Bahai News - Posthumous gift for Uncle Yankee

Posthumous gift for Uncle Yankee

IPOH, Sun. - While most children showered their guardians with messages of love and gifts on Father's Day, freelance journalist Rose Ong celebrated the occasion on a different note.

She launched a book about her late father Yan Kee Leong, fondly known as Uncle Yankee among friends and relatives at the Royal Ipoh Club today.

About 250 people, some from as far as Singapore, were present to witness the launch which also coincided with the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of Yankee's passing.

Yankee, who passed away at his daughter's residence in Canning Garden here at age of 87, was a noted cartoonist and his works appeared regularly in the Straits Times and Times of Malaya from the 30s.

Ong, who currently lives in Singapore, said the book, A Journey with Uncle Yankee, tells the story of her father in search of the elusive truth and the indomitable spirit that guided him.

"I undertook to write the book last year because I was inspired to do so. Moreover, I also closely followed key developments in the later part of his life," said Ong, 77, who has been contributing articles to the New Straits Times over the last 10 years.

Ong said she felt it was apt to launch the book in Ipoh since he died here and had many friends and relatives.

Yankee, born in Ampang, Selangor, in 1899 was an apprentice chemist (pharmacist) in a prestigious dispensary in Singapore but later moved to Malacca where he made a name for himself as cartoonist.

During the Second World War, he had to seek refuge in his mother's rubber estate in Titi, Jelebu, in Negri Sembilan, because of his anti-Japanese caricatures.

His interest in universal brotherhood and the oneness of mankind was reflected in his paintings and cartoons.

A well-known personality among members of the Bahai community in peninsular Malaysia, Yankee served the faith in various capacities until his death.

The hard cover book is sold at RM30 each.

©Copyright 2001, New Straits Times

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