages.


Mr. Norton has done an excellent piece of work at St. Matthew Church, Singapore, where he has served as Curate to the Rev. James Leung for the past eighteen months. He has been a great help to Mr. Leung personally during a particularly difficult period of faction within the parish. The situation has now greatly improved and there is evidence of a new spirit amongst the church members.

I was, however, disappointed at the slow progress that Tony has made with Cantonese, and have urged in him the need to concentrate on language study for the next few months if he is to be of much use in evangelistic work in the New Villages in the future.


I was able to spend some time in Yong Peng, Jin Jang, Sungei Buloh, Salak South, Guntong and. Tasek (Kampong Tawas), to visit the O.M.F. centres at Bidor, Tapoh and Geram, and to catch fleeting glimpses of some other New Villages. I had unhurried talks with workers of C.M.S., C.E.Z.M.S., and the O.M.F. I discussed various questions with officials from Sir Gerald Templer, the High Commissioner, down to Chinese and Malay Assistants. I talked with members of village councils and with villagers in our clinics, in their homes, in the markets and in the fields. My knowledge of Cantonese has opened many doors and it is seldom that I have found need to help it out with my sketchy understanding of Mandarin and Hakka.

(1) Living conditions. I consider the housing of our workers adequate, though it would have been better had the roof at Jin Jang been three feet higher. As soon as possible electric light should be installed in places not yet so equipped,

Workers should be encouraged where possible to engage some part-time domestic help. The O.M.F. are doing this, Yong Peng and Salak South also have help. The Lees get their washing done by a woman in the village. I am satisfied that this would in no way prejudice the attitude of the villagers to our workers. Every Chinese home has the help of its children or of a relative or a 'mooi-tsai'. Particularly in Jin Jang far too much time and energy is spent in cleaning, cooking and washing, particularly the latter which is a big item in this climate. The purchasing of food and the preparation particularly of the mid-day meal is a problem that could easily be solved by the employment of a part-time helper. Since in most places Chinese meals are eaten there is a tendency to allow this to devolve on the Chinese assistants which I feel to be undesirable.

All homes have refrigerators which are essential.

Washing machines might be useful, though no hot water supply is available anywhere.

(b) Allowance. The cost of food, fuel and lighting averages around $90 per month per person. The present allowance of $250 per month is quite adequate and would allow of the payment of domestic help.

(c) Transport. A car to each clinic is a necessity. Apart from travel to the towns and the visiting of other clinics, the distances within most of the villages are considerable and walking or cycling call for the expenditure of too much time and energy in this climate, especially as many villages are built on hilly land. It is wrong to expect the workers to purchase their own cars. There should be a car fund to which regular payments are made to meet the cost of depreciation. An allowance to each clinic of $30 per month for upkeep and servicing is probably adequate.

(d) Allowances of Chinese Colleagues. Since they live on equal terms with the missionaries it is difficult to justify their lower allowances, unless we adopt the principle of payment according to qualifications, against which the Society has ever set its face. Enid Tindall has adopted the principle of charging her assistant a regular sum of $50 per month for board and lodging and paying the balance herself, but that places an unduly heavy burden on Enid. This whole question needs looking into.

I am not at all happy about the handling of the New Villages Fund. This, I understand, is in the hands of a local treasurer. It is right that we should enlist as much local support for and interest in the work in the New Villages, but it will be extremely dangerous if we allow the direction and control of the work to pass out of our hands.

(e) Hospitality. Ethel Izzard spoke of the expense of entertaining their many visitors. They get more at Jin Jang than in the other centres. But against this must be set the considerable number of presents which the folk at Jin Jang, receive in the way of eggs, fruit or vegetables. I do not think that a hospitality allowance is justified.

(f) Staffing. This is a serious problem.

i) Mrs. Lee ceased work on January 1, 1954 to prepare for the arrival of her baby< For the moment Monica. Ansell is to visit Kampong Tawas twice a week to carry on the clinic hut this is far too heavy a burden in addition to the clinic at Guntong for which she is responsible. The Lees are also anxious to have a resident nurse to be on hand in case of emergency - whether with Kathleen Lee or any of the villagers. There is a spare room in St. Michael¡¯s House where the Lees are living and after the baby is born there will be accommodation for a full-time nurse in the new staff quarters being erected next to St. Michael¡¯s House. There is plenty of work for a full-time worker at Kampong Tawas in addition to the Lees.

My suggestion is that Rhoda Watkins should go to Kampong Tawas as soon as possible.

(ii) There will be a complete clearance of workers from Jin Jang shortly. Ethel Izzard and Jean Yau are due for furlough in April. Dr. Joan Levett will be leaving the Mission in June or earlier. Mr. and Mrs. Siek, who have done excellent work, are leaving shortly. They are not altogether happy in an Anglican community and have some queer ideas (such as unwillingness to celebrate Christmas, since they cannot find any command to do so in the .Bible), Their main reason, for resigning, however, is their desire to be supported only by the contributions of Christians, and they have been informed that their support now comes from grants from Government. It is extremely unfortunate that this was ever said. Government grants are made to the Diocese in recognition of certain services rendered, but the final responsibility for the support of all our workers, European or Chinese, rests upon the mission. It is most important, that all our workers should clearly recognise that they are appointed by, responsible to and supported by the Mission at this stage. This does not moan that we do not desire a greater share eventually to be borne by the local church.

There is no one to appoint to Jin Jang and yet this place quite definitely cannot be closed down.

(iii) It is essential that one nurse be available to move from place to place to relieve workers and allow them to get away for an occasional week, quite apart from their annual holiday.

(iv) A doctor must be found to replace Joan Levett.

(g) Suggestions for Staffing,

(i) As a temporary measure, I believe we should approach Dr. Phyllis Haddow and ask her to pat in, say, one year in Malaya on her way back to New Zealand, The question of her support can be taken up with Mew Zealand if necessary, 'but I think we could cover this as a replacement for Joan Levett.

(ii) I believe we should consider the question of whether or not Dr. David Thompson, now in East Africa, could not be re-located to Malaya, His wife has a good command of Chinese and David has at least made a beginning.

(iii) Two nurses are needed, and, unless Jessie Grindley could be considered, these would have to be recruits, I am exploring the possibilities in Australia but hope England will also watch out for a suitable person. Those with a. sense of vocation to district nursing would be most suitable. They will need to get down to language study and this will 'be difficult for their help is needed at once. The answer may be three nurses, one of whom could be set free in turn for a period of uninterrupted language study.

(iv) One of these three nurses might profitably be a Tamil nurse to assist at Guntong where there is a large Tamil community. The sister-in-law of the Rev. David Samuel, in charge of the Indian-Church at Kuala Lumpur, is a qualified nurse but she is now in a Government hospital. She might consider an appointment in due course or might have a friend in India who would be prepared to work in Malaya. I have asked the Bishop to look into this question.

(v) There is need to strengthen the evangelistic side of the work. I have suggested to Nora Dillon, formerly in South China and in Chekiang, that she consider working in Malaya, She is the only available person with a good knowledge of Cantonese and her help would be invaluable.

(vi) Tony Norton should be transferred to new village work in the Summer. Jin Jang is the most suitable place, for he could be housed in Dr. Levett¡¯s room which is separate from the ladies¡¯ house and has its own bathroom.

(vii) I should like to see another young clergyman appointed to the Malaya Mission to begin as Tony did as a curate to a Chinese clergyman.


(1) Training of New Village Workers.

When we inaugurated the C.M.S. Malaya Mission our avowed purpose was to help to build up an indigenous Chinese Church which would accept the responsibility of the work in the new villages.

The Churches in Singapore are largely self-supporting but are not really reaching out to the vast numbers of non-Christians which surround them. Their interest in and concern for the Chinese in the Federation of Malaya is negligible. Singapore and the Federation are in effect, two distinct countries. To overcome this I believe that it is necessary to send workers from the Federation around the churches in Singapore on what will virtually be deputation work, to arouse interest, prayer, support and offers of personal service.

Similarly, there is no apparent concern on the part of the established congregations in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang for the Chinese in the new villages. The Tamil churches are almost as bad. The fault lies with the conception of a pastor as a colonial chaplain ministering to his own people 'abroad' rather than as a parish priest with a real responsibility for all who live within the borders of his parish. Yet, when a parish may cover 400 square miles, it is difficult to see how without a considerable increase in workers, more can be done than the maintenance of occasional services in the different centres. But it is not economically possible to support additional workers. Here is the contribution our missionaries and their colleagues can make, building up, through evangelistic work, new congregations in the new villages which one hopes will, in time, be able to support their own pastors.

There is great potentiality in a. place, like Kuala Lumpur and the experiment of appointing an experienced pastor like the Rev. Roland Koh should prove to be a move along the right lines. An appeal has been made to the Australian C.M.S. to provide for the support of Roland Koh for three years, in the hope that in that time he will have so strengthened the church in Kuala Lumpur that it will be able and willing to shoulder this burden. The present pastor, the Rev. Chan Tak Kin, is supported by the Yuk Tan School of which he is principal, He is a Hakka and happier in the new villages than in the city. The proposal is that he should reside at Salak South and concentrate on work in the villages. This will involve the purchase or erection of another house, with which capital cost the Australian C.M.S. has also been asked to assist.

There should also be a good Chinese pastor in Ipoh, At present there is a catechist, Mr. May Nyuk Voon, who has had no training and who is far from adequate. The Biblewoman, Miss Cheng Poh Chin, is also untrained and is incapable of influencing the younger and better educated Chinese in Ipoh. Arnold Lee is making progress with his learning of Cantonese and could perhaps do more Chinese work when the Rev. Tony Dumper returns from leave, but it la difficult for him to help at evening meetings in Ipoh when people arc free, for that is his busiest time at Kampong Tawas. The present 5 p.m. curfew, which is likely to last for some time, confines him to the village in the evenings.

These pastoral arrangements are outside the province of the Society, though naturally they concern us vitally and it should be our aim to assist in any way we can the building up of the town churches.

With regard to the training of' workers for the new villages I had a conference with the Bishop and with Dr, Keys Smith of St. Andrew¡¯s Hospital, Singapore. We worked out a rough outline of a Scheme to be submitted to the High Commissioner. The basis of this is the need to give a recognised status to Asian nurses in charge of village clinics which would not prejudice then professionally or financially in relation to nurses in hospitals. It is felt that such nurses must be fully qualified for they must be able to recognise serious cases and deal with emergencies. The suggestion is that a training centre should set up, probably in Kuala Lumpur, where a special course, lasting perhaps three months or more, should be given to the candidates , dealing particularly with district health. Then these nurses would be appointed to work for a time under missionary nurses with the hope of their eventually being able to take over full charge of a new village clinic.

A further course of training should also be provided for assistants who might be called health visitors. These would not be qualified nurses, but would have a training comparable to St. John¡¯s Ambulance certificate and special instruction in hygiene, sanitation and preventative medicines These assistants would then be appointed to the clinics to work under the district nurses and operate particularly in the homes of the people.

The suggestion is that such a centre should be established and staffed by the Malayan Christian Council and that the co-operating churches and societies should provide the staff, which would consist of a doctor and a sister tutor. The point of our operating this scheme is that we could give Christian training as well in order to ensure that this village health service should be a truly Christian evangelistic agency. If such a scheme were to gain Government approval and support - and it is urgently needed - we should be one step forward in developing the type of Christian service we have set out to build up in the new village.

(ii) Education in the New Villages

I do not think this is our responsibility except where schools already exist as Church schools. Every effort, however, should be made to co-operate with the schools, perhaps by introducing nurses to give lessons on hygiene or by offering a regular medical overhaul of the children attending chools,

The village clinics should concentrate on literacy work for adults and perhaps, in some cases, operate infant schools to take care of the young children whose parents have to be out in the mornings at work. Trained kindergarten teachers to train workers for such infant schools and to supervise their operation would be a valuable adjunct to our staff.


The C.M.S. has done a valuable piece of pioneer work in the new villages which has set a pattern for other societies and agencies. We cannot hope to extend our work much if at all beyond what we are now doing, but if we can go on to develop a training centre and gradually transfer our workers to the tasks of training and supervision and to the recruitment of Asian workers we shall have gone far to achieve the objects for which our C.M.S. Malaya Mission was started. There are countless things yet needing to be done for those with vision to plan; e.g. Youth Fellowships to occupy usefully the time of young men and women in the evenings, to stretch their minds and guide them to intelligent citizenship are urgently needed. It is from this age group that the Communists gain their recruits. It is from this age group that the Church of Malaya can be strengthened. Our workers need gradually to transfer their interest and energies to such creative work.