23
MAY
2014

The First Chinese Canadian Medical Doctor and Missionary: Victoria Cheung

The First Chinese Canadian Medical Doctor: Victoria Cheung (Chung) (1897-1966):

Victoria (Toy Mea) Cheung (Chung) was born in Victoria in 1897. Victoria’s mother had been a student in the True Light School for Girls in Canton and became a Christian when she was still in China. After the Cheung family immigrated into Canada, they settled in the Victoria, British Columbia Chinatown area. Mr. Cheung soon discovered that, amongst all the Canadians they met, Rev. J. E. Gardiner was the only real friend to the Chinese people. Mr. Cheung was among the first group of Chinese men to be baptized in Victoria.

Because of financial need, Mrs. Cheung continued her practice as a midwife and left the two and a-half year old Victoria under the care of the Oriental Home also known as Chinese Rescue Home. Victoria’s mother was known as “Auntie Eight,” (八姑) who delivered virtually every Chinese baby in the Presbyterian Church and in Victoria Chinatown. Auntie Eight’s role as a midwife enabled her to build close connection with the women in Chinatown and bring many people to the church.

Gradually, Victoria felt the call to become a missionary to China and she shared her testimony with the President of the Presbyterian Women Missionary Society (W.M.S.) during her visit to British Columbia. The President offered her a scholarship to study at the University of Toronto Medical College starting September 1917. At her commencement, “when Victoria’s name was called, she walked the length of the hall without applause – then suddenly the whole audience rose.” She was accepted as the first woman intern in the Toronto General Hospital. After graduation, Victoria was appointed as a medical missionary to China. She took charge of the Marion Barclay Hospital for women and children in Jiangmen, now known as Jiangmen Central Hospital, which was originally established by the United Church of Canada in 1912. While working primarily in the areas of pediatrics and gynaecology, Victoria also specialized in treating infectious diseases. During her visit to New York, she purchased the “Elliot Machine,” a diagnostic and treatment tool, to be sent back to China. In 1937, she requested that the hospital purchase an ambulance so that physicians and nurses could visit patients in the rural areas who were unable to travel to the hospital.

Victoria was a woman of great strength, courage, and endurance. When Canadian doctors were evacuated from China during the Second World War, she decided to stay and assumed supervision over the hospital and four other refugee camps. In addition, she and colleagues set up community clinics to provide medical care for the local people. Victoria remained as the only W.M.S. missionary in Jiangmen during the Japanese occupation and continued to live and work in China after the Communist took over. During the Japanese occupation period, she opened up the hospital for refugee children and became their foster mother. She raised pigs and goats and other animals in the hospital as a source of food supply. Circumstances forced poor male patients to reluctantly receive care from this female doctor and yet Victoria treated everyone with the same love and care. A bronze statue of Dr. Chung was erected in the Jiangmen Central Hospital to pay tribute to her trailblazing achievements.


張薇(肖白)醫生 (1897-1966):加拿大首位華裔醫生 [中譯文]

張薇於一八九七年在域多利市出生。張薇的母親曾就讀於廣州市真光女校,居中國期間已是基督徒。張氏舉家移民加拿大之後,在卑詩省域多利市的唐人街定居下來。不久,張先生便發覺,在他所遇到的加拿大人之中,惟有J. E. Gardiner牧師是華人的真正朋友。張先生是第一批在域多利市受洗的華人中的其中一位。

由於經濟需要,張太太繼續她的接生工作,把兩歲半的張薇送去中華救援之家。街坊都叫張薇的母親做八姑,差不多所有域多利唐人街和長老會的華人嬰孩都是由她接生的。八姑的接生工作讓她與唐人街的婦女們建立起密切關係,從而帶了很多人到教會來。

張薇漸漸感到神呼召她去中國宣教;適逢長老會女宣教師協會會長到訪卑詩省,她便向會長談及此事。由於當年卑詩省的專業學院並不收錄華裔學生,會長便提供獎學金,讓她於一九一七年九月到多倫多大學醫學院就讀。畢業典禮中,「在讀出張薇的名字時,她從禮堂的一頭走到另一頭都沒有掌聲――然後突然間,在座的人都站了起來」,而她更成為多倫多綜合醫院第一個女實習醫生。畢業後不久,張薇受差派為醫療宣教士到中國,負責管理位於江門市的巴克萊婦女及兒童醫院,現稱江門市中心醫院;而該院乃加拿大協和教會於一九一二年所創辦。張醫生主要工作範疇是小兒科和婦科,但她也是傳染病的專家。她在紐約時,買了一台診斷或治療器材「艾理略機」,運到中國去。一九三七年,她要求醫院購置一輛救護車,好讓醫生護士們能到鄉村地區,為那些不能前往醫院的人診治。

張薇是個實力非凡、勇氣可嘉、堅忍不拔的女子。二次世界大戰期間,所有加籍醫生都撤出中國,但她卻決定留守醫院,並且管理四個難民營。她與同事們更設立社區診所,提供醫療護理服務給當地居民。日戰淪陷期間,張醫生是婦女宣教聯會留在江門市的唯一一位宣教士,在共產黨掌權後,她仍繼續在中國居住工作。日軍侵華期間,張醫生開放醫院用來安置難民兒童,成為了他們的養母。她在醫院裏養了一些豬、羊等禽蓄,供作食物之用。環境迫使貧窮的男病人接受女醫生的護理,但張醫生對每個人都付出同樣的愛與關懷。江門市中心醫院為張薇醫生豎立了一個銅像,表揚她承先啟後的懿範。


Reference Sources: 參考出處:

Woman’s Missionary Society. They Came Through: Stories of Chinese Canadians. Toronto: Literature Department of the Woman’s Missionary Society of the United Church of Canada, 194-?. University of British Columbia Libraries, Special Collection.

Price, John and Ningping Yu. “A True Trailblazer: Victoria Chung broke the mould for women and Chinese Canadians.” Times Colonist (Oct. 23, 2011). City of Victoria Archives.

“Brief Introduction to Jiangmen Central Hospital.” http://www.bjch.com/web/disp.aspx?data_id=3442. Accessed June 28, 2012.

“Zhang Xiao Bai: Bethune moved to Canada, “no return” Social News in China. http://www.8a6a.com/?p=212. Accessed June 28, 2012.

Deborah Shulman. “From the Pages of Three Ladies: Canadian Missionaries in Republican China.” M.A. Thesis for the Department of History at Concordia University, 1996. http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/155/1/MM18443.pdf. Accessed June 28, 2012.


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