Elizabeth Choy

Elizabeth Choy Su-Meiwas born on 29 November 1910 in Kudat, Sabah. She was a Hakka from North Borneo. During the Japanese Occupation, together with her husband, she worked as a canteen operator at a hospital where patients from General Hospital had been moved to. 

Elizabeth Choy and her husband secretly brought food, medicine, money, messages and even radios to British internees. Unfortunately, they were caught by the Japanese. Her husband was arrested on 29 October while she was arrested on 15 November 1943. The Kempeitai thought that they had given information to the British which led to the sinking of several Japanese ships in Keppel Harbour in 1943.

Elizabeth Choy was imprisoned in a small cell for 193 days with 20 other prisoners in the old YMCA building. During her imprisonment, she was badly tortured by the Kempeitai. The Kempeitai made her kneel down on a frame of three-sided wood. They tied her hands behind her back and also her legs. She could not move at all. Then, they brought her husband and he was made to kneel beside the frame to watch her being tortured. They slapped and kicked her and gave her the ‘electric shock’ treatment. The pain was extremely unbearable.

Despite being terribly tortured, Elizabeth Choy refused to confess. After 193 days, she was released from the prison. Her husband was released much later. After the war, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of her valour in 1946 during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. She was known as a war heroine.

Elizabeth Choy also became Singapore's first woman in the Legislative Council in 1951 and she was also recognised as a dedicated educator. She started teaching first at St. Margaret's School and later St. Andrew's School; and was the first principal of the Singapore School for the Blind in 1956. At the age of 96, Elizabeth Choy passed away on 14 September 2006.


References

Sunkorjanto, H. (Ed.). (2007). Interacting with Our World. Singapore: Times Printers.

BBC News. (2002). The fall of a fortress. Retrieved March 30, 2008 from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1805298.stm

National Archives of Singapore. (n.d.) Elizabeth Choy - Singapore's War Heroine, Politician and Teacher (1910 - 2006). Retrieved March 30, 2008 from
http://www.a2o.com.sg/a2o/public/html/etc/elizabeth.htm

Tan, B. (1999). Elizabeth Choy. Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from http://infopedia.nlb.gov.sg/articles/SIP_816_2005-01-25.html