Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dad, what is your favourite memory of your dad

Your granddad and my dad is Abraham Paul Loh Khiong Choo. Little did I know who Abraham was until later in the Catechism classes and still later in the bible classes I attended. Dad was a responsible, caring and loving provider. He was a man who sort of learned from the University of life. I gathered he had only a few years of Chinese education but he was able to pick up English through his drinking sessions with all the soldiers that were serving in the Johor Military Base nicknamed 221. I remember a Scottish Major Enfield who had been a very close friend and was a frequent visitor to our kampung house. He loves drinking his whiskey with dad and I remember praisng Mum for cooking very lovely fried rice.

Dad at that time was working as the Acting Managing Director of Alec Bus Company. Dad must have have learned management skills on the job for I am quite sure he have no diploma or degree in Management. Yet he was able to trust-worthily carried out his duties and if I remember correctly produced good results for the bus company. A bit of history. I have a Uncle, the late John Loh Toh Met who was a millionaire in 1957/8. He had a range of businesses, insurance company, workshops, petrol station and the bus company. Unfortunately he had died in 1958 while watching a wrestling match, must have suffered a massive heart attack. At the time of his death Uncle's children were still young, so somehow Dad was entrusted to looked after the business until my cousins reached the age of maturity. In this case his eldest son Anthony Loh Khee Toh took over the company when he reached 21. Dad was an honest person and I doubt he made much of this assignment, he could have taken advantage of the many opportunities to make money for himself, yet he did not. He just handed over the Company to Anthony and fortunately was assigned a smaller post of MD of South East Express Company Limited, a company owned by a Mersing towkay and Alec Bus Company Ltd. With his much lower income we struggled as we grow up but he did not sting in our education. All 3 sons of his were given respectable education. In fact my Brother Alex did his first degree in UKM and followed by  Masters in America and Philippine while Henry   did his Bachelor of Accounting degree in University Malaya, followed by his Masters in Anthropology in Canberra, Australia. Unfortunatly our sister Philo did not pursue higher education.

Dad was a very disciplined persons and when Grandpa asked him to mange the smallholding he will drive to Senai early in the morning to help in the work of transporting and selling the rubber sheets from the small kongsi to a shop in Senai. I being the eldest sometimes get to follow him when it was the school holidays and on Saturdays.

Dad loves to smoke and drink. He was a smoker since 9 years old and until his heart attack at age of 69, he was a regular smoker. After his operation and recovery from the shocking heart attacks, he stopped smoking entirely but continued drinking. Dad used to drink a stout a day and it was always in the evening. However if he had drinking companions, he will be able to drink more.  I remember folowing him to the small drinking place in Jalan Meldrum called Heng Kee Bar, He and his friends will be drinking there while I will get my sweets and also a soft drink. I remember too following him to the Johor Civil Service Club in front of the old Rest House, now Thistle Hotel. Here he will be playing snooker and drinking too. I sometimes get him to give me coins so that I play at the slot machines.

I must say dad supported me a lot all my life and he loves his children very much. When you were born and then your siblings, he made sure all of you get your toys and he loved to play with you too. I remember that on his death bed he wanted to see you all before he sadly left us in October 18, 1997. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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