Just got back from my usual 15 kilometer walk. The usual quiet of Tudor was disrupted by a diesel powered tractor. There was also a rumble or what sounded like an empty steel barrel, rolling on the hard but worn out, stony surface of the roads (streets). It was… sort of. It was a mid-sized steam roller (1); crushing, flattening and leveling freshly tarred (2) (3) stones.
Tudor was having a makeover. Its streets and the driveways of houses are currently being re-surfaced. The heavy machinery (road surfacing equipment) that came into our area two weeks ago, giving us hope that work would start then. But they vanished a couple of days later after they resurfaced USJ4/3 street. After watching the movie “Terminator”; these workers have come with a theme “WE’LL BE BACK!” And so they are.
Piano playing softly… accompanying the clarinet. The music: a very light, gentle sort of fusion jazz background music coming through over the Google Home Mini, with its volume at level 2 or 3.
The two new lightly, gold-ish /bronze -silver Panasonic ceiling fans were swirling (more like chopping – a mini version of a helicopter rotor blades) the air around to keep the room cool. It rained a heavy drizzle earlier on in the evening which helped bring down the temperature to a cooler notch. But it was still rather humid.
I started working on the follow-up to my story “Chen Cuifen – Captivating!” with the hopes of learning more about her, her likes, family… just about everything.
The fourth oldest in her family, Chen Cuifen was born into poverty. She was attractive, sweet and had a good figure. She was said to be simple, honest and treat others with kindness. Chen Cuifen met Sun Yat-sen in 1892.
Sun Yat-sen became China’s first provisional president. Though not officially recognised by Sun; his family revered Cuifen with respect.
Cuifen was guard and nurse to Sun Yat-sen. It states in this article, She accompanied Sun Yat-sen everywhere, though frightened. (4) The writer who wrote this said that “she was displaced and frightened. She followed Sun everywhere even if her name is not right”, implying that she was his mistress or “concubine”. Yet in some articles written by others, she was said to be his second wife.
Based on an article by daydaynews.cc, it describes Chen Cuifen as Sun’s concubine. Lu Mushen was Sun’s first wife. She could not accompany Sun on running of the revolution due to her wife, mother and daughter roles and duties. She spent her time teaching their children and looking after her parents. Thus, not being able to be the revolutionary’s sidekick. That’s where Cuifen comes in.
According to this article it said just that -“Ms Chen Cuifen just made up for this shortcoming”. She was by his side all the time, taking care of his daily life, passing on information, and making contributions to the cause of the revolution.
She was inspired by Sun Yat-sen’s ideals of revolution. All articles about her involvement in the revolution point to this fact.(5)
All the men, including foreign revolutionaries that Sun worked with; respected Cuifen as a major contributor towards the cause of the revolution. The Japanese samurai, Miyazaki Tokura who followed Sun once said, “The Chinese comrade who takes care of Mr Sun’s daily life is really a heroine. She uses long chopsticks and has big eyes, like a man eating. Only in this way women of revolutionaries take on major issues”.
Cuifen’s birth name was Xiangling. She was also known as Ruifen. She was affectionately called sigu (fourth aunt) by comrades of the revolution. Cuifen risked her life and did all she could to support Sun’s career.
Cuifen lived at the Changchun Pu villa, which is behind today’s famous Aun Tong coffee mill in Taiping, Perak. (6) According to this writer, there were some newspaper clippings on the wall next to Cuifen’s portrait. These newspaper clippings stated that Cuifen travelled alone to Malaya in 1914 after breaking up with Sun. She stayed at Changchun Pu villa for many years. It was during that time that she adopted a daughter.
In 1931, Cuifen returned to Hong Kong with her adopted daughter, Sun Zhongying, and later moved to Guangzhou upon Sun Fo’s (Sun Yat-sen’s son’s request).
According to her grandson, when the anti-Japanese war broke out; Cuifen took part in the battle against Japan.
Chen Cuifen was not recognised officially. History does not remember her name, and her relation with Sun was never made public.
Sun Zhongying’s son, Sun Bisheng; reported that Chen Cuifen’s name has been added into the Sun genealogy as Sun Yat-sen’s concubine. Sun Busheng once told the media that Cuifen passed away in his embrace on October 21st, 1962. As she lay dying, she passed him a gold ring and a pocket watch, the two items that she had most treasured throughout her life. The pocket watch had SunYat-sen’s English name engraved on it and was the only keepsake he gave her. She finally let him go and breathed her last. (Chia)(8)
This article also states that Cuifen died in 1960. Her body was later buried in the tomb of the Sun family. On her deathbed, what matter most to Chen Cuifen, Sun Yat-sen’s partner was a gold ring and a pocket watch, engraved with Sun’s English name. (7)
I am not sure if I am clouded by the mysteries about Chen Cuifen. I think I have managed to capture what Chen Cuifen would have wanted me to share with the world about her to some extent. She came from humble beginnings. She was kind. She was honest. She was loyal.
I have not managed to find that “secret passage” of her life, the untold chapters. Most of the articles about her were written by Chinese authors in their native language. The information from the internet would have been translated to English from Chinese. In those passages of translation; there could be some misinterpretation and loss of the essence of its meanings. Some information differs (like when she died) between the articles from different writers.
I am sure there are many more good untold stories of Chen Cuifen. I am happy that I know a little more of her.
- A steam or road roller is a compactor-type engineering vehicle used to compact soil, gravel, concrete or asphalt in the construction of roads and foundations.
- What are tarred roads made of? asphalt, black or brown petroleum-like material that has a consistency varying from viscous liquid to glassy solid. It is obtained either as a residue from the distillation of petroleum or from natural deposits. Asphalt consists of compounds of hydrogen and carbon with minor proportions of nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen.
asphalt | Components, Development, Properties, & Facts | Britannica https://www.britannica.com › science › asphalt-materi
- Why is tar used for roads? The chip seal treatment is a cost efficient method of pavement preservation that helps prevent water from seeping into and softening the base of the road. … The tar-like substance is actually an emulsion of water and liquid asphalt which penetrates and seals small cracks in the existing pavement
- Chen Cuifen was born into poverty. She was “handsome and well-built”. She met with Sun Yat-sen, who was China’s first provisional president in 1892. She was a female guard and nurse to Sun Yat-sen. It states in this article, “She is willing to accompany Mr Sun all the time, even if she is displaced and frightened, “even if her name is not right”. https://inf.news/en/history/dcca01a0a000da3e9e96d0edf8dcfe87.html
- I have said many times in the past that I will not write about politics. I will leave the writings about politics for others to do so. Here, in this essay; I am relating parts of history – the angle which I am writing from.
- Taiping, Perak in Malaysia.
- Chia Yei Yei, Senior Correspondent, Lianhe Zaobao; https://www.thinkchina.sg/sun-yat-sens-lover-cuifen-and-her-malaysia-villa