Thursday, June 27

Sadness fills the air at Dato Andrew Wong’s funeral service in Sibu


Soon Koh bids final farewell to his son before the closing of the casket.

SIBU: It was a heart-wrenching moment when Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon
Koh and family bade their final goodbye to the late Dato Andrew Wong Kee Yew prior to cremation.

Soon Koh’s wife Datin Sri Pauline Leong in her departing words to their only son, Andrew, said they might have lost a son but they also gained another loving angel who would be their guardian protecting and watching them from above.

She said although Andrew had outgrown their laps, he would never outgrow their hearts.

“Mothers hold their children for only a short while but the heart is forever. So son, your dad and I have to let go of your hands now.

“Go in peace to a much happier and better place where you dwell with Our Father forever and ever,” she said before the cremation at Nirvana Memorial Park at Mile 23 in Oya Road here yesterday.

(From left) Sean, Natasha, Lily, Leong, Soon Koh and the congregation join in the recitation of the Holy Rosary before the funeral service.

Andrew, 43, passed away at 11pm on Feb 10 at the family residence in Ipoh Road here after his mother found him sprawled on the floor unconscious about two hours before.

Initial post mortem conducted at Sibu Hospital found that he had suffered internal bleeding on his left brain and stomach.

Andrew left behind wife Datin Lily Toh and two children, Sean and Natasha.

Leong also said to Andrew not to worry about her, his father, his family and his siblings.

“Mom and Dad will look after Sean and Natasha for you well. We will make them grow up to be a fine young man and a woman whom you would be proud of.

Soon Koh (second left) and his family grieve as the casket is being closed and to be brought to the crematorium.

“Dearest Kee Yew, we all love you very much but God loves you more and you can go in peace to Him where you will have a good rest,” she said.

She also told those present at the park’s chapel that Andrew was kind and generous like his father, that he did everything for the public including the poor and the needy, but that act wasnot done to gain fame or publicity.

“I only found out that my son had often done things so quietly that even Soon Koh and I did not know about it until yesterday (the funeral wake on Wednesday) when people came to pay their last respects.

“They came up to us and told us that Andrew had helped them doing this and that,” she said.

Leong also read a poem titled ‘Mother and Son’ for Andrew which she said was sent by her good friend via WhatsApp.

“When I read it, I felt like it was my son. My son left so suddenly without saying anything and that made me very sad.

“So I thought this was his way communicating and comforting us,” she said.

The poem in the form of a conversation between a mother and her son is as below:

‘I would give my life to have you back, said his mom,

I know you would, said the son,

I cry each night for you, said his mom,

And I catch all your tears, said the son,

I pray for the day that I can see you again, said his mom,

Close your eyes and you can see me, said the son,

You are the first person who loved me and you are the first person I loved,

You were always there when I needed you,

And you always knew when I needed a hug,

I am here for you mom,

I am in your heart and in your soul,

I did not take your heart with me,

In fact I left mine with you to hold,

One day I will take your hand and lead you to paradise’.

Earlier, Sean promised that he would continue with his father’s legacy and make Sibu better.

He said he would work hard and make his father proud.

Andrew’s youngest sister Sharon, who also spoke, said that Andrew was a loving father to his children and a good uncle to his nieces and nephews.

She recalled that they had wonderful adventures during their family trip to New Zealand recently.

Reverend Father Paul Chee, a Catholic priest, blesses the coffin with incense at the crematorium.

“Andrew had invested his time building Laila Taib College and Sarawak Maritime Academy in Sibu and now the people can enjoy the fruit of his labour.

“He is the kindest and generous person I know. I will miss having you around. I love seeing your smile,” she said.