E-mail received from Rama 6.9.2006




Dear Kirkbyites,


Whenever a Kirkbyite passes on, we are reminded that we are really getting on with age.


This was what I felt after coming across Johnny Ong’s obituary in today’s Star. He passed away yesterday - 5 September 2006.


Death seems to visit us so frequently in recent times. It is particularly poignant when it dawns upon you that many from my Block 8 have left us: John Fernandez, Charles Gabriel, Donald Jeyaretnam, Tara Singh, Gurcharan Singh and now Johnny Ong. I have no idea who else from Block 8 had passed on without our knowledge.


Johnny Ong was in the same plane when we travelled to England for Kirkby. Soon after settling down in Block 8, he came down with a very serious wool itch condition that warranted his hospitalisation for several weeks. I used to visit him. It was really a great effort to visit him regularly as it was winter and the weather was so cold with the fog coming down thickly.


Johnny was posted to St Gabriel’s School together with Oswald. In 1963 when I was following the Specialist Course in the Education of the Blind, I had to go to St. Gabriel’s for my teaching practice where there was an integrated programme for the blind. It was here where I met both of them briefly.


In the late 1960s, Johnny Ong suddenly turned up in Penang stating that he had been posted to Kepala Batas on the mainland which was my home town. I think that he came from Kelantan where he was teaching then. Together with Manasseh, I accompanied Johnny Ong and his girl friend to Kepala Batas. We showed him his school and found accommodation for them. After that I never met him.


He published, I think, a couple of books. The first one was Pepper And Salt and the second book was, if I’m not mistaken, Tiger in the Snow, or something like that.


Later on I learnt that he was in the publishing business and was attached to St Anthonian Book Publishing. Apart from this I have no further information about Johnny Ong. But I used to wonder what happened to him. I normally ask around about Kirkby friends but no one was able to shed any news with regard to Johnny Ong. As a matter of fact, at our last Reunion in Ipoh, I did try to find out about Johnny Ong but drew a blank.


The wake is being held on 5 & 6 September at PJMC (Room 7), Jalan 229, Petaling Jaya..

The funeral service will be at 1 pm at St. Pauls Church, Lorong Utara Kecil, Petaling Jaya.


Johnny Ong leaves behind a wife, two married daughters and two grand children. His wife is Carol Lee Mun Hong.

Contact numbers are: 012 350 4428; 019 2816626.


May he rest in peace.


With very warm regards,