Phoenix Rising


The launch of the book “Phoenix Rising, Pioneering Chinese Women of Malaysia” authored by Dr Ho Tak Ming took place recently at Symphony Suites Hotel, Ipoh.

The afternoon event started with speeches by Chan Kok Keong, Acting Chairman of Perak Academy and Dr Azizah binti Johor, representative of Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, Executive Councillor for Health, Transportation and Non-Islamic Affairs.

In conjunction with the book launch, there was also a lecture entitled, “Cities and Success: Becoming a Modern Woman in British Malaya” by Professor Lynn Hollen Lees from the University of Pennsylvania, who wrote the foreword to Dr Ho’s book.

“The stories of the pioneering women in Dr Ho’s book, regardless whether they’re Chinese, Indians or Malays, are also part of our life stories because they encompass and they encapsulate all the universal themes of motherhood, struggle, hard work, fortitude and most of all, endurance,” said Kok Keong in his opening remarks.

Guest of honour, Puan Sri Dato’ Sandra Lee hoped that the younger generation would follow the examples set by these pioneering women in the book and become pioneers in their own rights. She also acknowledged some of today’s pioneering women, women who have spent their lives in making a difference, be it in helping others or blazing trails in their respective fields. These included Datin Mary Yeoh, Chairman of Ray of Hope;  Datin Sri Su Karmal  for her involvement in various charities and the Perak Palliative Care; Sister Helena – the Director of Good Shepherd Centre; Datuk Chong Phaik Kee, the former Director of Social Welfare Services; pioneer members who helped her develop Daybreak to where it is today,  Ellen Yoong and Nancy Teoh;  Datin Mina Foong – owner of Body Shop in Malaysia and our own home-grown international movie star, Datuk Michelle Yeoh who has single-handedly put Ipoh on the world map.

“Phoenix Rising, Pioneering Chinese Women of Malaysia” is the fifth book by Dr Ho which honours strong and successful Chinese women whose contributions were often kept out of the historical records.

Its historical account tells the stories of these unsung heroines who soared to great heights during adversities, just like the phoenix. In his return speech, Dr Ho thanked Perak Academy for hosting the function, members of the press and everyone present for making this occasion a celebration of women.

“I want to find out about my heritage,” the unassuming and gentle general practitioner told Ipoh Echo when asked what drew him to this genre.

For young aspiring writers who wish to follow in his footsteps, he had this to say, “If they can, why not? But it takes time. They must have patience because writing and researching take a very long time.”

The softcover book is priced at RM70 and is available at all major bookstores in the country. You can purchase it at Perak Academy, Ipoh through Wai Kheng: 016 551 8172.

Mei Kuan

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