MEMBERS of the public were given a rare glimpse into the life of Tun Tan Cheng Lock during a week-long exhibition at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman Kampar.
The exhibition titled “The Other Side of Tun Tan Cheng Lock” was organised by Utar’s Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Social and Policy Studies (TCLC) late last month to celebrate and commemorate his 135th anniversary.
The exhibition, which was held in the university’s main library consisted of four sections showcasing Cheng Lock’s background, heritage, friendships and legacy.
His personal belongings that have been kept and preserved at his ancestral home in Melaka were also showcased.
Organising chairman Bazlin Darina Ahmad Tajudin said this was the first exhibition to feature Cheng Lock’s belongings.
“Items such as his spectacles, table clock, coin purse and clothes are on display for the first time here in Kampar.
“A small collection of his books is also featured,” she said.
“The exhibition hopes to educate people about Tun Tan Cheng Lock’s personal life through a selection of photos and stories shared by his family,” she added.
Cheng Lock’s granddaughter Datin Paduka Tan Siok Choo, who launched the exhibition, said that even though many knew about her grandfather’s involvement in politics, little was known about his personal life.
“My grandfather highly valued education.
“His library contained an array of books ranging from literary classics to philosophy to health and history,” she said, adding that his reading was purposeful.
“When my grandmother fell ill, he bought books that had information about her illness so that he could question the doctors about the most appropriate treatment for her,” said Siok Choo.
TCLC chairman Prof Dr Chin Yee Mun said Cheng Lock was an exemplary person whose dedication and determination was still very much evident in the present time.
“He was an example of true devotion as he devoted his life to fighting for the rights and welfare of the Chinese community in the country.
“Despite advocating for the welfare of the Chinese community, his heart remained undivided, as he had also taught us that we should put aside our difference in race and unite as Malaysians,” Prof Chin said.
He hopes the exhibition inspires students and educates them about patriotism.
“It is not only our civic duty to serve the country as Malaysians but also to defend the country and use our talents to make Malaysia a great country.
“With this exhibition, I hope students will be nurtured with the consciousness of their role in today’s world and will hopefully be able to develop a strong sense of social responsibility,” he added.
The launch of the exhibitionwas also attended by 20 schoolchildren and teachers from SJKC Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Subang Jaya, Selangor.