Friday, August 24, 2018

Eulogy for my father Robert Koh Dut Say (1937 - 2018)

On behalf of my dad, mom, and sister, I want to thank you for coming out tonight. And thank you for sharing your memories of my dad. They help to give a fuller picture of the man.

I will always remember my father as a man of great patience. When I was in Radin Mas Primary School, he waited for me outside the school gates for my pianica class to finish, so he could bring me home on his bicycle. He taught me how to swim in the Bukit Merah public swimming pool. He would patiently demonstrate the strokes to show me how to do it. Whatever patience I possess as a teacher now, I learned it from him.

When I went overseas for my studies, he waited for me to come home. When I decided one year not to come home in order to travel around in Europe, he waited for me still. His patience was the kind that gave his children the freedom to pursue their own lives. After I moved to New York, I would come home every summer and find him waiting for me. I don't mean to suggest that he was not doing anything else but waiting for me. He was engaging in church work, building his relationships with all of you, and in the later years, fighting with his illness. Still, he would be waiting for me when I came home.

I believe in my heart he was waiting for our whole family to have dinner together as a family. We finally did that at Gillman Barracks recently when we got together, him, my mom, Yin Peng, Raymond, Hannah, Liesel, me, and my boyfriend Guy. We took a picture of that occasion. It is a bad picture, but I will always cherish it.

And in his last days at the hospital, I was struck by his great patience yet again. A man in a corner of his ward cried out constantly for his domestic helper. Another man in another corner of the ward was naturally impatient in waiting for his brother to pick him up and constantly bothered the nurses to find out where his brother was. My father lay in his bed, quiet and stoic, enduring his discomfort and pain.

He waited, and then he stopped waiting at just the right time. On his last morning, my sister saw him and fed him his breakfast. Later she reported to my mom and me that dad was in a good mood. He had the best sleep the night before and dreamed of God and heaven. The report consoles us as I hope it will console you, that he is now in a good place.

I have great admiration for my dad. He was an uncommon man despite appearances. We will all miss him very much. Thanks again for coming out tonight.

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