HE was always there when the villagers needed help.
Moving around on his old motorcycle, Chang Swee Cheong was a familiar figure in Kampung Baru Bidor Stesyen in Bidor during sad or happy events, to lend a helping hand to fellow villagers.
He also walked the extra mile to see what could be done to improve the quality of life in the farming village where he grew up.
But this is now a thing of the past.
Last week, the villagers were shocked by news of his sudden demise.
Chang, 53, who was the village chief, was part of an MCA delegation visiting Southern Thailand when he died during the journey.
The trip was organised by the Tanjung Malim MCA division.
They went in five buses and he died of a heart attack inside one of the buses at the Customs checkpoint early morning last Friday.
He was pronounced dead when medical personnel rushed to his aid.
Chang leaves behind wife Koh Pek Siang, 50, sons Chang Jun Sen, 23 and Chang Jun You, 17, and daughter Chang Yan Ting, 19.
Jun Sen is studying in Universiti Malaysia Sabah while his siblings are in secondary school.
Koh’s elder sister Koh Pek Wah, said the family only learned of Chang’s health conditions after the incident.
Apparently he had complained of chest pains to his friends during their morning exercise, she said.
“My younger sister (Chang’s wife) found it difficult to accept his death.
“Her husband left home happily and returned in a coffin,” said Pek Wah at the crematorium in Temoh.
Pek Wah said Chang died between 5am and 6am on Friday and the body arrived home 12 hours later.
Earlier, villagers and friends came to pay their last respects to Chang at his house in the village.
Among those present at the funeral yesterday was Perak MCA chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon and Tanjung Malim MCA divisionchairman Lim Poh Kuang.
Dr Mah said villagers had described Chang as someone who was always ready and willing to help anyone in need.
He said the villagers had lost a good community leader, fellow villager and friend.
A farmer in the village, Liew Yee Foong, said Chang was always available whenever villagers called him for help.
His passion and effort to help villagers all the while was recognised, and he was appointed the village chief last year.