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Saturday June 5, 2010

Biography of a badminton great

FOUR-TIME All-England singles champion Datuk Eddy Choong celebrated his 80th birthday last Sunday in style by launching his biography Ex-Badminton Player: Dato Eddy Choong — Talk About History.

Choong was attired in a black samfu with red motifs while his wife Datin Maggie Thean was dressed in a lovely cheongsam at the event held at the Jade Palace seafood restaurant on Aboo Siti Lane in George Town at 7pm.

Joining the celebrations were his four sons, their wives and three grandchildren.

Proud: Choong showing a copy of his book launched at his birthday party.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew plus several state executive councillors were also present.

The octogenarian was All-England champion in 1953, 1954, 1956 and 1957.

The 110-page book was written in Chinese by Sin Chew Daily senior reporter Kiu Boon Huat. It has also been translated into English by a Universiti Sains Malaysia student.

Choong said proceeds from the sale of 100 books at the function would be matched ringgit to ringgit by him.

“I will give half of the amount to a charity to be announced later and the other half I will give to my wife to be given to the charity of her choice,” he said.

In his speech after cutting the birthday cake, Choong said he was leading a happy and fulfilling life with his wife who had given him unconditional love and friends who had kept him in good spirits over the years.

“I have friends from World War Two days. My family has been in Malaysia for 200 years.

“My great-great grandfather came to Malaysia in 1820. Some of those who are here at this event today were my father’s friends and I have learnt a lot from them,” he said.

Choong also joked that for 80 years, heaven had allowed him to be on earth to continue living until he became a good person.

“Only when I succeed in becoming a good person, will the almighty God take me because the good die young,” he said to laughter and cheers from guests.

Lim, in his speech, said he was impressed after reading Choong’s book.

He said Choong emphasised that a person’s character was more important than the colour of his skin.

“Eddy also held on to the old Scouts motto — Be Prepared — and that’s why he was the undisputed badminton world champion.

“I also admire Choong’s public spiritedness,” he said.

Guests were kept entertained through the night by Sweet Melody.


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