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Daniel Chua Oon Hian

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27th February 1955 – 24th May 2014
My papa, my hero

This page is dedicated to a man by the name of Daniel Chua Oon Hian, loving husband and wonderful father. To the children, he is adoringly called “papa” and to his wife as “Daniel”.

Papa was born on 27th February 1955 and he was called home to the Lord on 24th May 2014 at 10.42 am in Gleneagles Hospital. We all love and miss him very, very much…even till this day we all think of him.

Papa's Story

Papa Daniel was born on 27th February 1955 in a poor family, and without a father figure in his life. Without money or father to guide and take care of the family, life was tough.

But papa, he wasn’t the type to complain. He wasn’t the type to wallow in self pity either.

Instead, he focused all his strengths, hopes and wisdom into improving his and his family’s lives. He helped to fix whatever he could, in the house – this eventually led him to be very good with his hands. He could fix anything – be it cars, housing.

He learned a very crucial skill which he would talk about later in his life – his ability to observe and learn a master at work, and then reverse-engineer the solution he wants. He’s done this for noodles preparation, coffee, and even the home improvement stuff.

When nothing needed fixing, he was very good at nurturing and caring – he loves fishes such as kois and tetras, he loves dogs. He would build aquariums and custom made water filter for the fishes.

He won a scholarship to New Zealand for his tiertery education, but as his mum had no money to send him there – they couldn’t even afford the plane ticket – he skipped the scholarship.

Undaunted, he decided to work full time as a medical sales representative, and to study for his Higher School Certificate (HSC), which is equivalent to an A-Level cert today. He would work hard in the day, and at night, he would return home and study through the night.

He was a hardworking man, and his level of dedication was obvious, even to his then boss, who supported his education and encouraged him to go for night classes to take his High School Certificate (HSC). This HSC would then be the key to embarked on his new path of life – being an Income Tax Officer of Malaysia, in the Seremban branch.

It was not long after that he met and married our mum, Yen, and then came along four children – Nicholas, myself (Nigel), Vanessa then Rachel.

Our life in the early stages were tough – we didn’t have much money, but where we lacked money, we had a close family. We would scrimp and save and do the best whenever we can.

My papa is an upright man, and he doesn’t take extra pocket money to whomever he serves in Income Tax. Sometimes, I had wished he had done so, but now, looking back, I’m so glad he didn’t. He carried an upright and honest and integrity-filled living.

I’m proud of that.

Papa would then go on to keep working to keep the family going – he had worked 37 years for the Income Tax of Malaysia, and was schedule to retire at the end of 2014…which is the same year he was called to the Lord.

Papa is an amazing man, wonderful father and loving husband. Yes, we all had our communications challenges, but truly, papa is the best – he is the best. No one else will ever come close.

Papa, you’re my hero.

Talk soon, when we meet in heaven ya. =)

Papa's Hobbies and Leisure

My papa, as I recall, has the following hobbies and leisure

The presence of God and His word

Papa really loves God – he spends hours poring through the bible and seeking the Lord. He spends much time praying too, seeking God to understand and feel His presence. I remember that he used to buy bible after bible after bible, saying that different bible has different interpretations, and he wants to see the “full scope” of what is written of God and Jesus. Sundays mornings and noons are dedicated church and God timing – he would wake up early in the morning and get everyone up to go to church together. Often, the girls will be late, and this always irks him and he’ll be grumpy and drive fast…to which we will then tease him by saying:

“Cannot ah…we going to church now…”

And he’ll just keep quiet.

Haha, that just brings a smile to my face.

Movies and TV dramas

According to my siblings, in the last few years he has been ardently watching korean dramas (yes, those sappy, sappy ones) with his new large screen TV. And he's gotten so used to watching these shows that he's been asking me again and again to buy a TV so that I can watch TV to relax too – hahaha, this man is so cute.

Rearing his favorite fishes of koi and recently tetra fishes

Papa loves his koi fishes – he even built a fish thank to house them, built his own water filter that is custom made to ensure the water pH and quality is of a certain high standard. All these allowed the fishes to thrive and grow almost to 50, 60 cm length, with very vibrant colors! And we were never able to appreciate his and love for this, only he could appreciate it. He decided to let his koi fishes go as he found it too taxing physically and financially as he grew older, and he slowly moved towards rearing tetra fishes – which are also very tough to rear.

Rearing dogs

Papa used to rear large killer dogs, such as bull terriers and rottweilers – and he was very good at it. I’m not sure if he used to sell or give them away, but I know each time the dogs had puppies, we named each of them and then gave them away with tears in our eyes… When we moved to Johor Bahru from Seremban, we couldn’t rear dogs anymore because (1) we had little money and (2) there were no space. We didn’t start rearing dogs until much later, where we started to pick up strays (one a time), of which, it was him who was the one in the end who took care of them (thanks papa).

Bonsai Growing fruit plants and trees

Only in the recent years of 2010 – 2014, papa started to be more passionate on growing his own fruit plants and trees. He would look for good fruit seeds that is suitable for planting, or saplings, and embarked on a few mini-projects in the garden…that drove mum mad. He made his own grape plant ladder, and grew grape plants – but until today, it hasn’t had any fruits as of yet. I had wished to take papa to New Zealand and give him a farm land there where he could either make it into an orchard for any sort of fruit plants that he wanted, or even have his own animals. I’m pretty sure that he’d love it there =)

Electronics, Electricals

He loved his electricals and electronics. Apparently, according to a Mr Gan, owner of a multi-chain electricals and electronics store in Malaysia, papa would visit his stores at least twice a month in search of interesting and nice stuff that he could buy. Papa would buy stuff such as a new big HD TV, which you could plug a thumb drive and play dramas straight into it; he bought an electrical bicycle so that when he retires, he can save money by cycling to buy his groceries instead of driving around. He bought and installed several air conditioning units in the house, as the house was too hot; bought and installed fans that could be switched on and off with remote controls (to my mum’s horror), but I like the idea of remote controlled fans.

Handyman & Household Maintenance

Papa is very, very good with his hands – he would single handedly fix almost everything in the house that isn’t working well – from the lamps and lights, to the fans, to the pipes and plumbing. Even the car. Everything would be maintained tip top by himself, with as minimal costs as he could. He’s really good. He was the one who also helped me install the dual headed tap in my own house in Singapore, so that we can have a water filter (papa was also quite big on water filtration). From what I understand, as he grew up in a house without a father, and without money, he had to learn everything from scratch to help his mother, our amah.

Papa, The Music Lover

Papa loves music, and he often turns to music, which seems to soothe his soul. He would spend hours listening to his favorite music, and oftentimes he would spend listening music with his friends and family.

He used to build his own hifi and music sets and combined them on his own, to create his own music entertainment system. In fact, he’s built his own speakers from scratch by hand before too, and even sold them off before – twice! Music that he enjoys tends to be more chill in the older days – think Frank Sinatra and other bossa nova titles; but in the recent years and decades he’s listening to more God and Christian praise and worship.

Below are two of his favorite albums.

Stories and Testimonials of our papa, Daniel Chua Oon Hian

As papa was a quiet man, and doesn't share much about himself (it was always about helping someone else, taking care of work, his family, the dog, the garden), and we almost never hear or meet his and friends, so, naturally we were very pleasantly surprised by the huge number of turn-up and positive eulogies and stories about our papa.

Do you know Daniel Chua Oon Hian personally?
Or you have heard about him before?
Or that he has personally made a positive impact in your life?

Please share and tell us more – we want to know all and more about him, to preserve our memory of this wonderful man we call papa.

Below are all the stories and testimonials shared in the comment. Do share your story in the comment section too!

41 thoughts on “Daniel Chua Oon Hian

  1. We Grieve With You – Peng

    Yes my sister Yenhee, Nicholas, Nigel, Vanessa and Rachel. I ask the same question to God and I grieve with you all.

    But we will all miss Daniel Chua.

    God wanted Daniel Chua home and I ask him why take him home so young! Answers do not come and I see the Lord looking upon you all with great love.

    He does not give an answer now. Daniel Chua is with God and when we see God and Daniel Chua face to face, the real answer to which you are seeking will be revealed then.

    In the meantime we remember Daniel Chua always. Yet as a family go on loving Christ, serving Christ and love each family member deeply. God will give you all the strength to go on for HIM, out LORD and knowing that Daniel Chua is forever in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This fact comforts us all including you Yen Hee, Nicholas, Nigel, Vanessa and Rachel.

  2. That Famed Angry Look – Nancy

    Mary and Yen..so sweet of you all to give all the sharing of Daniel…sure we all miss him but his image is always very clear in my mind especially his sweet n cheeky smile and also when he was angry…that famed look…YenHee can confirm, right? =D

  3. Daniel loved dogs – Mary

    Last September I took pity on a stray dog and took her in. Initially my dog, Babby didn’t get on well with the stray Princess.

    Daniel told me I did the right thing taking Princess in and that I just needed to give her time.

    To make things worse after 2 weeks I found out that Princess was expecting.

    Again Daniel told me not to worry, don’t turn Princess to the streets he will take care of the pups when the time comes. The 6 pups came end of November and once they could eat solid food.

    Daniel made arrangements with Dr Edwin to take the pups. Early January Dr Edwin sent his staff to my place to take the pups and also Princess was spayed! The 6 pups had gone to good homes within a week thanks to Daniel’s help.

    Daniel really loved dogs.

  4. Such a thoughtful man, always thinking for God, family and friends – Mary

    When Daniel and I came to the investigation unit in 2011, we had to go to Kuching for our course. Once we landed at Kuching airport we got a taxi to go to APN our training centre. It so happened that the taxi driver Mr Boon was such a nice man. Daniel had the presence of mind to get Mr. Boon’s contact number. We were in Kuching for 2 weeks which means we had to spend 1 weekend there. Daniel had scouted around and not only found the Methodist Church but had also made arrangements with the pastor to send a church member to pick us up on Sunday morning to attend service. Such was his walk with God.

    His family is always, always on his mind. He sourced for materials for each family member and proudly showed it to us when we we were in Kuching.

    We didn’t see any material shop at the waterfront because this shop closes at 5pm and we ladies are always late.

    The next day Daniel went to this shop and got the proprietor to keep her shop open until we got there!! He was just amazing… to go through such lengths for us.

    On my next trip to APM, Daniel gave me Mr Boon’s number and that made my trip from the airport to APM that much easier. I have ever since then used Mr Boon’s taxi service when in Kuching. In April 2014, I met Mr Boon and he asked me how come Daniel didn’t come. He said he would like to meet Daniel and I told him he would surely meet Daniel before he retires.

    1 week after Daniel’s passing I informed Mr Boon and he was shocked.

    Mr Boon said “Daniel looked so strong, I was looking forward to meeting him and listening to his many stories.”

  5. Daniel was never vengeful – Yen

    he doesnt have a vengeful heart. even with his position in his office he never seek to be vengeful. he always says let God judge them, but we are not to take things in our hands

  6. Comforted by his devotion – Yen

    as i browse through his devotional journal, i was also comforted that he seek god and make efforts to draw near to God

  7. Daniel was always worried for non-believers – Mary

    It is months since Daniel has gone on to be with the Lord. I recall him telling me a few times that “when I die Jesus Christ is there waiting to hold my hand and lead me to heaven.

    But for those who don’t have Jesus, who will show them the way? Buddha? Muhammad?

    But they have died and remain dead.”

    Now it is with great comfort that I recall his words which shows his steadfast unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ who has led him home.

  8. Day 10 – Vanessa

    Papa, I came home today. Like every other time, I’m excited to come home, to see you and mom and be home. Still unable to grasp the fact that you’re gone.

    Miss your smile, and how you will fetch me from the airport, then take me for a meal.

    It’s been ten days. And I miss you everyday. I still wear the same clothes, walk the same streets. Only that it’s a whole new dimension of things, the heartache is overwhelming. I wished for normalcy. For you to come back and sit at your favorite chair, long to hear your snores while you sleep.

    Sometimes I still see you everywhere pa.

    I’m afraid that i’ll forget you. I’m afraid that i’ll be preoccupied with other nonsense in life that I’ll think less and less of you. And i’ll forget what an amazing papa you are.

    I want to forget everything because, it breaks my heart so much. That you left. So fast. I didn’t say I love you. I didn’t say goodbye.

    I miss you everyday papa.

  9. Hand in hand – Rachel

    My papa;
    He protects and loves.

    He holds my hands when,
    we cross the roads together.
    He makes sure he is on the side which,
    if, we ever gets hit by the traffic;
    he would be the first to get hit.
    He always walk next to me,
    or; beside me.
    He never walks ahead of me;
    because he doesn’t even allow,
    a single, innocent careless mistake.
    He always tells me to walk first.

    he always put me first;
    or not,
    we walk side by side,
    sometimes,
    hand in hand.

  10. Still can’t get over the sudden loss – John

    Still can’t get over the sudden lost of a close friend, like a brother to me who is so dearly missed but remains in our hearts with Love. Bye Bro. Daniel.

  11. Just realized the music he enjoyed is amazing

    Now am listening to music from papa’s list of his favorite songs, such a melancholic mood.

    Now I miss listening to his music, his presence and his quiet playing of his music.

    Realized the music he enjoys is actually quite enjoyable.

    I would have loved to listen it with him. 🙂

  12. Miss the conversations and his smiling face – Mary

    Just now staff from CSi JB were at Daniel’s place, pointing out to the grapes on the vine and his bonsai. They we’re saying that he used to talk about all these things…sigh. They also said that he still has that smiling face today!

  13. The custard apple tree from Daniel is fruiting – Nancy

    D apple custard tree is bearing alot more fruits now moreso I hve to take very good care cos d fruits are sweet n big n not easy to get locally…..d one dat I show was d 1st fruit . So far I hve got eight fruit trees fr Daniel .

    Mary you may want to visit my garden one of these day.

    Take care all of you.

  14. We will remember Daniel – Nancy

    We hve him in our heart n rest assured dat brother Daniel is now feasting wth his many friends in heaven n wth our Lord.

    I just visited my garden n everytime I see d fruit plants of Daniel’s choice, I will give txs to God for giving me such a friend like him…as I’ve said Daniel will always be in our mind.

  15. His unlit office is saddening =( – Mary

    Daniel’s room at the office…

    It has been dark for the past few weeks. But then I was waiting for Daniel to be back at the office. This morning I passed by his room with so much of heaviness knowing he won’t be there ever.

  16. He brought salt?? – John

    Once Daniel , myself and another classmate went cycling from Seremban to Port Dickson in our bashed up secondhand old bicycles. We didn’t have expensive carbon fibre framed racing bikes, we didn’t have mountain bikes with front suspension. We didn’t know how important it is to were a helmet!!! Yet we cycled all 26 miles on tar road on a very hot Sunday morning just to take a dip. On reaching the beach we had a bit of cramp on our legs, no breakfast la!!! So, Daniel insist we all take some salt??

    Not a spoonful but a huge handful, and he was thoughtful enough to grab some from the kitchen. After that we did not suffer any leg cramps but other body parts, maybe. Haha.

    The handful of salt saw us through our next 26 miles back to Seremban, exhausted.

  17. He would slice lots of fruits for us whenever we’re sick

    Whenever we fell sick, he would prepare lots of fruits for us and take us to see doctor, even the best ones

    But for himself he won’t do the same and he will scrooge on himself

    He gave his best all the time

    My papa Daniel is my hero, the best father in the world

    No one can come close, he did his best and I am truly grateful for that

  18. Spent hours in music – John

    Daniel and I used to share our liking for music, it’s more like listening to music played on an expensive machine. He will scout around for the best buy, consult even the next door auntie if necessary, preview the system at the hifi shop until they already changed salesman then splurge his hard earned Ringgit. I would just tag along and sometimes give my two cents worth of advice, nothing technical just some billshit.

    We would spent hours tweaking the system, changing the music type, shifting the speakers positioning, checking the inter-connect. …did criss our mind to change the house instead or have a dedicate music room. Ah Ying would be patiently preparing food and doing house chores. His love for dogs is also exemplary, a true dog lover. He didn’t tell me what happened to his pitbull though?

  19. Papa’s really a music lover

    Papa Daniel is really a music buff, I remember he built his own speakers that worked so beautifully well…so well that people bought it from him…He really enjoyed his music…but stopped because he got too busy…

  20. He loves his aquarium and fishes – Mary

    He loves his aquarium and fishes too. It is also included in his conversations. In fact he has a small aquarium in his office room. He decided not to throw in any fishes because he was going to retire soon. But he helped purchase aquariums for our staffs and gave them good advise on how to rear fishes. He has a great passion for bonsai too. Just last month he gave me a potted santalia as a retirement present. He told me he is doing one for my boss En. Suhaimi Salleh.

    The list can just go on and on about his passion for life…

  21. He will take leave for our exams, every time

    Whenever we all have major exams he would take leave and prepare us special drinks and wait for us anxiously in the car for us to come out

    Then he’ll feed us lunch and send us for our next exam and repeated the same for every one of us.

    Every single major exam.

    This really shows his dedication and commitment. =)

  22. He’s very protective of his gifts to others – Nancy

    There was once he bought me a fruit plant, and as someone liked it, I gave it away. When he found out, he gave me his famed look…

  23. Funny cola moments

    I remember also how he used to scold us for buying sweet drinks like cola….WHILE he poured out a cup for himself!

    And drank it in front of me, whilst STILL scolding me – it’s like WHAT??

    Oh papa, how I miss you.

  24. He’s a very family man – John

    On a lighter note. During school days when we were training going for volleyball, the girls team were also training going with the boys side by side. Daniel u a ed to tell me which girl he likes. Sorry, Ah Yin. See, I Know Him That Well.

    We all have our little innocent infatuations, hence you could find all sorts of posters in every teenagers room. Daniel is no different. During our school days till the very day his character hasn’t changed; the very caring type, homely and family oriented, thrifty on himself but spendthrift on others, always willing to lend a helping hand, never complaint and keeps most things at heart.

    These are the traits I admire him the most. He has with delicate loving care brought up a family anyone would be most proud of, but he never takes any credit for that. Always saying these hard work comes from his loving and dedicated wife.

  25. Daniel fought many a good fight – John

    We all may have or are fighting our own wars, no one knows. Some battles scars are evident when you look at the person, some are hidden in their hearts and souls. Daniel fought many a good battles and won most. This one last battle God told him to take a break.

  26. All fathers in the world should be like him – Felicia Lee

    I would never forget and am forever grateful for the conversations I’ve had with uncle Daniel and for the invaluable life lessons he’s taught me..

    I’ve always thought that all fathers in the world should be like him.

    He is a blessing to one and all whom he has crossed paths with..

    I’m deeply saddened by his passing also but at least I know he is now in a place with no pain.

    And I take heart in the fact that now he’s probably having conversations with God and making God smile…

  27. Very considerate and caring – John

    The last we met was during CNY where we had simple Japanese food and he didn’t want to order much. That’s how considerate and caring he was.

  28. He treated me more than a brother – John

    He is well liked by everyone, even though he is one year my senior somehow we became good friends even during working life. He treated me more than like a brother and I truly value that from the bottom of my heart. Words can describe how I am feelingright now. I really miss you, brother Daniel.

  29. Daniel is a wonderful guy – John

    Daniel is such a wonderful guy everyone would miss dearly, especially his beloved family. My deepest and heartfelt condolences to Daniel and family.

  30. I miss you brother Daniel – Nancy

    I really miss him too, m at my garden since I got news of his departure to heaven. Looking n thinking n feeling his presence for d time he gave advises of how to handle plants n fruit trees n telling me what fertiliser to use n also having his favourite coffee. All these will never ever erase from my mind. I miss you bro Daniel…….Chua’s family , God be wth you all.

  31. We miss you papa…

    We all will miss him a lot

    All the little things that he did for every one of us…from his noodles that he cooks, to choosing and slicing the fruits the way he does, to his quiet patience, to the way he tries to be quiet when he’s really happy… he’ll be surely very missed

    We miss you papa…

  32. There’s no one like him in the office – Mary

    I lost someone who shared God word with me…I don’t have another person like him in my office. I will truly miss him a lot.

  33. Every morning he would be there.

    Every morning papa would be there for us.

    When we were schooling, he would wake up before us, prepare breakfast for us, and then drive us to school before going to work.

    Even when we started taking the school bus, he would still wake up before us, prepare breakfast for us, and then see us up the school bus.

    Everyday. Without fail.

  34. Papa, guess what?

    You’re gonna be a grandfather soon! Louise is expecting a baby girl…and my heart is already melting for her.

    We hadn’t decided on her English/Christian name yet, but we’ve already more or less set her chinese name, which will either be Chua En Hui or Chua Hui En, I like Hui En (I think it sounds better), but the meanings are the same.

    Actually, it’s quite difficult to choose a name – it feels as though that will determine much of her future.

  35. Papa Really Loves His Gadgets =)

    I remembered papa asking me to look specific la for this multiple point plug; he was impressed with it as it has its own mini switches and that protects the multiple appliances it connects to.

    Papa had called me to describe to me the plug, the company with the brand of a three pronged leaf; and the power point plug “must have three switches with different colors” on it.

    It brings a smile to my face.

    Oh papa, you’re quite cute actually.

  36. The quiet man

    He’s a quiet man
    Always doing his own things
    Be it in the garden
    In the kitchen
    In the room
    Taking a nap
    Never imposing
    Well sometimes
    But he’s my papa
    My quiet papa
    Papa, it’s even quieter now
    Since you’re no longer with us.

  37. Despite the pain, God is good all the time

    God helps us in so many ways la

    I long and wished and begged for papa to live, yes he didn’t live 🙁

    But that doesn’t mean God isn’t good. That doesn’t mean God isn’t here. That doesn’t mean that God is not doing anything.

    There is so many things I give thanks for.

    My parents.
    My siblings.
    My work.
    My wife.
    My possible baby.
    My life.
    My experiences.
    My pains.
    My sorrows.
    My tears.
    My troubles.

    You see me, every one of you. You’ve seen my tears, my good, my bad – I give thanks for them all.

    I am so sad to lose papa.

    Terribly sad.

    Anguished.

    That doesn’t make me say God is not good.

    He is very good, our God.

    He is very good.

    He is the God papa raises his hands to every week, pore over the bible every day.

    He is my father’s God.

    And He is my family’s God.

    Do I miss papa?

    Yes.

    So much.

    So much pains. So much regrets.

    Yet so much joys when I think of papa too.

    So much irritating points, as I recall he calls me to buy funny infomercial stuff.

    We all love papa, and he loved us, in his ways.

    He always say that we only have each other, so let us help each other.

  38. My Papa, My Hero
    Eulogy by Nigel Chua (2nd son)
    25th May 2014

    Hi everyone, thank you for being here today. If papa was alive today, he would be very happy to see all of you here, and more than happy to ensure that you are all comfortable, well fed and happy. Seeing all of you here, paying your respect and giving your time to my papa, makes me very happy. On behalf of the Chua Family and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here.

    The last 3 weeks have been very difficult for me. It is very difficult for me to stand here and share this with you. I have so many thoughts, so many regrets, so much to say and do, but there is no more time with him. I’ve been too busy. I’ve been in Singapore since 2002, graduated in 2005, worked in a hospital till 2008, and started my own practice till then…I’ve been busy building the practice till today 2014. My goal is to work hard now, and spend more time later when he retires.

    This meanst that I see him roughly 12 times per year, or once per month. This doesn’t give me much time to get to know him – to me, when I meet him, it’s often a simple meal, simple conversations, simple small talk.

    It’s so difficult to come back to his house, where everything here reminds me of him. On one hand, the pain is so close to heart and sometimes overwhelming…on another hand, I want to be as close as I can to him – I can only do this once in my entire life. I still think I will hear his voice, the sound of his footsteps as he comes down the stairs, his quiet smile.

    From the day he passed away, the whatsapp update channel that I created to update people, it gradually became a channel where people who knew him started sharing about how papa Daniel had changed their lives.

    Let me read you some examples:

    Auntie Nancy:

    I really miss him too, I am at my garden since I got news of his departure to heaven. Looking and thinking and feeling his presence for the time her gave her advice of how to handle plants and fruit trees and telling her what fertilizer to use and also having his favorite coffee. All those will never erase from my mind. I will miss you brother Daniel. Chua’s family, God be with you all.

    Uncle John:

    he is well liked by everyone, even though he is one year his senior somehow they became good friends even during working life. He treated Uncle John more than a brother and I truly value that from the bottom of my heart. Words cant describe how I’m feeling right now. I really miss you, brother Daniel. During our school days till this very day, his character hasn’t changed – very caring, homely and family oriented, thrifty on himself but spendthrift on others, always willing to lend a helping hand, never complaining and keeps most things at heart. These are the traits I admire him the most. He has with delicate loving care brought up a family anyone would be most proud of, but he never takes credit for that. Always saying these hard work comes from his loving and dedicated wife.

    Pastor Joshua:

    I remember whenever I went to his office to consult with him for his taxation purposes, he would always be waiting downstairs, in front of his office building for me. He does this each and every time I visit him.

    Rachel:

    in all things my papa taught me, be it academics, sports or life, is how to be just a human. He taught me how to love others in an unlimited, selfless and unconditional manner, be it for family or friends or strangers. Whoever. Always make it such that, it looks effortless, easy and a piece of cake; eventhough it is definitely hard and a struggle. You don’t say and show these things; all because of love. you don’t say how hard it is; you don’t say how much you do or did; you don’t say how much you give; you don’t say how much you sacrifice; you don’t say how much it costs; you don’t say how much it takes to do it, and to get it done. You don’t say these things, all because of love.

    From myself (Nigel):

    my papa taught me so many things, from how to choose watermelons and durians, how to avoid the bananas that have been treated with carbide, to how to grow and maximize my business, how he used to take leave on our major exams, prepare breakfast for us, drive us to our exams and wait anxiously for us…how he would keep quiet during the journey on days of our exams because whenever he shared with us during the journey, our anxiety will increase by like a thousand times…whenever we’re sick, he’ll be the first to take us to see a doctor. He always told me to dress my part, look presentable, and that I cannot be too “lock-cock”.

    The sharing in this chat group led to a discovery, of a side to a man I had never known before. I have never seen that side of him before – I am intrigued, I am interested, and it deeply saddens me with such sorrows, knowing I will now never find out more from him directly, but from people who have been touched by him.

    From what I’ve been hearing and reading about what people say about him, it’s safe to say that he is a very private person. Never boastful, but always willing to try his best to help another. He doesn’t want to impose on others, and never wanted to be a burden to anyone.

    Today, allow me to impose on you, what my memories and thoughts of this giant of a father and man. He doesn’t like to share much about himself, but I want to tell you about him. I will take my time to share of him.

    This papa of mine, he’s so quiet, to me, he’s always been “just” papa.

    I think that’s what he wanted me to know him as.

    This papa I know loves God, loves his family, loves music, loves his koi and dogs, loves good and cheap food and is an excellent handyman in the house and for his cars.

    I didn’t even know he’s one of the top guys in his office – he often refers to himself as the “lowests of the lowest” in the office…so when the state director came to visit, I was shocked. Clearly he’s not the lowest, and is one of the top boys there. The state director was singing praises about papa, about his commitment, how he is a very very good worker and colleague, and the entire department suffers a tragic loss.

    I too, am suffering a tragic loss.

    A short description of my Papa

    Papa was born in a very poor family, with a single mother. No money no father, he had to help out quite a bit in his house. He didn’t complain. I just found out from his sister, my auntie, that he won a scholarship in New Zealand, but his mother was too poor to be able to get money for his air tickets, so he skipped the scholarship.

    Instead, he went to work as a medical sales rep, saving money by eating only roti canai or also known as roti prata.

    He didn’t complain.

    His work ethics and character was so good that his boss help support his part time studies. He would work hard in the day, and study hard through the night. Yet, he didn’t complain.

    He would then marry my mother, Yen, and go on to have four children – Nicholas, myself, Vanessa and Rachel. Life was tough, we had very little money. I remember eating a lot of taugeh and the “cheap fish” as my mom calls it, and lots of eggs and lots of rice. Yet, he didn’t complain.

    Shamefully, it was me who had complained more.

    My mom would often tell me how embarrassed she was of me, as I stood at the windows of KFC and McDonalds, drooling and dirtying the windows. We were that poor.

    I remember that we would have to give him back all the ang pao money that we received during chinese new year, as he didn’t have enough to give. In the past, I had been annoyed with him, thinking why should I return money that I had received.

    I couldn’t understand that he doesn’t have enough money.

    But now looking back, I can understand how he must have felt – it’s a terrible feeling to feel that one cannot provide enough for his family. I know because I have a wife, and no children yet, but still I worry and work so that there’s always more than enough for my family. For this, I am so sorry to have put him through that.

    He must have felt really terrible.

    Yet, he didn’t complain. He was wise, and knew we didn’t understand.

    He would then continue working diligently over the next 37 years in income tax, be the best he can be, and climb the ranks. He was never the sort to chase promotions – he would always tell me – be the best in the field, and your money and promotions and all that will come.

    In this work this time, there was complains here and there, but still, he went to work diligently. His goal was to ensure his four children have their education, and we have to take it from there. For this to happen, he would then slowly stopped listening to his favorite music, and scrimped and save for his wife and children. He spent a lot of money for us – our tuition fees must have crippled his money, costing thousand plus in a month, which is a lot of money then.

    As I share, I can’t tell you how my heart aches and longs for my papa.

    I can summarize my growing understanding of my father into 4 main words beginning with G:

    #1) Godliness

    My father often said that he felt bad for being away from God for so long, and his dream was to bring his family and children to church together. That’s how we got started in JB Wesley close to 15 years ago. He would go almost every Sunday, unless something cropped up, but really, Sunday church is a very big thing for him. He would wake up very early, wake everyone up and all would go together. The girls are often late, and he would scold the girls for being late and cause him to rush – he didn’t like to rush.

    And whenever he’s mad we would tease him by saying “ah, going to church ah, cannot be so mad” and he would keep quiet.

    In the last few years, ever since he was posted to klang, he had much time on his own, and he pored hours and hours over God’s words in much details. We would then go on to debate and banter over theological ideas and Jesus’ teaching. Papa is a very God-fearing and God-loving man, who wished to introduce Jesus to our lives and he succeeded.

    #2) Generous and Thoughtful

    Papa is a very generous man, he gives all the time. He is a philantropic socialist, he tends to give as much as he can indiscriminately, and this have been a point in contention a few times with me. Being a capitalist – I prefer he holds on a little bit more, so he has more for himself, instead of giving everything out.

    I always tell him to pay himself first, and then pay everyone else…but he would do the other way around – he pays everyone first, then pays himself last. I often teased him that he would be much better off if he did it my way, and he wouldn’t cause too much over-dependence on him, but he never argued with me, he would say “Nigel, you don’t understand.”

    But I do understand – it is a very tough thing when one doesn’t have any money. I know he grew up without money. I know he has lost opportunities before, because he didn’t have enough money, and he likely doesn’t want other people to suffer like he did.

    On top of his generosity, he is very thoughtful and considerate. You would hear again and again, stories of how he is so considerate.

    Even when he went to hospital, he didn’t want to tell us, his children, because he didn’t want to worry us. Even when he was sick, he would stubbornly refuse to be brought to the doctors.

    Papa loves to give. As I am quite busy and simple, I don’t ask for much. He always offered to buy me things such as TV, shoes, clothings – all of which I often reject. My thoughts are always to help him save money, especially I don’t watch TV, I have enough shoes and I don’t need more clothing. I buy them in advance and during discounted sales.

    Looking back, it’s just his way of quietly showing his love. I think he has a deep want to provide for his family.

    But one thing I never rejected from him was that he always buys me cloth, which I send to the tailor to make my pants. All my pants are made from the cloth he bought for me. Because I had told him before, mass-made pants didn’t suit my stocky body.

    I didn’t know how detailed he went into the choosing of the cloth, but thinking about it, the colors he picked always are suitable for me. My papa knows me and my taste. I didn’t know about the quality until I brought the cloth to the tailor and the tailor gave me the “highly approved look” (show on face) and told me it’s good quality.

    Papa really dotes on Louise, and would always ask me to bring Louise home, he always asks for her. Whenever she’s around, he would find some excuses to buy her durians, or crabs or whatever she likes.

    Oh papa, how I long for you to be still here with me.

    Perhaps I should have allowed him to buy me more things, because now, I will never again have the chance to receive anything from him in person, ever.

    You know, even in his death, he gave life to another man. A patient was admitted to the hospital he was in, and when the doctor saw the similarity in condition, the doctor quickly sent that patient to Singapore. That patient survived. My father didn’t.

    #3) Gentleness & Graciousness

    My papa never asked me for much.

    Never once did he ask me to increase his pocket money. He always wanted to return his pocket money to me, and often ask me to take it back and use it. He was always afraid that I wouldn’t have enough, and again and again I will tell him, that the money every month that I set aside is for him to use, as extra, as a son, for my papa. Then he will keep quiet and I think I see a slight smile on his face. But he always turned away quickly, I think he doesn’t want me to see.

    Never did he asked me for grandchildren, not even once. This is my deepest regret as a son – that he never got to carry or care for his future grandchildren. Not even one. And his grandchildren will never meet this amazing man.

    I’ll be frank with you, I have resented him for a bit of time in my life, especially when I always felt that we were so poor, we didn’t have enough money, and the family was always fighting over the lack of money. This all changed one day, when I was scammed in Thailand, and I was cheated of over six thousand Singapore dollars.

    I wanted to fly over to Thailand to get my money back, but my papa told me over the phone – he said

    “Nigel, please don’t go. I’ll give you the money. Please don’t go. You may want to fly there to get back your money, but I’m afraid I’ll never get you back. Please don’t go. I’m afraid of losing you.”

    That melted all my resentment, and I started to see him in a different light.

    Papa, please don’t go. Don’t go away. I want a little more time with you. We’re just so close to making it.

    #4) Garangness

    This word means both “fierce” and “relentless” – he would often be lovingly called a “fighter cock”, and this was confirmed by Pastor Benjamin yesterday, where Pastor Benjamin said that if he sees papa running in his direction, he would just run away.

    Papa is a very relentless and persistent man, stubborn to a fault. Yet, it is his “garang”-ness that built this family, built his legacy of Godliness, Generosity, Gentleness and Garang-ness – all this traits you can see in his four children.

    Pastor Benjamin had said that papa challenged him to a fight once, saying

    “Benjamin, I dare you to stand up now and fight me” and Pastor Benjamin dare not stand up.

    Now, I’ve shared how he was a fightercock and how Pastor Benjamin dare not stand up to fight him…now imagine what happened whenever he was angry with me.

    He has beaten the shit out of me before. Slaps la, hose la, hanger la, whatever la.

    But for those beatings, I have never hated one of those, despite the pain – it was always to teach me something that I had done wrong, and I thank papa for that today.

    ==============

    It’s the all of the above that has driven me to be who I am today. Previously, when I resented him, I always said that “I am not my father”.

    Today, I am proud to say, I am my father’s son. His four values above are the core values that keeps me going forward, and I take comfort in the fact that when he left us, it’s just a temporary good bye, and I will see him again in heaven. The bible says that a day in heaven is a thousand years on earth. It would be just a blink for him before I’ll see him again.

    Actually, I’m more comforted that he’s likely having a good time with Jesus right now – maybe papa is enjoying fruits in the Heavenly Garden, or fishing in the Heavenly Seas, or feasting with Jesus, or finding more about the things we had discussed in our theological debates, of just fellowshipping with Jesus.

    I will just have to be patient and wait, and live my life the best I can, for the glory of God and the pride of my father.

    To my earthly father, my papa. You are my hero.

    You have fought the good fight, you fighter cock.

    I love you, I miss you, I am so proud of you as a father, as a man.

    You are the greatest father in the world, to me.

    I’ll see you when it’s time and we’ll catch up then.

    You did good papa. You did real good.

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