Chua Cheng Chye (1922-2008)

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,

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

‘Fair is foul and foul is fair…’

Fraidden Dewan, swimmer,2006

Andrew Sia, a senior writer from the Star newspaper, wrote about Victor Chin’s photographic exhibition, in the Statmag, Sunday 17 February (read more). He highlighted that in Victor’s show, ‘Traditional notions of beauty and ugliness are challenged and redefined in an unusual exhibition that invites viewers to look at things from different perspectives’.

In the review Victor said that in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the witches cry: ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair…’ and that tragic play urges us to look at the human condition with all its varieties and varied forms when confronting difficult questions such as: what is beauty and ugliness, right and wrong, justice and injustice.

To the many disabled persons, either born with anomalies or was maimed through accidents etc. the first question in their mind must be ‘How can this happen to me, this is not fair, this is foul’. There are really no good or a bad, right or wrong, answers to this acute inquiry. Each individual has to find their own perceptive solutions to this question for themselves. Many of them do not find agreeable answers but there are also many who find their way out through sports and other recreations and creative endeavors.

From Victor’s point of view, the question of what is beauty or ugliness is not the issue. What is at issue is our generosity of spirit. How often do we find ourselves over crediting beauty of one type or group and under crediting others which seemed alien to us? To him beauty or ugliness is more plentiful then we can imagine and what is more useful is a sense of big-heartedness.

In his eyes what is asymmetrical and out of proportions can be beautiful and eloquent in a photograph or a painting. This is not done by hiding the unpleasant and unsightly parts but instead seeing it as it is, straight in the face of disability- there is beauty in ugliness.