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Monday October 24, 2005

Ka Ting’s mother dies

THE family of the late Toh Kim Eng has requested that wellwishers not send wreaths or take out condolence advertisements. 

Her family, including MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting,said in a statement that all condolence donations would be channelled to an education fund to be named after Toh. 

Despite having no formal education, Toh realised the importance of education and the fund would be an appropriate way to treasure the memory of her determination.  

The wake is being held at the family residence at 111, Jalan SS22/32, Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya. The cortege will leave at 10am on Wednesday for Nilai Memorial Park.


Toh: Passed away at 5am at Ka Ting’s home in Damansara Jaya Sunday.
PETALING JAYA: When Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting assumed the post of MCA president on May 23, 2003, the first person who came to his mind was his mother, Toh Kim Eng. 

A week later, on June 1, the filial son returned to the place where he had grown up – Kota Tampan New Village, near Lenggong in Perak– and lit joss sticks at the family shrine to pay tribute to his ancestors. 

Until Toh died peacefully at 5am yesterday at Ong’s home here, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, the 87-year-old matriarch had been a pillar of strength to Ong and his siblings. 

Having no formal education she braved all odds, tapping rubber, to single-handedly bring up 11 children. 

Widowed in her 40s, when husband Ong Leong Seng died of an illness in 1965, Toh had to fend for her brood of six boys and five girls. 

Ka Ting, who was eight then, was the second youngest. Datuk Ong Ka Chuan, now MCA secretary-general, was 10 at the time.  

Over the past week, as Toh lay ill, family members gathered at the house.  

She left behind 11 children, 31 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Praising his mother, Ka Ting said: “My mother never had the chance to attend school even for a day and had literally used her hands to tap rubber to bring up her children. 

“She struggled and persevered in caring for her children in every way and provided all of them with a basic education. 

“All of us had a secondary education and a few graduated from university. 

FULL SUPPORT: Datin Seri Wendy Ong speaking with members of her son Xing Yang’s (second from left) basketball team after they dropped by the house to offer their condolences shortly after winning the SP Setia Basketball Competition.
“My mother never succumbed to hardship and suffering as a single mother.  

“We will remember her forever and also her strong fighting spirit and determination,” said a visibly sad Ka Ting who managed to contain his emotions during a brief press conference yesterday evening.  

It was only at the end that his voice cracked a little as he thanked the press for waiting since morning. 

Toh’s death also brought back memories of the days spent in the family's ancestral home, a small wooden house that has been preserved as it was at her instruction.  

None of her children has been allowed to renovate the place or change any of the furniture. 

Even talking about doing it would incur her wrath, recalled Ka Ting.  

Her wish to keep the house in its original state was to serve as a reminder to Toh who never allowed extreme poverty to deprive her and her family of the love, happiness and success she knew they could attain. 

Ka Ting, who once suggested renovating the house but received strong objections from his mother, promised to preserve it the way she wanted it.  

“I understand even more now why my mother cherished the past, including the ancestral home,” he said.  

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