TRIBUTE TO SYBIL KATHIGASU (1899-1948)
On September 3, 1899 a girl was born with the name Sybil Medan Daly( Medan because she was born in Medan). She grow up and was a trained nurse and midwife, married to Dr. Abdon Clement Kathigasu in 1919. She was better known as Sybil Kathigasu. They operated a clinic at No. 141 Brewster Road (now Jalan Sultan Idris Shah) in Ipoh from 1926 until the Japanese invaded Malaya.
The spot mark yellow is Sybil’s Clinic in Papan.
The family escaped to the nearby town of Papan days before Japanese forces occupied Ipoh. They lived at No. 74, Main Street Papan.
The family took refuge outside Ipoh because Ipoh was bombed. They turned into Papan as they heard planes flying above. They met a friend and moved immediately into No.74.
TheClinic, No 74, Main Street Papan.
She secretly listened to BBC broadcast. The family quietly supplied medicines, medical services and information to the resistance forces until they were arrested in 1943.
Despite being iterrogated and tortured by the Japanese military police, Sybil persisted in her efforts and was thrown in Batu Gajah jail.
Sybil did not persist in her effort once she was jailed. She refused to cooperate with the Kempeitai. she refused to admit that she helped the anti-Japanese willingly. She claimed she was forced into it. She took on all the responsibility for helping them in order that her husband and adopted son William Pillay may be let off lightly.
After Malaya was liberated in August 1945, Kathigasu was flown to Britain for medical treatment. There, she began writing her memoirs.
Sybil received the George Medal for Gallantry several months before her death . She was the first Malayan woman to be awarded the medal for bravery.
Dawn(Sybil’s daughter) was thewho received a citation for her bravery. It is mentioned in Ho Tak Ming’s DOCTORS EXTRAORDINAIRE.
Sybil Kathigasu died on 12 June 1948 in Britain and her body was buried in Lanark, Scotland. Her body was later returned to Ipoh and buried at the Roman Cathalic cemetery beside St Michael’s Church.
A road in the City of Ipoh was named after Sybil Kathigasu after independence to commemorate her bravery.
The road named after Sybil is in Fair Park, Ipoh. Road name: Jalan Sybil Kathigasu.
Today, the shop house at 74, Main Road, Papan, serves as a memorial to Sybil Kathigasu is a private project of Law Siak Hong, currently the President of Perak Heritage Society.
To know more about the life of Sybil Kathigasu, read No Dram of Mercy by Neville Spearman.
(The original edition of NO DRAM OF MERCY, published by Neville Spearman, is long out of print. The second edition, by Oxford Uni Press, Singapore, 1983, is also out of print.The only version still available is published in 2005 by Prometheus Enterprise, KL. Also published by Prometheus, a Chinese tanslation of the book is a work of literature well worth a read.There is another book, as you know: Faces of Courage, which incorporates the whole text of No Dram Of Mercy.
There’s also a Singapore TV drama series titled The Price of Peace about her life.
Recently, Malaysia’s Actor Studio had a play SYBIL, world premiere in KL on 12 June 2008
Here is a woman of great courage and a great role model to all female of all ages. She is the real deal to GIRL POWER!!
To read more please go here. For those of you who wishes to visit the Papan Clinic you can contact
Law Siak Hong 017-5061875.
To see more photos of Sybil’s clinic here.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SYBIL
You are a true heroine of our time.
Source : Wikipedia
A special thanks to Law Siak Hong for the additional information.