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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


There have been many times when I've felt like blogging is a dark hole. Information posted, posts updated, perhaps read, often unread.

Of late, there have also been many moments when I have wondered about the point of this blog. For those who have followed it and reminded me of the serious lack of updates, I plead guilty.

Over the years, I have appreciated your comments, your criticism and sometimes your appreciation.

But the time you know a blog post has worked, is when you get a mail like this. It came in response to a post done well over a year ago. Like the phone call that travelled to many places, so did this email. It made me cry, like these things always do. And it made me remember once again about my colleague, Chin Chye. Like his death, his first death anniversary went silently by. But I take heart knowing he is still remembered.

"Dear Ms Deepika Shetty

You don’t know me, but we both know someone dear to our hearts – he is Chua Chin Chye.

I just found out today that he has passed away. Shocking news for me! If I didn’t read it from your blog, I wouldn’t have known.

Naively, I had sent an email to Chin Chye to invite him to a press lunch for one of my clients. I got no reply, quite unlike the Chin Chye I know. Then I wanted to call him on my mobile and found out for some strange reasons his number has disappeared from my phone directory. Then I called Mediacorp, only to be told diplomatically by the telephone operator he no longer worked there.

We were both at The Straits Times and then at The New Paper - he taught me the finer points of being a good crime reporter.

What I remembered Chin Chye most was his wry sense of humour and especially his funny grin and the twitch of his eye-brow when he wanted to make a point.

I only have happy thoughts of him. I refuse to let the pain inside me well up, because that is not the way he would have wanted me to remember him by.

“We love you Chin Chye”."

Ronald Wong
Group Account & Regional Development Director
MILEAGE Communications Pte Ltd

In May 2007, this was the post:

I leave with a heavy heart. One of my colleagues Chua Chin Chye passed away. He sat opposite me. Each morning after our work was done, we'd relax, catch up on the news of the day or the way the property market was doing. Of late though, he was getting increasingly tired, sleeping a lot more and often missing his medication. He'd been battling diabetes and we'd all remind him to eat right and take his medicines on time. He'd brush it off saying, "aiyah! it's only a curry puff."

Who knew things would change so drastically.

After going in and out of hospital, he was warded for almost four weeks. We thought he was on the mend. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

I did a search to find a picture of him and came across this piece. It was penned when we were all asked to remember our most memorable moment on the show.

Ironically, here's what Chin Chye wrote:
"But torture can be mollified, after half a year, and even lead to a source of delight -- when you get first-hand accounts of what has just happened in the world...while others slumber. The most poignant moment, perhaps, was during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict... where after relentless attacks, that killed thousands of men, women and children.... the carnage led Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to cry out loud, "Are we children of a lesser God?"

Cause and effect. Producing the news is constant reminder that what goes around, comes around -- pretty fast, too. Each morning, scrolling through the news wires and videos, you see pictures and sounds, of the crises and chaos, big and small, that grip our world.

In any case, not everything gets on air. The happenings of the world, trials and triumphs, sometimes reduced to a few paragraphs on a morning bulletin. Or nothing, at all."

Revisiting this piece, I wonder, if he had a premonition?

It's hard to look at the chair he's left behind. The void can never be filled.

We can do nothing to bring him back, but we can treasure his memory. Email me at if you have a thought to share.

Post Script, 23 May, 2007: Thank you all for your emails. For taking that moment to pause and reflect. For reminding me once again how words often fail in times of grief. And for bringing your pen to paper....

"It was not easy to see Chin Chye wasting away, but he always kept up a brave front.
I will always remember him for his strong spirit.

If he's listening in now from way up there, he must be sighing in relief to finally be rid of our nagging to stop eating out; to get a caterer; to take up tai-chi... it was a long list. His seat may be empty, but he is still very much a part of us."

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