REMEMBERING WONG KOK MEE

REMEMBERING WONG KOK MEE

16 June 1911 to 28 October 1972

This is the story of a rare kind of believer, one who had an unbounded love for the Faith of Baha’u’llah. The story reveals the great pain, difficulties and challenges a true lover had to go through – all for the love for the Blessed Beauty and His mighty Cause. Seldom would one come across a pure, sincere and dedicated soul to whom the Faith was his all.

As soon as Yankee Leong accepted the Faith in Seremban on 19 December 1953, he set out to share the Healing Message of Bahá’u’lláh with his closest friends, starting with the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. In Kuala Lumpur, he organized talks in the business premises of his close friend and Theosophist, Mr. Wong Kok Mee, affectionately called “Uncle Wong” by the youngsters and Kok Mee by his peers and other elders.

The first believer in Kuala Lumpur was Mr. W. Nadarajah, a clerk with the Kuala Lumpur Municipality who accepted the Faith on 21 December 1953, just two days after Yankee Leong himself became a Bahá’í. The next to accept the Faith in Kuala Lumpur was Mr. Wong Kok Mee who signed up on the declaration card on 8 April 1954. Wong Kok Mee was the Chief Salesman in M/S James Warren & Co., in Kuala Lumpur. Among the first batch of believers, it was Kok Mee alone who rose to become the towering figure in the early days of the Faith in Kuala Lumpur.

Kok Mee had always wanted to know more of the Faith and gained a deeper understanding from the foreign visitors and pioneers to the community and other learned believers, including the Hands of the Cause of God. With a burning thirst for knowledge on the Faith, Kok Mee read widely whatever material was available and spent his time understanding the Faith. In 1955 itself there was a good lending library with a good number of books. Kok Mee was one of those who frequently borrowed a good number of books to gain a wide and deeper understanding of the Faith.

With the strong encouragement of Mrs. Shirin Fozdar India’s pioneer to Singapore, and Yankee Leong in Seremban, Kok Mee taught the Faith to his friends in Kuala Lumpur. Once a sufficient number of adults had been enrolled into the Faith, the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur was elected on Ridván 1955 at the home of Mr. Nadarajah. Nadarajah became the Chairman, Kok Mee the Vice Chairman, and Mrs. Shirin Fozdar its Secretary. Shirin Fozdar stayed briefly in Banting in early 1955 and was travelling to Kuala Lumpur for Bahá’í functions. Within one year of its formation, the Assembly was registered under the Societies (Regulation) Rules, 1953 on 16 May 1956.


The earliest batch of believers in Kuala Lumpur in 1955, taken in front of the business premises of Wong Kok Mee, who stands second from left in the front row. The believer with the turban in the second row is Harnam Singh Rakha, who, along with a few others took the Faith to the Asli settlement in Dusun Tua area in 1957

Yet the re-elections of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur each subsequent year was not that smooth, as it was a busy city with a mechanized hustle and bustle way of life. Most of them were swept away by the materialism of city life. The coming together of believers was difficult and re-election of the existing Assembly at each Ridván period was not easy. Yet Kok Mee was highly committed, and he tried his very best to exert every ounce of his energy to have the re-election accomplished. In the late 1950s, it was a formidable task until S. L. Thevar moved into the Kuala Lumpur community from Penang and served on the Assembly as an able Secretary in 1960. That happy moment for Kok Mee did not last long when Thevar was transferred to Temerloh in the state of Pahang in 1961.


Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur in 1960. Seated L-R: Maheshwar Dayal, Mrs. Emma Fernandez, Wong Kok Mee, and S.L. Thevar

With the lack of adult believers, the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur was made up of Bahá’ís from Petaling Jaya as well in 1962. There was a period of inactivity from 1962. The burden to keep the fort of the community once again fell upon the sole torch bearer Kok Mee. It was only in 1965 that a new life came to Kuala Lumpur when the National Bahá’í Centre was occupied. The Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly S. Vasudevan moved into the National Bahá’í Centre in Kuala Lumpur in December 1965 and he recollected that there was again not much going on the part of the Local Spiritual Assembly. Yet, whenever the Local Spiritual Assembly was elected Kok Mee too was elected on to the Assembly, the last year being 1970. As a member of the community, he had worked very hard to keep the spirit high. He used to buy ample meals for the Feasts to bring happiness and joy during the social part of the Feasts.

All these years Kok Mee had been holding the fort all himself with so much burden and challenges. The year that brought some relief to Kok Mee was 1969. Inbum Chinniah, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly who was based in Jasin moved into Kuala Lumpur at the end of 1968 and re-organized activities and affairs of the Faith in Kuala Lumpur. A much stronger Local Spiritual Assembly started to emerge from 1969 with a dynamic set of new blood. Kok Mee was able to come to the National Bahá’í Centre that also housed the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur, with an elated heart to see so many friends coming and going. He had more friends to talk to and was often at the home of his dearest friend Inbum Chinniah with whom he discussed many affairs of the Faith. The National Spiritual Assembly set up a set of Administrative staff to assist Inbum Chinniah in his secretarial services. Most of them stayed in the National Centre itself. Some regular teachers in the aboriginal areas also stayed in the Centre. The Centre became a hive of activities, as never before. Finally, the time had come for him to relax, for the first time, after some 15 years of constant and strenuous struggle to keep the torch burning with all his mighty efforts.  When there was nobody staying in the Centre in the past Kok Mee used to come to the Centre almost every day.


Subang International Airport, 1969. L-R: Le Loc, member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Vietnam, Wong Kok Mee, Inbum Chinnah, and Mrs. Elizabeth Thurairatnam (mother of Inbum Chinniah) The three children of Inbum L-R: Nabil, Saffura, and Soheil


Visit by Dr. S. I Dean and wife to Kuala Lumpur, 1970. L-R: Inbum Chinniah, Wong Kok Mee, Dr. S. I. Dean, Lean Beng Liew, Suguna Arumugam, Nasser Jaffari (pioneer to Thailand) A.P. Arumugam, Govindasamy, Isaac D’Cruz (Seremban) S. Ravichandran, Lily Chinniah, Mrs. Isabelle Dean, and Auxiliary Board member Betty Fernandez

From 1969 there was a self-sustaining momentum, and Kok Mee reduced the frequency of his visits. But each time he came, he was never empty-handed, as he knew there were staff serving with a simple allowance. Mr. Sandrakasan who was a staff in the National Centre from 1969 to early 1972 says, “Uncle Wong would always come to the National Centre with plenty of food and leave them in the kitchen for us to eat. The food he brought during his morning visits would be more than sufficient for lunch serving as well. Whenever he hosted Feasts, it was like a huge festival with so much food. He had a magnanimous heart.’’

In the early days, Kok Mee played a key role in providing a meeting place for the community. A meeting place for the community became a key issue from the time of the election of the Assembly in 1955 and it was Kok Mee who came to the fore. As an Assembly was elected in 1955, a need arose for the meetings of the assembly, and community activities as well. The first Assembly meeting was held in the Tivoli Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. But this was not to continue forever, as it involved huge expenses. Kok Mee generously offered his business premises at Rodgers Road in Kuala Lumpur became the place for both Assembly meetings, community gatherings and public meetings. That became the first meeting place for community gatherings. The other business premises of Kok Mee at Rogers Street and Clarke Street were also used for meetings. In 1960 the residence of Mrs. E. A. Fernandez at  Cheras area was used for Bahá’í meetings. When Maheshwar Dayal a pioneer from India to Singapore came to Kuala Lumpur in 1958, he was employed as Advertisement Manager with Lever Brothers and stayed at  Khemoj Road, Off Bangsar Road. When his shophouse also became a meeting place, Kok Mee brought some chairs and tables for this shophouse. Following the wedding of Maheshwar Dayal in 1961 he moved to Petaling Jaya, and once again Kok Mee’s office at Rogers Street became a meeting place. Kok Mee was there for the needs of the Faith. The outstation Bahá’ís like Leong Tat Chee and Yankee Leong used to stay overnight in this office whenever they had to pass through Kuala Lumpur to proceed to the north.


Visit of some Malacca believers to Kuala Lumpur, 1960. Seated in the centre is Wong Kok Mee, with Mrs. Emma Fernandez (mother of Tony Fernandez of Malacca) to his right, and Betty of Malacca to his left. Standing at extreme right is Tony Fernandez from Malacca, with S.L. Thevar next to him. Seated second from left on the floor is Raymond Peter from Malacca, and seated at extreme right is Surinder Singh from Malacca.

One more area of Kok Mee’s love for the Faith was demonstrated in the way he took loving care of the National Bahá’í Centre. In April 1965, the National Spiritual Assembly and the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur were housed in the newly purchased National Ḥaẓíratu’l-Quds at 32, Jalan Angsana, Kuala Lumpur. Although this bungalow house was donated to the National Spiritual Assembly by Mrs. George Lee, a Bahá’í philanthropist residing in Singapore, it was only in April 1965 that it came to be formally occupied.


Dr. Muhájir discusses with Mrs. George Lee of Singapore who, in 1964 donated the bungalow at 32, Jalan Angsana to be used as the National Bahá’í Centre. To her right are Wong Kok Mee and K. Rajah.

Kok Mee immediately took loving ownership of this building and took it upon himself to ensure it had its due image, befitting the glorious Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. History would view Kok Mee as the most committed caretaker of the Bahá’í Centre. Kok Mee was one of those who had the keys to the National Bahá’í Centre, as a member of the National Centre Maintenance Committee. He used to come often to the Centre and stay on for a few hours and take personal responsibility to clean the centre and maintain it. S. Vasudevan who was in the Bahá’í Centre from December 1965 to May 1967 when he went off to pioneer to India had observed the immense love Kok Mee had for the Faith that was translated into taking care of the Centre. Before Vasudevan moved into the Center, and after he had pioneered to India, Kok Mee would come to the Centre almost every day, enter every room and carefully inspect the needs of the Centre and swiftly attended to them. Every fused bulb in the centre was replaced by Kok Mee. He brought in electricians and plumbers to ensure the wiring and piping systems were in good order. He would then walk outside the building and ensure no dried leaves, twigs or dirt were to be seen. He would take the broom and sweep the surrounding compound in broad daylight, oblivious to members of the public passing that way. He quietly settled the water and electricity bills from his own pockets. To Kok Mee, perhaps the Bahá’í Centre a very sacred place, much dearer than the residence in which he lived.

There is every reason for the earliest batch of believers to register the name of Kok Mee in their hearts as he was equally moving around with them in those earliest days on several platforms. While Kok Mee was the torchbearer in Kuala Lumpur, he also participated in regional gatherings held in other parts of the country. He attended the first Summer School held in Malacca in December 1957, where he met the Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Raḥmatu’lláh Muhájir and several key believers of the time such as Dr. K. M. Fozdar, Mrs. Shirin Fozdar, G. Saurajen, Anthony C. Louis, Lena Saurajen, Nong Chik, Mirinal Kanti Paul, Tushar Kanti-Paul, Pijush Kanti Paul, Kumara Das, Yankee Leong, K. Rajah, Chin Chia Kwei, and Leong Tat Chee. Also present were American pioneers to Nicobar Islands Miss Jeanne Frankel and her mother Mrs. Margaret Kelly Bates. It was at this meeting that Dr. Muhájir gave an eleven-point program which became the Blueprint for the development of the basic spiritual infrastructure for the country. Wong was impressed by that master plan emanating from the brilliant mind of Dr. Muhájir.

Kok Mee participated in the meeting of the Regional Spiritual Assembly held in Singapore in Ridvan 1958 and in the Inter-Continental Conference held in September that year in the same city. Belonging to the first batch of believers in the country, he was well known to all of them, as a quiet worker behind the scene.

Kok Mee became very attracted to Dr. Muhájir at that first summer school and both remained very close friends until the passing of Wong in 1972. Dr. Muhájir himself had a fond liking for the dedicated services Wong had provided to the development of the Cause in the Kuala Lumpur community.

In 1958, Kok Mee participated in the National Convention of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of South East Asia at Mrs. George Lee’s Pasir Panjang villa in Singapore. There he widened his circle of friends. Kok Mee also participated in the First Pan-Malayan Teaching Conference held on 8 May 1960 at Happyland Hotel in Klebang Kecil, Malacca. This Conference was graced by the Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Muhájir. He also participated in most of the Bahá’í Summer Schools and the National Bahá’í Conventions, always quietly sitting in a corner and observing the proceedings that were going on with keenness.


Summer School held in Port Dickson in 1960. Seated L-R: Leong Tat Chee, K. Rajah, Yankee Leong, Mrs. Shantha Sundram, Mrs. Shirin Fozdar, Dr. Muhájir, Mrs. Iran Muhájir, Jamshed Fozdar, and Wong Kok Mee.

Whenever visitors came to the Centre or to the neighbouring Furlong House to meet the community, Wong would arrive earliest and ensured good table cloths were spread out on which he makes some floral arrangements.


Inbum Chinniah standing at the left, welcoming a guest at the Forlong House, 1970. Seated on the right is Wong Kok Mee

Kok Mee was viewed to be a very committed and responsible believer on whom many responsibilities were entrusted. In 1960 when the National Centre Building Committee was officially formed to expedite the acquisition of a Bahá’í Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Kok Mee was appointed to the Committee. In 1965, he was appointed to the National Centre Maintenance Committee. The National Assembly appointed him on the Temple Site Committee in 1966; the Pioneer Committee in 1967; the Finance Committee in 1968; and the Bahá’í Information Service in 1969. In all these committees Kok Mee served with distinction and earned the appreciation of the institutions.


At the National Bahá’í Centre, 1968. L-R: Mrs. George Lee, Choo Yeok Boon, Wong Kok Mee, Tony Fernandez, and Appu Raman

No visitor to Kuala Lumpur from 1955 to his passing in 1972 would have missed the presence or services of Kok Mee. He was there as a pillar in each meeting and gathering. When Mr. Bhaskaran Sanggaran Nair and Mr. Errol Seow Hoon Hin were studying in the Kuala Lumpur Technical College in 1960, Kok Mee was moving with them. He used to visit them in the College and give transport for them to attend functions in Kuala Lumpur. When the Kuala Lumpur Technical College was functioning after the middle of the 1960s, Kok Mee was one of those who gave constant guidance and nurtured the Bahá’ís in this College. He had an old Austin car in which he used to provide transport for the youth to participate in Feasts and other activities in Kuala Lumpur.  Likewise, when the University of Malaya Bahá’í Society was formed in the same period, Kok Mee gave the members and the society all the encouragement and financial support for its activities. Kok Mee was the main motivating factor in moving and taking great care of the youths.

One of Kok Mee’s greatest services for the Faith was giving to the fund with no limitation as and when there was a need. When the First Pan-Malayan Teaching Conference was held on 8 May 1960, it was attended by several Bahá’ís, and graced by Hand of the Cause Dr. Muhájir, Kok Mee settled the full expenses of the conference.  Hand of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga visited and addressed Kuala Lumpur on the evening of 22 January 1971 at the National Ḥaẓíratu’l-Quds. Since the meeting ran past dinner time, Mr. N. S. S. Silan and Auxiliary Board member Betty decided to take Mr. Olinga for a good dinner. But there was a small issue. The question as to who are to be invited and who would bear the costs had to be considered. Kok Mee who heard of this suggestion insisted that all should be invited, and each could be asked to pay whatever they could. Then they all went for a sumptuous dinner that all enjoyed. After the dinner, a few friends passed the hat around to collect money to settle the bill. Silan who was tasked to provide transport for the revered Hand drove him to the Federal Hotel where he was accommodated. When they went to the cashier’s counter they were informed that someone had just settled the bills in full. When enquired, the cashier pointed to one elderly Chinese man who as limping away at a distance. And that was Kok Mee who had a limp from birth.


Dinner for Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Enoch Olinga seated in the centre, attired in a “batik” shirt that was presented to him at the community gathering. To his right is Wong Kok Mee. To the left of the revered Hand of the Cause are Lily Chinniah, Mrs. Elizabeth Gibson and Inbum Chinniah. Facing away from the camera on the left is S. Satanam from Seremban.

Whenever there was a need for funds, Kok Mee was almost the first to respond with generous contributions, often without the knowledge of others. He was generous to Bahá’ís and provided financial assistance to those who could not attend Bahá’í conferences held in faraway places. And he would also quietly and without the knowledge of others slip into the pockets of unemployed youths and students some good amount of money to participate in Summer Schools and Bahá’í conferences. He was one of those few Bahá’ís who had a car to provide transport. He used to give transport to almost all the visiting Bahá’ís to Kuala Lumpur, bought dinner for them and sometimes paid for their accommodation. Kok Mee was not a field teacher but always gave financial assistance to those who wished to go teach. He gave much assistance to Yan Kee Leong’s teaching efforts. On 15 May 1967, one night before S. Vasudevan flew off to Ceylon as a pioneer, Kok Mee took Vasudevan for a one-to-one dinner in Ipoh Road and showered praises upon him and gave all the words of encouragement, and did express sorrow for not being a pioneer himself. S. Vasudevan has forever stored this dinner meeting in his heart.


Lunch on Naw-Rúz of 1967 at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. L-R: Wong Kok Mee, Lee Wai Kok, Kit Yin Kiang, Dr. Muhájir, Lim Kok Hoon, S. Vasudevan, Appu Raman. It was on this day that Dr. Muhájir appealed to Kit Yin Kiang to pioneer to Taiwan and S. Vasudevan to Ceylon (After one week in Ceylon S. Vasudevan went off to India)

In death too Kok Mee served the Faith. Since 1960 attempts were made to acquire burial grounds for Kuala Lumpur, but the usual administrative red tapes delayed the process. And the urgency was not seen by the authorities as no family of any Bahá’í who had passed away had sought Bahá’í burial from the Local Spiritual Assembly. But the time arrived for a burial ground to be acquired fast. Kok Mee became seriously ill, and the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur decided to act fast. The issue of Bahá’í burial ground was revisited, this time more vigorously in view of the critical health situation of Kok Mee. The name of Mr. Tony Fernandez,  a believer himself and the Officer Commanding the Police District of Petaling Jaya came to the mind, as he had been instrumental in getting citizenship, renewing passports and employment for needy believers at short notice, sometimes within an hour. Through the good office of this most helpful believer, a piece of land was quickly identified. But that too posed a problem. It was a squatter area on which people were illegally settled. To work out the formalities of registering the land and evacuating the illegal settlers would take months or even years. While this became a cause of concern to the Assembly, Kok Mee suddenly passed away on the afternoon of Saturday, 28 October 1972 at his residence in 9, Jalan Pipit, off Ipoh Road, Kuala Lumpur. The community was just reeling from the blow sustained from the passing of Leong Tat Chee, himself a sincere promoter of the noble Cause of Bahá’u’lláh when Kok Mee too ascended to the invisible realms on high. The family was not a Bahá’í. The wife had moved with elderly Bahá’ís like Yankee Leong and Leong Tat Chee and had high respect for the Bahá’ís and respected the belief of her husband. That noble lady immediately turned to the Local Spiritual Assembly for a Bahá’í burial in a Bahá’í burial ground. The Local Spiritual Assembly thanked her profoundly and called for an emergency meeting. Two problems came to the fore. His remains cannot be buried in the proposed Bahá’í burial ground as it was not officially acquired. Secondly, no amount of persuasion with the authorities would work as it was a weekend on which Kok Mee passed away and no government office was open. Even if any officers had wanted to help out, it would take a long time. The Assembly was in the middle of a small crisis. In the existing circumstances, the Local Spiritual Assembly decided to bury his remains in a Chinese cemetery. But some strange turns of events set in situations in our favour-nothing short of divine intervention. By some strange coincidence, Tony Fernandez came into contact with an old friend who was an influential government officer. Tony explained to his friend the dire need for a special burial ground for those professing the Bahá’í Faith. Although being a Saturday he contacted the District Officer in Kuala Lumpur, and on Sunday they quickly visited the Settlement Officer of Lands, who had the final say on such matters. That good officer went to view the land which measured more than an acre and situated on a fruit orchard. It was also on way to our Bahá’í Temple site in Cheras. The officer was satisfied with the location and gave immediate and special permission to have the remains of Kok Mee buried in a grave on that land. Everything happened so fast within a day.


Leong Tat Chee and Wong Kok Mee

The tensed-up Kok Mee family was duly informed, and they expressed much relief. A beautiful and befitting prayer service was conducted at their home. The cortege then proceeded to the new Bahá’í burial ground to have the first Bahá’í burial done there. There was still one more hurdle. The body has to be transported within an hour’s journey in accordance with the Bahá’í laws. Tony stepped in once more, fully aware of the law of the Kitáb-i- Aqdas. Tony, an Officer in Charge of Police District of Petaling Jaya and holding a very senior position of an Assistant Superintendent  of Police immediately arranged a police outrider to clear the busy traffic of the city to enable Kok Mee’s remains to be transported to the burial site within an hour’s journey. Kok Mee was given a befitting and VIP send-off. Kok Mee became the first believer of Kuala Lumpur to be given the first Bahá’í burial in the first and newly acquired Bahá’í burial ground. While alive Wong did wonders for the Cause; and in death too he did wonders.

Sometime after the burial of Kok Mee, certain sad and unforeseen development took place. The ownership of the miraculously acquired burial ground posed some documentation issues, and there was uncertainty surrounding the future of the burial ground. The Wong family too saw this sensitive situation and exhumed the remains of Kok Mee with permission of the authorities and reburied them in a Christian burial ground in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. Some Bahá’ís were there on the day the body was exhumed and offered prayers. The burial ground, the first in Kuala Lumpur allotted for the Bahá’ís was repossessed by the Kuala Lumpur Municipality.


Resting place of Wong Kok Mee

Mr. Errol Seow Hoon Hin, himself a generous-hearted believer and one who was very closely associated with Kok Mee from the very early days says, “Uncle Wong Kok Mee may not be a highly educated person, but he was certainly a highly dedicated and a firm pillar of strength to institutions and individuals, deriving the spirit from Bahá’u’lláh Himself through many prayers. His understanding of the Cause was much higher than many educated.”


Errol Seow

The Bahá’í history of the Faith in Kuala Lumpur, and by extension, that of West Malaysia cannot be written without adequate mention of this God-intoxicated servant who was always a highly dedicated and firm pillar of strength to Institutions and individuals. He had set a high standard for individual initiative, especially in taking ownership of the Faith and its needs.

Thus ended the illustrious life of a firm and steadfast believer in the Cause, who almost single-handedly saw the development of the Kuala Lumpur community in the first fifteen years. He arose and led the way when there was nobody else by him, thus blazing an exemplary path that none could rival. Looking at the services and legacy he left behind, one is naturally inclined to agree there can never be another Wong Kok Mee!

A. Manisegaran
31 March 2021

Copyright @ bahairecollections.com

15 thoughts on “REMEMBERING WONG KOK MEE

  1. Dear Manisegaran,
    God bless you! You have written about one of the finest human gems I had met. Your very first paragraph introducing him has spoken all about the man and his indelible legacy. My wife Mona was in tears as both of us read the story together. Mona, being in the Kuala Lumpur community and assisting in the national office, met him all the time and was like a father figure to her, being so steadfast and in love with the Faith. What a radiant and warm smile he had, which appeared in front of us as we read the story.

    I was privileged to have known Uncle Wong personally while working as Administrative Assistant in the National Bahai Office. I remember him bringing food on each visit, and I was one of those who had partaken of his hospitality. He was a good listener and was always on the lookout for the needs of the Faith, community and individuals.

    Your well narrated story amazingly covering so many details, with the rare photographs has brought him back to earth, and I just could not believe he has left us. I just could visualize the days when we met up often. Uncle Wong’s is the story of one man keeping the flame burning, certainly with untold pains, sufferings and patience in the highly materialistic city life. He was full of love for others, and had no love for his own self- all his love was for Baha’u’llah, and to this I can vouch.

    From the time he accepted the Faith to his death, he was firm in the Faith and never wavered. His range of services is simply mind- boggling. It was almost a one-man show as a one man army. He was there whenever something had to be done for the Faith. He made sure there was a meeting place for the believers, and ensured the Local Spiritual Assembly never lapsed; even when those who accepted the Faith with him were out of the radar, he soldiered on. Each time a visitor came he was there and each time financial assistance was needed for the Cause or someone, he was there…. When Vasudevan and later Inbum came to Kuala Lumpur he was able to relax alright. But the long line of services and sacrifices he had made before that is the kind we do not see these days, as we are living in days when all communities are already developed.

    Uncle Wong is certainly chosen by the Blessed Beauty for a service, that is unexampled ..

    If I may add, keep healthy and cheerful as we need more from you.

    C. Kanagaratnam
    Arizona
    USA

  2. Dear Mani,
    I have just finished reading this in-depth and well- researched master class article on the life of Mr. Wong Kok Mee, who truly was a selfless individual whose sole interest was to serve the Faith in whatever way he could.

    His concern and care for others and generosity were beyond comparison, as I could glean from your meticulous account.

    I salute you brother, for giving us another inspiring true story of the early Baha’is of Faith in Malaysia.

    Thank you and best wishes,
    Hua Keng Tong
    Skudai
    Malaysia

  3. What a story! What an exemplary workers for the Cause!

    Whenever a new Revelation is being sent down to humanity, the first adherents are, I think, those specially chosen people to proclaim it further. Hence, the initial numbers may be small, but their services are always great and beyond belief. Wong Kok Mee is indeed one of those the gifted ones! He himself is clearly a gift from the Concourse on High, as proven by his unique services.

    We are all chosen for different missions in later years. We have to take mighty efforts to live up to the expectations of our Creator. As individuals we have to battle within ourselves, and as members of the community we have to battle with those around us. We can all serve in many ways. The roles we play matter in the spread of the Faith in some ways.

    All these examples are indeed demonstrated by the true stalwart Wong Kok Mee who stands out strikingly. His fortitude and tenacity are most lauded. Memories of his service to the Cause of God are tremendous. We must try, in our own small waysto emulate him as much as we can. It will not be easy, to follow the footsteps of the giant of a believer Wong Kok Mee was. Not all of us can be Wong Kok Mee, but we can always look at his adventures in the Cause which are sure to spur us to act.

    Merican
    Singapore

  4. Dear Mani,
    I read the write up on Uncle Wong Kok Mee. That was an excellent work on the dedicated life of a great Servant of God.

    Uncle Wong is definitely a chosen one , especially his unwavering loyalty and dedication to the Cause of God, which you have succinctly written. His humility and sincerity is seen in your description of his life and work for the Blessed Beauty.

    Very few can write in a manner where the words and the spirit are well blended . You have done it well.

    Professor Dr. Anantha Krishnan
    Puchong
    Malaysia

  5. Uncle Manisegaran,
    As always, I learned so much from this story on Uncle Wong Kok Mee. I remember his funeral services. My mother told me to say a prayer, which I did. I crept up to the coffin to see his body at rest. He appeared peaceful, clean, and wholesome, as a soul at complete rest. He reminded me of my grandfather Leong Tat Chee whom we had just buried, that I was taken aback. They accepted the Faith around the same time and were called to the Unseen Realm in the same month of 1972.

    Uncle Wong Kok Mee’s name and presence pretty much charted and cloaked Bahai community life in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

    Saffura Chinniah
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia

  6. Manisegaran
    I received the notification at midnight. Although my eyesight is not good, I forced to read the story through, as it was on the great Wong Kok Mee, one whose name has been engraved within my soul.

    I remember meeting him first at the first Summer School in December 1957 in Malacca, sitting quietly and observing the proceedings. The next was in the first week of March 1958 when Yankee Leong and I went to his office in Rogers Street in Kuala Lumpur when we were travelling to Penang to give a helping hand to Shantha Sundram who was organising a fireside. Wong Kok Mee drove us in his car to the famous Bilal Restaurant in the then Mount Batten Road, and gave us a grand dinner, saying we were traveling long distance and should not feel hungry. As he dropped us in the railway station, he slipped a thick envelope to Yankee Leong. We were reluctant in accepting, but he said that was for the teaching services we were undertaking. And that was Wong Kok Mee! Generosity was in his blood. He was a generous-hearted person who was always there for the need of the Cause.

    So many thoughts flooded my mind as I read this detailed story of Wong, a very dear friend of mine. He never sought any microphone or stage. I have never seen him on stage. That is not what he desired. He desired only serving the Cause. He wanted no name, no fame, no recognition, no demand of respect, no applause. He was there to please the heart of Bahaullah.

    My only question is when are we going to get the like of Wong Kok Mee, who to me also joins the rank of Yankee Leong and Leong Tat Chee in many ways.

    That school of believers is over. These are the sincere handpicked servants who have added lustre to the history of the Faith, and diffused fragrances in the lives of many- at least in my life!

    I accepted the Faith in 1957 and am retired at home and counting my own days. In the evening of my life, reading the Holy Writings and the stories of such heroes who have decorated our lives in this blog keeps my spirit high. The story and the photos which I have not seen before, bring tears down my cheeks. Well- researched and finely written. I can say you are truly guided by Bahaullah.

    Anthony Casimir Louis
    Malacca
    Malaysia

  7. “It is the great pain, difficulties and challenges a true lover has to go through – all for the love for the Blessed Beauty and His mighty Cause.”

    It is really hard to be a Baha’i, yet it is the happiness within us when serving the Cause that could really overcome those very pain and difficulties. All the tests, sufferings, challenges are there in our lives all because of our beloved Faith and love for the Blessed Beauty.

    That is exactly what the essence of Wong Kok Mee’s life has been. Truly a great legend in the early days, quite hard to find in these days.

    Gilda Laroya

    Dagupan city
    Pangasinan
    Philippines

  8. Uncle Wong
    I knew him for only 3 years when I was serving in the National Bahai Center. He was a very active believer. At consultation sessions he could be very serious and firm. He would listen and say few words. He himself was a man of few words and abundance of deeds.

    The one great quality he had, just like Mr Imbum Chinniah was that he was always on the lookout for those who were needy and having problems. He would go for the students, unemployed, the travel teachers and Asli teachers. He would slowly take them to a corner and enter into conversation. Nobody would know what he spoke, until he did the same to me. I was in charge of cleaning some areas in the center. He asked me one day, “Have you cleaned the washroom at the back. Let us go and see.” The he took me to that washroom. That was the washroom that was at the back of the centre, and could only be accessed from outside. There he asked me if I had any problems. I told him Inbum Chinniah was already taking good care of me. Then he said I should never hesitate to ask him anything I needed. From that conversation with me, I knew that was what he did to others as well.

    I knew this much of Uncle Wong. But after reading his biography I have learnt so much and things I never knew before. He was really a very great soul.

    Manisegaran, you have done an X Ray of his life with your pen

    Sandrakasan Raju
    Jenjarom
    Malaysia

  9. Dear Mani
    Just finished reading about the life of Wong Kok Mee.
    I must admit that if not for your blog, I would never have imagined a believer like Kok Mee had lived and served the Faith and its Institutions half a century ago. The 1950’s was all about people like uncle Yankee Leong, the Fodzars the family of Leong Tat Chee, as the Faith in its infancy in the country revolved around them. There were of course other dedicated souls that we have heard or read about but to hear of an oblivious soul like Kok Mee was a rare treat.

    The photos that you had used in the write up were superb – high resolution prints that looked very good.

    Thank you for sharing about the life of this humble and generous soul. Sad he passed away at quite a young age!

    Sandran Govindasamy
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  10. Dear Mr. Mani,
    The story on Uncle Wong Kok Mee was very impressive. I cannot remember if I had Uncle Wong. What inspire me was his untiring services rendered to the Cause of God, almost all alone. He was an enlightened soul who was able to instill the love of Bahaullah to all. That seem to be his main mission in his life, since the acceptance of the Blessed Beauty. To me he was a man behind the scene marching forward to serve the Cause without any expectations. Bahaullah will surely crown all his services and efforts with Sucess.

    I remember Hand of the Cause Dr. Muhajir saying that the Faith is contagious, and as Divine outpouring is tremendous in this age, whosoever comes across the Faith will be contracted.Uncle Wong is that gem whom many of us have not heard. He was an exemplary Bahai and his attachment to the National Bahai Centre in as a care-taker and his effort sto establish and maintain the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur was indeed most meritorious acts.

    The story also brought back memories of some dedicated early believers of and their activities there. The centre donated by Mrs George Lee was a shelter,sanctuary and an abode of happiness for all. It is really good to know Uncle Wong was instrumental in maintaining the Centre for several years until ill health forced him to slow down

    That was really an awe-inspiring a story, the kind of which one had read rarely. The story has reconstructed his life to the readers. The photographs posted in the story were simply superb

    Pitamboro
    Batang Berjuntai
    Malaysia

  11. Mr. Manisegaran
    Thank you for bringing out for our reading and reflection story of another gem from the early batch of Malaysian believers. If not for this story I would never known of Uncle Wong. Perhaps I am echoing the sentiments of many other Malaysian believers who became Baha’is much later like me.

    Reading this story makes me more appreciate Malaysian community in which I grew up as Bahá’í. What I see is a simple-hearted and a pure soul who served quietly in his own humble and yet impactful way. His care and concern for individual Baha’is reminds me of the exhortation of our beloved Master to give the most of ourselves to others. And Mr Wong has lived to the expectation of the Master

    I am very proud to be be closely associated with the Malaysian Bahai community, which has produced so many jewels among men.

    I really thank you for what you are doing, something not all could do. And you could not be doing this unique service without the blessings of God. Let there be more blessings upon you and your family.

    Nehru Arunasalam
    Chicago
    USA

  12. Reading the life of Wong Kok Mee, I see him as a spiritual being and a lover of Baha’u’llah who devoted his whole life to the service and the progress of the Faith from the early days of the establishment of the Faith on Malaysia. He clearly portrayed an exemplary life of service by placing the Faith as the main focus of his life. His untiring services as a veteran in the Army of the Light of Baha’u’llah is amazing. He was a man of many praiseworthy virtues. His humility, generosity, firmness in the covenant, constancy in the Faith, courage and sustainability in the field of teaching and nurturing of new believers are all rolled up into the essence of what we call Wong Kok Mee. His shining example of those rare qualities will continue to inspire the present and the future generations who would surely emulate him.

    Once again, I commend the endeavors of the author in preserving the traces of the early believers for posterity.

    Regards,
    Dr. Firaydun Mithaq
    Chieng Mai
    Thailand

  13. Mani
    I read the interesting story of Uncle Wong Kok Mee. He was clearly a non-assuming believer who was never seeking any kind of attention when serving. He was a very silent and practical worker for the Cause and a humble servant of Baha’u’llah.

    Koh Kuak Wang

    Port Dickson
    Malaysia

  14. Dear Manisegaran
    You are doing a good work by contributing to preserving the Bahai History in Malaysia and other countries.

    That was a good story on the life of Wong Kok Mee. I have known and seen Wong Kok Mee quite often, when I was too young. I have understood more about him from your story.

    Happy to see Lee Wai Kok of Kuala Pilah and Yin Thing Sih in one of the photos. Whenever I was back in Seremban, they used to visit me.

    Francis Ng
    Macau

  15. My dear brother Manisegaran,
    This is one of the greatest stories, which touched my heart.

    Reading stories in your blog, I can clearly see that Malaysia is well blessed with so many jewels, stalwarts, pillars, God-intoxicated servants, star -servants of the Faith and what not.
    Mr. Wong Kok Mee was yet one more of the chosen ones by Baha’u’llah. He has been steady, strong and consistent in the Faith with several unique services he rendered for the Faith. He seems to be a one-man army, who kept the fort strong and intact for more than a decade until new members of the Army of God came into the community. And that could not have been easy for one man to do what would have taken ten men to accomplish. He has endured much sufferings all for the love he had for Baha’u’llah and his mighty cause.

    I personally thank you my dear brother for bringing out the best and the greatest stories to the masses around the world through your popular Baha’i Recollections Historical Blog that enjoys worldwide readership.

    Jaya Raju Thota
    Greater Visakhapatnam
    Andhra Pradesh
    INDIA

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