Lim Boon Keng - Career

Career

In 1895, Lim became a member of the British Legislative Council in Singapore. The following year, he headed a Commission of Inquiry into the sources of poverty in Singapore. Lim was also a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Chinese Advisory Board.

Lim founded the Philomatic society and published the first Chinese magazine in the Straits in 1897. In the same year, he also campaigned against the wearing of queues among Chinese men, with the intention of toppling the Qing Dynasty in China.

In 1899, Lim co-founded the Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS) with his friend, Song Ong Siang, to facilitate the education of Straits Chinese women. (Chinese girls were not encouraged to be educated before the 20th century, thus many were illiterate.) The next year, Lim founded the Straits Chinese British Association, and later became a president.

As a member of the Legislative Council, Lim wanted opium banned, forming the Anti-Opium Society. However, opium was not banned until 1943 during the Japanese occupation of Singapore. The British reasoned that imposing a ban on opium would mean that the government would lose a source of income from the tax on opium. To make up for the loss, the governor suggested taxing the people's incomes. The main group that would be affected by this tax would be the merchants. Therefore, the European and Asian merchants opposed to this, and opium was not banned, although heavier taxes on opium were imposed.

Lim was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) as an officer in 1918 for his services to the British Empire.

Together with Lim Nee Soon, Lim co-founded OAC Insurance in 1920. OAC was the first locally-owned insurance company to be set up in Singapore. The following year in June, upon the request of Sun Yat-sen, Lim served as the second president of the University of Amoy (now Xiamen University), until the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in July 1937. The university was founded by Lim's friend Tan Kah Kee.

Lim later went into banking, and co-founded the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC)

As the President of Xiamen University, Lim published the Li Sao, also known as An Elegy on Encountering Sorrows.

In 1937, Lim founded the Straits Chinese China Relief Fund Committee of Singapore to support China in her war efforts against Japan.

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