Tan Kah Kee’s Scholarly Legacy

Xiamen covers a relatively small administrative region yet has three highly regarded universities and other educational institutions, many of which are historically linked to overseas Chinese philanthropists who sent money back for their construction. The photo above shows Jimei School Village which was founded by Mr Tan Kah Kee who made his fortune through rubber plantations and manufacturing businesses.


He also donated millions of dollars to establish Xiamen University (above) and what would later become Jimei University (below) which both have particularly beautiful campuses well worth a visit just to stroll around and enjoy the old traditional buildings and tranquil lakes. Interestingly the buildings use a  unique blend of Western and Chinese architecture with red brick walls and glazed tiles on more traditionally shaped roofs.

Jimei University Lake

Such was his contribution to education in Xiamen that a museum was recently opened (below) to chronicle his life’ work and there are many statues of him dotted around the city. There’s quite a lot of content translated in English but possibly a bit much for a short visit. The beautiful garden is the main attraction.

Tan Kah Kee Memorial Museum

One thing which struck me was how impeccably clean Xiamen is in comparison to most Chinese cities that are often more than a bit grimy around the edges. Apparently, the city was recently voted China’s cleanest and one can imagine that student life here is pretty nice, something which I always appreciated and miss from my time studying in Durham (UK).

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