Philanthropist calls for reformers against vice

Dr Chen Su Lan set up the Chinese YMCA in 1945.
Dr Chen Su Lan set up the Chinese YMCA in 1945. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore social reformer and philanthropist, Dr Chen Su Lan, spoke about the need for young reformers in an interview with The Straits Times this week in 1965.

"Singapore needs people who will lead the fight against modern-day vices," said Dr Chen, 80, in an interview in his house overlooking the sea at Pasir Panjang.

He had led campaigns against opium, prostitution and tuberculosis.

While he was retired by then, Dr Chen carried out social work through the Chen Su Lan Trust that he founded in 1947, and planned to donate $25,000 from the trust to the Medical Progress Fund.

Dr Chen was one of the seven graduates of the first batch of the Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, which later became the medical faculty of the University of Singapore.

The native of Foochow, China, had moved to Singapore at age 20 in 1905 to enrol in the school.

Dr Chen, who was a Methodist, went on to set up the Chinese Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), in 1945.

It is now known as the Metropolitan YMCA.

In 1968, he started the Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home.

He died at age 87 in 1972.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 20, 2015, with the headline 'Philanthropist calls for reformers against vice'. Print Edition | Subscribe