During the Malaysia Day cum Hari Raya Celebration at the Pure Life Society Orphanage recently, a memorable cheque presentation ceremony was held. Bro. Gwee Hock Aun, a trustee and executor of the estate of late Sis. Tan Chooi Sim, presented a cheque of RM153, 982 to the Sathya Sai Baba Central Council of Malaysia. The generous gesture of late Sis Tan, in bequeathing a portion of her estate to the Sai Council for its social and welfare work is certainly an act of great compassion and love. Her act reminded us of Swami’s teach – to always give, give and give in life. Bro. Billy Fong, our Vice-President of SCA, received the cheque on behalf of the Sai Council. Bro Ooi Cheng Sooi, another trustee and executor of the estate, presented a speech, which touched the hearts of many, in memory of Sis Tan. Below are excerpts from the speech:
“Career-wise the late Tan Chooi Sim @ Girlie, had a humble start as a police constable after dropping out of school. After a couple of years in the police force she joined the University Hospital as a receptionist and worked in that position until she retired. She was a spinster. She lived in a rented room for many years and managed to maintain herself and regularly put aside money as savings even though the job she held paid a meagre salary as it was a Division 4 post at that time. She was frugal, led a simple life yet generous when necessary.
”In March 1982 she was advised to purchase a house. She used her savings to pay the deposit for a single storey house in SS2 and took a government housing loan to pay the balance of the purchase price. The repayment period of the loan was 25 years. A huge chunk of her monthly salary went towards the monthly repayment of her loan leaving her with little money to upkeep herself. She somehow managed and struggled on. When she retired in 1991, almost all of her pension went towards her loan repayment. She had to find a job to supplement her income and she got herself employed as a clinic assistant at an eye clinic.
“In mid 2008 she paid up the housing loan and her full pension was restored. Her full pension was sufficient to see her through each month and so she didn’t have to depend any more on the income derived from the eye clinic. Age was catching up. She was 72 years old then. However, to keep herself occupied she continued to work part time – two days a week – at the eye clinic. She enjoyed the relatively slower pace of life for about only six months as death struck in February 2009. She was healthy and strong, not afflicted by any old age sickness.
On 6th February 2009 at midday she was happily chatting with the neighbour over the fence. At 2.00pm I was informed she had collapsed and was unconscious. She was rushed to the University Hospital. She didn’t come out of the coma and passed away the next morning. She died of aneurysm – haemorrhage of an artery in the head. She had a humble career and yet she was able to leave something behind to benefit others less fortunate.
“Only the people who are close to the late Tan Chooi Sim knew the sort of person she was. She got along well with friends and strangers alike being always good natured, god fearing, kind, humble, accommodative, generous and meek. As she lived by herself, life can be very lonely. She was very close to my wife, her cousin, whom she turned to for advice and looked upon her as her confidante. She celebrated all the festivities with us – Chinese New Year, Reunion dinner, Mooncake Festival, Ancestral worship, Wesak, and so on. She went shopping and marketing with us, celebrated her birthday and our birthdays with us. We had dinner out regularly. She turned to us when sick or in any emergency situation. She followed us when we went visiting or outing or on short vacation. In short we were indeed her family. We attended to her when she collapsed. We rushed her to hospital and were at her side when she passed away. We made the arrangements for the funeral and the post funeral religious ceremonies.”
We miss her. Memories of her will endure in our hearts. May the merits of her good deeds plant the seed of a better and higher rebirth for her. Bro Billy Fong in his address at the event, thanked the family of late Tan Chooi Sim for her generous act of love.