Dr. Chin was my elder brother. On behalf of the family, I thank all of you here tonight for your presence. I am sure he must have touched your life and must have meant something to each and every one of us. An anonymous poet once wrote that “Life is but a stopping place, a pause in what’s to be, a resting place along the road to sweet eternity." My brother had lived a great life and had left giant footprints in the sands of time.
When we were very young, he was extremely competitive and already had a great desire to win, even in our backyard games. He was also steadfastly patient and organized, and spent many hours, meticulously and painstakingly fixing models of ships of old (such as the Santa Maria and the Golden Hind), as well as aircraft carriers and airplanes. These traits formed an integral part of his character.
We went to the same school, the Victoria Institution, where I was always in his shadow. This was not only because he was a School Prefect but a perfect role model, in the eyes of the school teachers. He was a genuine all-rounder. He participated in most sports and excelled in football and hockey, where in both games, he was the goal keeper. He also played rugby and cricket. He later dropped cricket and football and went on to captain the rugby team in the University and played hockey for Singapore.
Brother Fui was also very active in other extramural activities. He was an Assistant Librarian as well as the Secretary of his House, Loke Yew House. For a number of years, he was a Sub-Editor of the school newspaper, The Seladang, and wrote, on many occasions, a humour column under the pseudonym “Vicky”. Even today, many old Victorians do not know that it was brother Fui who wrote with such wit and humour. He had an immaculate command of English and would have been a person of the Arts had he not become a doctor.
He also excelled in his studies and was always amongst the top of the class and consequently secured a government scholarship to study medicine at the University of Singapore. I have often wondered then, where he found so much time to participate in so many activities in School.
As I grew older, I came to realize that he was excellent in time management, as well as knowing what mattered most, at a very young age. In addition, he was passionate in whatever he did, be it in sports, studies and even in leisure. I was told that while playing hockey for the Singapore Under-23 team, he made a tremendous save by heading the hockey ball over the bar. I thought the ball would have knocked some sense into him and encouraged him to pursue a less dangerous sport. Alas, when he decided to quit hockey, he took up motor racing and rallying and even encouraged my younger brother Ronnie to join him.
Brother Fui graduated in 1969 and had upheld the Hippocratic Oath, at all times, during his practice as a doctor until he retired in 2009. He was an unsung hero during the May 13, 1969 incident. I remembered how duty bound he was, driving his Austin Cooper through roads with army and police checkpoints, while the whole country was under curfew, in order to save lives at the emergency ward at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. My dad was also critically ill at the hospital at this time.
When my dad passed on, Brother Fui took over the helm as the patriarch of the family. He was at all times the pillar of my brother and sisters – our wind beneath our wings. He was an authority of most things and gave me great advice whenever I asked. His answers are always so pragmatic and practical. This must be due to his insatiable quest for knowledge. He could always be seen holding a book in his spare time. It can be a novel, a book on sports, the sciences and even contemporary politics.
Brother Fui was a great family man, spending considerable time encouraging his children to excel and he ensured that both my nieces, Ai May and Wendy had a good overseas Education. He only travelled seriously to see the world after he retired. He enjoyed cruises but he also had an adventure streak in him. So he and my sister-in-law, Helen (his wife of 45 years), went to places less travelled not in the convention style but by taking local buses and staying in non-luxurious, non-descriptive places.
Brother Fui, you have fought a great fight. You have lived, loved, learned and left a legacy. In the words of Walt Whitman:
“O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done,
Tears will not bring you back to us. We are going to miss you.
Let us be thankful for all the special moments that my brother has left in every one of us. Brother Fui, You will forever be in our hearts and mind. You will always be my beloved brother.
Chin Yuen Yin (V.I. 1960 - 1966)
Last update February 22, 2015.
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