Saturday, January 7, 2012


MR KUM POY SEW HOY, The President of the Chong Shin Tong or Burial Society, whose members in New Zealand number nearly 2500. The society provides funds for sending home the remains of deceased countrymen for interment in the family burial places in China.

Otago Witness , Issue 2537, 29 October 1902, Page 36

THE VENTNOR. More Signs of Wreckage. (United Press Association) AUCKLAND . A boat branded "Ventnor" and two boxes containing the corpses of Chinese, washed up opposite Tekao. With regard to the ill-fated Ventnor which foundered- off Hokianga with several hundred coffins on board, containing the exhumed remains of Chinese to be sent to their own country. It now appears- that the coffins were not to be transhipped or disturbed after leaving Wellington under a penalty of £1000 unless by peril of the sea or accident. They were placed in tiers, all with their heads to the bow. There was a separate compartment in which lay the body of Sew Hoy, a former prominent Dunedin merchant. The Ventnor, was one of very few vessels permitted by The Ching Shin Tong Society to fly the dragon flag. Sew Hoy's son was educated at Dunedin University, is a cultured scholar, and speaks English fluently. He is a secretary of the Chinese Society, and has been the leading spirit in the shipment of his dead countrymen whose remains are now at the bottom of the sea. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXVI, Issue 10796, 12 November 1902, Page 6


THE CHONG CHING TONG SOCIETY. Mr Sew Hoy, of Dunedin, speaking to a Press reporter at the conclusion ol the Chong Ching Tong case at Christchurch, in which he was a witness, said the Chong Ching Tong was one of the most famous of ttie Chinese societies. It exists for the carrying out of the sacred duty of disinterring the bodies of deceased Chinamen who liave been buried abroad, and conveying the remains to China. Its objects lie at the very root of tlie Chinese religion, that of ancestor worship, and it has existed ever since the Chinese commenced to spread oyer the world. To-day it is a vast organisation, which has its headquarter in China, and of which branches exist in every country where Chinese dwell. The society works on simple but effective lines. Through its different branches it enrols the names of exiled Chinamen desiring to become members, it collects their subscriptions, it defrays the cost of disinterment aud freight, and it arranges for the reception of the bodies in China and their conveyance to their proper destination. In New Zealand, where a branch exists, two shipment of bodies have been made, on in 1885, wliich turned out successful, and one in 1892, which did not, the boat foundering shortly after leaving Wellington. Since then the policy of the New Zealand branch has been changed, and tlie bodies are sent home to China as soon as possible after death. There are now no burial's of members, and consequently no disinterments. Advices are sent to the lieadquarters of the society in China, informing the officials there that so many bodies are coming by a certain boat, expected to arrive at Hong Kong on such and such a dale. Tlie caskets containing the bodies are each marked with the name of the deceased, and are easily identified when tlie boat arrives at Hong Kong, tliat being the port where all bodSe» are sent. The headquarter officials superintend Hie landing of the coffins, identify each one, and forward them to the relatives of the deceased in whatever part of China, they may live. The loss of the Ventnor was mentioned and the interviewer inquired what would be the effect of the circumstance tliat the bodies were permanently expatriated from China. Mr Sew Hoy replied that m such a case a silver plate, bearing the name of the deceased, is either buried in China or kept in the house of the relatives, whichever the latter prefer. That place takes the place of the body in representing the spirit of the deceased, and wherever the place is, there also is the spirit. No further subscriptions had been collected since the 1902 shipment, but the society, out of the funds in hand, contribute £9 towards the cost of sending home a deceased member. The remainder of the cost, some £30, was made up by the relatives. Should the work of collecting further subscriptions be dropped, either the relatives would have to send home the bodies or the headquarters m China, would have to defray the cost. The New Zealand society, Mr Sew Hoy added, owns some valuable properly in China, and the revenue from that would probably be sufficient to continue the £9 subsidy. Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXXI, Issue 10233, 16 December 1904, Page 4

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