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Tuesday October 30, 2007
The grand farewell of Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong
Goh Tong laid to rest
His wish of being buried here was fulfilled yesterday as his widow, Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua, 79, and six children laid him to rest at the Gohtong Memorial Park, located some 600m from his residence, Gohtong Villa.
The hill had meant so much to Goh Tong that he chose the villa to spend the last few years of his life here, although he owned many other residential properties.
The burial ground was also a personal choice. Friends mentioned how Goh Tong fell in love with this piece of land and made known his intention to be buried here after feng shui masters declared the site a prosperous “dragon’s head”, which was good for Goh Tong and the generations after him.
Simultaneously yesterday at Goh Tong’s birthplace in Anxi, China, a memorial ceremony was held at the community hall to honour a filial “son” who successfully made his fortune overseas but continued to pour money back to the village to build schools, construct roads and uplift the local economy.
Eight eulogies were delivered paying tribute to Goh Tong's “can do” spirit, his philanthropic deeds and his humility.
The funeral yesterday ended five days of wake beginning on Wednesday after Goh Tong died at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre the day before.
More than 20,000 people, including royalty, Asia’s rich and famous, politicians, friends, business allies and members of the public paid tribute to Goh Tong in their own ways. They either attended the wake, sent wreaths or penned messages of sympathy.
The wreaths alone took up almost a kilometre, lining the road up to Gohtong Villa.
Asia’s richest man, Li Ka Shing, sent a personal condolence note to the bereaved family, offering words that perhaps best captured the essence of who Goh Tong was.
”I am feeling very sad but be comforted that he enjoyed a long life with his children and grandchildren. He led a full life without anything to be regretted about. I hope your mother and others in the family will take good care, and this is my prayer too,” he wrote.
The Lim family had opened up Gohtong Villa for friends and the public to pay their respects. However, the burial at 1.18pm was a private affair restricted to the family.
- Michael Thomas, chairman of the Native American Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
“He was a young man of 19 who left his country never to see his mother again, to come and work in Malaya as a carpenter.”
- Tun Hanif Omar, deputy chairman of Genting Group.
“He had undergone more difficulties and challenges than any other entrepreneur, before he became successful in his business. However, he remained a friendly, sporting and humble person who was actively involved in charitable activities.”
- Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong, president of the Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia.
“Even though he was a wealthy man, he still lived a simple life. He also understood that he needed to repay society after benefiting from it.”
- Dr Tan Tat Chin, a member of the Tung Shin Hospital Board of Directors.
“He is a source of inspiration and we salute his accomplishment. He will continue to live in the heart of those who have been touched by him.”
- Tan Sri Dr Ng Lay Swee, president and chief executive officer of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.
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