Sunday, 23 June 2013

Chong Nyet Lin: Nursing in early Kuala Lumpur

Chong Nyet Lin was born in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 1 June 1915. She grew up in Kuala Lumpur and attended schools in Kuala Lumpur from 1922 onward when she turned 7. She completed schooling in 1931, possibly at Grade IX, and completed Senior Cambridge.

Two family photographs showed her big Chinese family. The family members appeared appropriately dressed and they seemed quite wealthy and influential for the late 1920s to early 1930s era. 

Chong Nyet Lin continued her studies at a nursing school at (possibly) General Hospital Kuala Lumpur. The building was wooden and had many windows. It is not known how long the nursing course was but only two group photographs of her exist; which indicates that the nursing course was probably for two years.

The group photographs showed her nursing instructors who were White women, either British or Australian, I can't tell. There were many Malay nurses in the nursing course, judging from the two photographs.

Chong Nyet Lin graduated in the early 1930s and worked as a registered staff nurse at Bangsar Hospital, also referred to as the European Hospital. She worked at the Maternity Hospital of the Bangsar Hospital complex and was promoted to Matron. She was known as Matron or Mariah and sometimes Madam Chong.

After she married, she followed her husband overseas and returned to Kuantan before residing in Penang.

Chong Nyet Lin in first-year nursing. She is standing in middle row at extreme right.
Chong Nyet Lin in second-year nursing. She is standing in hind row, 3rd from right.
Matron Maria in Kelantan after the war, 1948

Farewell for Dr Che Lah and Mariah at the Malayan Railway in Kuala Lumpur, 1951-52. They married in 1953. Dr Che Lah left the Malayan Railway to go to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in 1953-55. He returned to Kuantan, Pahang.

Farewell for Dr Che Lah and Maria in Kuantan, Pahang, June 1958
Matron Maria at the Maternity Hospital in Penang, June 1958 onward.