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Chua Cheng Chye (1922-2008)

November 10th, 2008

Chua, in the nursing home, making his point, in his usual expressiveness

Chua went back to his Lord on the 7 November 2008

Chua’s funeral service at Wesley Methodist Church, Malacca, 9 November 2008

The last bugle salute at the crematorium at Melaka Memorial Park, 9 Nov 2008

In Memoriam

Our teacher, Headmaster, choir master, singer, song writer, youth leader, youth counsellor, church lay leader, scouts master, Captain of the Boys’ Brigade, friend and co-conspirator.

Chua died, age 86, peacefully, on 7 Nov. at the hospital due to old age. He died a ‘Bujang Lapuk’, (a song title which he loved by the late P Ramlee) a pennyless bachelor. Though he may have been poor in the normal material sense, living just off his pension, he was rich in spirit. His body is dead but his soul lives on through the memories in countless minds.

His generosity with his time and money (when he had some) was hard to match. Anyone, young and old, of what ever religion, colour and social status, can approach him and if can help, he will always do his best to help. Of course his was not a magician or an angle. He too had his limitations like everyone.

Everyone who came to his funeral has their own stories about their encounters with Chua and we hope those who did not make it to ‘his last journey’ may be able to do so through joining in memory of Chua through with comments in the many internet links which some of us have started. Here is the first one,

http://macsian85.blogspot.com/

Hopefully there will be many others contributors and we can then put the story of Chua’s life on the net.

Meeting after ten years

January 30th, 2008

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Awang Goneng/Wan Hulaimi, author of recently launched Growing up in Trengganu , is one of Victor Chin’s few old friends. They have lost touch with each other for more then ten years. How this could have happen to their friendship puzzled both of them. However, last week they finally met when Hulaimi was in town to launch his book.

Victor invited Hulaimi to visit to his photographic exhibition In the Face of Disability currently at the KLPac until 29 February. Hulaimi later wrote in Victor’s visitor’s book, ‘Victor, I’m v. happy to see you progress from one neglected aspect of KL to its ‘neglected’ people, and you’ve taken in your embrace more then just KL people. Remember how we once tried to save ‘Court Hill’? Well done.’

Their meeting brings back a lot of fond memories of their early friendship and ‘activist undertakings’ in Kuala Lumpur (KL) in the late 1970s. One of their projects was a public campaign to stop the demolition of the first court building in the city, located in Court Hill, in the heart of KL, where the present Malayan Banking Headquarters is now standing. Obviously, and not surprisingly, their early efforts came to nothing.

Later, Hulaimi and his wife went off to London to work as correspondent for the local newspapers. In the 1980s and 1990s, Victor continued by using his paintings of old shophouses facades to crusade for a more humane conservation policy for old buildings in towns and cities. His drive at that time also did not add up to much against the continuing demolition of important inherited Malaysian historical architectural legacies, in the name of development.

There is a word in Growing up in Trengganu (page 233), kkenang’, that best describes the mood of their recent meeting in KL. ‘Kkenang‘ in Trengganuspeak can mean melancholy, lost, approval and includes remembering with rejoicing or reproach. But in this case it is not the latter. And they have both moved on in their own ways.

One of the many facets of the art of writing or photographing, is how sometimes the writer’s books or the artist’s visual statements; the beauty of their thoughts and constructions, might perhaps press the readers or viewers towards a greater concern for justice – ethical equality.

One of the many insights to the human conditions that Hulaimi writes about is ‘what we have lost in our deliberate acts of greed’ and Victor too shows what we have forgotten in our race to monopolies the few basic supply needs of human beings.

To ardent admirers of Awang Goneng this blog is not about Victor Chin claiming to have the same level of artistic talent or gift as the author. Far from it. It’s just about friendship.