Teo Seng Koon – Remember him?

Very few Malaysians will know who is Teo Seng Koon. His name came up after the world’s No. 1 squash player Nicol David, 25, became the youngest Datuk when she was honoured by the Yang di Pertua Negri of Penang Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and former men’s badminton doubles ace Ng Boon Bee, 70, was made a Datuk in conjunction with the 86th birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja’afar.

Seng Koon, 90, is the surviving member of the country’s first Thomas Cup team, which included legends Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim and created history by winning the inaugural Thomas Cup in 1948, beating Denmark 8-1.

The very fit and sprightly nonagenarian turned up at the media conference convened by DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran as we believe that the country should give proper recognition to sportsmen and sportswomen who have made great contribution to the country, like Seng Koon.

Seng Koon, who played doubles, told reporters that it took the Thomas Cup players three weeks to make the trip to the United Kindom by sea in 1948.

Seng Koon was formerly the Ipoh bureau chief of the defunct Echo.

  1. #1 by yellowkingdom on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 10:10 pm

    I most certainly agree that we should honour our country’s greatest sportmen and sportswomen. More so those from the era before 1957, when we were still known as Malaya. These deserving sports personality had sacrificed much with whatever little they had and some even self-sponsored to achieve glory for our nation. Nothing was promised as rewards save the achivement of their goals and glory for our nation. Does our national archives not have footages nor records of their glorious achievements? Let us not forsake our great sons and daughters, who had valiantly and selflessly fought for our nation’s glory.

  2. #2 by budak on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 10:23 pm


    we should honor him, his contributions and efforts in glorifying Malaysia in the yesteryear…

    thanks Kula… :-)

  3. #3 by justice6 on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 10:23 pm

    how come never give them land … like some who get it …

  4. #4 by mendela on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 10:26 pm

  5. #5 by badak on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 10:40 pm

    Firstly let me say that NICOL earned the title that was bestowed on her.It was pure hard work on her part.Not forgeting her family more so her father.
    Nicol is number ONE today without the help of any goverment body.Even when she was rank below 10 it was hard for her to get goverment funding.
    Secondly her Datukship should not be a factor at all.

    If at all we need to politicizes this issue, we should look at the datukship of our outerspace tourist.

  6. #6 by wanderer on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 10:53 pm

    The sportsmen of yesteryears were silent achievers, they not only proud to represent the country, they also brought glory to Malaya/Malaysia. Sadly, the present Umno led govt can only see
    as far as their nose and also, suffering from severe colour blindness. Their ability to see is just one single colour….brown skinned.
    Sports is above race and politics, unfortunately, this is not the case in this Bolehland.

  7. #7 by pjboy on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:06 pm

    If the gov – be it BN or PR – is serious about this kind of acknowledgements, it should be properly archived, worth mentioning in the history books or in some form of Malaya-Malaysia Sports History. The history is not just who win what & all the glory. The history should be a highlight of their passion, their grief, etc. History should not be just facts & figures. It’s about the journey & that should be inspiring the future generation. During my secondary schooling days in PJ, there were so many aspiring sportsmen. At that age, we thought there will be a chance to shine nationally. Sadly, most eventually gave up or quite away, some even went abroad as there is no system to give them the support nor did they know where or who to turn to. There’s talent out there among the 27 million people…but do we have the right methods to flush them out? If a country like America – with over 300 million – can identify talented athletes…they must be doing something right, isn’t it??? What about China…with over 1 billion people. They don’t just pick talent by random. Think about it.

    The gov is not colour blind, it’s totally blind where sports is concerned. Very sure that if Nicol David & those who supported her did not make most of the initiatives, she would not be where she is today. Can we truly claim that she was a product of our so called National Sports Council? Do we have a total sports science faculty? I have heard of one in Singapore National Uni…

  8. #8 by lextcs on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:12 pm

    whts the big deal?

  9. #9 by nkeng11 on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:18 pm

    Just become a passenger to space, you can get a Datuk? I am a passenger in a bas everyday to KL, what do I get?
    Phack Lah

  10. #10 by marklim on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:25 pm

    send in his biodata to d prime minister n cc 2 all respective cabinet ministers n pubish on all major news.if no reply is given,d rakyats shall judge w silent protest in thier minds.

  11. #11 by AhPek on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:42 pm

    ‘I am a passenger in a bas everyday to KL,what do you get?’.nkeng11.

    You expect to get a datukship for that like the space tourist, big fat hopes.You get your pocket lighter every time you hop on the bus.

    Coming back to the thread, I have always been intrigued as to why Ng Boon Bee has to wait until today to get the recognition.Why he wasn’t confer the datukship at the same time as his partner Tan Yee Khan?
    For those who have been following sports in this country from the fifties right up to the seventies, they will not fail to see what a great sportsman Ng Boon Bee is,not only in badminton but also in any game he happens to take up.He is in the school hockey team, the school hockey team, the school rugby team and if I remember correctly the school cricket team as well.For national colours he donned the malayan soccer team (before he took to badminton full time) shirt and was a great national soccer player as well.
    He brought great honour for Malaysian soccer as well as badminton to the country.Yet recognition only came after more than 40 years and it has to await until the coming of Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 to finally bestow the recognition that he so deservingly earned.Thank you PR for honouring this legendary sportsman of Malaysia whose recognition has been long coming.

  12. #12 by AhPek on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:54 pm

    Even in the case of Tan Yee Khan he was given the datukship about ten years ago.The high standing in world badminton he contributed to put Malaysia into was more than 30 years ago.Again why so belated?Puzzling isn’t it? If he had been Mohammed Aziz perhaps things would have been different??

  13. #13 by AhPek on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:56 pm

    If he had been Mohammed Aziz things might have turned out differently??

  14. #14 by justice6 on Monday, 21 July 2008 - 11:59 pm

    maybe they all supported DAP…so can’t give datuk la…duh…

  15. #15 by justice6 on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:00 am

    be a bn dog… just jump over the longkang..they will give you datukship…

  16. #16 by pjboy on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:00 am

    Life is always unfair. In our bolehland, recognition is not what you do for the nation or society. All these titles are given away like keropok lekor. It does not carry any meaning outside Malaysia, besides Sulu Island or some Indonesian tribal archipelago. The taxi ride to space was paid by rakyat. Does this mean we are all Datuk as well since we have a share in it?

  17. #17 by isahbiazhar on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 5:39 am

    The DAP is doing what Umno never dreamt about; giving due recognition to people who really deserve and not to any Tom Dick and Harry.This year Terengganu did not give any awards.It means lesser mistakes.Heaping Datukships to people who do not deserve makes a mockery of the system.I hope that in future all awards are given only by the Federal government and the states just recommend.It will be a national one and people will know the reason why they get it.At present awards can be bought or can be solicitated.

  18. #18 by ktteokt on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 6:22 am

    Conferment of titles in Malaysia does not correspond to the intangible contributions made by anyone. They base their credit on RM, RM and RM. Look at how many of them have been conferred Dato’, Tan Sri and other titles on the birthday of the individual heads of states and you will realize most of them are filthy rich.

  19. #19 by toyolbuster on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 7:50 am

    The sad thing about Malaysia is that you will only be recognised if you are an asset to the politician, and not how much you contribute to the nation. It doesn’t matter if you have climbed the highest mountain or sailed the widest ocean, but if the politician have no use for you, you are just nobody. However, if you are parading beside a politician and win him some votes, you will get your datukship somehow.

  20. #20 by Tulip Crescent on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 7:58 am

    The annual state awards have, more or less, been a traditional way to raise money to fund the political campaigns of individual politicians and even their individual needs.

    That is the sad fact of life in Malaysia. It never began as such, though, but it has descended to such depths.

    That is why you see even gangland bosses getting datukships, thus demeaning these otherwise awards meant to bring out the best in Malaysians.

    Now of course they bring out the worst.

  21. #21 by taiking on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:09 am

    Comparison with our space traveller is inevitable. I have always said so. I repeat it here yet again. Our space program is nothing more than a selection process followed by a short training program. A seventy year-old billionaire american did it too.

    You need two things. Loads of money (if not your own then tax-payers’ would do fine) and physical fitness.

    And he is now a datuk? Come on Nicol laboured for more than 10 years to reach where she is now. She deserves the title. But you spaceman a datuk too? No wonder Nicol prefers to be called Nicol.

  22. #22 by Tulip Crescent on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:15 am

    By the way, awards have also been used by the Umno to divide the MCA leaders.

    Just look at how Umno uses the MCA leaders. Lee San Choon is a Tan Sri while Ling Liong Sik is a Tun. Mana patut?

    But they do it nevertheless. Of course, how they get these titles is another long story.

  23. #23 by Tulip Crescent on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:21 am

    taiking, come on, nobody in his right mind denies Nicole deserves a datukship, provided these titles maintain the role they are meant to play.

    In fact, nicole, by accepting, justifies and enhances that title, while many others cheapen it. Just look around.

    That’s the poignant difference.

    And when I visit the cemeteries, I cannot but marvel at the Tan Sri Datuk Seri So-And-So and wonder whether such titles give them a right of entry into wherever the deceased is going.

    Here’s one for the road: I visited the Western Road cemetery and saw this tribute to a departed friend who should at least have been a Tan Sri: “Sacred to the Memory of So-And-So.”

    That was all. Simple line. I said a prayer for the repose of his soul. And he died a multi-billionaire in American greenback terms.

  24. #24 by grace on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:54 am

    aiya, we gave titles to the wrong persons. The deservingones like Nichol andNg boon Bee are right. But to give it to a person swimming across Englisg channel not on record time is ridiculous. Susequently we have the first malaysian doc to swim straits of gibraltar and why no Datukship?
    Hey we have very prominent sportsmen who are still left out in the cold. Tan aik Huang and brother aik mong, Tek Kew San ? What did they get> they did it on their own effort

  25. #25 by oknyua on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:21 am

    Give me RM50 million, train me as a space tourist and then I would be recognised.

    Remember the guy 26 years old and given a Datuk? What has he done?

  26. #26 by grace on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:30 am

    Lim Guan Eng should be commended for recognising talents. By talents I mean trye talents like Nichol. Not like the ones sponsored space travellers. An old man can also travel there if given the amount of fund. My 80 yr old friend who jogs 4 kms everyday can qualify hands down . If there is any sponsor from the ministry he can easily make it to the space and then a Datukship.

  27. #27 by oknyua on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:35 am

    Politics in Western concept is running for public office.

    In Malaysia, politics is the means to an end – money, power and plane-loads of imported goods – allpaid by the government.

  28. #28 by flyer168 on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:36 am

    Dear YB LKS,

    Seng Koon, 90, the surviving member of the country’s first Thomas Cup team, which included legends Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim and created history by winning the inaugural Thomas Cup in 1948, beating Denmark 8-1, SHOULD be Honoured now whilst he is still alive. It is still not too late.

    Really sad that all the PMs, CMs, Sports Ministers & their Ministries overlooked this gentleman & many early sportsmen/women who had sacrificed & contributed towards this nation in their International achievements & instead diverted awards to “recommended” questionable personalities instead !

  29. #29 by bumi-non-malay on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:46 am

    Scrap the Datukship and have a new form of Recognition for Barisan Rakyat states….like Order of Malaysia, Knight of Malaysia, Companion of Malaysia…etc…….Datukship/ Tan Sri….unfortunately reads Corruption and Cronism………we need a point of difference!!

    Now that a Non-malay have been made a youngest Datuk…I am sure the Kiasu Loser UMNO racist will do one better…..perhaps a youngest Olympic Participant…..Small minded bigots UMNO are now working harder to see who is the youngest Malay Datuk or Tan Sri they can make…….

  30. #30 by Tulip Crescent on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:56 am

    Someone rang to ask whether I know Seng Koon.

    Of course, I know him. In the early 1970s, he was my colleague in The Straits Echo, the second oldest English language East of Suez, whose news owners never knew history and sumarrily changed the name to The National Echo.

    Seng Koon used to phone in with news from Perak in those years when faxes, computers and handphones were still unimaginable.

    The Echo no longer makes any sound.

    The upshot is this: State awards must be meaningful if they want to maintain their relevance. State awards must be given for very good reasons, not just flippant achievements. The achievements of recipients of State awards must enhance the award and never cheapen it.

    A case in point is this: Khir Johari declined all awards until at a ripe old age, he knows that he could justify its reception. And mind you, if you know that gregarious national leader and what he has done, he deserves it.

  31. #31 by taikohtai on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:02 am

    Malaysians need to learn to look beyond titles, colour and other material attributes.
    On the other hand, the colour of one’s heart cannot be ignored but few learn about its importance.
    To think that happiness comes from mere possessions, be it Datukships, big houses or cars , or even smart siblings, is most myopic. True happiness comes about with renunciation of worldly possessions but being in unison with supramundanes truths. Inner peace is only a ‘heart-beat’ away.

  32. #32 by badak on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 11:47 am

    Heyyyy what happen to the investigation on cases of selling state titles a few years back… Sudahhhh lupa kahhh

  33. #33 by smeagroo on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:20 pm

    rakyat sponsored this Dr to get a Datoship. So is he the most expensive Dato around town now? How many zeroes to his title?

    Dat0000000 SMS.


    What abt the chinese Dr who swam the channel? Maybe he shld write in for a title too! Not becos he wanted it, but maybe just to prove a point.

    Anyway, nowadays in the business field, do we gv a shiat when u actually meet a dato/datuk/latok? Some ppl hv cheapen the title and there are just abt anywhere. If u go hollywood u hope to bum into an actor but in KL, u WILL surely bum into a DATO!

  34. #34 by limkamput on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 12:25 pm

    lextcs Says: whts the big deal?

    Yes, well said, what is the big deal of sending a passenger to the space at tax payers’ expense and then get a datoship. You moronic head.

  35. #35 by ShiokGuy on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:12 pm

    But instead they give some title to space tourist..


    How nice..? A lot of deserving people are sidelined… donkey and monkey are awarded. :P

    Shiok Guy

  36. #36 by i_love_malaysia on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:34 pm


    Note: With the right kulitfication, they dont have to give much effort to get recognition, at times, they are recognised for having fun by travelling to space!!!

  37. #37 by taiking on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:43 pm

    Dear Non-bumi-malay, I agree with your statement on UMNO idiots wanting to outdo Nicol with someone younger.

    Perhaps not quite younger but certainly more impressive – how about Tun Khairy?.

  38. #38 by i_love_malaysia on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 1:47 pm


    Any comment on PAS’s 3 meetings with UMNO???

  39. #39 by sudokuku on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 2:46 pm

    BN have their M agenda, just in case anyone forget, that is why thing is the way it is,

    PR on the other side is doing “the right thing” for “the right reason”.

    for someone who has vested interest or are in control by someone who is, doing the right thing will cost them their job and doing for the right reason is asking for ISA.

    BN = doing things in accordance to BN + what the boss said.
    PR = doing the right thing + for the right reason.

  40. #40 by pjboy on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 4:02 pm

    Here’s my definition:

    PJK-ship = served the nation whole heartedly for over 20 years, non-corruptible.

    Datuk-ship = agent of corruption, not necessarily corrupt.

    Tan Sri-ship = most likely corrupt & also make others corrupt.

    Tun-ship = most corrupt Datuk or Tan Sri prior, must get Tun in order to get away from the law. The untouchable group.

    Even foreigners know that these titles are just for the person to abuse it, especially in our materialistic society – where money equates to power.

    These titles hold no water today due to the lack of integrity & how the titles are just given away without proper credit. Unlike the title Sir (UK), it carries some weight even outside of UK. It is not given away like fish&chips to any tom dick harry, or in our case, ali chong mutu. Why we don’t see Datuk George Bush or Tun Obama? That’s because these titles are given to people who really deserve it & they not only contributed to their society but also to the world. In our case, is what you have contributed to the political powers – most of the time. No offence to those who paid too much $$$ for it.

  41. #41 by Samuel Goh Kim Eng on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 7:16 pm

    Let’s be sporting enough to give due recognition
    To all our top sports personnel over all the years
    Serving as models and encouragements of distinction
    Even though they had already earned their fans’ cheers

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng – 220708
    Tue. 22nd July 2008.

  42. #42 by mysn1st on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 7:52 pm

    I would rather say the person who grown and train Nicol David should be honoured and there are:-

    1.Nicol father/mother.
    2. Nicol coach.

  43. #43 by wasted on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 8:31 pm

    Sadly, we only honor those who has $$$$ and not common sense

  44. #44 by shortie kiasu on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:48 pm

    He should be honoured, may be not a datuk. At his age he is a datuk many times over, and does not matter another datuk or a Tan Sri.

    A trust fund for the development of sports and badminton in particular should be set up in his name for the future sportspersons. That would be a meaningful honour to him, his family and the sports. His name will be carried on and on into the future.

    To us Malaysians, Datuk is everywhere, in the street. Some shaddy figures, proven criminals and convicts, were also on the list of datuks. So datuk or other titles have been tainted because of the wanton way that these medals were dished out to all and sundry.

  45. #45 by shortie kiasu on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 9:58 pm

    When we talk of honour in this country, people tend to link it with a datuk or PJK or something from the Rulers and governors, there are there 13 + 1 of them. Just imagine how much of such ‘titles’ were dished out over the years. They had lost very much their shines.

    The country spent millions to send a tourist astronaults into the space by ‘tumpang’ a space shuttle made in Rusia, can be made a datuk! The only noticeable contribution he made is the amount of tax payers money he spent in the process. What was there for him to shine? He was not even a scientist to begin with.

    The media had given plenty of coverage, besides the millions he spent, his entourage of ministers helped to spent more money.

    It is a real life satire.

  46. #46 by lopez on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - 10:27 pm

    all those youg farts, this is history lesson you have been shut off from all these years.
    Teo Seng Koon

    Yes people like him is what malaysian should be and the spirit of winning for the nation…..malaya…..he is a true MALAYAN

    and people of his generation are an inspiration to our children.
    Bring back the malayan days and malayan ways , and it should be the preface of the malaysian story

    All these people were pl;ayed down by certain people as we start seeing road names changed for whatever reasons other then to remember.
    But those very names were chosen to give credit and respect to that named person for deeds done for the nation. What is the reason to change the names of roads, did we run of roads to give names as we can still see new road names with numbers , why cant new respected people be named onto these roads .
    But some say this person more terror that the other and this road is more signficant position and for this so and so , so this name should be exposed more that the other….why not it is just a name?
    Jealousy or thick skin or lousy loser

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