Zhuang Wubin


K.F. Wong shot to international fame with his images of Borneo, though not without controversy. Zhuang Wubin examines Wong’s work and sees beyond their historical value. In 1989, exactly 30 years ago, the late Minister S. Rajaratnam officiated the opening of a solo exhibition by photographer Wong Ken Foo, more popularly known as K.F. Wong (1916–98). Organised by the National Archives of Singapore, “Light on Historical Moments – Images on Singapore” featured 159 photographs that Wong had taken from the mid-1940s to the 1960s. This was a tumultuous period in Singaporean history: the British had returned after the end of the Japanese Occupation in 1945, and instead of being welcomed with open arms, they found a population resentful of their colonial masters. The political awakening among the people sparked a series of events that would eventually lead to self-government, and then full independence in 1965. In his speech, Rajaratnam pointed…