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.

Gathering in Port Dickson

I don't know this occasion but it seems that the doctors gathered at this wooden quarters at Port Dickson where Dr Che Lah lived with his family. His daughter can be seen carrying a child up on the verandah. According to his daughters Esther and Daisy, the house at Port Dickson and Maxwell Road in KL look similar, with verandah all around the wooden government quarters.

House in Port Dickson. Dr Che Lah is standing 6th from right.
His wife Matron Mariah is seated 3rd from right.

Conference of State Medical & Health Officers and Ancillary Department Heads 1957

Office of the
State Medical & Health Officer,
Negri Sembilan,
Seremban, 2nd December, 1957.

Dr. Che Lah bin Mohd Joonos

Dear Dr.

     I am sending herewith group photograph taken at the recent Conference of State Medical & Health Officers and Ancillary Department Heads. 18 copies were ordered at $3/= each. Please remit $3/= on receipt of this photo.

Yours sincerely,

Ag. State Medical & Health Officer,
Negri Sembilan.

Conference of SM&HO and Ancillary Dept Heads, Seremban 1957.
Dr Abdul Karim bin Nawab Din (dentist, seated 3rd left), Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad (first DG, seated 2nd right), Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos (SM&HO Pahang, seated far right), Dr Hj Abbas bin Hj Alias (Dy Health Director, standing 4th left) and Dr Abdul Ghani bin Muhamad (SM&HO KL, standing far right).