China News Service, Xiamen, April 6th. Title: Chen Liren recalls his grandfather Tan Kah Kee: Building Xiamen University is his life's work
China News Service reporter Yan Xu Yang Fushan
"Chen Kah Kee's eldest grandson-Chen Liren." When Zhang Yan, secretary of the Party Committee of Xiamen University, introduced Chen Liren who was sitting in front of the rostrum, there was warm applause for more than 20 seconds.
"We all felt it." Shi Dalin, a professor at Xiamen University sitting in the audience, was moved for a long time.
In an interview with a reporter from China News Agency, he lamented that every Xiamen University present here paid tribute to the school principal Tan Kah Kee through applause. This kind of sentiment is hard to replace.
On April 6, 2021, Xiamen University, the first university founded by overseas Chinese in modern China, celebrated its 100th anniversary.
In the Jiannan Assembly Hall, the 100th Anniversary Celebration Ceremony of Xiamen University was held as scheduled to commemorate the creation of Xiamen University by Mr. Tan Kah Kee and celebrate the 100th anniversary of Xiamen University.
As the representative of Tan Kah Kee's descendants, Chen Liren delivered a speech at the school celebration meeting.
Recalling the difficult journey of his grandfather's investment in founding Xiamen University, Chen Liren said affectionately, "Building Xiamen University is his life's work."
"My grandfather lived a simple life all his life, but he did not hesitate to donate funds to start schools. He always believed that education is the foundation of building a country, and learning is a national vocation." Chen Liren recalled. Grandfather often said, "We should get money through hard work. I donated generously".
Since 1894, Tan Kah Kee set up the "Ti Zhai Academy" with 2,000 silver dollars in his hometown of Jimei, and he spent 67 years in school.
Today, nearly 120 schools founded or funded by Tan Kah Kee are spread all over the world, covering kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, vocational education and universities.
Under the advocacy and drive of Tan Kah Kee, Xingxue education has become common practice, and a large number of overseas Chinese are enthusiastic about public welfare and assisting social undertakings.
After Jimei founded more than ten schools, including elementary schools, middle schools, normal schools, aquatic products, and navigation, in 1921, Tan Kah Kee invested in the establishment of Xiamen University and pledged 4 million silver dollars.
Chen Liren said that this amount is equivalent to all the assets of his grandfather back then. Xiamen University is the school where his grandfather has devoted the most effort and has great hopes.
"Being able to compete with universities in the world" and "bring a splendor for our country" were Chen Kah Kee's expectations when he founded Xiamen University.
In Chen Liren's mind, in order to realize his educational ambition, his grandfather did his best and worked hard. Even when the economy is in the most difficult time, "I would rather sell the building to support Xiamen University", and would rather the business to close than to stop the school.
In 1950, Tan Kah Kee returned to China and settled in his hometown of Jimei Village in 1950, while Chen Liren and his fathers stayed in Singapore.
In my memory, my grandfather often sent overseas letters to raise funds.
"At that time, I was young, and I saw my father, aunts, and uncles often discussing in the living room how to help my grandfather raise money to build the school building of Xiamen University." Chen Liren said.
At that time, Tan Kah Kee, who was over 80 years old, still took a boat from Jimei to Xiamen University every week to supervise the construction of the school building. It took more than three hours each time, rain or shine.
"It can be seen that the construction of Xiamen University is his life's work."
Tan Kah Kee's patriotic spirit of initiating studies affects his younger generations, and Chen Liren has always cared about and paid attention to the development of Xiamen University.
Xiamen University's school celebration week coincides with the Qingming Festival.
For the past few days, the bronze statue of Tan Kah Kee standing in the center of the square in front of the Qunxian Building is always surrounded by flowers.
The alumni who came from afar will stop in front of the bronze statue to remember the schoolmaster.