Ong Tiau Ngian (Hian) was born in 1868, and his nickname was Dua Gor Ng (大古秧).
In 1895, the First Sino-Japanese War took place, ending with a humiliating defeat for Imperial China. Ong, who held an official title of Wujuren (a military degree in imperial Chinese times), had experienced first-hand the extent of Qing corruption and decided that Qing Dynasty China could not be without reform.
He started teaching Taichokun as a way to strengthen China’s people while at the same time studying western sciences and following the ideals of the reformers. Following the failed Hundred Day reform in 1898, which resulted in the imprisonment of the Emperor, it became clear that the reformers would never achieve success.
In 1906, Ong joined the Tong Meng Hui, the revolutionary group created by Sun Yatsen. When Sun visited Xiamen to spread his revolutionary ideals, Ong held a feast to welcome Sun and the both exchanged their ideas and views on how to reform China. Ong at that time had a Herbal Wine Factory named Songjuntang (松筠堂). Impressed by Ong’s dedication to helping the country prosper, Sun Yatsen personally wrote in calligraphy the name of Songjuntang on a signboard. The board was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and today only pictures of the board remain.
Ong passed away in 1957, at the age of 89 years, leaving behind numerous students to carry on his legacy.
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