Lee Run Hu

Lee Run Hu

Lee Run Hu (zh-sp|s=李润湖|p=Lǐ RùnHú) (1913 - 1947) was a Singaporean writer and poet who was remembered for his immense contributions to the development of Chinese literature and literary writing in Malaya between 1919 - 1965. He was a prolific writer for Chinese newsapers and other publications, championing socio-political issues, and exposing evils by mercenary businessmen and the the Japanese government during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore.

Lee was an outstanding reporter, before and after the war. He was an altruistic man who worked out of his immense interest in social commentary work, and wrote pro-bono for local Chinese newspapers. Between 1945 to his death, Lee wrote a total of 132 articles for local newspapers [citation|first=JunCheng|last=Zhang|title=新马华文报刊对其华文文学的影 (The influence of Singapore-Malayan Chinese Newspapers on Chinese Literature)|publisher=《华侨华人历史研究》|url=http://www.gotoread.com/article/?MagID=9966&wid=4185|accessdate=2008-07-23]

Through his articles Lee obtrusively voiced his opinions, and offended many important people in the Malayan society. For instance, he once wrote about wealthy people who had a penchant of "donating a dollar, and expecting 3 dollars' worth of recognition of patriotism, charity, and generousity". As a result, Lee was forced to adopt different pen-names just to have his work published. Lee died of illness in 1947 at the age of 34. Upon his death, the local literary circle honoured him with an elaborate funeral, and a commemorative feature on the Chinese newspapers, honoring him with the title of "Singapore Cultural Warrior". [citation|editor-last=Fang|editor-first=Xiu|title=李润湖作品选 (Selected writings of Li RunHu)|location=Singapore|publisher=Shanghai Books|year=1980]

Fang left behind his wife Liu Peh Chin, son Lee Yew Keng and daughters, Lee Yew Koon and Lee Yew Hu.

Following the Crowd
By Lee RunHu
published in Nanyang Siang Pau - The Lion Voice
Oct 17, 1934

It has been said that the Chinese like to follow the crowd. No matter where the crowd was, everybody like gather around to take a look. Everybody would tend to crowd around inquistively. But if asked what is happening, many of them would just shrugged their shoulders and not know what was really happening.
One night I remember there was a big crowd, and everybody was seeing something. It was just an old woman trying to scold a crying boy. But the people have thought that it was a quarrelling couple, and so have crowded around to watch. Suddenly someone shouted : Mata (police)!, and the crowds suddenly disappeared. The old woman continued to scold the boy, the boy still keep on crying, but no "mata" was seen.
Also worse still was whenever the city council try to round up the peddlers, people would also crowded around and watch the show!
Yesterday was supposed to be some kind of Nine Emperor birthday, people in Hougang were said to be busy celebrating the festival. And yesterday was supposed to be the last night and supposed to be the busiest night, there would be drums, the deities would be out in a procession and so everybody will be out to follow the crowd once again.
Last night I was alone at my bedroom, bored and lonely. Suddenly a friend came and said how crowded was Hougang going to be that night, with lots of ladies, once a year event blah blah blah. After his enticement, I decided to follow him to join the maddening crowd.
The passengers in the electric car was very crowded, everyone was squeezed together. Full of sweat, heat, panting, lights...
But everyone wants to follow the crowd, so what is a bit of heat? Whenever the bus reaches a bus top identified by a red pole and supposed to stop, but when the passengers saw a long queue at the bus stop, they would shout to the driver to go ahead and not to stop, for fear of being squeezed further. The driver, seeing his bus full, obediently followed the consensus of the passengers and drove on, ignoring the queues waiting at the bus stop.
In this 20th-century, the so-called civilized age, man, the so-called highest soul, may not be that civilized after all. Look, a villager bring a basket of chickens or ducks to sell in the market or on the streets, and soon, some "civilized" people would come and demand that the village stop torturing the chickens and the ducks, and to stop committing the cruel act of confining the chickens in a small space. But look at the bus, everyone was squeezed, aren't we worst than the chickens?
After being squeezed for the journey, we finally reach Hougang, and it felt such a relief.
The place was really crowded with all kinds of people - men, women, young and old people wearing sarong, cheongsam, ang mohs, kelings, street artisans, fake goods sellers, drinks, cooked food, it was a noisy conglomerate of trade and people.
People walked here, people walked there, cars rushed their way in the middle of the road. Those inside the cars, one can feel their proudness radiating out from the car. There are also many trucks and lorries, carrying truck loads of old women, women and children. The trucks were displaying all kinds of colourful paper lanterns. The procession of trucks is said to go to take part in the Nine Emperor festival!
Along the sides of the roads one can also see many cars and vans. There were nonyas, there were cheongsams, and other trendy ladies, each one of them holding thick joss sticks. It was said they are asking for the blessings from the Nine Emperor. There were also groundsheets placed on the vans and the trucks, in case the rain came. I found it strange that so many people, sitting on the vans and lorries, are awaiting blessings from the Nine Emperor.
Suddenly there came a crowd, there was a lot of drum beating and noise. Somebody said that maybe the Nine Emperor has come, some said perhaps it was the procession to greet the Nine Emperor. But it turned out to be a 2 ton lorry, carrying a paper castle, full of lights, but with little children tied together and sitting in some kind of lotus flowers linked to a iron pillar. I think it is not right to tie children up in such a way.
We lingered until eighty thirty at night, but still the Nine Emperor procession has not started. We asked some people, they said the Nine Emperor procession would only start after 11 pm. We cannot wait until then, as we are tired of the crowds and noise, and so we asked a hired car, he said he was going to city, so we hopped onto the car. So we left the maddening crowd, the waiting ladies on tbe vans awaiting blessings, but the electric cars were still full, and more people were joining the crowds.


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