Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The demise of an extraordinary Malaysian sports personality - Datuk Ho Koh Chye

Just a few hours ago Datuk Ho Koh Chye took his last breath, and the sporting world shockingly had to receive the news of his sudden demise. To many it is unbelievable news, as Koh Chye was a trim and a fit personality. Many calls were made to recheck the news in the hope it was not our Koh Chye. God's Will prevailed, the unbelievable turned out to be the truth. Many who knew him and had conversations with him mere hours early are totally stunned and speechless.

A hockey international, a national coach, a teacher, Deputy Director General of NSC, Chairman of MHF Coaching Committee, Team Manager of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic team, member of Sports Advisory Panel and recently Chef De Mission of Malaysian contingent to 2008 Beijing Olympics were some of his key roles. His resume is pretty long but all that becomes history as we cast our memories of this unique person.

It is not the list of achievements alone that made Koh Chye such a distinguished human being. It is more his inter personal relationship, his concern for people. Ask most of the hockey players at school or national teams, who have had the opportunity to have gone through his hands, they all would have interesting stories to tell of this caring gentlemen. It is his patient nature of hearing out problems and his non confrontational way of resolving issues that is very much the way he gets things moving. Koh Chye had the science and art of getting out the best in people, yet he is not pushy nor a task master.

The other nature in him was his meticulous approach to issues. He takes a step by step approach in understanding the issues and accordingly he would dissect them to find the"cause" and thereupon the"cure". More often he would direct the response in such a manner as if the whole idea originated from the party responsible for the problem. Remembering all these styles of Koh Chye just brings tears to my eyes.

Having known him for over 40 years, I have not seen a day that Koh Chye lost his "cool". In victory or defeat, joy or sorrow, good or bad, Koh Chye always found the appropriate words to suit the occasion and the temperament of the people. This was the man, nothing would "shake" him or shatter him. The term "cool as a cucumber" befitted his nature.

In the years I have known him, his commitment to family life was second to none. His wife the ever smiling Lee Siew Chan quietly played her supportive role in Koh Chye's greatness. She completely complimented her husband but remained in the background. It is this partnership that helped to further blossom Koh Chye's extraordinary caring qualities for mankind, particularly the sportsmen.

As I sit to pen my thoughts of Koh Chye, many are going to miss him as I am. His presence gives that caring aura and his demise would mean we would miss such a physical aura other than the memories. Maybe we must learn to accept his sudden demise and remember all the moments with him. Again in our own ways we must help to advocate his principles and some of his approaches in handling issues. In this manner we continue the Ho Koh Chye's mission to bring greatness to Malaysian sports. That is the best gift we could give the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye.

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