Recognising The National Library Board’s donors for contributing to Singapore’s history


The National Library (NL) and National Archives of Singapore (NAS) have organised a Donors’ Appreciation Night, as part of NL and NAS’ outreach efforts to build ties with existing and prospective donors. Through this event, NL and NAS also aim to show appreciation to their donors, in particular those who had donated their collections from 1 March 2018 to 31 March 2019.

These valuable donations have enriched NL and NAS’ collections on Singapore’s heritage, and enable researchers and the general public to have access to them. Donations received in the past year include materials from:

  1.  Dr Farish A. Noor, Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and School of History, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University
    • 19 volumes of publications comprising seven sets of early European travel accounts of Southeast Asia published between the 17th and 19th centuries, and
    • A bound volume containing two 20th century publications, Sejarah Melayu and Hikayat Abdullah.
  2. Mr Dick Lee, Singapore music personality
    • About 480 items including personal notebooks, and handwritten scores and scripts.
  3. Tamil musicians and music groups
    • Various music-related materials, such as audio and video recordings, scores, programme booklets and photographs, were contributed to the Digital Archive of Singapore Tamil Music. The Digital Archive of Singapore Tamil Music is a collaborative project between NLB and the Tamil Digital Heritage Group to create a repository of materials on Tamil music in Singapore.
  4. The family of the late Muhammad Ariff Ahmad, Malay literary pioneer
    • A collection of the Singapore literary pioneer’s radio scripts, typescripts of poems, letters and postcards from other prominent Malay writers
  5. The family of the late Mr Tian Liu (Chong Fun Liam), veteran Chinese writer
    • Manuscripts, books, photo albums, and notebooks of the veteran scriptwriter of Mandarin television drama serials in the 1970s.


Key highlights of donated materials on display 
Key highlights of donations received from 1 March 2018 to 31 March 2019 include primary materials such as private records, business documents, manuscripts, radio scripts, typescripts, publications, maps, photographs, films, glass plate negatives, and ephemera. The themes of the donated materials range from business, social and community history to literary and the performing arts.

New and significant donors who have contributed to both NL and NAS’ collections in the past year are listed in the following pages. Please refer to Annex A for more details of the donated items.

National Library donors

  • Dr Farish A. Noor. Dr Farish A. Noor is an Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and School of History, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University. He is an avid collector of old books and maps about Southeast Asia. His latest donation to NL in 2018 comprised seven rare titles on early accounts of European voyages to Southeast Asia and a bound volume containing two 20th century Singapore publications, the Sejarah Melayu and Hikayat Abdullah edited by William Shellabear.
  • Mr Dick Lee. Mr Dick Lee is a singer, composer, playwright and fashion designer who was conferred the Singapore Cultural Medallion in 2004. He donated about 480 items that date back to his youth, including handwritten scores and scripts from his productions Beauty World, Fried Rice Paradise and Forbidden City, a comprehensive collection of clippings on him compiled by his father, Mr Lee Kip Lee, and essays and stories he wrote as a student.
  • The family of the late Mr Tian Liu (Chong Fun Liam). Mr Tian Liu (1930 – 2017) was a veteran writer who started writing in 1949, publishing extensively across different genres. He also served as Vice-Chairman of the Singapore Association of Writers, and adviser to various literary societies in Singapore. Highlights of his donated collection include manuscripts, photographs and documents of his activities in literary and social organisations.
  • Musicians and music groups of the Digital Archive of Singapore Tamil Music. The Digital Archive of Singapore Tamil Music (DASTM) is a repository of materials on Tamil music in Singapore, jointly created by NLB and the Tamil Digital Heritage Group (TDHG). Materials such as audio and video recordings, scores, programme booklets and photographs were collected, annotated and digitised. DASTM is one of several digital initiatives by NLB and the TDHG to preserve and promote the Tamil language and culture in Singapore.
  • The family of the late Muhammad Ariff Ahmad. Muhammad Ariff Ahmad (1924 – 2016) was an award-winning writer, editor and lecturer. A founding member of the Malay literary club, Angkatan Sasterawan ’50 (Asas ’50), he was a prominent advocate of the Malay language and culture in Singapore. He received two prestigious Malay awards, the Tun Seri Lanang and the Pendeta (Scholar), as well as the Cultural Medallion in 1987 and the Public Service Star in 2000. His donated collection includes scripts for Malay language programmes that were aired across Singapore Malay radio station, and letters and postcards from Malay writers Usman Awang and Masuri S.N.

  • The family of the late Bishop and Mrs T R Doraisamy. Bishop Emeritus Mr Theodore Royapan Doraisamy (1912 – 1992) was appointed Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore from 1973 to 1976. He held pastoral positions in several Methodist Churches in Singapore, supervised Christian Education and also initiated and managed the Archives and History Library of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 1981 to 1992. As a full-time educationist in the Civil Service, he took on instrumental roles such as Chief Examinations Officer and Chief Inspector of Schools. His collection was donated by his son, Mr Rabi Doraisamy, and includes English and Tamil language materials on the history of Methodism in Singapore.

  • Mrs Ann Wee. Mrs Ann Wee, often described as the founding mother of social work in Singapore, is an Associate Professorial Fellow at the National University of Singapore. She donated her social work papers and notes from the 1950s to 2010s, offprints of articles, chapters from books, conference proceedings, speeches and talks, correspondences, and handwritten notes. She also donated publications and reports on social policies and services in Singapore.
  • Mr Lim Shao Bin. Mr Lim Shao Bin is an independent researcher and avid collector of Japanese historical materials on Singapore. In 2018, he donated a collection of 90 primary documents on Japanese pre-war activities in Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, and over 140 historical postcards of colonial Singapore and Malaya.


National Archives of Singapore donors

  • Ms Jenna Reed Burns. Sydney-based Ms Jenna Reed Burns is a freelance author with a keen interest in heritage architecture, landscapes, and conservation. In 2018, she donated to NAS several items belonging to her parents, Mr and Mrs Jeffrey Allen Burns. These include scanned pages of her father’s flight log book that documented the time he was flying for Malayan Airways and the Straits Times Press, as well as over 70 colour transparencies and four digitised home videos, which were taken by Mr Burns during the couple’s stay in Singapore from 1957 to 1960.
  • Mr Nigel Sumner. Mr Nigel Sumner, Creative Director at Lucasfilm Singapore, responded to NAS’ call for donations of historical materials on 14 July 2018, organised as part of NAS’ 50th anniversary celebrations. Mr Sumner donated a recording named after his great-uncle, Mr Ken Illsley, who was stationed in Singapore from 1957 to 1959. 
  • Mr Tan Ngan Piang. Mr Tan Ngan Piang's father, the late Mr Tan Tor Hiong, was a pioneer member and clerk of the Tan Clan Association. He was in charge of helping his clansmen write letters to their families in China and also assisted in remittance matters. The donation of 60 items includes records on Tan Clan Association (Teo Ann Kim Sar District), and medical records of the late Mr Tan’s children.
  • Mrs Joan Gorrie. Mrs Gorrie’s husband, Mr John Leslie Michael Gorrie OBE (1923 – 2003), otherwise known as Mike Gorrie, was the Principal Private Secretary in the Colonial Secretary’s Office to Sir Franklin Gimson, the Governor of Singapore from 1949-1951. The Mike Gorrie Collection was donated by his wife, Joan, and offers a glimpse of the official and private life of a senior government official. Mike Gorrie’s observations during the period of British administration in post-1945 Singapore are also captured in photograph albums including photographs of events in Singapore and Malaya from 1949-1952, scrapbooks from 1949-1966 of official invitation cards, newspaper and magazine articles, postcards, programme booklets, first-hand accounts of events and a collection of Mike Gorrie’s hand-written personal weekly diary and letters to his family from 1945-1955.
  • Mr Chiang Poh Long. Mr Chiang Poh Long donated a collection of 143 old Singapore postcards, 16 old photographs, eight documents and one old whistle (Robinson & Co Ltd Singapore).  These included the Special Purchasing Tickets for Essential Commodities (Textiles) issued in 1944 and the Condensed Milk Purchase Permit issued by the Food Control Office of Syonan Tokubetusi on 11 June 1942, to a child who was born on 25 January 1942.


About National Library Board
The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning and history through its network of 26 public libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation and greater discovery of Singapore’s history through its rich collections on Singapore and the region.

NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB comes under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

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