Lien Shih Sheng

by Goh, Yu Mei

Lien Shih Sheng (连士升) (b. 24 May 1907, Fujian, China–d. 9 July 1973, Singapore) was an influential pioneer writer and news editor.1 His works span multiple genres such as travelogues, commentaries and biographies. Lien is best remembered for his Letters from the coast (海滨寄简), a series of letters first published in newspapers and later compiled into an eight-volume anthology.2

Early life and education

Born in Fu’an, Fujian province, China, to a family of learned men, Lien first received his education at the age of five from his father. When he was seven years old, he enrolled in the school where his father was teaching. Following his father’s passing a year later, he transferred to another primary school, from which he graduated in 1918. Due to financial constraints and the absence of secondary schools in his hometown then, Lien could not further his studies. Nonetheless, he continued his education in a private academy in his hometown. After his mother passed away when he was 15, Lien decided to further his studies in Xiapu county in Fujian province.3

After attending schools in Xiapu and Fuzhou, Lien gained admission to Yenching University in Beijing, where he majored in economics.4 He graduated in 1931, went on to be a graduate student in Yenching University, and continued his research in economics with various institutions.5

Career

During his time in Beijing, Lien wrote for several publications such as Shanghai News (申报) and was the editor for publications including The Chinese Historical Geography Semi-monthly Magazine (禹贡半月刊).6 He also founded publications with others, one of these being Knowledge for the Public (大众知识), which he co-founded with Gu Jiegang (顾颉刚), a renowned Chinese historian and his teacher.7 Lien was also commissioned to translate seminal works on the history of economics.8

Following the outbreak of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Lien left Beijing and moved to Hong Kong. During his stay in Hong Kong from 1937 to 1942, he worked for different news agencies and was appointed professor by Lingnan University.9 As the war advanced, he moved to Vietnam with his family, where he became the principal of a Chinese school in Tra Vinh for two years. In Tra Vinh, Lien translated a few publications about the economic history of France, Germany and England. He also read the works of ancient Chinese literati in greater depth.10

Lien returned to China after the war ended in 1945, but could only afford to stay in Nanjing for six months due to its high inflation rate. He opted to return to Vietnam instead.11 In 1947, he migrated to Singapore with his family and was engaged by the local newspaper Chung Nam Daily as a lead writer.12 Almost a year later in 1948, he was employed by Nanyang Siang Pau and travelled to Europe as the paper’s correspondent.13 During this period, Lien wrote about his experiences in Europe and the short time he spent in China prior to Europe. This was eventually published in the series, A trip to my motherland (祖国纪行) and Tour of Europe (欧洲纪行). Lien worked for Nanyang Siang Pau for over 20 years, becoming its chief editor in 1969. He officially retired on 1 October 1971.14

Accomplishments

Lien wrote in different genres, including travelogues, miscellanies, and commentaries.15 He is best remembered for Letters from the coast (海滨寄简), a series of letters he had written under the penname, Ziyun (子云), and which was first published in 1958 by Nanyang Siang Pau.16 The letters cover a wide range of topics, including current affairs and personal development; it is believed that the ideas Lien expressed in these had some influence on local society then.17 Lien was also noted for his biographies of prominent Indian personalities such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi.18

Lien was appointed a member of the Public Service Commission from 1959 to 1966 and was awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award in 1963.19 In addition, he was a committee member of the Nanyang University Founding Committee, president of the South Seas Society and vice-president of the China Society.20

Selected publications

1948:
《祖国纪行》 (A trip to my motherland)21
1950:
《塞纳河两岸》 (Banks of the Seine); 《地中海之滨》 (Mediterranean Coast);《大西洋一角》 (Corner of the Atlantic Ocean); 《印度洋舟中》 (On a boat in the Indian Ocean)22

1952:
《回首四十年》 (Looking back on 40 years)23

1953:
《西方英雄谱》 (Biography of the western heroes)24

1955:
《南行集》 (Travels in the South); 《给新青年》 (To the new youth)25

1957:
《闲人杂记》 (A reveller’s musing)26

1958:
《海滨寄简》 (Letters from the coast)27

1959:
《尼赫鲁传》 (Biography of Nehru)28

1960:
《春树集》 (Spring tree collection); 《海滨寄简·二集》 (Letters from the coast volume 2)29

1961:
《泰戈尔传》 (Biography of Tagore); 《名山胜水》 (Famous mountains and waters)30

1962:
《海滨寄简·三集》 (Letters from the coast volume 3)31

1963:
《海滨寄简·四集》 (Letters from the coast volume 4)32

1968:
《甘地传》 (Biography of Gandhi)33

1972:
《落霞集 (海滨寄简·五集)》 (Sunset collection (Letters from the coast volume 5))34

1974:
《孤鹜集 (海滨寄简·第六集)》 (Solitary duck collection (Letters from the coast volume 6)); 《秋水集 (海滨寄简·第七集)》 (Autumn water collection (Letters from the coast volume 7))35

2007:
《长天集 (海滨寄简·第八集)》 (Eternal sky collection (Letters from the coast volume 8))36

Death

After a three-month visit to China, Lien fell ill because of anemia and fatigue from the journey.37 He passed away two weeks later on 9 July 1973 in Singapore.38

Family

Wives: Zheng Kanci (郑侃慈);39 Lo Mui (罗梅)
Son: Lien Lian Sze (连亮思)
Daughters: Lien Chiew Sze (连侨思); Lien Jen Sze (连仁思); Lien Fain Sze (连藩思); Lien Wen Sze (连文思); Lien Siaou Sze (连萧思)40



Author

Goh Yu Mei



References
1. 连亮思 [Lien, L. S.]. (1976). 连士升生平 [Biography of Lien Shih Sheng]. In 连文思、连亮思合编 [W. S. Lien & L. S. Lien (Eds.)],《连士升纪念文集》[Anthology in memory of Lien Shih Sheng]. 新加坡:南洋学会, pp. 142, 147. (Call no.: RSING Chinese 070.92 LSS); Leong, W. K. (2007, September 14). Confucian influence of dad still felt today. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; 谢征达 [Xie, Z. D.]. (2018, November 6). 连士升影响南洋文坛 [Lien Shih Sheng influenced the literary world in Nanyang]. 联合早报  [Lianhe Zaobao]. Retrieved from Factiva.
2. 谢征达 [Xie, Z. D.]. (2018, November 6). 连士升影响南洋文坛 [Lien Shih Sheng influenced the literary world in Nanyang]. 联合早报  [Lianhe Zaobao]. Retrieved from Factiva; 马汉 [Mahan]. (2002, March 14). 文林杂忆: 连士升文如其人 [Memories of the literary world: Lien Shih Sheng as portrayed in his writings]. 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau]. Retrieved from Factiva; 连文思、连亮思 合编 [Lien, W. S., & Lien, L. S. (Eds.)].《连士升纪念文集》[Anthology in memory of Lien Shih Sheng]. 新加坡:南洋学会, pp. 151–152. (Call no.: RSING Chinese 070.92 LSS)
3. 连士升 著; 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思 主编. [Lien, S. S.; Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., & Lien, W. S. (Eds.)]. (2009). 《回首四十年》 [Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋理工大学孔子学院, pp. 21–29. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 LSS)
4. 连士升 著; 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思 主编. [Lien, S. S.; Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., & Lien, W. S. (Eds.)]. (2009). 《回首四十年》 [Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋理工大学孔子学院, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 LSS)
5. 连士升著; 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思主编. [Lien, S. S.; Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., and Lien, W. S. (Eds.).] (2009). 《回首四十年》 [Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋理工大学孔子学院, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 LSS); 连士升任中南日报主笔 [Lien Shih Sheng assumes the position of lead writer of Chung Nan Daily]. (1947, April 25). 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. 高凡 [Gao, F.]. (2007). 《连士升传·文学述评》[Biography of Lien Shih Sheng: A review of his literary works]. 新加坡:玲子传媒私人有限公司, p. 206. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 GF)
7. 连士升任中南日报主笔 [Lien Shih Sheng assumes the position of lead writer of Chung Nan Daily]. (1947, April 25). 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. 连士升著; 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思主编. [Lien, S. S.; Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., & Lien, W. S. (Eds.)]. (2009). 《回首四十年》 [Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋理工大学孔子学院, p. 96. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 LSS)
9. 连士升著; 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思主编. [Lien, S. S.; Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., & Lien, W. S. (Eds.).] (2009). 《回首四十年》 [Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋理工大学孔子学院, pp. 96–97, 104. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 LSS); 高凡 [Gao, F.]. (2007). 《连士升传·文学述评》[Biography of Lien Shih Sheng: A review of his literary works]. 新加坡:玲子传媒私人有限公司, p. 207. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 GF)
10. 连士升著; 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思主编. [Lien, S. S.; Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., & Lien, W. S. (Eds.)]. (2009). 《回首四十年》 [Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋理工大学孔子学院, pp. 137, 152, 154–155. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 LSS)
11. 连士升著; 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思主编. [Lien, S. S.; Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., & Lien, W. S. (Eds.)]. (2009). 《回首四十年》 [Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋理工大学孔子学院, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 LSS)
12. 高凡 [Gao, F.]. (2007). 《连士升传·文学述评》[Biography of Lien Shih Sheng: A review of his literary works]. 新加坡:玲子传媒私人有限公司, p. 210. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 GF); 连士升任中南日报主笔. [Lien Shih Sheng assumes the position of lead writer of Chung Nan Daily]. (1947, April 25). 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. 前中兴日报主笔连士升返国 将转程赴欧任本报特派员. [Former lead writer of Chung Shing Jit Pao returned to China, and will be heading to Europe as correspondent of Nanyang Siang Pau]. (1948, January 11). 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. 高凡 [Gao, F.]. (2007). 《连士升传·文学述评》[Biography of Lien Shih Sheng: A review of his literary works]. 新加坡:玲子传媒私人有限公司, pp. 210, 212. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 GF); 本报编委会主席连士升正式退休 [Chairman of editorial board Lien Shih Sheng officially retired]. (1971, October 16). 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. 谢征达 [Xie, Z. D.]. (2018, November 6). 连士升影响南洋文坛 [Lien Shih Sheng influenced the literary world in Nanyang]. 联合早报  [Lianhe Zaobao]. Retrieved from Factiva.
16. 马汉 [Mahan]. (2002, March 14). 文林杂忆: 连士升文如其人 [Memories of the literary world: Lien Shih Sheng is as portrayed in his writings]. 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau]. Retrieved from Factiva; 郑伟圣 [Zheng, W. S.]. (2016, August 13). 连士升对当今新加坡人的意义 [The meaning of Lien Shih Sheng to present-day Singaporean]. 联合早报  [Lianhe Zaobao]. Retrieved from Factiva.
17. 马汉 [Mahan]. (2002, March 14). 文林杂忆: 连士升文如其人 [Memories of the literary world: Lien Shih Sheng is as portrayed in his writings]. 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau]. Retrieved from Factiva; 谢征达 [Xie, Z. D.]. (2018, November 6). 连士升影响南洋文坛 [Lien Shih Sheng influenced the literary world in Nanyang]. 联合早报  [Lianhe Zaobao]. Retrieved from Factiva.
18. 谢征达 [Xie, Z. D.]. (2018, November 6). 新华文学小词典 80. 知道一点新华文学 [Brief dictionary on Singapore Chinese literature. Knowing more about Singapore Chinese literature]. 联合早报  [Lianhe Zaobao]. Retrieved from Factiva.
19. Goode names new jobs men. (1959, July 15). The Straits Times, p. 9; Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak P.S.C names. (1964, January 6). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; 连亮思 [Lien, L. S.]. (1976). 连士升生平 [Biography of Lien Shih Sheng]. In 连文思、连亮思 合编 [Lien, W. S., & Lien, L. S. (Eds.)].《连士升纪念文集》[Anthology in memory of Lien Shih Sheng]. 新加坡:南洋学会, p. 146. (Call no.: RSING Chinese 070.92 LSS); 新加坡第一次授勋庆典昨日隆重举行 自治邦元首亲自主持授勋仪式 大法官黄宗仁宣读受勋者略历 李光耀总理逐一向受勋者祝贺 [Singapore’s first award ceremony was held yesterday. The award was presented by Yang di-Pertuan Negara of Singapore. Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin read the brief bios of the awardees. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew congratulated the awardee individually]. (1963, March 17). 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. 连亮思 [Lien, L. S.]. (1976). 连士升生平 [Biography of Lien Shih Sheng]. In 连文思、连亮思 合编 [Lien, W. S., & Lien, L. S. (Eds.)].《连士升纪念文集》[Anthology in memory of Lien Shih Sheng]. 新加坡:南洋学会, p. 146. (Call no.: RSING Chinese 070.92 LSS)
21. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1948). 《祖国纪行》 [A trip to my motherland]. 新加坡: 南洋报社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 951.08 LSS)
22. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1950). 《塞纳河两岸》 [Banks of the Seine]. 新加坡: 南洋报社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 940 LSS); 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1950). 《地中海之滨》 [Mediterranean coast]. 新加坡: 南洋报社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 940 LSS); 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1950). 《大西洋一角》 [Corner of the Atlantic Ocean]. 新加坡: 南洋报社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 940 LSS); 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1950). 《印度洋舟中》 [On a boat in the Indian Ocean]. 新加坡: 南洋报社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 910.41 LSS)
23. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1952). 《回首四十年》[Looking back on 40 years]. 新加坡: 南洋商报社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C818 LSS)
24. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1953). 《西方英雄谱》 [Biography of the western heroes]. 新加坡: 南洋商报社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 329.00922 LSS)
25. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1955). 《南行集》 [Travels in the south]. 新加坡: 南洋商报. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C814.3 LSS); 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1955). 《给新青年》 [To the new youths]. 新加坡: 南洋商报. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 305.235 LSS)
26. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1957). 《闲人杂记》 [A reveller’s musings]. 新加坡: 南洋商报. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C814.3 LSS-[HYT])
27. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1958). 《海滨寄简》 [Letters from the coast]. 新加坡: 南洋商报. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C816 LSS)
28. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1959). 《尼赫鲁传》 [Biography of Nehru]. 新加坡: 南洋印刷社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 954.04 LSS)
29. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1960). 《春树集》 [Spring tree collection]. 新加坡: 青年书局. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C814.3 LSS); 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1960). 《海滨寄简·二集》 [Letters from the coast volume 2]. 新加坡: 南洋印刷社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C816 LSS)
30. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1961). 《泰戈尔传》 [Biography of Tagore]. 新加坡: 南洋印刷社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 891.4414 LSS); 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1961). 《名山胜水》 [Famous mountains and waters]. 新加坡: 青年书局. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C814.3 LSS)
31. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1962). 《海滨寄简·三集》 [Letters from the coast volume 3]. 新加坡: 南洋印刷社. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C816 LSS)
32. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1963). 《海滨寄简·四集》 [Letters from the coast volume 4]. 新加坡: 世界书局. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C816 LSS)
33. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1968). 《甘地传》 [Biography of Gandhi]. 新加坡: 世界书局. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese 954.03 GAN.L)
34. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1972). 《落霞集 (海滨寄简·五集)》 [Sunset collection (letters from the coast volume 5)]. 新加坡: 世界书局. (Call no.: RSING Chinese C816.3 LSS)
35. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1974). 《孤鹜集 (海滨寄简·六集)》 [Solitary duck collection (letters from the coast volume 6)]. 新加坡: 世界书局. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C816.3 LSS); 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]. (1974). 《秋水集 (海滨寄简·七集)》 [Sunset collection (letters from the coast volume 5)]. 新加坡: 世界书局. (Call no.: RCLOS Chinese C816.3 LSS)
36. 连士升 [Lien, S. S.]; [主编, 连侨思, 连亮思, 连文思] [Lien, Q. S., Lien, L. S., & Lien, W. S. (Eds.)]. (2007). 《长天集 (海滨寄简·第八集)》 [Eternal sky collection (letters from the coast volume 8)]. 新加坡: 玲子传媒公司. (Call no.: RSING Chinese C816.3 LSS)
37. 前本报总编辑连士升逝世 遗体明日安葬 [Former chief editor of Nanyang Siang Pau, Lien Shih Sheng, passed on. The funeral will be held the next day]. (1973, July 10). 南洋商报  [Nanyang Siang Pau], p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. 连亮思 [Lien, L. S.]. (1976). 连士升生平 [Biography of Lien Shih Sheng]. In 连文思、连亮思合编 [Lien, W. S., & Lien, L. S. (Eds.)].《连士升纪念文集》[Anthology in memory of Lien Shih Sheng]. 新加坡:南洋学会, p. 147. (Call no.: RSING Chinese 070.92 LSS)
39. 高凡 [Gao, F.]. (2007). 《连士升传·文学述评》[Biography of Lien Shih Sheng: A review of his literary works]. 新加坡:玲子传媒私人有限公司, p. 206. (Call no.: RSING C810.092 GF)
40. Leong, W. K. (2007, September 14). Confucian influence of dad still felt today. The Straits Times, pp. 1–2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at April 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic

Subject
Authors, Chinese--Singapore
Editors
Arts>>Literature>>Chinese Literature
Chinese writers
Newspaper editors--Singapore
Lian, Shisheng, 1907-1973