Introduction & About Yolanda

Yolanda Beh

Ms Yolanda Celine Beh died suddenly on 17 December 2010 at home, a few months after her 70th birthday. Her death shocked her family and friends because she was seldom ill. She was always active, travelling a few times a year, especially after her retirement on 6 September 2002.

Yolanda had a wide circle of friends and was a well-known and respected librarian. She spent 34 years as the Foundation Librarian of the Southeast Asian Ministers’ of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Language Centre in Singapore.

She was a Life Member, of the Library Association of Singapore (LAS). She  had served in the LAS Council as Vice-President, and in various capacities in LAS Committees.

Librarians, colleagues, non-librarians in Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Australia, write of their relationships with her to honour Yolanda, and to share their memories.

If you missed the call for contributions on Yolanda, you can still add your comments on our blog. The PDF version of this special issue on Yolanda is also available.

About Yolanda

Born: 6 Sept 1940,  Rangoon, Burma

Family: Father: Beh Teik Jin; Mother: Dorothy Mary Ong; Sisters: Theodora Caroline, Pauline Patricia, Jacqueline Marie, Imelda Marin; Brothers: Bernard Andrew, Ronald Joachim, Walter Philip


  • 1962: Bachelor of Arts (Hons), University of Malaya, Singapore
  • 1964: Master of Arts, Indiana University, USA


  • 1962-63: Librarian, Geological Survey of Malaysia
  • 1965-66: Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library, New York
  • 1966-68: Library Assistant [Professional], University of Malaya Library, Kuala Lumpur
  • 1968-2002: Foundation Librarian, Regional Language Centre (RELC), Singapore

Interests and Hobbies: Church work, charity work, reading, traveling, speed walking, fine arts, attending concerts, plays, operas, museums

Sources: Edward Lim, Ho Chooi Hon, Lim Kim Lian, Ch’ng Kim See, Sunday Times, 19 December 2010: 37

The name Yolanda is derived “From the medieval French name Yolande, which was possibly a form of the name Violante, which was itself a derivative of Latin viola “violet”. Alternatively it could be of Germanic [or Greek] origin”. It was popular in the 1940s.