Monday, 17 March 2014
Goodbye, Laurence How
On the way back from Hong Kong this afternoon, my wife brought this obituary in The Star newspaper to my attention. "You know him, don't you?" she asked. I was shocked and devastated.
Laurence How dead? He was one of my fast friends. I had known him through chess since the mid-1980s. He was then the secretary of the Malaysian Chess Federation and we got on very well. But excellent organiser though he was, he was bad at documentation. As a result, I've known people who had moaned about having to tie up his loose ends at the end of every chess project. That's the Laurence How I knew.
Apart from chess, our interests also extended to the Manchester United Football Club. When he left the post of MCF secretary in the mid-1990s, he set up the MUFC Supporters Club Of Malaysia in Petaling Jaya.
Football was Laurence's other passion. He told me once that he used to play football but a bad knee put an end to his playing days. In the early days of the supporters' club, I helped him out with a mailing list and website. Often, he tried to interest me in going to visit Old Trafford but I never could make the trip. There will not be any more trips with Laurence How. Going to miss you, Laurence...
UPDATE (19 Mar 2014): I was talking with one of his nephews yesterday. He told me that Laurence had been complaining recently about a lump in his throat and had been taking Chinese medicine. But about a month ago, he was persuaded to be admitted to a hospital where they diagnosed him with leukemia. He had undergone a course of chemotherapy and was in rather high spirits. Then about a week ago, some complications set in and he was placed in intensive care. Towards the end, his blood pressure dropped which was never a good sign. At the final moment, even the doctors knew that there was nothing more that could be done. Laurence passed away at about 1.45pm on 15 March 2014.
UPDATE 2 (20 Mar 2014): Apparently, I have just been made aware that I should know Laurence from way before the mid-1980s. If he was the first Secretary of the Chess Association of Selangor, then I should have known him from 1974. But yes, with my memory jogged, I do remember we talking a lot about Prof Dr Lau Kam Seng who was the CAS president before he migrated to Australia in 1976 or 1977. Laurence had such high regard for Prof Lau.