Leaving The Gift Of Education For Future Generations Of Singaporeans
Helping underprivileged students and promoting social causes were his missions in life. Now, Lien Shih Sheng's descendants have taken on the mantle to continue his good work.
Lien Shih Sheng was well-known as a Chinese literati par-excellence, a literary pioneer who published over 20 books about his travels and letter, including essays and biographies of eminent Indian personalities with the likes of Gandhi and Nehru. He was born in the Fujian province of China, and moved to Singapore in 1949.
A decorated public servant, Lien Shih Sheng was appointed a member of the Public Service Commission from 1959 to 1966, and was awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award in 1963. He was a committee member of the Nanyang University Founding Committee, president of the South Seas Society and vice-president of the China Society.
His most popular and accessible work are “Letters from the Coast”, which covers a broad range of topics, including current affairs, travel and commentary, but generally muses over basic principles of life such as effort, loyalty, thrift in letter format, drawing on both Eastern and Western wisdom.
AN ADVOCATE FOR EDUCATION
To honour Lien Shih Sheng’s memory and his many accomplishments, the Lien Shih Sheng Foundation was established by his grandson, Mr Lien Ber Luen, with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) in 2018. The Foundation aims to continue the legacy of Lien Shih Sheng’s strong belief in education as a social leveller, among other social causes like arts and culture.
In the long term, the Foundation has been directed to focus on providing assistance in education, in the form of scholarships and bursaries, and hope to be able to fund more programmes in the future.
So far, scholarships at Raffles Institution have been funded for children from low income families, a bursary at the Singapore Institution of Technology for financially disadvantaged students, and an upcoming programmes for financial aid to help children from underprivileged families attend pre-school.
A PHILANTHROPIST WHO BELIEVED IN THE NEXT GENERATION
Lien Shih Sheng was initially a correspondent, then editor of the Nanyang Siang Pau (南洋商报), founded by philanthropist-entrepreneur Tan Kah Kee in 1948. The paper was established in Singapore before moving to Kuala Lumpur, but remained printed in Singapore.
The Singapore edition of the paper has since merged with Sin Chew Jit Poh（星洲日报）to form the current Lianhe Zaobao （联合早报), which is still in circulation today.
“Lien Shih Sheng had a strong sense of community. “He had a keen interest in educating and guiding youth, as seen from his writings in “Letters from the Coast” and “For the New Youth”. He was also passionate about Chinese culture and education through his efforts with Nanyang University.”