Zeng Guoyuan (simplified Chinese: 曾国原; traditional Chinese: 曾國原; pinyin: Zēng Guŏyuán; [tsə́ŋ kwǒ ɥɛ̌n]; 1953 – 16 November 2019), also known as Zeng Guoyan, Thomas Chan Hock Seng and, erroneously, Zeng Guoyung, was a Singaporean businessman, philanthropist, politician, author, and acupuncturist.
Chan Hock Seng
|Died||November 16, 2019 (aged 65–66)|
|Cause of death||Suspected suicide|
|Other names||Chan Hock Seng|
Zeng Guoyung (erroneous)
|Political party||Workers' Party (1991)|
Zeng entered politics in 1991, when he became a Workers' Party member; thereafter he renounced his affiliation to the group and became a perennial candidate in Singaporean elections, albeit always dropping out of contention at the last minute. Zeng was also an active acupuncturist who arranged for global meetings and operated an acupuncture centre in Singapore, later changing his focus to selling healthcare products after a string of molestation lawsuits initiated by his patients.
Zeng was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014; this necessitated the excision of his entire nose, which led to significant facial disfigurement, and he became a tissue paper peddler, abandoning his previous jobs. Zeng was found dead at foot of Geylang Bahru block, Singapore, on 16 November 2019.
Zeng was born Chan Hock Seng[a] in 1953, the eldest son of a clerk and a homemaker. Zeng became estranged with his siblings following a dispute regarding their father's will. A March 1987 Straits Times report states that Zeng's highest level of education was secondary school, but Zeng claims to have "a Doctor in Science degree, a Doctor in Medicine degree and a PhD in Complementary Medicine". Between 1977 and 1978, he was President of Dale Carnegie Alumni Association's Lion Chapter of Singapore, an oratorical society.
Zeng was once a safety officer at a Shell production platform at Pulau Bukom. He officially became a member of the Singapore-based political party Workers' Party (WP) on 18 August 1991 because "the PAP government obviously wants an opposition in Parliament", and was fielded as a candidate for the Bukit Timah Single Member Constituency in the 1991 Singaporean general election. He netted a quarter of the 22,000 votes cast, losing out to the PAP's Wang Kai Yuen. Zeng decided to leave the party that year because, in his words, "in politics, all the crows are black". In a 1996 lawsuit he was involved in, Zeng stated that he contested the 1991 general election only to gain publicity for his acupuncture business.
After leaving the Workers' Party, Zeng became a perennial candidate for election in Singapore. He ran for the Mountbatten Single Member Constituency during the 2006 Singaporean general election, but was unsuccessful. Believing himself to be ineligible for candidacy, Zeng decided not to take part in the 2011 Singaporean general election. He had been present at a nomination centre, with the relevant documents in hand, but upon being reminded of an offence he committed in 2009 he ripped them into pieces and stormed out of the venue while repeatedly underscoring that "they have fixed me up" and "you (the reporters present) know what it is all about" without any elaboration. A news anchor at scene observed that Zeng's nomination papers had been left blank all along.
In May 2012, Zeng announced his intention to contest the 2012 Singaporean by-election, but did not complete the nomination process. Zeng alleged that he was informed that he could not contest because of an offence he had incurred four years ago – scolding two police officers with vulgarities, to which he argued it was his bird that committed the deed. It was later clarified in an official statement by the Singapore Elections Department that Zeng "did not file his nomination papers". During the 2013 Singaporean by-election, Zeng decided not to contest as he suspected a conspiracy against him, claiming that he first needed "the President's pardon". He also explained that he wanted to give in to candidates of higher caliber than him, adding that "fools rush in where angels fear to tread".
In August 2015, he declared that he would be contesting the Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency, pledging to "fight until the end", but after less than a week he changed his mind, citing his being the only independent running his good ties with Chiam See Tong and not wanting his participation to cause a three-cornered-contest as reasons for his withdrawal. Furthermore, he revealed he could not have secured the election deposit alone and was relying on his "fifteen compassionate backers".
Having studied the subject in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Zeng was an acupuncturist, and organised acupuncture meet-ups[b] as the president of the World Acupuncture Voluntary Organisation (WAVO).[c] After Zeng published controversial and self-admittedly "misleading" advertisements of it in 1991, the 28th World Congress of Acupuncture and Complementary Medicine, which was supposed to have taken place in Singapore, changed its host country to the Republic of China. Zeng, in defence, cited 'miscommunication' with the Medicina Alternativa Institute in Sri Lanka. He also blamed the local press for this happening and promptly left the Singapore Acupuncture Association. As a philanthropist, Zeng funded the construction of a mosque in an unspecified Bangladeshi village.
Zeng was the founder of the Prof Zeng's Medical Centre, which used to be an Upper Serangoon Road-based acupuncture centre. It moved to Toa Payoh, at which the sole basis of operations became selling healthcare products, including slimming oil and a "hair regrowth shampoo" made of vegetable and chocolate. He also owned a MacPherson-based store. He drew attention when he used photographs of President of Singapore S. R. Nathan to endorse his healthcare products, in 2007. The act was deemed as "outrageous" by one Singaporean lawyer, who added that it may constitute defamation. Zeng's Medical Centre folded after he was diagnosed as having cancer.
In 2002, Zeng self-published a book on the September 11 attacks, titled Why The World Trade Centre Collapse So So Fast? (sic). The work, which contains numerous references to the 1976 monster thriller King Kong, was banned by the government upon its release. Zeng was listed as an honorary international advisor of the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines, and was the only Singaporean panel member.
Media and public imageEdit
Zeng's eccentric personality and mannerisms earned him considerable coverage in local media, and is frequently referred to as Parrot Man, a moniker that came about after Zeng blamed his pet parrot for committing a crime he was charged for. Benson Ang stressed the controversy surrounding Zeng, describing him as "Toa Payoh's nutty professor". Tessa Wong of The Straits Times acknowledged that his appearance during elections "does add colour to what is otherwise a serious day".
Others facetiously dub him as an "election veteran" in Singapore while noting his tendency of not filing his nomination papers and his public antics; Ilsa Chan, writing for Toggle SG, billed Zeng as "the candidate who never gives up" but found his backing out of the 2015 general election bizarre. Singaporean comedian and blogger Lee Kin Mun, better known as mrbrown, portrayed Zeng in a satirical video on the 2013 Punggol East by-election.
Zeng is notable for his unorthodox, Arab-style clothing, often appearing in his "signature" thawb, accompanied by either a red-and-white keffiyeh or a golden scarf. An image of Zeng, outfitted in a baju kurung and songkok, during the 2011 Singaporean general election is available from the photograph repository of the National Archives of Singapore.
Zeng was married to Lili Han Yizi (Chinese: 韩仪子; pinyin: Hán Yǐzi; born 1956),[d] and they had two sons King Yee and King Yew.[e] A 26 March 1987 The Straits Times report on Zeng stated that his English name was Thomas. In a 1996 lawsuit he was involved in, Zeng claimed to have a net worth of ten million dollars. He reportedly took "more than 10 minutes" to recite a list of his qualifications, which included "Senior Professor of the Colombo South Government Hospital" (a claim debunked by the hospital itself) and "Professor at the Medicinal Alternative Open University in the USSR and Open University of Sri Lanka". In a series of promotional advertisements the same year, Zeng proclaimed himself to be a "Senior Professor Doctor Sir".
Zeng attracted criticism for his unconventional behaviour. Certain acts of his in public "annoyed" some individuals; this included the playing of high-volume videos and Zeng's loud singing. Others opined that his acts provided some form of entertainment. Zeng reportedly was an avid boxer and a taekwando instructor. He was also interested in water sports; he owned a speed boat, in addition to Scat, a hovercraft made in America. In December 1991, Zeng was involved in an accident while on his leisure craft Yeeyew, which he had purchased for $80,000 as a tin jubilee gift for his wife. Items on the boat valued at tens of thousands of dollars were lost to the sea. Zeng was hospitalised for a short period following the incident.
In February 2013, Zeng sustained a rib fracture and internal bleeding after a traffic collision. Zeng sued the owner of the van involved, OJJ Foods, and the matter was settled out of court in December 2014. In 2014, Zeng underwent surgery to remove his nose, due to terminal nasopharynx cancer; in spite of that, the cancer metastasised, and Zeng had a portion of his large intestine removed shortly afterwards. His thyroid and salivary glands were also removed for unspecified reasons. Heavy in debt, he mortgaged his house in May 2015. He peddled tissue paper outside a Chinese temple at Queen Street until late 2016. Travelling about on a three-wheeler he bought in 1995, Zeng began frequenting Geylang Serai and Ngee Ann City in 2017. He resided with his wife at a "jumbo flat" (comprising two units) in Geylang Bahru until it was destroyed by a fire in September 2017.
While on the 1991 campaign trail, Zeng stated his religion as Roman Catholicism. In April 2011, Zeng announced that he was a Muslim and had adopted an Islamic name, Muhammad Ali. Whilst the trial of Kong Hee was underway, Zeng endorsed him as a "good preacher" capable of "bring(ing) people to the Lord", adding that he was a Christian who had donated large amounts of money to City Harvest and attended many church sessions. In addition, Zeng claimed to still be partly Buddhist and that he visited Buddhist temples on a regular basis. When asked for clarification on his religion, Zeng said:
In 1981, Zeng was fined $400 for an advertisement of his which was against the law. In March 1987, Zeng was found guilty of publishing a newspaper advertisement which advertised his piles and pain treatment services – a breach of the Singapore Medical Act. He was fined $1,500. In March 1988, a clerk filed a lawsuit against Zeng, attesting that he had "kissed her and touched her breast in his clinic" during a hair-loss and weight-gain treatment session in November 1986. Zeng countered that the accuser was merely making use of him to get her "jealous" boyfriend's attention, labelling the case as an "extortion bid". He was found guilty and fined $2,000, but the conviction was rescinded in March 1990, following an appeal by Zeng.
In December 1991, the owner of a white Mercedes-Benz limousine lodged a complaint against Zeng for not having paid for his vehicle, which he rented in November of that year, during the General Election. Initially refusing to pay, he later complied and no charges were filed. In June 1994, Zeng was charged with assaulting and threatening two male individuals, a claim which he initially refuted. The victims were his neighbours, and one of them was businessman Ho Peng Keong. Zeng was ordered to pay a fine of $4,000.
In April 1996, another female patient of his claimed that Zeng had outraged her modesty at a treatment session at his acupuncture centre. During the trial, Zeng refused to settle in court, repeatedly stating that he was a "knight of Saint John"; the claim was found to be untrue.[f] His antics were likened by a police officer at scene to that of a "Shakespearean" actor. Maintaining his innocence to the end, Zeng was nonetheless found guilty and sentenced to four strokes of the cane and some eighteen months of jail time, which was increased to ten strokes of the cane and twenty-seven months of imprisonment following a failed appeal. Zeng had claimed in his defence that the "nasty" victim was spitefully making up lies after he rejected her. Efforts on his part to postpone the sentencing, on the grounds that he was mentally disabled, were unsuccessful. It was noted that Zeng's antics in court were "aggravating factor[s] that the Court could take into account in sentencing".
During that period in jail, Zeng alleged that he was stripped of some of his basic rights; he claimed that as a result of being denied access to clean bathing water, he had developed painful rashes near his rectum. He added that the police in charge of him called him crazy and wanted to "put him in a psychiatric cell", and also accused them of forcing him to confess through physical means.
In 2008, Zeng was charged with using abusive language on two police officers. He was found guilty of violating section 13(D) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act and fined $2,500; it was reinforced in Public Prosecutor v Zeng Guoyuan  that "the tariff for using abusive/threatening language or behaviour is a fine of $3,000". In around October 2009, a lawsuit was filed against Zeng for placing at his two stores banners of escaped terrorist Mas Selamat bin Kastari – which he argued were merely sunshades – without official permit. The banners were accompanied by large one-word notes all reading "Death". The trial concluded with Zeng deciding to spend three weeks in jail, instead of paying $3,000 in fines.
The management of Ngee Ann City "called the police more than 30 times" in early 2017, alleging that Zeng was "masquerading as a cripple to sell tissue-paper packs"; Zeng countered that they were simply "not happy" and "jealous" and dismissed their allegations as "nonsense". Additionally, a notice urging passers-by not to donate to Zeng was put up by the mall. Zeng was charged with begging, using abusive language on a police officer, and assaulting a Ngee Ann City security officer. In August 2018, Zeng was arrested for disorderly behaviour in Orchard Road. Two months later, he was arrested in Geylang Serai for assaulting two police officers. In October 2018, former police officer Seah Chin Peng was charged in a district court for deliberately damaging Zeng's walking stick two years ago and attempting to suppress the truth behind its destruction.
Zeng was found dead at the void deck of 68 Geylang Bahru on 16 November 2019 at 21:45 (GMT+8). The cause of death was not immediately known. Zeng's neighbour recounted being awoken by a loud thud and found Zeng lying motionless in a pool of blood.
- Why The World Trade Centre Collapse So So Fast? (2002) (self-published; [ISBN unspecified])
- Ooi Boon Ewe, another Singaporean perennial candidate
- He adopted the legal name of Zeng Guoyuan as an adult; Zeng being the non-romanised version of his surname, and Guoyuan signifying his desire to be a useful asset to Singapore ( [sic]). 家的资
- Often doubling as a "medical consultant".
- Supposedly headquartered in Singapore, but regarding which no credible third-party information exists, apart from a brief 1988 report of a WAVO signboard "needling" a Singaporean male and denting a car after accidentally falling.
- She is erroneously referred to as "Han Yiyu" in a May 1989 Lianhe Zaobao report.
- Both go by the 'Chan' surname.
- More specifically, he alleged he had been awarded the "Order of Sovereign Military" by the "Order of Saint John of Jerusalem" in a self-promotional advert.
- "Acupuncturist touched my breast, says woman". The Straits Times. 4 March 1988. p. 19.
But the acupuncturist, Zeng Guoyung, 36, instead accused her of cooking up the story to seek the attention of her jealous boyfriend.
- Loh, Nancy (5 March 1988). "Acupuncturist tells of couple's 'extortion bid'". The Straits Times. p. 12.
Zeng Guoyung, 36, told the magistrate's court [...]
- "Accused fails in bid to taint key witness". The Straits Times. 12 April 1988. p. 16.
The trail of acupuncturist Zeng Guoyung, accused of molesting a woman patient, was yesterday adjourned until August.
- "Instruments used 'could have touched woman'". The Straits Times. 13 April 1988. p. 12.
Zeng Guoyung, 36, is accused of kissing (...)
- "Trial of acupuncturist adjourned". The Straits Times. 14 April 1988. p. 18.
Zeng Guoyung tendered a transcript of a tape [...]
- "On molest charge". The Straits Times. 9 November 1987. p. 24.
- Zeng, Guoyuan. Why The World Trade Centre Collapse So So Fast? (2 ed.). Prof. Zeng Medical Centre International. p. Introduction.
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- "Syarat untuk ikuti latihan". Berita Harian (in Malay). 5 June 1988. p. 3.
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- "Association's View". The New Paper. 17 May 1991. p. 2.
- "Hair Regrowth by Prof. Zeng Guoyuan". Retrieved 3 March 2015.
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- "Election regular Zeng Guoyuan sells tissue paper in a wheelchair". Lianhe Wanbao (in Chinese). 26 June 2015.
- "Advertisements". The Straits Times. 14 October 2002. p. 3.
- "Honorary Advisors (International)". Indian Board of Alternative Medicines. Missing or empty
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- Wong, Tessa (15 May 2013). ""Parrot man" Zeng Guoyan shows up for City Harvest trial". The Straits Times.
He gained the nickname "Parrot Man" for blaming his pet parrot for getting him arrested and charged in 2008 for using abusive language at two police officers.
- Wong, Tessa (21 January 2013). "Same actors, different script". AsiaOne.
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- 医师非礼女病人案法庭下午聆听陈词 (Closing remarks of case of accused doctor). Lianhe Wanbao (in Chinese). 4 August 1988. p. 5.
- 针灸师非礼女书记罪名成立罚款两千 (Acupuncturist found guilty of molestation charge, fined two thousand). Lianhe Zaobao (in Chinese). 6 August 1988. p. 5.
- 针灸医师被控非礼女书记案 双方作了最后陈词推事庭订今天下判 (Molestation case: Final statements from both sides made, verdict to be out today). Lianhe Zaobao (in Chinese). 5 August 1988. p. 5.
- 针灸师潜水救妻儿 [Acupuncturist braves waters to save wife]. Lianhe Wanbao (in Chinese). 8 May 1989. p. 1.
- Seetoh, K.F. (11 March 1989). "Acupuncturist's new love". p. 14.
- Leong, Chan Teik (8 May 1989). "Dad dives to save family trapped in sinking boat". The Straits Times. p. 28.
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- "Son says he peeped as dad treated". The New Paper. 5 September 1996. p. 7.
- "Court hears of his 'assets of $10m and five properties'". The Straits Times. 14 August 1996. p. 46.
- "Advertisements". The Straits Times. 29 February 1996. p. 6.
- "Advertisements". The Straits Times. 14 October 2002. p. 3.
- "Stricken boat salvaged, but family's valuables missing". The Straits Times. 9 May 1989. p. 13.
- Zeng Guoyuan @ Chan Hock Seng v. Ong Joo Joo Food Industries Pte Ltd  State Courts (Singapore)
- "Messages, gifts of support continue to pour in for Mr Lee Kuan Yew". Channel NewsAsia. 21 March 2015.
- 患3癌剩半年命無家歸‧選舉常客廟前賣紙巾 [Stricken with three cancers; selling tissue paper]. Guangming (in Chinese). 25 June 2015.
- Wong, Peiting (13 August 2017). "'Parrot Man' in tussle with Ngee Ann City management". Today.
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- ""Parrot man" Zeng Guoyan leaving the Subordinate Courts" (video). The Straits Times. 14 May 2013.
- 法庭相信女病人证词 针灸师曾国原非礼罪成罚二千 [Court believes female patient, fines Zeng $2,000]. Lianhe Wanbao (in Chinese). 5 August 1988. p. 30.
- "Acupuncturist wins appeal in molest case". The Straits Times. 27 March 1990. p. 22.
- "Limousine squabble". The Straits Times. 23 November 1991.
- "Zeng Guoyuan pays up for his limo". The Straits Times. 7 December 1991. p. 32.
- "Charged with hurting 2 men". The Straits Times. 24 June 1994. p. 31.
- "Workers' Party man denies punching two men". The Straits Times. 28 October 1994. p. 33.
- "Workers' Party man fined for hurting neighbours". The Straits Times. 15 November 1994. p. 24.
- "PC tells court: I saw businessman walk up to acupuncturist's gate". The Straits Times. 30 September 1994. p. 30.
- "I was mistreated in police lock-up, says acupunturist". The Straits Times. 29 August 1996. p. 33.
- "Accused cries in court, saying again that he was set up". The Straits Times. 4 September 1996. p. 19.
- "Advertisements". The Straits Times. 6 January 2003. p. 5.
- "Shakespearean Drama". The New Paper. 4 September 1996. p. 11.
- "After: Smacks and Shouts". The New Paper. 14 September 1996. p. 6.
- "Acupuncturist guilty, gets jail and four strokes". The Straits Times. 14 September 1996. p. 1.
- "Zeng gets higher penalty". The New Paper. 16 July 1997. p. 12.
- "Public Prosecutor v Chow Yee Sze  SGHC 259". Singapore Law. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
Zeng Guoyuan v PP  3 SLR 321: 9 months for each of the three charges of massaging the breasts and groin of the victim in the course of an acupressure and acupuncture session; [3 strokes for each charge involving touching of breasts and groin]
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- "So you think you are the CJ..." The Straits Times. 19 July 1997. p. 46.
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- 表示有意到蒙巴登参选 曾国原：是否符合资格待当局查证 [Potential candidate Zeng doubts his own eligibility]. Lianhe Zaobao (in Chinese). 23 April 2011.
- "Man fined $3,000 for Mas Selamat banners". AsiaOne. 8 December 2009.
- Goh, Timothy (26 August 2018). "Parrot Man Zeng Guoyuan arrested for disorderly behaviour in Orchard Road". The Straits Times.
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- Alkhatib, Sharib (19 October 2018). "Police officer accused of damaging 'Parrot Man's' walking stick and then lying about it". The Straits Times.
- Lai, Linette (17 November 2019). "'Parrot Man' Zeng Guoyuan found dead at foot of Geylang Bahru block". The Straits Times.
- Daud, Sulaiman (17 November 2019). "66-year-old, believed to be Zeng Guoyuan the 'Parrot Man', found dead in Geylang Bahru". Mothership.
- 选举常客曾国原昨晚坠楼身亡 [Perennial candidate Zeng Guoyuan dies after falling from height]. Zaobao. 17 November 2019.
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