The Education Concerns and Political Outlook of Lim Keng Lian (1893–1968)

Lim Keng Lian (1893–1968) was a prominent tea merchant in Singapore from the mid-1920s until his death. He also concerned himself with the educational needs of the Chinese in Singapore and Malaya. During the 1930s and 1940s, he worked tirelessly to raise overseas Chinese awareness of the plight of China. As a supporter of the Kuomintang, he made his mark as a leading overseas Chinese representative in the party, remaining loyal even after the KMT's defeat in 1949. Despite his dedication to the welfare of the overseas Chinese, his foray into Chinese politics and his success in the tea business, Lim remains largely neglected in overseas Chinese studies. This article mainly traces his attempts at reforming overseas Chinese education in the 1930s, his work as a community leader among the Hokkien community in Malaya, his entry into Chinese politics as a wartime parliamentarian, and his brief stint as Deputy Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission in China.