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Light on the Lotus Hill

"Light on the Lotus Hill” is a story set against the backdrop of Sino Japanese war, World War Two, Japanese invasion of Singapore and the Sook Ching. The book documents the life of a Buddhist Abbot who lived during those times and the circumstances leading to his arrest and execution after the fall of Singapore in 1942.

The Buddhist Abbot, Venerable Pu Liang was the abbot of Shuang Lin monastery in Singapore who supported Tan Kah Kee’s China Relief Fund and the recruitment of Nanyang Volunteers who served on the famous Burma Road.

This history was largely unknown until the author, Chan CW, began research about 5 years ago and put together the history of Venerable Pu Liang. In the research process, 4 of the 5 known photos of Venerable Pu Liang were found. The venerable’s photos were hidden after his execution to prevent harassment from the Japanese soldiers.

“Light on the Lotus Hill” (ISBN 978-98108-2674-1) was launched on 28 May 2009 at the historic Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and attended by more than 150 guests.The launch date coincided with the 70th anniversary of a major fund raising event organized by the Venerable on 28 May 1939. This association was developed further with a 1930s theme at the book launch with images from the 1930s flashing on the screen, 1930s music in the background and the scent of rose perfume, popular with women in the 1930s, drifting in the air.  

One of the guest speakers was Dr Leon Comber, the well-known and respected expert in Chinese culture and religion whose book “Chinese Temples in Singapore” continue to be an important reference more than half a century after its publication.

The author and 2 guest speakers spoke about the book from different perspectives and shared some of the highlights of the research process. This was followed by a Q&A and a buffet dinner.

“Light on the Lotus Hill” is available at major bookshops and also online at Cultural Compass. The profits of the book will be donated to the Shuang Lin Monastery in memory of Venerable Pu Liang.

In 2011, Light on the Lotus Hill, the documentary was produced.

The author, Chan Chow Wah, can be contacted at:
ccw@alumni.lse.ac.uk

 

 

Related articles:
Sino Japanese War, 中日战争
Venerable Pu Liang, 普亮法师
China Relief Fund, 南洋华侨筹赈祖国难民总会
nanyang volunteer iconNanyang Volunteer, 南侨机工
Light on the Lotus Hill project

 

venerable pu liang
shuang lin monastery
Shuang Lin Monastery circa 1905
light on the lotus hill
Image:Ledo Burma Roads Assam-Burma-China.gif

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