Tuesday, November 6, 2012

IN MEMORIAM – DR HAN SUYIN 1917-2012


Han Suyin, , was the pen name of Elizabeth Comber, born Rosalie Matilda Kuanghu Chow. She was a Chinese-born Eurasian author of several books on modern China, novels set in East Asia, and autobiographical works, and graduated as a physician from Peking Universit.
JOHOR BARU: (the STAR) Writer Han Suyin  may be known around the world for her novel A Many Splendoured Thing but some folk in Johor still remember her as the doctor at a clinic in Jalan Ibrahim here.
Dr Alice Loh, 84, who took over Han's clinic after she left the country, said the writer had moved to Johor Baru from Hong Kong after marrying Leon F. Comber, who was serving as a British officer in the Malayan Special Branch in 1952.
Han's popularity among her patients shot up shortly after her novel was adapted into an Oscar-winning film, recalled Dr Loh.
“Everyone wanted to be her patient so they could boast about how they were being treated by the famous Dr Han Suyin. Although I did not know her well, I remembered that she had striking features due to her mixed parentage and was popular, especially among the male patients,” she laughed.
The Eurasian writer, whose real name was Elizabeth Comber, died at the age of 95 in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday.
Besides being the author of several books on modern China and autobiographical novels, Han, who was born in Henan, China, had studied medicine in Brussels and trained as a physician in London.
It was while she was practising medicine in Hong Kong that she met and fell in love with Australian war correspondent Ian Morrison, which formed the basis for her novel.
Dr Loh said prior to taking over Han's clinic, she had also been tutored by Han while studying medicine in Hong Kong.
“I studied there in the 1940s and I remembered that my dormitory was right above her room. I could always hear her typing for hours but it was only later that I realised that she was writing her famous novel,” she said.
Expressing her sadness over Han's passing last Friday, Dr Loh described Han as a “charismatic woman”, who had contributed so much through her writing.
Retired nurse, Tham Poh Choo, 83, remembers Han, with whom she had worked in the 1950s while serving at the General Hospital here.
“Dr Han was a pleasant and friendly lady but the nurses never really had the opportunity to speak to her or any of the doctors,” she said.
In addition to being a brilliant writer, Tham recalled Han as a “hardworking woman”, whose dedication to her job made her popular among her patients.
Han, who was married three times, is survived by two daughters.
 By DESIREE TRESA GASPER


9 comments:

Trishia Ho said...

Hello Zorro,

This is a great video depicting the true history of Malaysia since independance from the point of view of a rakyat.

Watch it and share the video before the coming GE:

Title: List of Malaysia
http://youtu.be/crTnWlojVSw

Chinese version:
馬來西亞名單
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl2THdRTQwA

Duration: 13:42 minutes
Selamatkan Malaysia!!!

Kim Quek said...

Thanks for this posting on Han Suyin. She was my favourtie author in the fifties and sixties, and I happened to serve briefly together with her former husband Leon Comber in Singapore in the late fifties.

zorro said...

Kim Quek Sir, I am honored by your comment in this blog.

Hussein abdul Hamid said...

...and the rain my drink....

HH

JTang said...

May she rest in peace. A great lady. She wrote of her father who had to stay at the bottom deck while her mother was in the upper deck during their voyage from Belgium to China, pre-war. She traced the early history of the Hakka who originated from North China. And "The Rain my Drink" she hinted of the numerous betrayals of our people... Our past glorious rubber latex she called 'liquid gold'? She gave me a glimpse of post war Malaya. And above all she gave me the idea to be a Malaysian... The courage to be.

Anonymous said...

That movie "love a many splendid thing" ...was it William Holden ?
I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT MOVIE....

Anonymous said...

Dr. Han taught briefly at Nanyang University which had been closed down by LKY in the Eighties.

wandererAUS said...



Remembering the beautiful song, "Love is a many splendor thing" brings back good old memories of that film with the same title. Obviously, the famous writer Dr Han Suyin came into my mind. I can only reflect on the good old days when Malaysia was young and innocent....various races happily living together.

wandererAUS said...


Anonymous
November 6, 2012 11:19 PM

It was definitely William Holden. I am not sure of the actress.