UTAR Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS) postgraduate student Yon Weng Woe’s paper on ‘The Development of Pre-War Chinese Rice Mill Industry in Kedah, Malaysia’ was selected among 25 papers and won the outstanding award of Joan Wang Best Academic Paper Awards at the Mobile People: Kinmen Migrants and Overseas Chinese Research Symposium held in Kinmen, Taiwan on 28 to 29 June 2013.
The symposium was organised under the guidance of Fujian government in China. Kinmen county government was the main organiser with National Quemoy University, National Taiwan Normal University and Taipei Municipal University of Education as co-organisers. Scholars from China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and USA participated in the symposium.
The Joan Wang Best Academic Awards was given out as a tribute to a pioneer in overseas Chinese studies, Prof Joan Wang from National Taiwan Normal University who passed away at a symposium in Manila, the Philippines last year. Her husband Prof Jeffrey Wu sponsors the awards to perpetuate her spirit.
“This year is my second time participating in a Chinese research symposium overseas. What is different from before is that I have won the Joan Wang Best Academic Paper Award,” said Yon after receiving the award. He added, “I am lucky to have received the outstanding award of that category. To me, it is extremely difficult to come by. It is a great encouragement for me to work hard in my future research on Malaysian Chinese. Due to a long period of neglect and lack of records, research works on Malaysian Chinese are extremely difficult. This award motivates me to work with greater drive in research on the history of Malaysian Chinese. I will also adopt the enthusiasm of Prof Joan Wang. In addition, I also thank my mentor Dr Chong Siou Wei for his years of guidance.”
Yon was one the five ICS master’s students who participated in the symposium. After Yon’s graduation this August, he will be pursuing his PhD studies in Xiamen University in China under a scholarship from the Chinese government.
“We often heard of the numerous contributions by Chinese to the Malaysian economy, but Weng Woe’s paper is an exceptional masterpiece on how Malaysian Chinese had participated in developing the earlier economy of the country,” said Yon’s mentor Dr Chong. He added, “Of course, this research topic has further area to explore, I hope Weng Woe will further build on the foundation of the paper.”