Missing Our Dad





























On 17 June 2000,  a day before the Father's Day, we placed advertisements in all major newspapers in this country appealing for assistance.  Alas, we were still unable to find him. But we were touched by the kindness and sympathy of Malaysians.  Our gratitude to all Malaysians is registered by this open letter dated 19 June 2000:

On behalf of my father, mother and siblings, I would like to thank all of you kind-hearted people who have responded so overwhelmingly to our Father's Day SOS call. We understand many churches, the boys' and girls' brigades, RELA members, St John's Ambulance members, Wanita MCA, penghulus, students, private individuals, families, relatives, friends and Malaysians of all races came out on 18 June 2000 to help look for my dad in many cities and towns including Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Malacca, Ipoh and Kuala Terengganu.

We know because on that day we received more than 100 calls from Malaysians of all races all over Malaysia. Generally, callers had called to report many sightings of my dad as well as offer advice, tips, prayers and their sympathies. We are overwhelmed by this response and it is indeed heartening to know that there are still so many good hearted people in our society. We know we cannot thank each and every one of you personally. But please accept this family's deepest and heartfelt gratitude and we hereby take a bow to all of you for your kindness and assistance rendered in one way or another. Having said that, I must expressly thank my church, for standing by us and still praying incessantly for us and our dad's early return.

Special mention must also be made about the coverage given by the press particularly Sin Chew Jit Poh and The Sunday Star who wrote special features about my father's disappearance and which articles I believe have touched the hearts of many readers. So many had called and written that they were moved to tears when they read the two articles. Across the causeway, Singapore's New Paper also gave prominence to my dad's disappearance. We also thank Berita Harian which just called to say that they would run the advert again tomorrow free of charge since my dad has still not been found. Many have also sent private emails containing encouragement and concern. We thank all of you.

But we do apologise to many senior citizens whom some of  the volunteers might have mistaken them to be my father and causing them to speak to me over the mobile phone. We do apologise for the inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding.

Alas, despite this massive manhunt we are still not able to locate our dad. As old people generally look alike, it is not easy for the volunteers to identify my dad. Callers called from Air Hitam (Penang), Pontian, Batu Pahat, Kluang, Kajang, Pagoh, Muar, Serdang, Kuantan, Kemayan (Pahang), Ipoh, Shah Alam, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Johor Bahru and Yong Peng claiming to have seen our dad in all these areas on various days. We are now in the process of verifying the information. A member from a Buddhist association in Kuala Terengganu also informed us that they went to two old folks' homes there but could not find my dad and that they would continue to look out for my dad in Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu areas.

When going out in search for my dad, it is indeed very sad to know that there are in fact many old people wandering alone aimlessly out there and scavenging for food and are homeless too. (In fact, as we took a walk the last few nights through the alleys and walkways in the city of Johor Bahru searching for our dad with our torch lights, I was so saddened by the sight of many homeless old people sleeping on cardboards everywhere.) Most calls were in relation to two old people sighted in Batu Pahat and Pontian and after the search teams arrived and my talking to them, neither one of the senior citizens is my dad. We, however, advised the senior citizen sighted in Batu Pahat to be immediately sent to the police station as he too could be a missing person whose family is now pining for him.

Hence, it appears that the most reliable information so far is still the sighting on 13 June 2000 by the express bus driver who claimed that my dad had hopped onto his bus from Yong Peng express bus station at Luck Gardens (which is situated about 2km from the town area) at 6pm on Tuesday 13 June 2000 and then proceeded to Larkin Bus Terminal, Johor Bahru. According to Guna, he only realised one old man sitting behind him after awhile. He did not know how this old man had got onto his bus without a ticket. As the old man was sitting there quietly, he also did not bother to ask him any question.  When shown the colour photo of my dad, he was very certain that the old man in his bus was my dad because he could see my dad from his mirror all the way in the one hour journey since my dad was seated behind him. At that time, he did not know that my dad had lost his way. When we approached Guna the second time, he also confirmed that it was one driver from the Yong Peng express bus station who put my dad onto the bus and that driver too confirmed that it was my dad.

We are obviously glad to have this information as this shows that my dad is still alive but he is moving from one place to another. Because he too is perhaps trying to find his way back, that is why it is so difficult to track him down as he cannot be sighted in any one place for too long. Also, the irony that he returned to Yong Peng where he first got lost but was not "detained" there this time could be due to the fact that the station is situated outside the town area. Had he entered into the town area, he would have been "nabbed" as he is most wanted man in the town now! But he is obviously not able to tell where he is, let alone recognise the Yong Peng town. Initially, we thought it was impossible for him to travel on an express bus. We are now wrong. He could have travelled from one town to another including on express buses that landed him there. If so, he could have now hopped onto another bus and he could now be in any part of Malaysia.

Dear friends, the past one month has been a very difficult one for the entire family. The feeling of not knowing whether he is dead or alive is unbearable and our lives have also been turned topsy-turvy. But I have advised my family that it must come a time when we have to be realistic. Our lives must also carry on and we cannot be doing to the extent of what we have been doing in the past one month. The Bible taught us to honour our father and mother. As a son, I have done all that I could within my means and have also exhausted all avenues to find my dad. Of course, so long as he is not found, my family and I will always carry a wish in our hearts that one day he may be found and will still make every effort to find him. He will always live in our hearts. I know the days ahead will be difficult for us but I pray that we will be able to pull through.

Whist we obviously could not wish him a Happy Father's Day on 18 June 2000, we will still say deeply in our hearts no matter where he is now that all of us love him very much and are eternally grateful for what he did for us. Without him, we are nothing. As a saying goes, when we were young, he was there for us and now when he is old, we are always here for him.

I told God that I have to leave all these now to His mighty hands. No matter how much time or money we could give or spend, nothing is possible without God's help. I pray and will always pray that our merciful and loving God will send him a good samaritan to lead him home and also grant him at least a little ability to tell people that he has lost his way as well as to help him regain a little memory of his home and loved ones so that he could return to us. If he is hungry, to provide him food. When he is thirsty, to provide him with water. If it rains, to provide him with shelter. When he feels cold, to give him warmth. Protect him from all harm. As the Lord had led him home in 1998, I believe our God who is our refuge and fortress will do so again. In the meantime, I pray that our God will shelter him under His wings and keep us faithful and give us patience as we wait on Him to help our dad come back to us. We therefore ask that you continue to support us with your prayers.

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

(19-6-2000 4.15 pm)

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