Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Remembering CM, my brother.

                                                 The Obituary

During the festive season of Chinese New Year this year (February 2013) my family could not rejoice the spirit of get togetherness as my younger brother CM was killed in a freak accident in Batu Pahat, Johore. CM, a semi-retired consultant engineer had gone to visit my eldest brother who had been residing in Batu Pahat for the past 3 decades. CM was out having a morning walk around 7am on Feb 9th 2013 near the residential garden where my brother stayed. A woman rider of a motor-cycle (Her age unknown) lost control of her bike and fell behind CM; the motorcycle was flung away from the rider and hit CM at the back of his neck. There was a gush of blood oozing out from his injury through an opening at the back of his neck. He was rushed to the Batu Pahat General Hospital with the help of a kind Samaritan. By using CM’s mobile phone, we were stunned to be informed of his grave condition resulted from a very unfortunate mishap. 

However the BP GH could not handle CM’s worsening condition so they arranged to send him to Johore Bahru’s Sultanah Aminah Hospital in an ambulance with CM’s son Eugene keeping the father company. We were told that he had difficulty in his breathing. By the time we rushed to the Johor Bahru hospital’s Red Zone section, we saw Eugene sobbing, standing next to a pillar, talking on his mobile phone: My father is already brain-dead! My niece FY, a doctor based in KL Hospital, called and talked to the neuron-surgeon to inquire how bad CM’s condition was. She was told that the blood clogged at his neck prevented steady oxygen supply to his brain. 

CM was admitted into the multi-specialty Hospital Sultanah Aminah, JB, where he died peacefully without regaining consciousness on the 1st Day of Chinese New Year Feb. 10th 2013. 

We were very saddened and felt a great loss imminent. CM was transferred to the High Dependent Unit (HDU) of the hospital for observation. He succumbed to the injury inflicted at his neck and died at 2am, February 10th 2013, the 1st day of the lunar calendar Chinese New Year. On the 3rd day of CNY, Feb 12th, CM’s body and casket was brought to Kuala Lumpur for the observation of wake and eventual cremation. There was a trying time when we frantically trying to connect CM’s widow who was in Australia visiting her sister. At long last Eugene got her mother on the phone after two days and she flew back to KL right away. CM’s daughter Grace flew more than 48 hrs, including the transit hours to reach KL from Vancouver, Detroit, LA., Taipei and finally KLIA. I arranged my sons Leslie and Lincoln, and a niece to pick her up; when they met, it was obvious she had been crying over the loss of her dear father. It was a very touching moment when she greeted her cousins in tears at the airport. By the time she arrived at the funeral parlor, she had more or less regained her composure. The funeral was purportedly delayed by two days. It was held solemnly in simple and quiet Buddhist rites. CM was cremated on the 5th day of the CNY i.e. 14th Feb. 2013 around 11am. 

The immense loss of CM of course is a devastating blow to us but we mourn not merely just about his passing but for the fact that he was the smartest and healthiest among all the siblings. CM was a Tai Chi instructor to a small group of health enthusiasts in Kuala Lumpur. We know well that he was not young any more when he left for another world; he was already 62 (He turned 62 last November) when he died. He did not suffer any common senior aged sickness like diabetes, high cholesterol or hyper tension etc. A full fledged vegetarian for more than two decades he could have lived healthily for another 20 years. He met his ill-fate for which he so undeserved for. It is hard for us to accept that CM has left us, yet life must go on; it is so saddening.

CM’s daughter Grace forwarded us an uncompleted mail her father had written in the draft folder of his Yahoo. Mail account, which read:

Dear Grace and Eugene:

As you are growing up as a child until a teenager, your parents may had reprimanded you from time to time for not being obedient or for not working on your home work or just being too involved with computer games and things like that but the fact remains that your parents are the only ones who loves you unconditionally in this whole wide world.

For all ancient civilizations such as the Chinese, the Indian and perhaps the Jews etc.  their culture teaches being thankful and………….(Uncompleted)

I replied Grace’s mail with a short message:

Dear Grace,

We know the loss of your dearest Dad is immense.
Eventually some of his unfinished works and mails
may surface to catch you off guard. Brace yourself
to a world without CM Kok as memories and image
of him linger on in our mind. The short mail from him
meant for his children is so touching and we feel the
sentiment deep in our heart, that's why you always
call your Dad "PaPa dearest." Take care.

2nd Uncle.



My brother CM Kok was trained at Universiti Malaya in the early 1970s as a civil engineer and upon graduation worked for the Public Works department under the Works Ministry. Prior to that he was given a scholarship to study at the University of Sheffield, UK for his engineering degree. However a bumiputra student was selected instead at the last moment to replace him by the PSC (Public Service Commission). In 1986, after working in the civil service for 10 years, CM obtained a scholarship from the PSC to pursue his Master of Engineering at University of Florida, Gainesville, US. He had varied and vast experience in harbor management, coastal and marine engineering works. He had a brief stay in Japan to study bridge engineering too. He spent 2 years stationing at the Port of Kuantan as chief engineer. During his tenure in the Public works department, he was involved in projects like the construction of the East-West Highway, Kelantan, the expansion of causeway, Johore Bahru, and the designing of the jetty at Kuah, Pulau Langkawi.   During his final few years in PWD HQ, he oversaw the construction of residential housing for the poorer islanders of Maldives, in the Indian Ocean.  CM left the works ministry early at 42 and founded his own engineering consultant firm. He was telling me that he would slow down to retire soon but fate did him a cruel blow that rendered us in shambles to grieve over his inopportune demise.

                        Candle burns to mark a passing life
Alan CY Kok

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