Born in 1898 during the Qing Dynasty to a poor family in Shantou, Guangdong Province, Teresa Hsu Chih (許哲) has spent most of her life helping the poor, the destitute and the elderly. When the Sino-Japanese War broke out, Hsu gave up her job to serve as a volunteer to help the injured. The experience led her to decide to become a nurse at the age of 47 when the war ended. As she was overaged, she wrote a special request to the Nursing Council in London to accept her as a student. Touched by her sincerity, the council accepted her application and she went on to serve as a nurse in England and Paraguay before returning to join her family in Penang, Malaysia.
In 1961, Hsu joined her older sister in Singapore, shortly before its independence, and together they established and ran the Home for the Aged Sick, where she served as matron up to the age of 85. Shortly after retirement, she went on to establish the Heart to Heart Service Centre to bring necessities to the homes of elderly and destitute woman. Now affectionately known as Singapore’s Mother Teresa, Hsu tells her story in this video for TEDxSingapore which was held a few months ago.