Wu Teh Yao

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Wu Teh Yao (simplified Chinese: 吴德耀; traditional Chinese: 吳德耀; pinyin: Wú Dé Yào, 1915-April 17, 1994) was an educator and a specialist in Confucianism and political science.


After his graduation from Chung Ling High School in 1936, under the recommendation of Principal David Chen, he was admitted to Nanking University (now known as Nanjing University) for a course of Bachelor of Arts,[1] followed by a Master of Arts degree from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.[2] He obtained a doctoral degree in political science from Harvard University in 1946.[3]

He was an active athlete during his secondary school years. He has represented Malayan Chinese in National Sports Carnival, Shanghai, China, during the inter-war years.[4]



Professor Wu joined the United Nations after obtaining his degree and participated in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1951, he co-authored the Fenn-Wu Report on the Chinese education system in Malaysia.[5]

He was appointed the President of Tunghai University, Taiwan in 1957 and held the post until 1971. From then until 1975 he was the head of the Political Science Department, University of Singapore. He was a Professor and the Dean of College of Graduate Studies of Nanyang University from 1975 to 1980, and had been acting vice-chancellor from 1976 to 1977. When Nanyang University and University of Singapore merged in 1980 to form the National University of Singapore, he was appointed the Professor of Political Science.[6] He retired in 1981.[7]


Professor Wu had been a director of the Institute of East Asian Philosophies,[8] established by Dr Goh Keng Swee in 1983 in the interest of studying Confucianism.[9] The Institute has evolved into East Asian Institute as "an autonomous research organization under a statute of the National University of Singapore."[10]


After his retirement, Professor Wu, a modest person, lived in a HDB apartment in Jurong East, Singapore, and used taxi as his main form of transportation.[11] He died on April 17, 1994 in Taipei, Taiwan, and a memorial service was held for him at the Presbyterian Church in Orchard Road, Singapore. His youngest grandson, Bolin Wu, was only two years old.[12]


  1. ^ Chung Ling High School Old Boys' (Singapore) Association: 40th Anniversary Souvenir Magazine 1965-2005; p35. 2005.
  2. ^ NUS Libraries: Our Chancellors and Vice Chancellors: A Biographical Sketch.
  3. ^ NUS Libraries: Ibid.
  4. ^ Chung Ling High School Old Boys' (Singapore) Association: Ibid.
  5. ^ Chung Ling High School Old Boys' (Singapore) Association: Ibid.
  6. ^ NUS Libraries: Ibid.
  7. ^ Chung Ling High School Old Boys' (Singapore) Association: Ibid.
  8. ^ NUS Libraries: Ibid.
  9. ^ NUS: EAI: Institute's Profile and Objectives.
  10. ^ NUS: EAI: Ibid.
  11. ^ NUS Libraries: Our Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors: A Biographical Sketch: Addresses.
  12. ^ NUS Libraries: Ibid.

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