At King George the Fifth School (KGV) in Seremban, the school motto is "Veni Vidi Vici" - " I came, I saw, I conquered". Datuk Ho Koh Chye was a teacher of KGV and I must say that the school's motto seem appropriately tailor-made for him. Everything Koh Chye undertook in his life he seems to have "conquered" except immortality.
8th. December.2008, about 500 people turned up at 10.00 am at the St. Ignatius Church, braving the weather for the Service. Indeed i heard someone saying that "the skies are even crying". I am not shocked, as it could be the truth. Koh Chye was such a human being and he always was fond of using the term "the sky is your limit". That was Koh Chye's advice to motivate and get people moving and therefore the skies must also have "wailed" for him.
It was interesting to see Koh Chye's KGV teaching colleagues present at the Service. The Headmaster who "headhunted" him, K Anandarajan was reciting privately the qualities of Koh Chye, particularly the "swimming pool" incident, in which Koh Chye had a hand to play. Indeed K Anandarajan in bringing various teachers together to KGV had in fact created a "Sports School" then. Mind you this was way back in 1968. The Headmaster was assisted by the ever loving Ung Tat Hean, the Senior Assistant, who joined in the conversation describing how Koh Chye gets the sporting activities going between teachers and students. Ung Tat Hean felt this kept a close rapport between students and teachers outside the classroom.
The other teachers present were V Kumaraguru, Low Tee Boo, Francis Dilenberg and one Mr Chong. All of them shared the passion of sports and, more so, were friends to the students. Very much in the mould of how Koh Chye would deal with his charges.
All these teachers and hundred others including a sizable number of former hockey internationals gathered at the Service to bade him farewell for his final journey. The cross section of people were unbelievable, even Datuk Vythilingam of Hindu Sangam was there The ever indulging media friends like Citizen Nadeswaran, Terence Fernandez, Johnson Fernandez and George Das were busy in conversation of Koh Chye. Nadeswaran And Terence were concerned that Sports Parliament would not be the same anymore with Koh Chye's demise. Randhir Singh a former media chap and a close compatriot of Koh Chye was in tears as the hymns were sung.
The choice of hymns and the Service was excellent and the eulogy speech by Koh Chye's buddy for nearly half a century R Yogeswaran brought light to the humility, caring and simple nature of Koh Chye in dealing with mankind. As Yoges spoke tears were rolling down his eyes. Koh Chye's daughter Adeline Ho in her speech thanked everyone present on behalf of her mother and brother as she was choked with emotions. Asia's fastest man in 1966 Dr Mani Jegathesan, the last person to have a telephone conversation with Koh Chye was in a sombre mood probably recollecting the conversation.
A special mention must be made of the former hockey internationals. They came from Olympic eras of 1956 namely Wilfred Vias and P Alagendra, while the 1964 had Arulraj and Paramalingam and the 1968 had Harnahal Singh. The ones who came in full force was Koh Chye's 1975 team and it was good seeing K Balasingam in full suit and busy organising the 1975 team as part of the"Guard of Honour". Former players like Franco De Cruz and Phang Poh Meng flew in from UK and Canada respectively. That is the level of respect they have for their former coach.
Then there were the slightly younger generation from the Stephen Van Huizen to Maninderjit Singh (Mike) era who came out to constitute the bulk of the "Guard of Honour". The idea of the players forming a "Guard of Honour" and holding the hockey stick upside done came from Mike, who solicited the support of Yoges. Stephen Van Huizen and Sambu had a major hand in organising the former internationals. The former players did their part to bade farewell to Koh Chye's final journey.
The physical attachment with Koh Chye has come to an end. Still there is the memories of the work he has done for sports and for mankind. This is what his friends must cherish and continue his work for the betterment of Malaysian sports and for the the country as a whole.
May the Lord bless the soul of Ho Koh Chye.