Meet 5 of Dr Sun Yat Sen's family members featured in new exhibition at Balestier

The exhibition, Dr Sun Yat Sen And His Family, will be launched on Saturday at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.
The exhibition, Dr Sun Yat Sen And His Family, will be launched on Saturday at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Behind every successful man is a woman. In the case of the late Dr Sun Yat Sen, there is his family.

While little is known about the family members of the Chinese revolutionary, this is set to change with the exhibition Dr Sun Yat Sen And His Family. To be launched on Saturday at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, it will be the first time that his family is put into the spotlight here. Visitors to the museum will be able to view 173 artefacts detailing the relationships between Dr Sun and his family, and learn about his family's sacrifices as Dr Sun pursued his goals.

Here are five of the family members which will be featured at the exhibition:

1. Sun Mei (1854-1915)

Born in 1854, Sun Mei was 12 years older than Dr Sun. He played a pivotal role in Dr Sun's life, providing the financial support throughout Sun's education in Honolulu, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. While he had disputes with Dr Sun over Dr Sun's decision to switch to Christianity, he never wavered in his support of his younger brother, even bankrupting himself while supporting Dr Sun's movements.

Photo reproduced with the permission of the KTM Party Archives Library.

2. Lu Mei Zhen (1867-1952)

Born to an overseas Chinese family in Waisha Village, Lu married Dr Sun in an arranged marriage in 1884. However, the couple hardly spent any time together due to Dr Sun's pursuit of studies and revoltionary activities. She gave birth to two daughters and a son, and devoted herself to taking care of the children at a time (1895-1912) when the family was constantly being uprooted due to her husband's revolutionary activities.

Photo reproduced with the permission of the Hong Kong Museum of History.

3.Chen Cui Fen (1874-1962)

Born in Hong Kong on Sept 23, 1874, Chen did not officially marry Dr Sun, but was his partner for a significant period of time. Chen met Dr Sun in 1891, and after the Guangzhou Uprising of 1895, she fled overseas with him. She tended to him and his revolutionary comrades while they were taking refuge in Japan and South-east Asia. Even though they separated in the early 1910s, she still lived with and took care of Dr Sun's family for a period of time after that.

Photo courtesy of Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

4. Soong Ching Ling (1893-1981)

The US-educated Soong was 27 years younger than Dr Sun, and worked as his secretary after graduation in 1913. She married Dr Sun two years later to become his second wife, and was only 32 years old when Dr Sun passed away in 1925. Her political career took flight after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, and she went on to hold prominent positions and represent China in several international events.

Photo reproduced with the permission of the Soong Ching Ling Memorial Residence in Shanghai.

5. Sun Yan (1894-1913)

Sun Yan was Dr Sun's elder daughter, and spent different parts of her childhood living in Hawaii, Hong Kong and Penang due to the constant uprooting of her family. Sun Yan and her siblings moved to the United States in 1913, where she enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley. However, her life was unfortunately cut short at 19, after failing to recover from an illness.

Photo reproduced with the permission of the National Archives and Records Administration, USA