While serving as a pastor at the Zengcuo’an Church in Xiamen, Fujian, my grandfather, Cai Zhenxun, was appointed as the family tutor for Elder Zhuo Quancheng’s eldest son, Zhuo Rensong. As young Zhuo progressed to middle school, Elder Zhuo advised him, saying, "As you succeed in your future, you must take good care of your teacher, providing support in his twilight years until his passing." After the Chinese Civil War (1945–49), sticking to the promise that “business is built on trust,” Elder Zhuo kept mailing ten yuan to my grandfather through the postal service from the time he was facing life’s challenges because of unemployment at Shima Town, Longhai City, until my grandpa's demise on March 19, 1968.
Recently, the calligrapher and painter Mr. Zhou Min sent a book titled Gulangyu History: Celebrity Painting Biography from Xiamen, which he himself painted. In the book, he published a portrait in Chinese style crafted for Elder Zhuo Quancheng with a narrative of his life story.
As recorded in the book, Zhuo Quancheng was born in Zhangzhou, with his ancestral home in Nan'an. Beginning as a thirteen-year-old apprentice at the Tongying Fabric Store in Xiamen in 1905, Zhuo rose to become a manager by the age of 21. Afterward, he served as the chairman of Xiamen Shuangshi Middle School in Fujian as well as a treasurer in the church, which led to his continuous support of education and social welfare throughout his entire life. At 40, Mr. Zhuo was elected an elder of his committed church. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the fabric store transitioned into a public-private partnership. It became one of the largest fabric shops of the year in Xiamen, specializing in credit sales, tailor-made garments, and large-volume wholesale.
Moreover, Elder Zhuo also donated to the Xiamen Huaqiao Hotel, Zheng Chenggong Memorial, and Zhuguang Primary School (now Dingan Primary School) in previous years.
Married to Mrs. Lin Shuilian, Zhuo and his wife raised five sons and six daughters. The elder son, Zhuo Rensong, was a professor at the Fujian Agriculture College (now Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University). The subsequent son, Zhuo Rensheng, was a Doctor of Architecture in the United States. Being a famous specialist in architectural mechanics, he was once the consultant for the Three Gorges Dam project. The third son, Zhuo Renxi, was a famous chemist, serving as a professor at Wuhan University and being honored as an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The youngest daughter, Zhuo Mingxiu, served as the director of pediatrics at Xiamen Municipal Hospital (now the First Afflicted Hospital of Xiamen University) after graduation from Fujian Medical College and was elected as an Elder of New Street Church in Xiamen for four years.
(Reference: Gulangyu History: Celebrity Painting Biography by Zhou Min)
- Translated by Poppy Chan