Fond Farewell to my good friend, Phang Tat Cheam

March 9, 2017

Fond Farewell to my good friend, Phang Tat Cheam

I was shocked and saddened today to learn on Facebook of the passing of Phang Tat Cheam. He was 82. My friendship with Phang goes back a long way to the 1960s when I was with Ismail Md. Ali’s Bank Negara.

We kept in constant touch as I used to meet up with him  at the Lake Club and the Royal Selangor Golf Club. He was a keen golfer and fierce competitor on the links. He enjoyed listening songs of Fifties and Sixties. His favourite female vocalist is Joni James, who is also mine. He enjoyed Dean Martin, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Cliff Richard, and others of our generation.

Image result for Phang Tat Cheam

Phang, you will be missed. So today, in my tribute to your memory, I am honored to present Joni James with some of her popular tunes.

May you rest in peace,my dear friend and fellow Malaysian. You and I never let our ethnicity and religion come between us. I know how sad you are to see a divided nation as you leave this world. You and I never expected to witness our country  become a failed and corrupt nation under Prime Minister Najib Razak. That said Phang, I will never forget you for your counsel, compassion, generosity and optimism.

To his bereaved family, my wife Dr. Kamsiah Haider and I convey our heartfelt condolences on the untimely demise of Phang Tat Cheam.–Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican

5 thoughts on “Fond Farewell to my good friend, Phang Tat Cheam

  1. I’m saddened by this news of the passing of Cheam Tat Pang, an ex colleague who was much my senior when I joined MIDF in February 1969. The late Tun Ismail Ali was then also the Chairman of MIDF in addition to being Governor of Bank Negara. My immediate boss was Mr. Goh Thong Beng, someone I was very fond of as a caring boss.

    Thanks Dato Din for bringing this news of Cheam’s passing. I shall miss him and may he rest in peace.


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts of Phang. Goh Thong Beng who later went to work for Maybank was my PFS school mate and UM Classmate. You see, my friend, men and women of our generation, one by one, are returning to be with their Creator. Dato Lim Say Chong told me via e-mail last night that when he saw Phang a week earlier, our departed friend was fine and healthy.

    The last time I saw him was in 2014. It was before I left for Phnom Penh to be with The University of Cambodia. Phang and I had lunch at the Lake Club with Say Chong, Thong Beng, Lim Fung Chee, Tan Sri Dr. Lin See Yan, and Sheriff Kassim. Both Thong Beng and Say Chong will attend Phang’s wake.–Din Merican

  2. Thanks Dato Din. I forgot to mention that Lim Say Chong is also a friend of mine. He interviewed me for a job at CCM (part of ICI Malaysia) and by happy coincidence, his wife was also in MIDF. We became friends later. I also got to know Lim Fung Chee later, through Goh Thong Beng, I think. Please send these old friends my best regards if you see them. Thank you Dato Din.

  3. Pak Din, when you mentioned the old guards, meaning people of our generation, it reminds me of my Commanding Officer, the late Colonel Mohd Zain (Pendek), an ex-MCKK cum RMC student. He was one no-nonsense guy who disliked tardiness, laziness and ill-discipline, But like all old timers, his written and spoken English were simply superb. This is his famous line:

    “When the first-class monkeys leave, the second-class monkeys take over. When this third-class monkeys leave, monkeys of no class will take over.”

    I guess this is the class of monkeys we have at Putrajaya today.

    I pine for the good old days of the 50s, 60s and 70s. They will not come our way again. Sigh.

    This bountiful nation is as divided as the idiots in Umno want it to be.

    North Korea may have nuclear weapons but ours is more potent – unclear weapons. Only Al Jubor knows what they are.

    • Tok Cik,

      Zain Pendek was my golfing kaki at Kelab Golf Nasional Subang. He was a fierce competitor and a soldier-gentleman. Professionals like him are rare in our Armed Forces these days.–Din Merican

  4. The concept of death is profound and everyone fears death. Most people don’t talk about death because the conversation is generally morbid in nature. If one is not consciously aware of death, in my opinion, they are not consciously aware of their life either. It is the idea of embracing that death is inevitable, is what makes a person understand the true purpose and meaning behind life.

    Worrying about death only limits the ideology of life as one is then focused on the fears of losing life. Life is about following the heart and following dreams while focus on death only limits this focus.

    Life is short but that does not imply that it cannot be lived. Letting go of the unnecessary elements in life is one of the ways by which one can feel the true meaning of living. Death is not a fear but a concept that must be kept in mind. However, it should not be used to limit one’s self from living a fulfilled life, one that is full with love, belonging and self-actualization.

    I try to lead an Examined Life, being useful right to the end. But I am fully conscious of my own mortality.–Din Merican

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