Sunday, 28 November 2010

Farewell to Lim Chong Eu

I took the decision late last night to join the Old Frees' Association representatives at the state funeral of Dr Lim Chong Eu today. As far as I am concerned, it was the right thing for my wife and I to do. We just had to give this Great Old Free a grand send-off on his last journey. We walked right behind the Penang Free School Band which had the honour of leading the procession from the Dewan Sri Pinang to the end of Carnarvon Street. Here are some photos from this morning.

In the years to come, these boys will remember their contributions to the passing of this era in Malaysian politics.

It was a pleasant surprise to bump into Hwang Hong Shi. Though never my teacher, he was quite prominent at the school. He taught there until 1973 when he was transferred out to Westlands Secondary School. He said the headmaster of his time, Yogam, simply did not appreciate what he achieved on the sports field - he was deeply involved in scouting activities at the school and was the swimming coach and twice had been at the SEAP Games - but all these were lost on the headmaster who had him transferred out. Eventually, he left the government service at 50 years old and joined the Uplands School and later the Penang Club as its general manager. 

OFA deputy president Khoo Boo Yeang in the foreground and OFA secretary Gerald Clyde with the placard. They were all wearing the official blue-striped School Tie.... (Photo by Chan Lilian)

...all except me and Sukhindarpal Singh. I was rummaging through my ties the night before but I knew my luck was stacked against me. I don't have that tie because I had not bought it. Years ago while still in the OFA management committee, I had preferred to be different and bought this one (which I wore) instead. I would still consider it sort of a school tie since it still sported the motif (the school badge) on it. Sukhindarpal, also an Old Free, happened to wander into the crowd and saw this bunch of Old Flers holding a placard and wearing the old familiar School Tie. "Hey, I'm wearing the blue of Penang Free School on my turban," he insisted. Turned out that he was one year my junior in school. Sportingly, he joined us in the procession. (Photo by Chan Lilian)

Here they are, the Penang Free School Band marching smartly down Kampong Kolam Road. Despite a bout of nervousness at the start of the procession - there were some false notes - the boys quickly warmed up to the task as we proceeded along the 1.4-kilometre journey. Mind you, walking for an hour under the hot mid-day sun from 11.30am is not everyone's cup-of-tea, especially when they have to carry the heavy instruments, but they did it admirably well.

Finally, the cortege bringing up the rear. It was almost at the funeral procession's dispersal point at the end of Carnarvon Street, where the Su Beng Dispensary once stood, where Dr Lim once practised as a medical doctor before turning to politics, where his father Dr Lim Chwee Leong had also once practised, and where his elder son Lim Chien Aun has now converted into his own real estate/valuation law firm. The chartered buses were waiting to ferry people to the Batu Gantong crematorium. However, this was where we stopped to retrace our steps back to our cars near the Dewan. But having walked at the head of the procession...

...we weren't prepared to see this scene which brought up the rear. It was an overwhelming sight to see the people of Penang turning out in force to give their former Chief Minister his grandest farewell. (Picture from The Malaysian Insider)

2 comments:

siao1 said...

Wish I could have made it back.

dakhoos said...

Hi SS,
Great tribute to Tun Dr Lim.
Tun's clinic is Su Beng Dispensary and Chien Aun is a property valuer and estate agent practising under his firm, C A Lim & Co.