Thursday, 1 May 2014

Goodbye my friend, ex comrade and benefactor, YB Seah Leong Peng

YB Seah, rest in peace.
I was in terrible shock when the news of the sudden demise of my friend, YB Seah Leong Peng, the Member of Parliament for my hometown Teluk Intan, reached me early this morning. Another nice man leaving us, 14 days after the passing of Karpal Singh, I said to myself.
I last bump into Seah, as he is commonly known to all at a restaurant in Teluk Intan before Chinese New Year. He was leaving after having dinner with his family members while we were arriving. We exchanged a few pleasantries before saying goodbye.  
A man with no airs, approachable and helpful, Seah was first elected as the state assemblyman for Pasir Bedamar in 1999 which he won and defended for another two terms before moving to content in the Teluk Intan parliamentary seat beating the now Gerakan President Mah Siew Keong with a 7313 majority in the last election.
The grandson of the provision shop owner Seah Buan Bee, Seah was also a state executive councilor when Perak was under the rule of Pakatan Rakyat. When Seah first ran for election in 1999, everyone just referred him as Seah Buan Bee’s grandson, a local boy and he won handsomely despite DAP losing badly elsewhere. Seah used to tell me that if I happen to run for a seat in Teluk Intan, I can say, I am Eng Thye’s granddaughter, a local girl.
I came to know Seah up close and personal when I just returned from Auckland.  Fong Po Kuan, the former Batu Gajah MP whom inspired me to join the DAP introduced me to Seah. That was before Po Kuan introduced me to Chow Kon Yeow which paved way for me to be researcher in DAP Penang. At that time I was spending time with my family. Seah was very kind to arrange for my first media interview, introduce me to Perak state leaders like YB Ngeh Koo Ham, YB Nga Kor Ming and YB Kulasegaran, took me to the Hari Raya Aidilfitri state banquet at the Menteri Besar’s residence and many more.
My first debut in local media, arranged by Seah.
When I was in DAP Penang, I constantly attend events organized by Seah in Teluk Intan, including a mega dinner attended by Kit Siang and Guan Eng. After the dinner we proceeded to Restaurant Wan Khew for supper with Guan Eng and other leaders. That was my first time chatting casually with the future Chief Minister of Penang. Guan Eng was barred from holding any public office at that time and he was selling insurance for AETNA.
We continue to keep in touch even after I left the DAP. Once a while I will bump into Seah when he pump his petrol at my father’s gas station. He was always courteous and respectful to my father and mother. When Vincent Wu, Seah’s good friend, stood in Teluk Intan in the 2004 elections, both of them came to dad’s petrol station seeking help. Daddy helped by sponsoring cartoons of mineral water. 2004 was a low point for the opposition party.
Though he is in the opposition party with all its limitation, the people of Teluk Intan knew that Seah will always be there to help them unlike some elected representative who only appear once a blue moon and when the election is near. Seah’s passing will pave way for another by election. I know that the wise people of Teluk Intan will elect another good representative that truly represents the people and one that is as hardworking as Seah.
Goodbye my friend, my ex comrade, my benefactor. I'll never forget your good deeds.

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