Ho Kah Leong



Ho Kah Leong (b. 21 September 1937, Singapore–) is a former politician who served as a member of parliament for the Jurong constituency and a parliamentary secretary in various ministries. Besides his political career, Ho is also an amateur artist specialising in oil painting. After his retirement from politics, he joined the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) as its principal from 1997 to 2003.

Education
Ho’s education began at Sin Sheng School and continued onto Chung Cheng High School.1 He studied in NAFA between 1955 and 1956, and went on to pursue a professional degree, graduating from Nanyang University in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science degree.2

Career
After his graduation, Ho taught at Nan Chiau High School and Chung Hwa Girls’ High School.3 In 1966, He was elected as a member of parliament representing the Jurong constituency, and remained in the position for the next three decades. He also joined the Ministry of Education as a parliamentary secretary and later served in the Ministry of Communications and Information (later renamed Ministry of Information and the Arts) as well as the Ministry of the Environment as a senior parliamentary secretary.4 In December 1996, he retired from politics to join NAFA in 1997 as its principal,5 an appointment he held until 2003.6


Among other commitments, he was also a board member of the Singapore Art Museum and the president of the Singapore Arts Federation.7

Artistic practice
A celebrated amateur artist, Ho is well known for his oil paintings on nature and serene Malay kampongs (villages).8 He usually paints during weekends, choosing various sceneries as his subject matter, such as Pulau Ubin or nature parks. Going beyond scenery, Ho also does calligraphy.9 He has participated in many group exhibitions since 1978 such as the President’s Charity Art Exhibition in October 1997, and has held 14 solo exhibitions.10


His works are widely collected by government departments and private collectors. Ho used the popularity of his works to raise funds for charity, often donating his paintings for this purpose. The coffee-table volume on his works, Beautiful Lion City: The Art of Ho Kah Leong, was sold to raise funds to upgrade PAP Community Foundation kindergartens.11 He also produced three calendars featuring his paintings for charitable causes such as building funds for the Basketball Association12 and the Jurong Town Community Centre.13

Timeline
1965–1970:
Teacher, Nan Chiau High School
1970–1975:
Teacher, Chung Hwa Girls' High School14
Nov 1966–Dec 1996:
Member of parliament for Jurong15
1968–1981:
President, Singapore Chinese Middle School Teachers’ Union
1975–1981:
General manager, Educational Publications Bureau Pte Ltd
1979:
Executive Committee Member, Asian Basketball Confederation
1979–1982:
Honorary treasurer, Singapore Consumers’ Club
2 May 1981–1 Jan 1985:
Parliamentary secretary, Ministry of Education16
2 Jan 1985–17 Feb 1986:
Senior parliamentary secretary, Ministry of Education17
18 Feb 1986–27 Nov 1990:
Senior parliamentary secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information18
1988:
Deputy government whip19
28 Nov 1990–1 Jan 1994:
Senior parliamentary secretary, Ministry of Information and the Arts20
1991–1997:
President, Basketball Association of Singapore21
2 Jan 1994–24 Jan 1997:
Senior parliamentary secretary, Ministry of the Environment22
1997–2003:
Principal, NAFA23
2003–2005:
Executive director, NAFA International Pte Ltd24

2005–: Senior consultant, Pioneers & Leaders (Publishers) Pte Ltd25

Solo exhibitions
1990: Nostalgic Scenes, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry
1991: Beauty Lion City, NAFA Gallery
1993: Scenes Splendour, NAFA Gallery
1997: Passion for Art: Solo Exhibition of Ho Kah Leong’s Location Painting, SooBin Gallery
2000: Idyllic Nanyang, SooBin Gallery
2001: Idyllic Tropics, Central Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2002: Beauty of Nature, NAFA Gallery
2006: Parks in Garden City, ARTium, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts
2007: The Last Kampung of Singapore: Lorong Buangkok, Tembusu Art Gallery
2008: Poetic Ubin, Black Earth Art Museum
2009: Splendour of Lakes and Hills, Tembusu Art Gallery
2011: Rhythm of the Sea, Tembusu Art Gallery
2013: Lion City Rediscovered, Tembusu Art Gallery and Ion Art Gallery26
2015: Exotic Landscapes, Tembusu Art Gallery and The Art Space @ Suntec27

Awards
1981: NTUC Friend of Labour Medal28
2000: Peru Cultural Medal
Aug 2001: Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy in Arts), Wisconsin International University, United States29

Family30
Father: Ho Foo Sen
Mother: Wong Kaw Moey
Wives: Khoo Choo Eng (d. 1996), Grace Chan Lai Kiew (m. 1997)
Children: One son and three daughters



Author

Sitragandi Arunasalam



References
1. Ministry of Culture. (1997). Biographical notes of the president, prime minister and ministers. Singapore: Publicity Division, Ministry of Culture, p. 51 (Call no.: RSING 328.59570922 BIO); Leong, W. K. (1997, January 27). Ho goes back to art school 40 years later. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Leong, W. K. (1997, January 27). Ho goes back to art school 40 years later. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Leong, W. K. (1997, January 27). Ho goes back to art school 40 years later. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Jurong journeys. (1996). Singapore: Oracle Works; PAP Jurong Branch, p. 42. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS]); Leong, W. K. (2001, September 30). Retiring with his Grace. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Leong , W. K. (2001, September 30). Retiring with his Grace. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Chow, C. (2003, July 26). Nafa’s ‘grandad’ steps down. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Ministry of Culture. (1997). Biographical notes of the president, prime minister and ministers. Singapore: Publicity Division, Ministry of Culture, p. 51 (Call no.: RSING 328.59570922 BIO); Body will still support arts (1996, May 17), The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Low, K. T. (Ed). (2006). Who’s who in Singapore 2006. Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, p. 181. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
8. Ho, K. L., & Tembusu Art Gallery. (2013). Lion City rediscovered: Ho Kah Leong en plein air oil painting exhibition 2013. Singapore: Tembusu Art Gallery. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 HO)
9. Goh, J. (1991, August 15). Drawn to art by husband Ho Kah Leong. The Straits Times, p. 22; Tan, T. (2008, October 6). Ubin scenes on canvas. The Straits Times, p. 45; Nanda, A. (2009, October 20). Beauty all around. The Straits Times, p. 49. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Ho, K. L., & Tembusu Art Gallery. (2013). Lion City rediscovered: Ho Kah Leong en plein air oil painting exhibition 2013. Singapore: Tembusu Art Gallery. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 HO)
11. Leong, W. K. (1996, April 16). Puts out art book to raise funds for kindergartens. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. BAS boss leads fund-raising. (1994, October 17). The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Leong, W. K. (1993, August 19). The artist in the politician. The Straits Times, p. 6.  Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Leong, W. K. (1997, January 27). Ho goes back to art school 40 years later. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Ministry of Culture. (1997). Biographical notes of the president, prime minister and ministers. Singapore: Publicity Division, Ministry of Culture, p. 51. (Call no.: RSING 328.59570922 BIO); Tan, R. (1996, December 21). His biggest masterpiece yet. The New Paper, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Ministry of Culture. (1997). Biographical notes of the president, prime minister and ministers. Singapore: Publicity Division, Ministry of Culture, p. 51. (Call no.: RSING 328.59570922 BIO)
17. The new cabinet. (1985, January 1). The Straits Times, p. 1; Six new MPs promoted. (1986, February 17). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Six new MPs promoted. (1986, February 17). The Straits Times, p. 1; Chok Tong is PM. (1990, November 28). The New Paper, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Ministry of Culture. (1997). Biographical notes of the president, prime minister and ministers. Singapore: Publicity Division, Ministry of Culture, p. 51. (Call no.: RSING 328.59570922 BIO)
20. Chok Tong is PM. (1990, November 28). The New Paper, p. 7; Emotions too play a part in binding societies: BG Yeo. (1994, January 2). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Low, K. T. (Ed). (2006). Who’s who in Singapore 2006. Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, p. 181. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
22. Emotions too play a part in binding societies: BG Yeo. (1994, January 2). The Straits Times, p. 2; Tan, R. (1996, December 21). His biggest masterpiece yet. The New Paper, p. 5; Fernandez, W. (1997, February 26). PM Goh and his new cabinet sworn in. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Ho, K. L., & Tembusu Art Gallery. (2013). Lion City rediscovered: Ho Kah Leong en plein air oil painting exhibition 2013. Singapore: Tembusu Art Gallery. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 HO)
24. Leong, W. K. (2005, March 4). A lesson in the art of survival for Nafa. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ho, K. L., & Tembusu Art Gallery. (2013). Lion City rediscovered: Ho Kah Leong en plein air oil painting exhibition 2013. Singapore: Tembusu Art Gallery. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 HO)
25. News Bites Pty Ltd. (2016, February 22). Vicom in second quartile of Singapore scorecard. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
26. Ho, K. L., & Tembusu Art Gallery. (2013). Lion City rediscovered: Ho Kah Leong en plein air oil painting exhibition 2013. Singapore: Tembusu Art Gallery. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 HO); MP’s paintings in charity calendar. (1990, August 11). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. (2015, October 17). Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, minister for national development at the opening of Dr Ho Kah Leong’s solo art exhibition (Exotic Landscape). Retrieved from Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth website: https://www.mccy.gov.sg/en/news/speeches/2015/Oct/HoKahLeongSoloExh.aspx
28. Low, K. T. (Ed). (2006). Who’s who in Singapore 2006. Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, p. 181. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
29. 
Ho, K. L., & Tembusu Art Gallery. (2013). Lion City rediscovered: Ho Kah Leong en plein air oil painting exhibition 2013. Singapore: Tembusu Art Gallery. (Call no.: RSING 759.95957 HO); Leong, W. K. (2001, September 30). Retiring with his Grace. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Leong, W. K. (2001, September 30). Retiring with his Grace. The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG



Further resources
A passion for painting: An exhibition of paintings by Lee Khoon Choy and Ho Kah Leong. (1995). Singapore: Takashimaya Gallery.
(Call no.: RSING 759.95957 PAS)

Ho, K. L. (1996). Beautiful lion city: The art of Ho Kah Leong. (1996). Singapore: [s. n.].
Call no.: RSING 759.95957 HO)

Ho, K. L., & Dai, C. (2000). 南洋乡土情 = Idyllic Nanyang. Singapore: 南洋艺术学院 [Nanyang yishu xueyuan].
(Call no.: Chinese RCLOS 759.95957 HKL-[LKS])


The information in this article is valid as at 25 February 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.

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Subject
Arts>>Painting
Artists--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Artists
Ho, Kah Leong, 1937-
Arts>>Visual Arts>>Painting
Personalities>>Biographies>>Political Leaders
Politicians--Singapore--Biography
Painting
Politicians
Artists
Law and government>>Public administration>>Parliament