Heinrich Ludwig Emil Luering



Heinrich Ludwig Emil Luering (Dr) (b. 9 December 1863, Delmenhorst, Oldenburg, Germany–d. 14 October 1937, Frankfurt, Germany) was a linguistically gifted Methodist pastor.1 He carried out missionary work for the Methodist Church in Borneo, Singapore and Perak, and is best known for establishing the Foochow community in Sitiawan, Peninsular Malaysia.

Early life
Luering was the second son of Adolf H. L. Luering, a German Methodist pastor. From boyhood, he dreamed of serving as a missionary, a secret known only to his sister.3 He had a gift for languages, acquiring among others, classical Arab, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Old Persian, and Coptic and hieroglyphic Egyptian, during his academic years.

Luering graduated from the University of Strassburg with a doctorate in natural science and oriental languages.5 His thesis explored the materia medica of ancient Egyptians based on papyri texts that had yet to be translated, and demonstrated his gift for both modern and ancient languages.6 He first worked at the Methodist Publishing House in Bremen before serving as a minister in Kiel. After three years as a pastor, he received an invitation from Bishop James Thoburn to serve as a missionary in Singapore. He departed for Singapore on 16 September 1889 and was the first missionary from the German Episcopal Methodist Church.7

Missionary work in Borneo
Luering arrived in Singapore in October 1889 but was sent to Dutch West Borneo a year later. It was the first attempt by the Methodists to go beyond the British colonies in the region.8 The following year, Luering turned to British North Borneo, where he began missionary work among the Dyaks, a tribal people known to be head hunters.9 He acquired fluency in Malay during his postings in Borneo.10 However, he returned to Singapore in December 1891 in response to growing needs there.11

Missionary work in Singapore
In Singapore, Luering ran a German service at the newly established Methodist Church at Coleman Street.12 He also pastored the Straits Chinese congregation at the chapel in Middle Road in 1890, and helped raise $1,000 through friends in Germany for their new church building, the renovated Christian Institute which was renamed the Malay Church.13 In March 1893, Luering, who had learned how to preach in the Chinese dialects Hokkien and Foochow, took over the Methodist Church’s Chinese mission from Benjamin West (Dr) when the latter returned to the United States.14

Over the course of his career, it was said that Luering could preach in 25 different languages.15 He spoke fluent English albeit with a German accent.16 His ministry in Singapore was mainly among the Chinese, and he picked up various dialects including Cantonese, Hakka, Foochow and Hokkien. He acquired Hokkien and Foochow in Amoy after he was forced to take three months’ leave to recuperate from a bout of malaria.17 He retained his fluency in Malay, translating hymns into the language and speaking it with friends from Malaya who visited him after his return to Germany.18

Luering married Violet Marie Beins in 1893 and resided at Ann Siang Hill in Singapore with his family.19 Unfortunately, his work with the Chinese made him vulnerable to assault. In November 1897, he was attacked and threatened by a Chinese mob because of rumours that he had translated seditious placards for the Chinese Protectorate. Mrs Luering was so traumatised by the threats that she became seriously ill.20

Missionary work in Perak
In 1900, Luering took over William E. Horley’s pioneering work in Ipoh, where Luering established several schools through the patronage of tin mining magnate Foo Choo Choon.21 Already conversant in Foochow and Hokkien, Luering soon learned both Cantonese and Hakka and began a new ministry in Kampar.22 During an earlier visit in 1898 sponsored by the Mission to Kampar, he had baptised a Sengoi (Sakai) woman and learned the Sengoi language, making him possibly the first European to speak it.23

Due to his fluency in several languages, the Perak government engaged Luering in 1903 to help recruit and re-settle Chinese from Foochow, to develop the agricultural industry as a complement to the tin mining business. Luering brought a contingent of Chinese to the Malay Peninsula, where they settled in what is now Kampong Koh in Sitiawan. Although the poor quality of soil did not allow the settlers to grow rice and vegetables successfully, Luering helped plant 20,000 rubber trees that later became the most significant crop in Perak. With the help of Reverend Ling Ching Mi, Luering also set up a church and an Anglo-Chinese school. The community became the largest settlement of Methodist Chinese in the Malay Peninsula.24 The experimental relocation proved to be a success, for both the government and the Methodist church, in establishing a foreign community in Malaya and a church within it.25

Other scholarly interests
Throughout his missionary service in Southeast Asia, Luering collected invaluable Malay publications, many of which no longer exist today. Especially important were the Jawi publications bought from local publishing houses or booksellers. His collection of books can now be found at the Library of Southeast Asian Studies in Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany. Besides excelling in the theological and linguistic fields, Luering was also learned in botany and zoology.26

Lecturing
Luering took his furlough in March 1905, visiting Europe (over nine months) and the United States, where he lectured on missionary work in Malaya.27 Returning to Malaya in 1907, he became the District Superintendent of Penang.28 He left his post on 31 August 1909 to become Professor of Theology at Martin Theological College, Frankfurt am Main, the only Methodist seminary in Central Europe at the time. He taught there for 24 years.29 After his retirement in 1933, he continued to lecture across the continents until 1937, when he underwent a serious operation. He passed away soon after.30

Family
Father: Adolf H. L. Luering.31
Wife: Violet Marie Beins (b. 1 September 1876, Singapore–d. 1949; m. 1893), eldest sister of W. M. Beins, chief clerk at the Supreme Court in Singapore.32 
Children: Stella Violet (b. 24 June 1893, Singapore), Adolf Le Lacheur (b. 22 May 1894, Singapore), Carl Emil (b. 26 April 1895, Friedrichsdorf, Germany), Olga Marie (b. 11 September 1897, Singapore) (twin), Otto Hugo (b. 11 September 1897, Singapore) (twin), Erna Frieda (b. 3 December 1901, Ipoh, Federated Malay States), Clara Elizabeth (b. 5 December 1903, Ipoh, Federated Malay States).33  

Other name
Lüring, German spelling of his surname Luering.34

Selected published works
1897: A vocabulary of the Dusun language of Kimanis, in Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.35
1901: The Sakai dialect of the Ulu Kampar, Perak, in Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.36
1903: Notes on the formation of words in Malay and cognate languages, in Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.37  



Author

Bonny Tan



References
1. Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER); Shih, T. S. (2004). The Foochows of Sitiawan: A historical perspective. Perak: Persatuan Kutien Daerah Manjung, p. 246. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5004951 SHI)
2.
Shih, T. S. (2004). The Foochows of Sitiawan: A historical perspective. Perak: Persatuan Kutien Daerah Manjung, pp. 246–247. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5004951 SHI); Lau, E. (2008). From mission to church: The evolution of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, 1885–1976. Singapore: Genesis Books, p. 20. (Call no.: RSING 287.095957 LAU)
3. Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
4. Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. Sari – International journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 108. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf
5. An appreciation of Dr. Leuring. (1906, April 10). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
6. An appreciation of Dr. Leuring. (1906, April 10). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER); Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. Sari International journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 99–128. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf
8. Shih, T. S. (2004). The Foochows of Sitiawan: A historical perspective. Perak: Persatuan Kutien Daerah Manjung, p. 246. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5004951 SHI); Travels in Western Borneo. (1890, April 8). Straits Times Weekly Issue, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Shih, T. S. (2004). The Foochows of Sitiawan: A historical perspective. Perak: Persatuan Kutien Daerah Manjung, pp. 246–247. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5004951 SHI); Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
10. From mission to church: The evolution of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, 1885–1976. Singapore: Genesis Books, p. 20. (Call no.: RSING 287.095957 LAU)
11. Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
12. The late Dr. E. Leuring. (1924, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Dedication service. (1901, February 26). The Straits Times, p. 3; New Methodist church opened. (1930, January 8). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884—1942), p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14.
 新加坡卫理公会直落亚逸礼拜堂百周年纪念刊 = Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church centennial souvenir magazine, 1889 to 1989. (1991). Singapore: Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, p. 27. (Call no.: Chinese RSING 287.095957 TEL)
15.
An appreciation of Dr. Leuring. (1906, April 10). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16.
The late Dr. E. Leuring. (1924, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17.
Lau, E. (2008). From mission to church: The evolution of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, 1885–1976. Singapore: Genesis Books, p. 20. (Call no.: RSING 287.095957 LAU); Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
18.
Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
19.
Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER); Dr. Luering assaulted. (1897, November 5). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. Sari International journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 108. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf
20.
Dr. Luering assaulted. (1897, November 5). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21.
The Methodist Conference. (1900, February 24). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Oldham, W. F. (1907). Malaysia: Nature’s wonderland. Cincinnati: Jenning and Graham, p. 45. (Call no.: RCLOS 287.1595 OLD-[RFL])
22.
Means, N. T. (1935). Malaysia mosaic: A story of fifty years of Methodism. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, pp. 68–69. (Call no.: RDTYS 287.1595 MEA)
23.
Lau, E. (2008). From mission to church: The evolution of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, 1885–1976. Singapore: Genesis Books, pp. 20–21. (Call no.: RSING 287.095957 LAU)
24.
Lau, E. (2008). From mission to church: The evolution of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, 1885–1976. Singapore: Genesis Books, p. 21. (Call no.: RSING 287.095957 LAU); An appreciation of Dr. Leuring. (1906, April 10). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25.
Oldham, W. F. (1907). Malaysia: Nature’s wonderland. Cincinnati: Jenning and Graham, pp. 56–57. (Call no.: RCLOS 287.1595 OLD-[RFL])
26.
Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. SariInternational journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 99–128. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf; Southeast Asia Libraries Group. (n.d.). Southeast Asia libraries in Europe. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Southeast Asia Libraries Group website: http://www.sealg.org/pdf/libraries.pdf
27.
Untitled. (1905, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
28.
Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
29.
Lau, E. (2008). From mission to church: The evolution of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia, 1885–1976. Singapore: Genesis Books, p. 21. (Call no.: RSING 287.095957 LAU); A loss to Penang. (1909, July 3). The Straits Times, p. 7; Social and personal. (1909, August 24). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30.
Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1988). Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Methodist Book Room, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 287.0922 HER)
31.
Shih, T. S. (2004). The Foochows of Sitiawan: A historical perspective. Perak: Persatuan Kutien Daerah Manjung, p. 246. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5004951 SHI)
32.
Sandifort, M. (2014, February 17). Personal email correspondence with NLB from Mollie Sandifort, great granddaughter of Heinrich Ludwig Emil Luering. Includes scanned document showing names and birth details of Heinrich, his wife and children; The late Dr. E. Leuring. (1924, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Shih, T. S. (2004). The Foochows of Sitiawan: A historical perspective. Perak: Persatuan Kutien Daerah Manjung, p. 248. (Call no.: RSEA 959.5004951 SHI); Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. Sari International journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 108. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf
33.
Sandifort, M. (2014, February 17). Personal email correspondence with NLB from Mollie Sandifort, great granddaughter of Heinrich Ludwig Emil Luering. Includes scanned document showing names and birth details of Heinrich, his wife and children.
34.
Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. Sari International journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 113–114. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf; The late Dr. E. Leuring. (1924, July 25). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35.
Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. Sari International journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 99–128. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf
36.
Untitled. (1901, May 7). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. SariInternational journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 99–128. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf
37.
Warnk, H. (2010). The collection of 19th century printed Malay books of Emil Luring. Sari International journal of the Malay world and civilization, 28(1), 99–128. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia website: http://www.ukm.my/sari/images/stories/SariOnline/Journal/28_1/sari_28_1_5.pdf



Further resources
Dr. Luering’s colonists. (1903, December 14). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewsaperSG.

Sitiawan Settlement Museum. (2006, July 20). Well of salvation. Retrieved 2010, January 5 from Sitiawan Settlement Museum Blogspot: http://sitiawansettlementmuseum.blogspot.com/

St. John’s Island. (1903, September 2). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

St. John’s Island. (1903, September 8). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

The Rev. Dr. Luering – offered professorship in Prussian College. (1909, June 29). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

Subject
Philosophy, psychology and religion>>Religion>>Christianity
Methodist Church--Singapore--Clergy--Biography
Luering, Heinrich Ludwig Emil, 1863-1937
Personalities>>Biographies>>Religious Leaders
Religious leaders