Thursday, December 1, 2011

Elizabeth Choy

There was once a woman who worked in a hospital. She would pretend to be a normal citizen, someone who wanted to overthrow the Japanese but did not have enough courage or opportunity to do so. But in fact, she was actually was passing supplies and messages to the British. Unfortunately, she had been discovered…

Basic CMYK

Who do you think it is? (The title should make it painfully obvious)

Elizabeth Choy was born on 29th November 1910 under the name Yong Su-Moi in North Borneo. Despite being born in Borneo, she was actually a Hakka (a chinese dialect). She was looked after by a Kadazan nanny (Kadazan is kind of like a Malaysian dialect) so she learned Kadazan as her first language. And then, afterwards, she took an English name, Elizabeth Choy. (Very international)

Life started to get rough for her during the Japanese Occupation. She served as a volunteer nurse. After the defeat of Singapore, she set up a canteen in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and would have a regular ambulance to the British prisoners. During these trips, she would deliever food, messages, clothes, money, and sometimes even radio parts. Eventually one of the Japanese soldiers found out, and she was imprisoned in a small cell. It was only 4m by 5m which meant that each prisoner only had a square metre of space to themselves (1m by 1m). That may not seem too bad, but they had to squat there for the whole day (unless they were being tortured). When they were tortured, they would either give information, or were shocked by electric shocks and beat up. It was a painful process, but Elizabeth did not give in. Therefore, she was beaten up regularly. She said that there was no way to describe the pain of the electric shocks, and in the future, anything with electricity (like TV or Radios) ticked her off. She had to go through 200 days of the torture.

You will be happy to know that she survived the experience and she was awarded many times for her bravery. Also, she was allowed a half-hour session with the queen. And when the British came back, she entered politics and became Singapore’s first female member of the Legislative Council. She lived to a ripe old age of 96, and died, 14th September 2006.

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