FORUM: Gone But Not Forgotten

Last update12 Feb'2010

Tan Tock Cheow

(1942 - 2007)

Mike Chan wrote (06 August 2007, 1550 hours):

I believe TTC attended the only one acs59 lunch last year shortly after I praised him as a brave 15 yr-old who stood up to the fierce teacher Yap Ah Chuan back in 1957 (50 yrs ago). He locked eyes with YAC during the confrontation (you could hear a pin drop!) and the latter made a U-turn and scampered off. We cheered TTC lustily and I will never forget that incident. I was looking fwd to that lunch last year to meet TTC but unfortunately I had to trip to Bangkok on family business. Was it the steak-lunch at Ming Court Hotel?

Could CTL or LL also post the orbit of TTC in ST today so that our overseas classmates can have a look-see? I note that he has 8 brothers and 2 sisters! My condolences to his wife and 2 pretty daughters whom I just saw a year ago at Wheelock Place. May my form 3 hero who has surely gone to a better world, rest in peace!


Allan Ng wrote (06 August 2007, 2050 hours):

Dear friends,

It's sad that we should lose an old friend and classmate.

I knew him, without his moustache. He was a quiet, gentle soul, who occupied the desk, next to mine. He was conscientious and forever sharpening his pencils. On occasions when he ran out of pencils, he sharpened mine too.

When he wasn't sharpening pencils, he would peer into his textbook and announce that there was a mistake. He first made this startling announcement to the Geography teacher, the lanky Indian with the long ears with hairs sprouting at both ends ( I forget his name). He would be met by a baleful stare, a grunt and a snort. And the lesson would carry on. I never had the guts to ask the teacher what animal he was mimicking. But most times, Tock Cheow was right. Sometimes it was a fact, sometimes it was a spelling error.

When he wasn't peering into his textbooks, he would peer at me. And he gave me invaluable advice, how not to rile the bigger boys, how to ignore a taunt, and most important of all, to concentrate on the things that matter.

We lost touch when I went to university in England, and unfortunately, our paths didn't cross again, until the newspaper picture today. Someone had told me that he had gone on to become a man of figures, an important civil servant in some government department. Someone mentioned the Central Provident Fund, but it was in passing and I'm not sure if I had heard correctly.

But wherever you are, Tock Cheow, and I guess it must be some heavenly place, we wish you well and bon voyage. May God be with you.

Best wishes, (I hope it's appropriate as I'm not sure how I should end this. Eternal life, of course, has no end, only the temporal ones)


Wong Mei Lin wrote (07 August 2007, 0116 hours)

Am writing this from up north where I am camping.

I heard the news of Tock Cheow’s death when my friend in Singapore called me.

Tock Cheow was my classmate in ACS, albeit briefly, and is married to my cousin Lily Loh, former librarian with the S’pore government.

I spoke to her this morning. Apparently, in 2006, around November, Tock Cheow went in for a minor operation. She could not see my husband Bill who was visiting Singapore then. And she didn’t elaborate on the operation and I respected her privacy. What I gather is that he has been very weak since November 2006 and was being treated on drugs. The latest CT scan showed that the tumour in the liver had shrunk. However, his immune system had been severely compromised. Lily didn’t say much, except that 2 days ago he suffered from a very high fever.

He was rushed into emergency. Within half a day, Tock Cheow was in a coma, and succumbed. Lily is not quite sure what the cause of death was, and I didn’t pursue it.

Regards to all, God bless

Remembering John Wei
(please click here)

1942 - 2006


Mike Chan wrote (07 August 2007, 0733 hours))

Thanks Allan, as always insightful and drily humorous!

For your information, I believe my school hero, TTC, was the chief librarian of IBM here for many years before his Govt job. As his cremation is set for this evening, we would encourage those who know him well to also post their cyber eulogies here asap.

He had a close buddy also seated next to him in forms 3-5 whose name was Tay Teng Huat, a body-builder and a music composer. They were always playing chess. I wonder whether any of you guys know what happened to TTH who seemed to have disappeared.

To the rest of us, still hale and hearty and kicking, let's maintain our health with healthy food and exercise so that we can all reach our 70s and even 80s still healthy and independent!


Lenn Wei Ling wrote (07 August 2007, 1006 hours)

The Late Tan Tock Cheow - a quiet gentle man and an excellent but unorthodox badminton player.

God Bless his soul.

Michael Hwang wrote (09 August 2007, 1210 hours)

I am a little surprised that no one has yet mentioned Tock Cheow’s talent as an artist

He was without doubt the best artist in our class, and even the art teacher (cant remember which) said to me : “that boy is really gifted”.

Unfortunately this was another source of friction between Tock Cheow and myself. Victor, Tiong Hin, Choon Yang, Bernard and I elected to take Music instead of Art when Benjamin Khoo joined the school and introduced Music as a subject. Music being essentially a knowledge based subject, all of us could score marks ranging from 70 to over 90. Despite the fact that Tock Cheow was top of the class in Art, I think his highest marks were in the 70s, and this was always a sore point with him.


Teck Long wrote (10 August 2007, 2141 hours)

I had a drink with Robert Gay this evening and he revealed that Tock Cheow, Theng Huat and he were not only close friends in school, but had a couple of things in common besides the game of Chess.

All three were regularly chased out of the class by Mrs Iau during her Chinese lessons and they used to hang out at the tuck shop during their 'banishment. I guess that was how the "3 Musketeers" got close and were often seen together and as a result, many thought that Robert was being 'protected' by his other two bigger companions.

All three had somewhat similar nicknames. Theng Huat, because of his size, was known as Hercules. Tock Cheow, who used to amaze his classmates with his prowess on the field as a gifted javelin thrower, earned himself the name of 'Pocket Hercules" as he was much smaller than Theng Huat. For obvious reasons which we need not to into, Robert was known as "Mini-Hercules"!


Aw-Yang Teow Ming

Form 5 E

Cheng Pet Hian

Form 5 A

P. K. Gatha

Form 5 A, Science B

Kok Ah Keong

Form 5 E, Science B

Lee Chee Seng

Form 5 E

Lim Tiong Chiew, David

Form 5 C

Lye Kum Fong

Form 5 A

Ng Lai Peng

Arts A

Ng Yau Fong

Form 5 D

Seng Kwang Meng

Form 5, Science A

Soh Gwek Neo

Science A

Soon, Arlene

Arts A

Tan Bee Geok

Science A

Tan Cheng Hoe

Form 5 C

Tan Eng Yam, Matthew

Form 5 E, Science B

Tan, Irving

Form 5 C

Tan Kim Hock, Abdullah

Form 5 B

Tan Seow Nam, Harry
Tan Seow Nam, Harry

Form 5 A

Tan Tock Cheow

Form 5 E

Wee Beng Tang

Science B

Wei, John

Form 5 E, Science B


Remembering John Wei


Hamid Jinnah wrote (07 March 2006, 1045 hours):

Mike, you better ask our Doctor classmates about the painkillers, I have no idea.


Mike Chan wrote (06 March 2006, 1455 hours):

Thanks Hamid, I'm going for my 2nd surgery tomorrow to take out two long screws needed to realign my right tibia and fibula. I remembered you telling me about the many surgeries you had to undergo some time ago to save your life and body. I'm now encouraged by your far-worse experiences and will boldly go for the operation which I dread a lot as there is much horrible pain after the surgery and I have to scream to the doctor to give me morphine. Why can't they give me pain-killer before they wake me up from anesthesia? Do you know???


Hamid Jinnah wrote (06 March 2006, 1045 hours):

Dear Mike,

You have put into words what most of us feel and know. You mentioned frailties of the body as we age , I fully understand your sentiments, as one who has had multiple medical procedures.

Let's not worry too much about moving on, lets make the most of every day.


Mike Chan wrote (05 March 2006, 0922 hours):

Thanks CTL, for the reminder that we are all but mortals, with a fixed life-span. Death is but a part of life, a self-renewal for each of us to make way for our progenies....our genes will never die but pass on through the generations, hopefully for the better of mankind of the future, and that includes your children and grandchildren and on and on.

As 63-64 sexagenarians, we must be fully aware that we are no longer in the prime of our lives, that our survival instincts, eye-sight, hearing etc are not as efficient as when we were younger. I know many of us, though chronologically old, are biologically youthful but do not ever forget that while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.... and that's how a simple home accident falling down 3 flights of steps broke my old brittle tibia and fibula leg bones, requiring 3 surgeries to reset the broken bones with screws. When in my 20s-30s, I played rough games like football, rugby and even boxing and had several falls and bang-ups but none of my bones broke, not even a hair-line fracture! That's the difference between youth and old-age. Be very careful all you sexy sexagenarians!

We all have about 6 years when we reach 3 score and ten, i.e. 70 years of age or septagenarian.....

When in your 70s(septagenarian), every year is a bonus
When in your 80s(octogenarian), every month is a bonus
When in your 90s(nonagenarian), every day is a bonus
When you reach 100(centenarian), thank the Good Lord every minute, that you are still alive!

Here's to life, boys and girls!  May all of us continue to have good health and wealth and be happy, forgiving and contented for the rest of our lives! Cheers!  Sexagenarian Mike Chan.


Choo Teck Long wrote (04 March 2006, 2241 hours):

With the tragic death of David Lim Tiong Chiew on 01 March 2006, sixteen cohorts from the Class of 59/61 have now passed on They are gone, but not forgotten!

"Let no man fear to die. We all love sleep, and death is but the sounder sleep" - Francis Beaumont