Mighty strug­gle

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - Leng ByFoongThim

DR Sun Yat-sen was born Sun Wen on Nov 12, 1866, to a Hakka fam­ily in Cui­heng vil­lage, Xiang­shan (to­day’s Zhong­shan ) county, Guang­dong prov­ince in China.

Sun had his early ed­u­ca­tion at an ele­men­tary school in his vil­lage. Af­ter a few years, he left China and went to live with his elder brother, Sun Mei, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sun grad­u­ated from Iolani School in 1882, and sub­se­quently re­turned to China where he stud­ied medicine at the Hong Kong Col­lege of Medicine for Chi­nese.

In­creas­ingly frus­trated with the Qing govern­ment, Dr Sun be­gan to call for the abo­li­tion of the monar­chy and the es­tab­lish­ment of a re­pub­lic.

In 1895, the first re­volt in Guangzhou that Dr Sun or­gan­ised fell through. He was put on the “most wanted” list by the po­lice.

From 1895 un­til 1912, Dr Sun spent his years in ex­ile over­seas. Dur­ing that time, he was busy rais­ing funds for up­ris­ings in China. He made trips to Ja­pan, Hawaii, the United States, Canada, France, London and South-East Asia to drum up sup­port from the over­seas Chi­nese.

He spent time study­ing Euro­pean po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments and phi­los­o­phy in the Bri­tish Mu­seum and came up with his blue­print, Three Prin­ci­ples of the Peo­ple.

Dr Sun fo­cused his at­ten­tion on the over­seas Chi­nese in South-East Asia, es­pe­cially Singapore and Malaya, and or­gan­ised an un­der­ground re­sis­tance move­ment known as Tung Meng Hui to raise funds for his cause.

Dur­ing his last visit to Malaya in Novem­ber 1910, he chaired a se­cret meet­ing at his house in 404, Datuk Kra­mat Road, Pe­nang, to plan the Sec­ond Guangzhou Up­ris­ing.

This was fol­lowed by an emo­tional speech at the Nanyang head­quar­ters at 120, Ar­me­nian Street where Dr Sun ap­pealed to his sup­port­ers to give it their all as it would be the “last bat­tle”. Nine of the re­volts he had planned over the years had ended in fail­ure.

He left Pe­nang on Dec 6, 1910, for Europe and the United States.

On April 27, 1911, the Sec­ond Guangzhou re­volt failed but it fired the spirit of the rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies.

On Oct 10, the Wuchang Up­ris­ing erupted, trig­ger­ing re­volts across the coun­try. Dr Sun was still in ex­ile in the United States at that time. When he learnt about the suc­cess­ful revo­lu­tion, he re­turned to Shang­hai on Dec 25. On Dec 29, Dr Sun was elected the pro­vi­sional pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of China.

Af­ter the revo­lu­tion, Dr Sun quickly fell out of power and led suc­ces­sive rev­o­lu­tion­ary gov­ern­ments as a chal­lenge to the war­lords who con­trolled much of the coun­try.

The main is­sue was gain­ing the sup­port of Yuan Shi Kai, leader of the Beiyang Army, the mil­i­tary of north­ern China. Dr Sun promised Yuan the pres­i­dency of the new re­pub­lic.

When the Tung Meng Hui was re­or­gan­ised as the Kuom­intang or Na­tional Party, Dr Sun was elected chair­man of the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil.

Af­ter Yuan Shi Kai’s death in June 1916, vice-pres­i­dent Li Yuan­hong be­came pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of China and Dr Sun was elected gen­er­alis­simo by Par­lia­ment on Sept 1, 1917.

This was fol­lowed by a pe­riod of in­ter­nal power strug­gles and in April 1918, Par­lia­ment un­der pres­sure from the Guangxi war­lords gave way to the mil­i­tary govern­ment in Guangzhou. On May 4, 1918, Dr Sun re­signed as gen­er­alis­simo to con­cen­trate on writ­ing.

He was back in Guangzhou on Dec 29, 1920, to re­store Par­lia­ment. Mil­i­tary rule came to an end and Dr Sun was elected pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of China on April 7, 1921.

Dr Sun died on March 12, 1925, at the age of 59 in Bei­jing. On April 16, the Guang­dong govern­ment re­named his home­town of Xiang­shan County as Zhong­shan County.

On April 1, 1940, the Chi­nese govern­ment pro­claimed Dr Sun as the found­ing fa­ther of the Re­pub­lic of China. –

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