Thursday, September 1, 2011

RIP DR WONG YIP CHONG

I don't really envy myself as a eulogist, but I had to say something for our ex SCF President who served the Federation in the years 1986-87. Among those who served were Choong Liong Onn, Tan Lian Ann, Giam Choo Kwee, George Wong, myself and Lim Chye Lye. Ignatius Leong was then Competitions Secretary.

SCF meetings were usually held at Dr Wong's home at Chancery Lane. As a great host, Dr Wong will welcome us in person and before starting the session, he will treat us with the most appetising of tidbits. Afterward, he would insist that we go for supper at the Whitley Road hawker centre, then situated under the Whitley flyover. As a President, Dr Wong often listened to suggestions and gave his insights on the big picture, but left us to iron out the details. His biggest contribution at his time was his submission of a paper to the SNOC on why chess should be rightly labelled a sport rather than a game. He tried hard to impress upon the authorities that being Asian, Singapore should embrace the promotion of sports and games that relied less on strength and physique. This was already discussed back in 1987.

Before the term chess parent came about (probably since the formation of the National Junior Squad in the late 90's), Dr Wong would certainly be the first in Singapore. He would attend his children's chess tournaments when he had the time, bringing with him his trusty camera. When either Meng Kong (GM Wong Meng Kong) or Meng Leong would be making the winning move, he would always be ready to snap the winning moment. In fact, during one of the school team tournaments, my cheeky RI chess friend went up to him reporting that Meng Kong was winning. An unassuming Dr Wong readied his camera to take the shot, only to freeze at the last moment - the camera lenses revealed that Meng Kong was actually losing!

Dr Wong was always supportive of his children, whether they would give up a year of studies to pursue chess, or other interests. His congenial disposition and affable smile would infect anyone. I would remember Dr Wong as patient, cheerful President who contributed his time and energies to steer SCF in the late 80's and also groomed a GM and 2 National Chess Champions without pushing them.

1 comment:

  1. Though I do not really know him well, it is still sad to hear of his passing. My condolences to Meng Kong and Meng Leong.

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