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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Remembering Foo Toon Jong

Foo Toon Jong, RIP 19 May 2012.

It took a few days for me to decide to write this post. Perhaps it is because it takes that long for me to accept the vulnerability of this human journey itself. 

Toon Jong was nicknamed "Tom Jones", because of how the two names rhymed and also because we had spent countless hours strumming the guitar and singing at the Club room. We both were volunteers in the Singapore Polytechnic Welfare Services Club (WSC) and Tom was a volunteer at Bukit Ho Swee Tuition Centre, Villa Francis Home for the Aged and Singapore Association for Retarded Children (now more politically correctly named as "MINDS"), from 1974-1978.

Toon Jong was at a staff bonding function in his new job, when during the activities, he had to excuse himself as he didn't feel well. He then went to rest on a couch and passed away peacefully there. Doctors concluded that he had a cardiac arrest.

During his wake, I learned from his wife that Tom never had any serious illness. He was a non-drinker, non-smoker, not over-weight and was always careful with what he ate. I last met his wife during their engagement held in a community centre in 1982 - thirty years ago. Time flies. Tom works for a civil engineering construction contractor. Such jobs are usually highly stressful, which could be the reason for his clogged artery and cardiac arrest. Some months ago, another younger WSC grad, Chang Yew Kee, died of heart attack in his sleep at the age of 49 - he was also working for a contractor.

This is not to prejudice the construction contractor business, but rather to say that we need to watch our stress levels, as stress is the single biggest killer.

After the wake, some of us suggested that we should meet at least once a year, before we never have the chance again. Sadly, it takes situations like these to renew interests to connect with each other. I used to phone them regularly, but gave up after sometime. I may have gotten a few phone calls from them (on their initiative) in the last 32 years, but too few to make a dent.

Perhaps now, things will change, alas getting back to be 'brothers' and 'sisters' in one big family - as we used to refer to ourselves as - back in the good old days.  :)


cairo's mommy said...

Hi, I was wondering if you could help to post a photo of your friend, Mr Foo. My friends and I are trying to ascertain if he is our ex-colleague (unable to get him at his mobile number).

Michael Chua said...

I don't have a photo of him unfortunately. Does his background matches what I wrote?