The press has now started calling the case the Seven Widows Case. This is in a way an allusion to a famous case in 1908 that was called the Six Widows Case. That case went on to the Privy Council and established that in the Federated Malay States polygamy was allowed in the Chinese community as the marriage rites of the Qing Dynasty applied. But the Privy Council also held that all wives were equal when it came to the distribution of the Chinese husbands estate even though this equal distribution of property even though this was not the case in Qing Dynasty China. This was partly because the British thought that the Chinese rule was unfair.
The nameless son states that his Uncle is Yap Kon Lim. I am treating this as an uncle in the western sense because this is evidence in a court to an English judge and I expect they would feel a need to explain the Hakka use of the term uncle if they were not using it in an English sense and they didn’t do such an explanation. But I am on shaky ground here. An uncle can be anyone who is trusted by the family. He may just as well be a fellow clan member.
The nameless son states that he stayed with a great-Aunty but we don’t know if she was a maternal or paternal great Aunty.
The nameless son also states that his newly born brother was adopted by his grand uncle Yap Kon Lim
Malaya Tribune, 30 November 1939, Page 5
Chinese Estate Claim
(From Our Own Reporter)
HEARING was resumed in the Perak Supreme Court yesterday before the Hon. Mr. Justice C. M. Murray Aynsley in the civil suit in which the seven widows of Yap Swee, deceased miner of Menglembu, are involved.
The plaintiff, Ng Yoon Thai, fourth widow of the deceased, claims from the other widows a share in the estate by virtue of the fact that she is a lawful widow of the deceased.
Plaintiff is represented by Dr. H. Y. Teh and Mr. Ong while the defendants are represented by Messrs. H. D. Mundell and H. R. Rix.
In the hearing yesterday, witness for the plaintiff were called, among them being the children of the plaintiff.
Studying at School
The 11 year old son of the plaintiff said that his father was Yap Swee who had died. Witness was studying at school at present. He remembered his father. They lived in Menglembu and later went to Ipoh.
While in Ipoh, his father used to visit them often and each time he came he used to give witness money.
They then went to Kampar where his mother gave birth to a child. That child was given away. It was given away by his father.
There was a feast at the giving away of the child to Yap Kon-Lim, his grand-uncle.
Witness’s father used to visit them in Kampar often and each time he came there he used to give witness money.
The case concluded yesterday evening when judgement was reserved.