Chou Sing Chu Foundation Leaves Its Mark with Publications on Singapore’s Early Publishing Industry
In remembrance of the illustrious past of the early local Chinese publishing industry, Chou Sing Chu Foundation (CSCF) published World Children – Forever Young and Pages that Opened Our Minds: A Pictorial Catalogue of Early Chinese Textbooks in Southeast Asia 2014. The former was a tribute to the early Chinese children’s periodical in Southeast Asia whilst the latter was a pictorial catalogue of the early Chinese textbooks in Southeast Asia.
In response to the publication of these two books, Lianhe Zaobao had published an article, titled Chou Sing Chou Foundation Leaves Its Mark with Publications on Singapore’s Early Publishing Industry, in its supplement on 17 February 2015. This article narrated the important contribution of the World Book Company, founded by Mr Chou Sing Chu in 1934, which went beyond just filling the void for the supply of Chinese books in Southeast Asia. The children’s books and literary publications of the World Book Company also played a vital role in inculcating a strong sense of belonging in the children.
In the era before mobile phones and tablets, World Book Company’s World Children was the nourishment of choice for the minds of children all over Southeast Asia. The cover page of every issue would feature illustrations of lively and energetic children whilst the rich content
inside contained fables, history and humanities, as well as general knowledge, amongst others. In the 28 years that it was published, from 1950 till production ceased in 1978, the approximately 400 issues of World Children once commanded a readership of more than 160,000.
With a record of more than 400 early Chinese textbooks, Pages that Opened Our Minds was a joint CSCF publication with the National Library Board, Singapore. Through collating the historical information about the local textbooks, it was clear there were many small bookstores that were also contributing to the Chinese education in the shadows of the “Five Major Chinese Bookstores”. The second volume is in progress, and the publication is expected to be available in 2016.
CSCF’s objective in publishing these two books is not only to provide a historical record but to act as a harbinger to encourage further research into the local Chinese culture and language.
Pages that Opened Our Minds: A Pictorial Catalogue of Early Chinese Textbooks in Southeast Asia
(Singapore: Chou Sing Chu Foundation, National Library Board, Popular Holdings Limited, 2014).