My mother always said that the best time to know how many friends one has and how much they would stand with you is when the "chips" are down i.e trouble times inclusive of sickness and death. I never gave much of a thought to it until sometime ago. Now with the demise of Datuk Ho Koh Chye. the voices that are heard from various quarters of him and the string of media articles from personalities like Citizen Nades, Terence Fernandez, Aftar Singh, Johnson Fernandez and Lazarus Rokk is a reflection of the extend of respect the world at large has for him.
Which ever way you cut the stories, end of the day it is about Koh Chye and his personal nature. There is no doubt that he has achieved all he can in sports ( save Lazarus Rokk's view of him being short of becoming a Sports Minister) including his grand finale of Chef de Mission of the Malaysian contingent to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I do not thing that is what that totally measures the success of Ho Koh Chye. All these were trimmings, as the real success was the fond memories he permitted people to have of him for the human qualities he displayed.
The stories that have been told and written of Ho Koh Chye portray his humility, caring nature, lending a ear, easily accessible, advocate of fair play, believer of the principle of excellence and above all the "simpleton" he was. No! it is not inputs to make a perfect robotic person but it was the qualities of Ho Koh Chye. At least those who had the opportunity to interact with him can vouch for it.
Really that is not needed. Just go to the St. Ignatius Church near the Kelana Jaya LRT Station where Ho Koh Chye's body is lying at state for the Church service on Monday, 8th.December.2008 at10.00am. The stream of people coming to pay respect from VVIPs to ordinary and very ordinary folks representing the various walk of Malaysian life is a testament of how Koh Chye has touched the hearts of numerous people. The stories they tell from DYMM Sultan of Perak, YAM Raja Muda of Perak, YB Minister of Sports, Datuk Mazlan Ahmad, Datuk Zolkifl Embong, Datuk Dr Ramalan, R Yogeswaran, Randhir Singh, Citizen Nades, George Das, Stephen Van Huizen, Maninderjit Singh, K Enbaraj, Sambu, Beng Hai, V Kumuraguru, Dr Ronnie Yeo, Rosmanizam, Mirnawan Nawawi, Chandran, Ramu Andy, K Balasingam, Palanisamy and various other people may sound like tales. These people, as they tell the stories have their eyes filled with tears. Some cannot hold it back while others fight hard not to be emotional.
Why? Simply because everyone Koh Chye had dealt with became his brothers and sisters. Young, middle age or old, ladies or men, girls or boys, he gave everyone their due respect and acted in such a manner that they were all part of one big family. It was this flame that was burning in him which lit the lives of everyone. This is the memory he would want us to cherish in the hope that even in a small way we can contribute to the human race and preferably through sports.