70 and looking forward to more democratic breakthroughs (2)

This was not the only poem composed by Michael.

A fortnight earlier he had emailed me from Canberra the following acrostic on my 70th birthday. (Learnt a new word. acrostic: a poem or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words. – Concise Oxford Dictionary)

Lim Kit Siang MP

Long has been the struggle
In your just journey of Life
Moving ever so slowly but surely

Knowing that the elusive end
Is well worth every sacrifice
To achieve the ultimate aim of

Saving the nation’s soul from
Insidious intolerance
And leading it increasingly towards a
New national harmony
Graced by a Malaysian majority

May this materialise in your lifetime, so
Press on, press on, as you see the finish line!

Michael did not bring along his wife but he brought Judith’s 100 hours of labour of love – a cross-stitch of the Chinese character “Longevity”. Thanks Judith. Most appreciated.

Judith could not leave Canberra as he had devoted her life to look after the disabled children for which she had been deservedly honoured by the Australian Government.

I still remember when I first met Judith about half a century ago, when she first came to Malaysia with Michael, I had shared with her my hopes and fears, dream and nightmare of my political commitment.

When we were in Form V in Batu Pahat High School (1959), some of our classmates bunked at the room at Jalan Mohd Akil which Michael and his brother Hung Kee used as study room not only to prepare for examination such as testing the 10-year Exam Series but as headquarters for some of our schoolboy escapades like visitation with the “Spirit of the Coin” and “forays” into town in the deadly-quiet early hours of the morning.

It was great to meet up again not only with the “old gang” but the old boys like Pek Teck Soon (Form 5A monitor), Tan Tik Sing, Ong Yen Chong, Allan Goh, Khoo Huan Hooi (class jester and photographer), Liam Chung Hay, Tang Guan Bee (very successful architect in Singapore), P. Palanivel , Lim Jin Siew,
K. Kumarendran, Lim Soh Wah, Wee Soon Chong, Foo Ee Kim together with Hung Choon and Hung Kee, their missus and offsprings.

My batch produced two volumes of class magazines in Form IIIA – “The Light” in 1957; a short-lived school “bimonthly” and three volumes of class magazines in Form IVB – “The Phoenix” in 1958; and the school magazine “The Pilot” (I was editor).

My old teachers Ang Hock Ming and Chanan Singh sent greetings but were unable to make the trip from Batu Pahat, and they were missed greatly by the “old boys”.

Looking back at these amateurish Form III and Form IV class magazines 53-54 years ago, my classmates and I are surprised that despite our schoolboyish preoccupations, we could be quite a serious lot.

This is what the Form 3A Form Master Khaw Eng Chin wrote in his message for the inaugural issue of “The Light” in 1957:

“The first issue of ‘The Light’ – the first class magazine ever to be produced in the history of the High School – caused quite an interest in the upper forms. It was published, with all its faults, by your own effort and enthusiasm. All of you worked together as one solid unit to accomplish what you had intended to do. I had my doubts then, and kept my fingers crossed – hoping for the best! Well, the finished article was beyond my expectations. You had my blessings too! I am sure the second volume of “The Light” will be better than its predecessor backed by all the backaches, headaches and the experience you have had.”

This was the Board of Management of the inaugural issue of “The Light” of Form 3A in 1957:

Hon. Adviser – Mr. Khaw Eng Chin
Editors – Lim Jin Siew
Lau Ann Lan (Allan Goh)
Chua Hock Guan
Lim Kit Siang
Art Editors – Hee Tien Lai
Tang Guan Bee
Abdullah b Hj Nasir
Business Managers – Chan Yin Pang
Ong Hung Choon
Typists – Chan Chong Meng
Hee Tien Lai
Lee Mun Fong
Lim Kit Siang

The 56 items in the class magazine included articles entitled “Merdeka”,”My idea of a great man”, “My opinion of LCE”, “The theory of evolution”, “Humour the wine of life”, “The will to achieve”, “Science and space” and “The influence of the Earth and Heavenly Bodies” – quite heavy subjects for Form III pupils.

I contributed a piece on “Student – Politics”, taking the stand that while students should not “take part in politics”, I fully supported students “taking a deep interest in politics”.

I wrote:

“We must form our opinions when any event of note occurred in our land, on the bills passed, on the foreign policy pursued, and the trend of international events. We must not be like ‘dumb-driven cattle’ but ‘be a hero in the strife’. We must form our own political ideals, although we should not yet put it into ‘practice’. Our ideas may be the fruit of the passion of the spur of the moment. Time, and time alone, will teach us whether we and our ideologies are right or not. We will also learn from other people’s experiences.

“We must cultivate an interest for political thought. For we, if we are going to be responsible citizens, must understand how we are governed.”

It was Huan Hooi who reminded me of the following poem which I wrote in 1957:

One for all and all for one
We care not what colour, creed or religion you belong
For aren’t each of us Malaya’s son
Then why let silly racial quarrels prolong

Enough of reminiscences. Let me thank surgeon Dr. Chris Anthony for his tribute which he has been so kind to email me and to blog:

Tribute to Lim Kit Siang
(70th Birthday 20 February 2011)

Ever since my childhood I only knew one opposition leader, that is you.

I did not know then why you were called Mr. Opposition but I know now it was your courage to stand up for justice in our society.

I did not understand then why they labeled you a racist and troublemaker but I know now that it is the ‘reward’ righteous people get for their uncompromising stand against injustice and abuse of power

Despite all the forces arrayed against you and even incarcerated in jail with your son you stood firm to your principles, an attribute so rare in politicians today.

Your sacrifices have paid you today where there is hope for realizing your vision for a truly Malaysian nation in the near future, as the flame of liberation that you have ignited will gain intense in the years to come.

All right-thinking Malaysians, regardless of ethnicity, salute a great man like you who had stood steadfast to your principles in the fight for justice through thick and thin all your life.

You did not buckle under pressure from the mighty powers arrayed against you but only got stronger with every blow you received.

You are truly a great Malaysian whose resilience and courage had touched the hearts of all who yearn for justice.

You may be 70 but the nation is at the crossroads and still needs your steering hand

We pray that God bless you with health and strength to lead us in OUR struggles for a just and united Malaysia, A Malaysia where all citizens can live together as equal and proud Malaysians.

Sir, you may not see us physically behind you but be rest assured we will all be there with you at the right time – the 13GE when together we will help to realise the dawn of a new Malaysia.

Happy Birthday and May God Bless you & your family

Dr. Chris, I take heart from your assurance and of all the wellwishers that “you may not see us physically behind you but be rest assured we will all be there with you at the right time – the 13GE when together we will help to realise the dawn of a new Malaysia”.

(to be contd)

  1. #1 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 - 5:20 pm

    LKS and ex-schoolmates were such of prestigious students.Gifted ones is the only word i can think of you guys.I wonder if any umno and goons could ever compose a simple essay?I will refrain to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  2. #2 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 - 7:00 pm

    YB LKS, 70 years well spent.

    I trust God will give you many more as you spend it in the service of the nation.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading all that others have written about you. It’s been inspiring. It just confirms some of my own perceptions about your ideals and your passionate love for the country.

    Truly a Malaysian.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 22 February 2011 - 11:46 pm

    Only freedom, justice and the rule of law would allow countries to meet the aspirations of their young populations – Cameron (UK)

  4. #4 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 12:21 am

    Mamak bendahara is full of jealousy now. at the same time pooing in his pant looking at his beloved Arab countries dictators falling like domino one by one. he is wondering when his turn is coming. he can retire but he can’t run. need to give back what he stole.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 12:39 am

    Cintanegara,don’t you wanna say something?Don’t be shy to show your openness.At least a sweet word or two would not kill right?Or what happening to you?I’m just worried cause i don’t hear from you a long time since we have this priceless pouring-in compliments birthday sessions for LKS that seems last forever,so out of sudden as i recall you and merely dropping by to say hello and best wishes to you.Whether LKS breaks thru the democratic process or not,rest assured that your tree will still be preserved whether your right is parked democratically or not as predestined by your Lord Serpent acting as dewa-dewi of Kerala.You are lucky man,you have all the people mercy.Before you become stump,LKS already had a surrogate agency(A Just Democracy) in hand to modify and clone you.I will like to take this opportunity also to thank LKS for his intent to preserve our soon to be extinction species.You have to be the best and respected one to earn yourself a legend like LKS.A true legend is viewed from the universal perception and not by bigots or racist kinds.

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 1:32 am

    ///Only freedom, justice and the rule of law would allow countries to meet the aspirations of their young populations – Cameron (UK)///

    Cameron made the above statement in reference to the ongoing protests in the Middle East countries.

  7. #7 by sotong on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 7:06 am

    We have bad, unprincipled and grossly lack integrity ” leaders “……this explained the mess created in our country.

  8. #8 by Godfather on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 10:44 am

    The only democratic breakthrough we are going to get is when we consign UMNO to the rubbish bin at the next GE. Then all the talk about “rambutans are mine, not yours”, or “don’t even look at my rambutan tree”, or “I want 30 pct of your rambutan fruits” will stop.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 10:50 am

    Lim Kit Siang stands uniquely amongst all Malaysian politicians.

  10. #10 by drchris on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 3:57 pm

    You deserve every word I mentioned in my tribute,Uncle Lim and much more than what words can describe.

    Your mission will not be accomplished till you unseat BN and we will work with you towards that end.

    Best of luck.

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