I am the 3rd child in my family and I have 11 siblings. I used to live in JB and faced numerous hardships during the war. I went through the Japanese Occupation when I was 11 years old and had to take care of my siblings when I was 12 years old. I started to work at the age of 13 in order to survive.
In 1946, I became a mechanic at a British naval base, repairing torpedos.
Later when the British came back, there was no chance to attend school for me and I only studied 3 years in a Chinese primary school. I worked in the day and studied at night.
Upon the country's independence, I concentrated on my studies and was chosen as a representative for Singapore's Trade Mission. I went to USSR and Eastern Europe. We were already trading with USSR etc even before independence. We did trading with South Union Company Ltd. Trade was very much under the influence of the British. Back then, as a holder of a British passport, I was forbidden entry into the communist countries. Thus, I went to USSR as a tourist through France. A USSR travelling agency issued us a separate sheet which did not require the chopping of the passports. Upon arrival, we talked to the Ministry of Shipping and the foreign trade minister. We agreed on a joint venture with a Russian company in shipping and this brought business to Singapore. We had 2 Russian directors on board the Singapore Soviet Shipping Company Limited. There were uncertainties back then as we were called for an interview by the Special Branch for being commercially close with communist countries but they appreciated it.
Currently I am a volunteering teaching seniors how to use computers.
(Memory collected at Pioneer Generation Tribute event held at the Istana on 9th February 2014.)