Memorial held for slain NUS professor

TWO weeks after associate professor Lee Kwok Hong was fatally slashed at the National University of Singapore’s engineering faculty, over 400 colleagues, students and former students showed up on Wednesday to pay tribute to him.  

At an hour-long memorial held in a lecture theatre, his widow, Sharon, and 14-year-old son, Tian Wen, learnt just how many people shared their loss. 

The people he had worked with and those he had taught said he was a fine example of a scholar, teacher and friend – passionate about his work yet humble and caring. And some may have discovered that the professor was also a poet. 

The faculty also announced on Wednesday that it is setting up a trust fund for Tian Wen’s education. 

It aimed to raise S$200,000 (RM434,802) for the fund. 

Prof Lee, who was vice-dean of research, had won teaching awards in 1996 and 1999, and was also top in his field for building computational models. 

At the service, three former students – Li Yonglin, Choo Hong Chiang and Ngiam Le Na – spoke warmly of the teacher whose friendship they had enjoyed. 

Ngiam, 27, an engineer, remembered the “sparkling enthusiasm and wit” of Prof Lee who supervised her final-year project and master’s thesis between 1998 and 2000. 

Their discussions were exciting and vibrant because of his mental agility and enthusiasm, she recalled. 

She said: “I really have Prof Lee to thank for inspiring me with his immense zeal and passion for his work.” 

Choo, 37, recited a poem titled Interest Or Destiny, which Prof Lee had written in 1992 and had shared with his students. 

“He truly had a beautiful mind, fast and furious,” he said. 

Also at the memorial was Lin Wu Zhong, 40, an Institute of High Performance Computing researcher who said he had kept in touch even after completing his master’s thesis in 1992, and had discussed research problems with the lecturer. 

“Prof Lee’s like a walking encyclopaedia, with a razor-sharp mind, while remaining very kind and humble,” he said. 

Assistant professor Lim Kian Meng, a colleague who was once his student, has set up a webpage at with a photo gallery, Prof Lee’s poetry and a condolence page with messages from those who knew him. 

Prof Lim said he intends to compile a book and a CD-ROM from these materials for the bereaved family. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network 

For another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network, click here.

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