Leong Tat Chee – A Sincere Promoter of The Cause

A book in remembrance of Leong Tat Chee has just been released and is being marketed by the Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Malaysia. This story carries some salient aspects taken from this said book.

It was through a dramatic challenge that Mr. Leong Tat Chee accepted the Faith in Malacca town and arose, meteor-like, in the service of the Cause in Malaysia. Belonging to the earliest batch of believers in Malaysia, this remarkable man gave rise to generations of his descendants whose lives, till today, revolve around the Bahá’í Faith. From the very beginning, Leong Tat Chee became very devoted to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh and made Bahá’u’lláh the centre of his life. He was strong and courageous in his new-found religion from the start, and he never looked back.

Leong Tat Chee, his wife and family were very Chinese in their ways and were actively involved in the many festivals and traditions of ancestral worship and Buddhism, and in the activities of their local Chinese temples. At one time, Leong Tat Chee was President of the Chan Hoon Teng Temple. Later he became a Trustee and head of the Swastika Society – an organization which combined traditions of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Taoism and Confucianism.

Wedding photo                                  At the time of accepting the Faith

It was in 1954 that Leong Tat Chee chanced upon the Bahá’í Faith when he was Health Inspector with the Malacca Municipality. He saw an advertisement in the local papers regarding a fireside meeting in the home of Dr. K.M. Fozdar and his wife Shirin in Malacca town. The Fozdars were pioneers to Singapore. In 1953, the Fozdars moved to Malacca from Singapore when Dr. K.M. Fozdar was offered a job as a medical doctor at a local medical clinic. As Leong Tat Chee had an inquiring mind, he went to the meeting. The Fozdars and the Leongs soon became friends and met several times to discuss about the Faith. At these meetings that went on for months, Leong Tat Chee would often enter into heated arguments with Dr. Fozdar, and yet Leong Tat Chee was still not convinced. One day, the annoyed Dr. K.M. Fozdar declared that talking to Leong Tat Chee was like playing beautiful music to a cow! Dr. K.M. Fozdar then threw Leong Tat Chee a challenge – to read the Bahá’í books for himself. Leong Tat Chee got hold of some Bahá’í books from Dr. K.M. Fozdar and took two weeks leave from his office and locked himself in his room to read them. Upon completion of reading the books, he emerged from his room an enlightened person and accepted the Faith in early 1955.  He instantly pursued his services for the Cause with unstinting zest.

As soon as Leong Tat Chee accepted the Faith he changed his old habits, first by giving up his ‘mah-jong’ games with his friends. He began applying Bahá’í principles in his life and at the workplace, he engaged in consulting with those working under his supervision. He would also often invite them to his home. He was a chain smoker as well. When he came across the Tablet of Purity by Abdul Baha in which the danger of smoking tobacco is mentioned he quit smoking immediately and altogether. In 1955, Leong Tat Chee was elected on to the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Malacca and became its Chairman.  He soon emerged as a fatherly figure to the believers in Malacca town, and to the many Bahá’ís in Malaysia.

He then taught his family members, and all of them accepted the Faith in stages. Mrs. Leong became a believer on 25 December 1957. Within two days of Mrs. Leong accepting the Faith. the first Pan-Malayan Summer School for Malaya was held in Malacca. There Mrs. Leong volunteering along with her husband in going the local markets, cooking and serving the friends at this first summer school. The couple continued to volunteer to be the chief cooks at all the early summer schools, though managing the kitchen was not an easy job. They did this service for many years- to be of service to the servants of the Faith.

Leong Tat Chee believed fully in practicing the teachings of equality between the sexes. Leong Tat Chee himself nurtured her in the Faith, as he believed a wife has a strong role in a husband’s services. Mrs. Leong becomes a wonderful Bahá’í providing great hospitality and was also a strong supporter of her husband’s teaching activities. She would open her house to believers and non-believers alike since her house was serving the role of a Bahá’í Centre. Whenever she had the opportunity she joined her husband in his teaching trips to estates where the rubber tappers kept cows and other farm animals and where the sanitation was not good, attracting a lot of flies. She often came back with insect bites but never complained.

His wife- his strongest supporter

The change in Leong Tat Chee and his family was so dramatic that their relatives and their Chinese community began to ridicule them and to a great extent ostracized them as they felt that they had betrayed Chinese family traditions and ancestral beliefs.  They thought that Leong Tat Chee had become mad and even called him the ’mad monk’. His own brother and family who lived just a few doors away demonstrated such great hostility to him. They went so far as to say that no one would marry their daughters as they had joined this new religion. But the Leongs remained strong. By 1961 when Leong Tat Chee’s entire family had accepted the Faith they decided it was time to remove all signs of their earlier religious and cultural attachments. The family handed over the ancestral family plaque which traditionally hangs over the main entrance of a home, to his younger brother Leong Tah Quai for safe-keeping. In its place, the Leong family mounted a big, conspicuous sign that read ‘Bahá’í Centre’ in February 1962. This was again seen as a heretical act by members of his community and relatives.

Leong Tat Chee believed that the believers had to live the Bahá’í life at a time when the believers of the new Faith were under the watchful eyes of the public. He himself played the leading role in deepening the believers from the early days. He started buying Bahá’í and collecting as much Bahá’í literature as possible. He read them thoroughly to get a good understanding of the content. He also paid careful attention to what visiting Bahá’ís from overseas had to say and absorbed their lessons. He would use this knowledge for his deepening classes, firesides and inspire any of the friends who would drop into to visit.

Leong Tat Chee himself tried to live his life to the standards and teachings of the Faith. At a time in the early years, many early believers found it difficult to follow the law of fasting. Yet Leong Tat Chee led the way in strengthening this Bahá’í obligation into the nascent community. During the fasting period, he hosted both breakfast to start the fast. Leong Tat Chee would go out at 5 am to buy large Chinese dumplings and other foods while his wife would wake up earlier at  4 am, to begin cooking. As dawn approached, Leong Tat Chee would drive around town to pick up believers to his house to start the fast together. The routine would be repeated after work where he would drive to the homes of the Bahá’ís and bring them to his house to break the fast together. By the evening he and his wife would have prepared sumptuous meals to break the fast. This went on for many years in Malacca.

He also made sure as many as possible would attend the all Bahá’í holy days and 19 Day Feasts. Before every Feast, he would go around in his car to pick up the friends. His wife would prepare a big dinner as an attraction for the Bahá’ís who came for the Feast. Attendance would vary, from a few persons to a larger number. He hosted the Feasts for a long time until gradually more Bahá’ís started opening up their homes for the Feasts as well, a sign of the growing maturity of the Bahá’ís of Malacca. Leong Tat Chee had indeed shouldered the lion’s share of the burdens in the community.

From the days of accepting the Faith, Leong Tat Chee was a strong defender of the image of the Faith.  His greatest happiness was to hear of the success stories and what hurt him most was the slightest tainting of the image of the Faith. To him, the Faith was everything. Leong Tat Chee dealt with Bahá’is and people generally with profound love and compassion, but he could be a roaring lion when it came to defending the Faith. There was an episode of an Eurasian man who frequently cycled past Leong Tat Chee’s home and observed the Bahá’í Centre signboard that hung outside the house. When Leong Tat Chee came home for lunch, he would often sit on the rattan chair outside his house facing the main road. One day, this Eurasian man, while cycling past the house, shouted ‘ular!’ (snake in the Malay language), making fun of the name of Bahá’u’lláh. The man continued his actions for a few days. One day, when the man cycled past and again yelled the same epithet, Leong Tat Chee rushed forward, grabbed him by the shirt, dragged him to the side of the road and with a baleful stare, reprimanded him, “Brother, you can call me any name you like and I don’t care. But don’t you ever disparage the name of the Manifestation of God for today.” Leong Tat Chee then let his shirt go, and the visibly shaken man was never seen cycling past the house again. Never had the Leong family seen this side in him.

The biggest crisis in the Malaysian community took place in Malacca town.  In 1959, as the Faith was emerging out of obscurity there was a bitter internal crisis. The Bahá’í community of Malacca started to witness signs of estrangement among some key believers which threatened the advancement of the Faith. Leong Tat Chee devoted his entire energy in restoring the unity in the community, and by 1962, this sad state of affairs turned around and resulted in a  community that became more devoted, vibrant and united. The community began revolving around Leong Tat Chee who was seen as a stabilizing pivot in the community.

Leong Tat Chee was of the firm belief that in order to be effective in the Cause one has to practice the teachings with a full heart.  Three intermarriages in Leong Tat Chee’s family established that he practiced what he preached, and these were the weddings of his daughters Lily and Mary, and son Ho San to non-Chinese. Lily wanted to marry Inbum Chinniah of Ceylon Tamil origin, who was a  headmaster. When Inbum approached Leong Tat Chee for consent, Leong Tat Chee said that “Had I not been a Bahá’í, I would not have allowed you to marry my daughter. As a Bahá’í, I happily give consent to this wedding.” This was at the time when inter-racial marriages were seen by many as an abomination. Another of Leong Tat Chee’s daughters, Mary Leong Wai Yoon was also to marry a Ceylon Tamil man, Dr. S. Dharmalingam. Later on, Leong Ho San, the second son of Leong Tat Chee, married Mariette, daughter of Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Collis Featherstone of Australia, in Kuala Lumpur. This was seen as a novelty and a kind of revolution in those days.

Unity in Diversity that the Leongs founded in their family.

An area of service where he dwarfed many others during his days was teaching the Cause with the greatest passion. He had a list of people of Malacca to be given the message. He went looking for them to give the message and more importantly, he always followed up. He would later take the Faith to every stratum of society and every nook and corner of Malacca town and Malacca state. When Dr. Muhajir came to Malacca in 1957, he made a personal request to Leong Tat Chee to use his car to spread the Faith to all parts of Malaya, which Leong Tat Chee gladly complied. Leong Tat Chee played a key role not only in opening up new areas for the Faith but also in the formation of the earliest Assemblies.  The long list of areas that Leong Tat Chee assisted in opening up or consolidated are far too many to be mentioned. Sad to relate, many of those places have given way for urban development, and their names today remain only in history.

Believers longed to follow him on teaching trips as they came back more deepened through the discussions on the Faith that took place in the car.  Leong Tat Chee would sometimes bring his wife and also some youth. As a reward for the young people who accompanied him, on the way home after a teaching trip, he would give them a treat at a Chinese restaurant or stop his car to buy fruits in season from the roadside stalls. Leong Tat Chee would often pay for the gas for the car and seldom accepted money from those who accompanied him in his car. When others went on teaching trips, he would give at least $20 from his pocket to help cover their petrol expenses.

Leong Tat Chee was also a meticulous planner of teaching activities. He would select the team members and inform them to plan for the trip a few weeks in advance and to apply for leave where necessary, all through letters as not many people had telephones in those days. He had names of the friends and contacts in the areas to be visited. He wrote to those friends letting them know the date and time of the visits, making sure a confirmation was received to ensure the visit was not wasted. Records of friends visited were also kept for future follow up meetings. Leong Tat Chee was not only a great teacher himself, but was always looking out to assist other teachers in the field. Whenever believers went on a teaching trip, he would follow up with a string of letters, giving them encouragement, and send them teaching materials.

Leong Tat Chee went to teach the Faith in various countries. Yankee Leong, the first enlightened believer of Malaysia and Leong Tat Chee were always interested in spreading the Faith among the Chinese in this as well as other countries. They left for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to answer an urgent call for teaching assistance from these places in 1965. They were the first Bahá’ís of Malaysia to go travel-teaching out of their country. Leong Tat Chee made his second teaching trip to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in 1968. Leong supported in the translating of Bahá’í books into Chinese for the use in Taiwan and also other Chinese speaking countries in the future. Leong also travelled to New Delhi, India in 1967 to participate in the Inter-Continental Conference, and after this Conference, visited Sri Lanka and travel taught there. He had undertaken teaching trips to South Thailand and Singapore as well.  His desire was to go pioneering and get his bones buried, but this was not to happen owing to him falling sick.

Leong Tat Chee was privileged to participate in the election of the first Universal House of Justice in Haifa, and the First Bahá’í World Congress in London. He was one of the nine delegates from the Regional Spiritual Assembly of Southeast Asia and the only Malayan and only ethnic Chinese among the delegates to elect the first Universal House of Justice. At this first international convention, he was also appointed a Teller and was amongst the first of five teams to count the ballots. At the First World Congress held in London, Leong Tat Chee was singularly honoured to be selected to represent the world’s seven hundred million Chinese. When Leong Tat Chee was invited to say a few words, he stood up, greeted the Congress and sketched the progress of the Faith in Malaya. He commented that … most of the believers in Malaya are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, and their enthusiasm and steadfastness pushed older people like myself to go forward and do more for the Cause, and they long for the day when they can participate in spreading the Faith throughout China.”  Years later, he would often remark what a wonderful occasion that was, to see such a special gathering of mankind coming together as one world family.

Leong Tat Chee is standing to the extreme right at the first Convention of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of South East Asia, Ridván 1957. Seated in the center is Hand of the Cause Mr. Ali Akbar Furutan. Seated at extreme right is Dr. K.M Fozdar, Spiritual Father of Leong Tat Chee. Yankee Leong stands sixth from the left.

L-R: Jamshed Fozdar, Dempsey Morgan and Leong Tat Chee in front of the International Bahá’í Archives Building, Haifa, on the occasion of the First International Convention.

Leong Tat Chee held several responsibilities during the formative days of the Faith in this country. He started his administrative responsibilities as Chairman of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Malacca town in 1955. He was elected on the Regional Spiritual Assembly of South East Asia in 1958 and served on the body till 1963,  elected to the first National Spiritual Assembly of Malaysia in 1964, and appointed Auxiliary Board Member in the same year. He was the first believer from West Malaysia to serve as Auxiliary Board Member. He was also a member of various national committees.

Leong Tat Chee gives a report at the first national convention of Malaysia, 1964.
At the extreme left is Phung Woon Khing. At extreme right is Lily Ng, and to her right is Harlan Lang.

Leong Tat Chee was very keen to sacrifice something big as a way of thanking Bahá’u’lláh for having led him into accepting the Faith and he thought of donating his house, his one, and only property, for the Faith.  At the National Convention of 1967, Leong Tat Chee stood up and announced that he wanted to donate his home 31, St. Johns Hill Road in Malacca to the National Spiritual Assembly. Before the sound of the applause subsided, Yankee Leong stood up and announced that he too would like to donate his house at 333, Rahang Road, Seremban to the Bahá’í Faith. The spirit of sacrifice that prevailed at this Convention was marvelous. Leong Tat Chee’s house up to this day is still used as the Malacca Bahá’í Centre. In Leong Tat Chee’s honour, the room where he passed away was retained in as original a condition as possible and is used by the Local Spiritual Assembly of Malacca as their meeting room.

A gathering in 1971. His house had a constant flow of visitors and housed numerous Bahá’í activities. 

Throughout his life, Leong Tat Chee made sure no one went against the institutions, by word or deed. Whenever anyone spoke against the institutions, he would lovingly counsel them to the right course. He pointed out to them the avenues and recourse available in the Faith for the believers, such as meeting the institutions or writing to them directly. Anything has spoken outside this forum, he said, would be tantamount to backbiting and slander. He was always armed with the appropriate Bahá’í passages.

Leong Tat Chee was a tireless writer of letters. From the early days, he would write inspiring letters and notes to Bahá’ís in various parts of the country. He was especially fond of writing to those in the teaching field. The recipients had reported that these letters came as a balm at a time when their spirit was at the lowest in the teaching field.  Many Bahá’ís who had received his letters preserved and treasured them for the love that had gone into writing those letters. Leong Tat Chee had a tremendous capacity for writing letters that would move the hearts of the recipients.

Leong Tat Chee would be so excited every time Bahá’í visitors came to Malacca. The visitors,  especially pioneers and visiting Bahá’ís, would share their experiences and knowledge with the local Bahá’ís. Any time these visitors came, Leong Tat Chee, himself would organize their meetings with great excitement. He often informed believers around Malacca state to come for these meetings to listen to their talks and to seek clarifications from them. Leong Tat Chee also made it a point to take the visitors in his car to other parts of Malaya.

The life of Leong Tat Chee was much moved by his association with visiting Bahá’ís especially the Hands of the Cause of God. Leong Tat Chee himself has been fortunate enough to meet several of the Hands of the Cause of God at various meetings, both abroad and within Malaysia. He saw them as generators of inspiration. He knew the special role and rank they occupied in the Faith and had tremendous love, respect, and admiration for them. He showed his utter humility in their presence and gave full attention to their talks. He himself has been reported to have told the younger generation at gatherings that they should look for every opportunity to meet the living Hands of the Cause of God as they belong to an institution that cannot be reappointed or replaced. He moved closely with Dr. Muhajir who had made several trips to Malacca since 1957. As early as 1966, Leong Tat Chee wrote to Dr. Muhajir asking him to decide the future of his service for the cause, as follows, “I have found a way of investing my Provident Fund, if I retire, that can give me a steady income to finance my domestic teaching trips for years… Please advise me whether I should retire from Municipal service and man the fort in Malaysia… My dear beloved Hand of the Cause, if you feel that I should retire and serve Lord Bahá’u’lláh entirely, please advise me to do so”. Dr. Muhajir saw the enthusiasm in Leong Tat Chee and advised him to go ahead and retire early to be able to give full-time service for the Cause.

The early believers of Malacca always said that Leong Tat Chee was a visionary in his thinking. Whenever believers talked about any unpleasant happenings among believers in the community, he would often say, “What you are witnessing now is nothing but dark clouds. The fate of the dark cloud is to move and disappear. What you are seeing now are also like dark clouds which would soon disappear. Bahá’u’lláh has promised a new race of men and a new civilization would be established, and we must believe that whatever has been said by the Prophet would come to pass. We are all in the very beginning stage of building that new civilization. And it is we who have to patiently build that new civilization. We know the future is certainly glorious.”

From the very early days of acceptance of the Faith, Leong Tat Chee strove hard to live by the teachings to the best of his ability. Even at his workplace he was highly respected for his dedication, as he employed the teachings of “Work is Worship; service is Prayer.” For the exemplary services, the Governor of Malacca state awarded him with the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (Meritorious Service Medal) in 1966.

Leongs meeting with the Governor of Malacca on the occasion of being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, 1966

Evening of His Life

Towards the later part of 1968, Leong Tat Chee was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and had a surgery done in Malacca town.  Gradually cancer slowed down a lot of his physical activities. Yet Leong Tat Chee continued tirelessly to discharge his duties as an Auxiliary Board member through his extensive, loving and regular correspondence with pioneers, assemblies, committees, youth and even isolated believers both within and without Malaysia. In 1969, the Universal House of Justice called upon Malaysia to prepare Singapore for the establishment of its own National Spiritual Assembly in the near future. Leong Tat Chee was suffering from cancer, and yet his desire to fulfill the call of the Supreme Body overcame that pain. Mrs. Leong Tat Chee who saw her husband’s great longing to serve, communicated with the Continental Board Office and informed that she would close up her home in Malacca and leave for Singapore so that Leong Tat Chee could serve there. Yankee Leong, Leong Tat Chee and Mrs. Leong Tat Chee established a teaching base at the Bahá’í Centre in Frankel Estate and involved in teaching activities.  But the pain of cancer became quite unbearable for Leong Tat Chee which forced him to return to Malacca for treatment. In Ridvan in 1970, five new Assemblies were elected in Singapore, and in Ridvan 1972, the first National Spiritual Assembly of Singapore. When this news reached the ailing Leong Tat Chee, he expressed his tremendous joy over this achievement.

Yankee Leong and Leong Tat Chee  when teaching in Singapore

When Leong Tat Chee was expected to rest upon returning from Singapore trip at the end of 1969, he surprised everyone by appearing at the Seventh National Convention of Malaysia in 1970. Leong Tat Chee was visibly moved by the warm love expressed by the Bahá’ís who had gathered there.  Counsellor Dr. Chellie Sundram, paid tribute to Leong Tat Chee in glowing terms. Then Leong Tat Chee paid a tribute to Dr. K.M. Fozdar, the pioneer who had given him the Faith and became his spiritual father. Leong Tat Chee thanked the Malaysian Bahá’ís for their loving prayers said for his own healing. Then he added a word of caution taken from the writings of the Guardian, “If anyone should for a second think or consider his achievements are due to his own capacities, his work is ended and his fall starts. This is the reason why so many competent souls have after wonderful services, suddenly found themselves utterly impotent and perhaps thrown aside by the spirit of the Cause as useless. The criterion is the extent to which we are ready to have the will of God work through us.”

With his health deteriorating further, he still attended the 8th National Bahá’í Convention held in 1971.  At this convention, Leong Tat Chee encouraged many believers from the Chinese background to take the Faith to the Chinese population in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. Leong Tat Chee expressed his wish was to take the Faith to these countries, should his health permit.

His last public appearance was at the Summer School held at the Malacca High School in July 1972.  Using some signs, he requested to be brought to the Summer School to be in the company of the Bahá’ís, for the last time. There Leong Tat Chee shook hands with many Bahá’ís and was seen in a cheerful mood. He struggled with great difficulty in trying to converse with some of them, but his words were not clear. After the Summer School, some Bahá’ís went to the house of Leong Tat Chee to bid him good-bye, knowing that they would not see him again.

Although he was suffering from severe pain in the last days, he refused to consume morphine. Instead, he resorted to prayers and invoking the name of Bahá’u’lláh. Feeling his death was imminent, Leong Tat Chee told his wife the evening before he passed away to clean him very well as he was going on a long journey and that she should not worry about him. It was 12:10 a.m. on 10 October 1972, that he breathed his last. His wish was to die with Bahá’í prayers on his lips and true enough, he died this way as Mrs. Leong said she could hear him praying just before he fell on the bed. Beside him was a  photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and a prayer book in which he had a long list of names of those for whom he had been praying.

Leong Tat Chee had a very beautiful Bahá’í funeral. On the afternoon of 12 October, many friends from Malaysia and abroad came to pay their last respects. Those who spoke at the funeral accorded the highest praises for him. The hearse carrying the remains of Leong Tat Chee began its journey with several vehicles and many mourners following the hearse. Police outriders were arranged to control the crowd and traffic going to the burial ground. There were broken hearts all the way to the Bahá’í burial ground in Bukit Baru, Malacca. Leong Tat Chee had a glorious send-off, a funeral fit for a king!

The Supreme Body, on being informed of the passing of Leong Tat Chee sent this message:


I am one of the grandsons of Leong Tat Chee. He died when I was only very young and my memory of him is very vague. But what I had written are snippets that I had picked from a 336-page book that our renowned Bahá’í historian Mr.  Manisegaran Amasi has written on my late grandfather. This book is entitled “Leong Tat Chee – A Sincere Promoter of the Cause”.  As I was going through the manuscript to provide a foreword for this book, I came across so much information about my grandfather, some of which, admittedly were hitherto unknown to my family members. It is amazing how Manisegaran could gather so much information and complete this book within three years. The Leong family wishes to thank Manisegaran for his thorough and meticulous research work.

The book is now available
Reading the book, one would gather many facets of Leong Tat Chee. He had certainly left a rich and everlasting legacy. He was truly generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity. He had given financial assistance to several believers, especially students and unemployed and those in utter poverty-mostly unasked and unnoticed. His words were as mild as milk. Many believers who were down in spirit had sought his company as his very company would elevate their spirit. He radiated so much love that could be felt in his presence.  Whenever he saw or heard of believers arising to serve, he was always about the first to praise them in person or through letters. He had a list of friends who needed to be cheered up and would visit them frequently. His advice was always from the Writings. From the early days, he developed the habit of waking up at dawn to say his prayers at least an hour, to draw guidance and divine assistance in his daily activities. He often saw all the tests as gifts from God and was thankful for all the sufferings he went through. However violent his tests were, he was never shaken, he kept his Faith in the helping hand of God, and pressed on with his Bahá’i work. He had lamented silently for the severe tests that he faced but learned to resign to the will of God. He never complained of anyone. He was very fair in judgment, though he himself never judgmental. He was very much embodiment of humility in his own way, never seeking prominence over others. Much more could be said of this star servant of the Cause. Today a national teaching institute that was constructed in Malacca in 1965 has been named after Leong Tat Chee, following his death, in his honor.

Manisegaran has gone the extra mile to gather accolades placed on Leong Tat Chee by some early believers who moved closely with him.

Yankee Leong, the first enlightened believer of Malaysia admired the wide reading habit of Leong Tat Chee. Yankee Leong observed, “If there is a Bahá’i matter to be clarified, it is Uncle Leong that Bahá’is go to. Uncle gets the books and reads out aloud the relevant passages in the Writings he knows so well. He never says “I think so.” He always says, “Let us look into the Writings.”

K.S. Somu a believer since 1955 says, “It is a wonder that Bahá’u’lláh has raised a great soul like Leong Tat Chee who has so much impact on my own spiritual growth. I may forget my own biological parents, but simply cannot forget my spiritual father and mother –  Mr. and Mrs. Leong Tat Chee…”

Kumara Das, an early believer of Malacca since 1955 says, “He was the first to introduce the healthy habit of home visits to teach and encourage and deepen believers. The spirit of unity was very strong in Malacca. An outstanding person in this scenario who rose to the occasion to consolidate and strengthen the activities of this new-born Faith was none other than Uncle Leong Tat Chee…”

Anthony  C. Louis, another early believer of Malacca since 1957 says, “Leong Tat Chee was very much a fatherly figure to the Bahá’is in Malacca and took a keen interest in the spiritual health of each individual he came across. He was also concerned about the financial welfare of those downtrodden. People always looked upon him for any advice and guidance as he always quoted the Writings, seldom would he give his own opinion. Even his personal opinions were very much influenced by the writings….”

The late Counselor Dr. Chellie Sundram had shared, “Uncle Leong Tat Chee is not one who loves the Faith but is one who is in love with the Faith… He was like a devoted gardener who was not satisfied with simply planting the seeds but who carefully tended the young plants and nurtured them into maturity…..many of those believers who are now scattered throughout the country or gone pioneering abroad, were all deepened through Uncle Leong and have themselves become centers of attraction.

Dr. John Fozdar, a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh residing in Kuching, Sarawak and one who had known Leong Tat Chee since 1954 says, “Leong Tat Chee who accepted the Faith in the early days later became one of the brightest stars in the Malaysian Bahá’í sky. Leong Tat Chee is known to all communities in South East Asia and was one of the shining lights of this distinguished community. …”

Dr. Vasudevan Nair, a believer of Malacca since 1961 and now settled in India recollects, “Leading the remarkable band of the believers who had become Bahá’is in the Ten Year Crusade was Leong Tat Chee who prayed and travelled everywhere… The remarkable thing about him was that he had, after his declaration, completely shed his old attachments to his religious and racial background and with an unmatched zeal taught the Cause of God…

Betty Benson, who had known Leong Tat Chee since 1958 and now living in Guam says, “I consider Mr. Leong my true spiritual father whose deep love for Bahá’u’lláh was exemplified in his life…His commitment to and love for the Faith was so advanced that he used every opportunity to assist each and everyone who found the Faith to become committed and steadfast. In order to nurture a growing community, he made it his duty to visit, remind and offer transportation to those in need… Both my children were born in Malacca and the Leongs were my parents in every way. I could not have wished for more…”

Inyce Gopinath who had known Leong Tat Chee since 1961 says, “Uncle Leong Tat Chee was an imposing personality. His sincerity of belief in Bahá’u’lláh helped me to take that leap from my Church to a total unwavering steadfastness in my devotion to Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. .….Uncle Leong Tat Chee was the most approachable and warm member among the Malacca Bahá’is then. He nurtured my brother every step of the way. He was a real father-figure, and awesome when he talked about the Faith.”

Bhaskaran Sangaran Nair, a believer in Malacca since 1959 says, “Whenever we went to his house Leong Tat Chee used to say “Hello Brother, Alláh-u-Abhá” and then hug us. He used to copy down notes on the Writings and then post to us. When we visited him with the notes, he would discuss and seek our views on the Writings. He was able to move with people of all ages. Whenever there was a wedding, a few cars would go to give all the support. At the wedding, Leong Tat Chee would give a framed picture of the Marriage Tablet as a present. Whenever he visited Assemblies, he would ask if Bahá’i fund has been established. If the answer is no, Leong Tat Chee would donate some money to initiate the Bahá’i fund. He was a very practical man….”

Theresa Chee, eldest daughter of Yankee Leong says, “In my association with him I have found Uncle Leong Tat Chee to be immersed not only into the Writings but into the Faith altogether. He never had any trace of jealousy or envy in the success of other Bahá’is. On the contrary, he gave all the encouragement. He was very close to my father and they undertook several teaching activities together both in Malaysia and abroad. I saw them as one soul in different bodies. My father used to say many nice things about him. It is most unfortunate that he had not lived long enough for the later generation to appreciate his services and prominent role in the Faith. ”  

Lily Ng, another daughter of Yankee Leong has this to say, “Leong Tat Chee and Mrs. Leong, his wife was a couple much loved and much admired by me. I found him to be very courageous and energetic. He was always a joyful person to meet, for his words were inspiring. He would hold my hands and say “Sister, what a wonderful time we are living in – the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh must be widely spread and we are chosen by Bahá’u’lláh to do so.” He was always cheerful, full of words of hope and encouragement…I am yet to come across any believer or non-believer who has demonstrated full submission to the will of God under all circumstances, however difficult they may seem.”

The late Jami Maniam who accepted the Faith in 1957 and to whom Leong Tat Chee was his mentor had said, “His company simply enhanced our spirit. He lived a true Bahá’i life. Each of his movements, each of his words reflected the essence of the Faith. He lived according to whatever he had read in the Writings. In my personal opinion, it was not a coincidence that Leong Tat Chee was born in Malaya. It was providential that certain souls were made Bahá’is to show the way to others. Leong Tat Chee was certainly one of them who showed the way to many to emulate. It is unfortunate that the present generation did not have much opportunity to associate with him. He was saintly in every way.”

Sathasivam Sithambaranathan of Malacca who had moved with Leong Tat Chee since 1965 says, “The Bahá’is rose to great heights to teach the Faith throughout the state of Melaka and Peninsula Malaya. I would say beloved Uncle Leong was a devoted servant of God. He was an untiring travel teacher who had visited nearly every Bahá’i community and even isolated believers in Peninsula Malaya. He had dedicated a part of his life to God, Bahá’u’lláh and mankind.”

Koh Ai Leen, who accepted the Faith in  Malacca in 1958 and is now residing in Germany says, “In the early days when we became Bahá’is we all somewhat needed spiritual fathers to nurture us in the Faith. In Malacca, we had some fatherly figures but it was Leong Tat Chee who was a towering figure. He took every effort to care for the new believers and their souls. During moments of distress, he was there as a balm to our wounded hearts. And there had been many moments when I had gone looking for him for advice and strength. During such moments, most of the time guided me through the Writings and his own words of warm encouragement…I wish to say that it is such fatherly figures like Leong Tat Chee who are needed in abundance in the Bahá’i communities.”

K. Krishnan who had undertaken several teaching trips with Leong Tat Chee from 1962 says, “The youths in those days were very attracted to him. We were like iron filings attracted by the magnetic power of his voice. He was fond of welcoming by saying “Brother! Brother!” There are very few people in the world who bring changes in the lives of others. Leong Tat Chee was one of those who was instrumental in changing my life and lives of several others in Malaysia.”

Isaac De’ Cruz who accepted the Faith in Seremban town in 1960 and now settled in the United Kingdom says, “Those days it would be a pleasure just to go all the way to the north, east and south of Peninsula Malaysia driving sometimes for 10 hours, to participate in teaching and deepening efforts. We would make these trips joyously and would hardly feel any ill-effects but looking back I can understand how Uncle Leong must have had to put up with those long journeys while he was in his late age. But I can never recall any negative comments from him. He was always and ever serene and as so often happened, while I would be driving, he would be dishing out all those lovely snippets of deepening materials…”

N.S. S Silan who accepted the Faith in Penang in 1965 and now settled in Australia says, “For the Malaysian Bahá’i community we were further blessed when we had early believers like Uncles Yankee Leong and Leong Tat Chee, both of whom set high standards of obedience, servitude, and humility in their service to the Faith. They gave their time, dedicated all efforts, set such high standards of service, that we all tried our best to follow…On many an occasion, I still reflect on his person and this gives me much needed the inspiration to move on and serve, even to this very day.”

It is very gratifying to read so many moving praises by the early believers on my late grandfather. They only serve to make we family members and generations yet to be born very proud of an illustrious lineage that my grandfather had ushered through his services for the glorious Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.

Here, at long last, my family has gained a deeper and accurate understanding of the life, legacy, and contribution of Leong Tat Chee to the Cause in Malaysia.

The Leong family has decided to donate all the proceeds from the sale of this book to the National Bahá’í Fund, Malaysia.

For more information on how to purchase the book, please contact the Malaysia Bahá’í Publishing Trust at or email or call +603 7981 9850.

Soheil Chinniah and Bernice
31 December, 2017



  1. Dear Soheil,

    What a delightful recollection of your dearly loved grandfather in his services to the Faith in the soul stirring years of the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63), he must surely be so happy to know you have written this, and will rejoice in the realms above!

    A distinguishing feature – and this is only my humble belief – of the community in Malaysia was that it grew and established itself on the backs, as it were, of the early key believers who took it upon themselves to teach and serve. The pioneers and visitors from other countries did not have to “lead the charge”, so to speak, they assisted with the work that was needed at the time however. The local believers rolled up their sleeves and became the vanguard of many teaching projects that underpinned the rapid growth and establishment of the community.

    We were of course fortunate and privileged to be a part of that early history, exciting and filled with the spirit of those days. Today we can look back and say that it was a turning point for many of us who were touched by the teachings of the Faith!

    Thank you Soheil for your story.

    Leong Ho San

  2. Dear Soheil
    You have very well condensed some passages from the book on your grandfather, and yet retained the spirit. Even as I read this condensed story I cried. I really miss him. Several believers who had known him in Malaysia and abroad certainly wish to know more of him. The Leong family places on record its sincere appreciations to Manisegaran for producing a book through intense research. I am at awe and wonder to go through so much details which we family members did not know of him. I am happy I have lived to see the much awaited book.
    Some of the friends who have read the book phoned me to show their profound appreciations for this weighty book. They are ordering more copies to be given away as gifts to the new generation of believers.

    Since you have mentioned the contact details of the Bahai Publishing Trust of Malaysia, I am friends would get in touch to order copies.

    Lily Chinniah
    Kuala Lumpur

  3. Dear Soheil,
    I read your very moving story on your grandfather Uncle Leong Tat Chee whom I had not met in person. Your very inspiring story only makes me believe that I have missed meeting in person a great spiritual giant. I consider it a real loss. From what you have written it appears that our Bahai historian Mr. A. Manisegaran has completed a mammoth task on such a great legend. The many details of his life as described in your story is unknown to many of the current generation. I am sure what you have written is the tip of an iceberg, as compared to the many more pages that I would have to turn in the book A SINCERE PROMOTER OF THE CAUSE. For the Supreme Body to have termed him a sincere promoter of the Cause, it speaks well of his services.

    Uncle Leong Tat Chee is a legend as I have heard many nice things about him from the time I accepted the Faith. During the course of our Baha’i lives, we always heard about him and Uncle Yankee Leong. To capture in writing the inspiring and colorful life of Uncle Leong Tat Chee is a daunting task indeed. To glean the facts from several sources including fading memories of individuals and worn out Baha’i documents is no easy work. But knowing Mr. Manisegaran’s ability in recording historical facts with authenticity and authority, I believe he has left for posterity an inspiring and valuable reference book for generations to come.

    I am eagerly looking forward to reading the book- at the earliest!

    With much Baha’i love.
    Johor Baru

    1. Hi Selvam
      Thank you so much for your comments. I myself do not have many memories of him as he passed when I was still very young, just some recollections of this man stricken with cancer. Yes, Manisegaran has done another great service to the Malaysian Baha’i community by putting into a book the story of LTC and in the process captured many key episodes of that critical period in Malaysian Baha’i history. And as I remarked elsewhere, the House of Justice seemed to foreshadow that this book would be written as its condolence message stated, ‘ … LEONG TAT CHEE HIS DEVOTED LABOURS … WILL LONG BE REMEMBERED…’ Thank you for purchasing the book all the proceeds of which revert to the National Fund!
      With much Baha’i love


  4. Uncle Leong, a humble and self sacrificing soul who led by example. He was always giving his time, energy, encouragement to one and all in the service of our Beloved Faith. He remarked once for Baha’u’llah, we always ‘Give”…… is our sacred privilege.”

    Many a day, I have thought of Uncle Leong, his dedication and shared stories of his service to the Faith . I am sure many believers will be inspired by the example of Uncle Leong. ..and the stories will be remembered by all our generations.

    Well done Manisegaran, for producing the book. Looking forward to reading this book.
    N.S.S. Silan

    1. Hi uncle Silan
      Thank you for your comments, it is my belief that what Manisegaran has done is to fulfil the desire of the House of Justice ‘ … LEONG TAT CHEE HIS DEVOTED LABOURS … WILL LONG BE REMEMBERED…’

      With much Baha’i love

  5. Dear Soheil,
    This is a very moving story on your grandfather. Even your excerpts from here and there from the book are so tempting. What more the urge to read the entire book!
    Uncle Leong Leong Tat Chee has been a great influence during my youth days in Bahau town in the state of Negeri Sembilan. I was privileged to meet him a number of times when he made visits to our area. I have joined him on some teaching activities with him. I have visited Uncle and Aunty Leong a number of times in Malacca too. Uncle Leong was one pivotal figure around whom many Bahais revolved. He was a true guide and even refuge to many a distressed hearts. He set great examples in many ways. Honestly it would be difficult fill the vacuum he has created in our midst.
    I am glad his work, dedication and devotion to the Faith has been researched and written down by our historian Manisegaran. This has to be a must read book.

    C. Kanagaratnam

    1. Hi uncle Kana,
      How are you and Aunty Mona and trust you are both well. Thank you for your lovely remarks and I am sure that Manisegaran is fulfilling an expressed desire of the House in writing this book that “LEONG TAT CHEE HIS DEVOTED LABOURS … WILL LONG BE REMEMBERED…’. I myself was very young when LTC passed away so I hardly knew him. But certainly Manisegaran has brought him to life again for us and hopefully for the future generations of Baha’is. I was so amazed and moved by many of the stories that Mani brought to light especially now that I am middle aged myself ? I realize how difficult it is to change and change so dramatically! I am grateful also that this book will serve as a strong record of early Baha’i activities in Malaya / Malaysia.
      Thanks again for your lovely comments.
      With much Baha’i love

  6. My Dear Cousin Brother Soheil,
    You have well captured some of the salient aspects of the life of our grandfather.
    First and foremost kudos to our historian A. Manisegaran for producing such a monumental tome.

    Soon after my father had a massive heart attack back in 1968, Leong Tat Chee fell to his knees in the hospital and fervently prayed to take ten years away from his life in exchange that the former will survive. Remarkably he somewhat recovered albeit with massive damage. The cardiologist was astounded and bewildered as his heart was only 23% functional and thought that he was like Lazarus. However Leong Tat Chee’s health deteriorated not long after that. I am unsure how to read into it. Is it serendipity ? It is a question for the ages. I believe Manisegaran, as a serious and keen researcher would have covered this episode in the book.

    I remember grandpa with affection and adoration. I recall him grandma coming to our home almost every evening when I was a child, bringing Chinese cakes like yee chao koay and other Chinese delicacies. They would spend an incredible amount of time gently talking, moulding and playing with us brothers. Also both of us frequently went in search of tadpoles and guppies in the vicinity of St John’s Hill and Semabok area. My mom was flabbergasted finding jars of tadpoles under my bed and jumping frogs in my room. When my dad was busy, he brought me numerous times to the toy shop to get toy guns and other military paraphernalia, as I was obsessed with them then.

    Even though he was a six plus footer, he was a gentle giant by any measure.
    Just cant wait for the arrival of the book, thanks again to Manisegaran who has immortalised our grandpa with his historical records!

    Daven Dharmalingam

    1. Dear Daven
      Thank you so much for your lovely comments and you are right, Manisegaran has really gone the extra length to preserve the history of the early Malayan / Malaysian Baha’is. This book I hope will serve as a true record of the early years of the Faith in Malaysia. Yes your father’s episode is covered in the book, your mum provided a few details about it to Manisegaran. Was Kong Kong really a 6 footer? That would explain a few things about our family height. When I went for a Leong reunion some years ago I was quite surprised to see how tall our relatives were.

      Thanks Daven for your kind reminisces and hope to meet you soon.

      Best regards

  7. This is from my mother Theresa Chee :

    After I declared in1960, uncle Leong Tat Chee would write frequently to me. His letters were full of encouragement and assurance. I found his letters most loving and comforting.
    I especially looked forward to uncle Leong and my father’s visits to Alor Star.Both of them travelled together so often that many thought they were brothers (Both had ‘Leong’ in their names).
    They will always be spiritual brothers forever.
    I am so glad that the friends can now read and know much more about what a wonderful man he was.”

    Theresa Chee

    1. Hi Aunty Theresa,
      How are you and trust you are well and thank you for your kind comments. Manisegaran has captured some lovely episodes of the two Leongs in the book, I do hope you will get a chance to read it soon. I hardly knew my own grandfather so the book brought him to life for me. And in the process, it brought so many lovely stories of your dearly loved father back again as well! These episodes will be a record of the early Malayan / Malaysian Baha’is for future historians.

      Take care dear Aunty, I am sure Uncle Yankee is always looking after us Malaysian Baha’is, I know this for a fact!

      With much Baha’i love

  8. Dear Brother Soheil
    A lovely write up.
    The grandchildren of Leong Tat Chee, most of us had very little interaction with our grandfather as he was gravely ill while we were growing up. Therefore there is also very little we know of ‘kong kong’ to share and reminisce, leaving voids in our hearts and a mute past.

    This book by Manisegaran ensures stories of a time and its people and that particularly one Chinese man of bearing, poetry and curiosity, is never forgotten.

    Thank you Manisegaran, you have shone a light in history in Malaysia that allows this generation to have a peak and marvel.

    Saffura Chinniah
    Kuala Lumpur

    1. Hi Saffura
      Thank you for your comments. Manisegaran has certainly managed to preserve many early records for future historians especially for us who hardly knew him as he passed away when we were so young. Now that we are middle aged ourselves we can see how difficult it is to make such a massive change from your established culture and lifestyle and embrace something completely new like the Faith. We must also really take the time to remember and admire poh poh. We all knew how fastidious she was and how clean and fussy. Yet she not only provided LTC with the sure foundation for him to carry out his activities, she enabled a loving home whereby anyone could come in and have a meal and a chat. The sea change for her was also quite dramatic.

      Best regards

  9. Dear Soheil
    My humble and sincere tribute to our beloved Uncle Leong Tat Chee whom I adore and with whom I have had many memories since the sixties in Melaka, Seremban, KL, Singapore, Thailand and India. As a young pioneer to Laos he lovingly nurtured me and taught me in action the lessons of love, humility and devotion to service of the Cause. It gives me a great joy to see that the book on him has been written with the loving effort of our dear renowned historian Manisegaran Amasi. I congratulate your family for commissioning Manisegaran Amasi to write this wonderful piece of historical record. I have read other books by this famous author and am able to say, even without reading the book, that the book has to be good. The book is not only a pride and honor for Malaysia but the entire Bahai world as many all over the world know and remember Uncle Leong. May my unworthy soul be a sacrifice for his devoted services to the Cause of God. I have no doubt that his blessed soul is rejoicing in the realms of God in Abha Kingdom.

    Firaydun Mithaq

    1. Dear Mr. Mithaq,
      Thank you for your loving remarks. It was a pleasure to meet with you last year in Perth and I do hope to meet with you again soon.

      With much Baha’i love

  10. Dear Soheil,
    Thanks for your story on your grandfather, whom we affectionately called “Uncle Leong”. I had known him well since the time I accepted the Faith in Malacca in 1959.

    To say Mr. Leong was a great teacher of the Faith is an understatement. Even to say he was sincere in service to the Faith appears to be an understatement. Ever since our beloved uncle Leong accepted the Faith of Bahaullah he gave his life, his fortunes, his acceptance by unappreciative relatives and associates to live and die for the Faith he so loved so much.

    Bhaskaran Sankaran Nair

  11. Dear Soheil,
    A good write up.
    I have bought the book and started reading the book on your dear grandfather Mr. Leong Tat Chee. I found I couldn’t put it down and have completed the book.

    A very smart book with 332 glossy pages, clear easy to read and is a valuable book for the future research -minded students.
    A fascinating and enormously useful guide for those interested in spiritual ventures.
    I must also thank dear Manisegaran for his painstaking research work. He has redifined what it means to be in relationship with Mr. Leong Tat Chee’s family members and, at the same time seeking the truth for meaningful spirituality.
    Appreciation goes to the author of this book dear Manisekaran for another master piece of work.
    G. Appala Naidu
    Shah Alam

    1. Hi uncle Naidu
      Thank you for your kind comments and we are all truly grateful to Manisegaran for his untiring efforts at recording Malaysian Baha’i history especially of that special period covering the 10 Year Crusade.


  12. Dear Soheil

    I knew uncle Leong Tat Chee as a spiritual man whose spirit seemed to soar in the spiritual realm most of the time as his feet walked on this earth. He loved to immerse himself in the writings of Baha’u’llah, ponder over their meanings and shared them with others.

    Yin Thing Sih
    Kuala Lumpur

    1. Hi Thing Sih,
      Thank you for your kind comments and your insight into his personality. He had so many notes and definitions in his books which show the study he put into the Writings of the Faith.

      Best regards

  13. Dear Soheil,
    Great record for a great Baha’i and an outstanding Leong Tat Chee. He will always be remembered for his devotion and generosity.

    Yin Hong Shuen

  14. Dear Soheil,
    An enormous effort has gone into writing this wonderful story of a man who excelled himself in teaching the Bahai Faith to so many people. An inspiring account.

    Mariette Leong

    1. Hi aunty Marriette,
      Thank you for your comments. The book is not only important because of Leong Tat Chee but also captures for posterity a very important period of Malaysian Baha’i history.

      Best regards

  15. Dear Soheil,

    I remembered our “kong kong” as a kind and understanding grandfather. Would give us anything we asked. Loved his grandchildren very much. I used to eat the noodles he bought together with him. Loved food a lot. I was 7 when he died, and can still remember our kong kong.

    Nabil Chinniah

  16. Dear Soheil,

    It is very timely to have produced an account of the life and legacy of such a great and humble servant of Bahaullah. Unfortunately I have had very few opportunities of meeting and talking to this lovely and great personage. He ascended to the realms above in 1972 during a time when I was struggling to balance my spiritual needs with the need to pass my examinations. I remembered an incident at a National Convention held at the Third Residential College of University Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. I was walking into the hall and noticed his eyes locked on me. I tried to avoid him, but he came after me and asked me to sit with him. We then had a long conversation over some paragraph from the Gleanings from the Writings of Bahaullah. I am not aware of what came off from that encounter, but it is clear to me that he was all the time looking for teaching opportunities, on the look out for Chinese youths for purpose of building their capacity. I hope he had not failed to find that resource and capacity in me. Uncle Leong, I will keep on trying and I will not fail the expectation you had placed on me.

    I hope you will pray for me from the Supreme Heights, as I join thousands of other believers in praying for your good soul to rest in eternal peace in the company of numerous other saintly souls.

    Lum Weng Chew

    1. Hi uncle Lum
      How are you and aunty and thank you so much for your touching story below. I am sure LTC is looking out for all of us Malaysian Baha’is! I say this with some confidence as I had a lovely dream about him when I was going through some personal crisis where he was the head of a battalion of souls coming to my assistance! He, Yankee Leong, and so many others I am sure are always looking out to help us.

      With much Baha’i love

  17. Dear Soheil,
    A very moving story indeed. I have got hold of the book and am going through this moving write up by A. Manisegaran. I hardly have time for anything else since, as I am simply glued to my chair reading the book.

    He passed away when I was 22. I was only a year old as a Baha’i. I remember seeing him a few times in the then National Bahai Center in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. I must admit that though impossible, Uncle Leong Tat Chee’s life is a life that needs to be emulated by the current and future generations. To the extent I have read the book so far, it appears that I too should emulate his life. My hope is that the book about him will be read by the present youth and that they be inspired by his life.

    P. Ramasamy

  18. Dear Soheil,
    Uncle Leong, as we all passionately address, is an exemplary for all for us. He was a model to all Baha’is, whether old or young, as well to the members of institutions.

    I have had the privilege of meeting Uncle Leong in Malacca as a young boy, and a new Bahai. I vividly remember him and his moving Bahai talks at gatherings although I did not have any close moments with him. I am sure he will not only be a guide to me but also to many of us.

    This is the first book which I completed reading in one sitting- so interesting and inspiring the book is.
    Hats off to my dear friend Mani for penning this wonderful biography of Uncle Leong Tat Chee.

    Dr. S. Nathesan

  19. Dear Bahá’í Brother Soheil,
    Thank you for posting such a moving story on your late grandfather Mr. Leong Tat Chee. It is clear that he has been chosen by Bahaullah for a purpose, and that purpose is to live a holy Bahá’í life and leave a legacy for generations to emulate. It is only in the books like the Dawn Breakers, and the books by Adib Taherzadeh that I had read of such heroes in the Faith. At a time when I thought that generation is gone, you have shown that even in recent times Bahá’u’lláh has sent someone to continue to show the way. It is most fortunate that the Malaysian Bahá’í community was blessed with such a saintly person. It is equally unfortunate that I had not seen him in person. Yet your story tells a thousand things. And the biography is sure to show us more stories.
    It is such stories that make readers like me on the lookout for the next postings.

    Thank you Soheil for making my day.
    Jaya Thota Raju
    Andhra Pradesh

    1. Dear Jaya
      Thank you for your lovely comment on Leong Tat Chee. We in Malaysia were truly blessed to have spiritual giants in the early days of the Faith in the country who laid a sure and firm foundation for us for us to grow upon. We must also be so grateful to the beloved Hands of the Cause of God who visited, guided, trained and nurtured the Malaysian Baha’i community and set a high standard for the community.

      Thank you again for your comments.
      With loving Baha’i greetings

  20. Dear Soheil
    Your great story brings back the fondest memory of how I came into the Faith in Malacca.

    I attended a few firesides where Uncle Leong would the share writings of Baha’u’llah. It was during the celebrations of the Birth of the Bab on 19 October 1970 that I accepted the Faith. As soon as I attended the Faith I faced so much opposition from my family. I met Uncle Leong and explained my whole situation. Uncle gave a file which contained many Baha’i writings, and mentioned about having absolute Faith in Bahaullah during moments of tests. I started to pray and soon my parents gave me full freedom to participate in activities.

    Uncle Leong guided, deepened and nurtured me into the Faith until he passed away in 1972.

    Johor Baru

    1. Hi Asokan
      Thank you so much for your kind comments and your lovely story. So glad to hear that Leong Tat Chee helped you in your Baha’i journey.

      With Baha’i greetings

  21. Dear Uncle Mani.

    When I was back in Cambodia for a brief holiday, I manged to get a copy of your book on the late Mr. Leong Tat Chee. On my return flight to Khartoum I completed reading it, while still up in the air. O my God! What an illustrated life that was his. I was just 3 years old when he winged his flight to the Eternal Realms. I cried all the way reading the book, and I just could not put it down. You have done a fabulous job by unearthing almost every single detail of his illustrious life. To me, Mr Leong Tat Chee does no more appear to be an ordinary person but rather a saint. Reading the book was more like talking to him directly. I really need to talk to you about this marvelous job.

    I personally feel that every Malaysian baha’i must read this book. I couldn’t think of one issue which ‘kong kong’ Leong Tat Chee did not fulfill as a father, grandfather, father in law, brother, fellow Baha’i or in his capacity as a Board Member. He is absolutely of a rare making! My biggest regret in life is not having met Leong Tat Chee.

    And to Soheil, amazing job indeed brother giving all assistance to Uncle Mani.

    With Loving Baha’i Greetings,
    Vela Gopal
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  22. My first encounter with this happy and radiant soul was in the wedding reception of Raymond’s sister. It was a Christian family gathering to which many Bahais have been invited by Raymond Peter. I was amazed to see the vibrancy and audacity with which these Bahais were interacting with everyone present; as a Bahai today I can understand how excitedly they were “diffusing the divine fragrances’; the spirit of their fellowship expressions overwhelmed me and created a strong impact that these were souls who genuinely believed in whatever they were proclaiming.

    My second encounter with dear uncle Leong Tat Chee was when Raymond dropped me in his house in St.Johnshill.

    It was nearing lunchtime and the family was busy setting the table. As Raymond had not appeared they bid me join them. It was not an invitation that I welcomed, not because I disliked the company of these angelic souls but simply because I was shy, timid, and unused to a happening for which I was most unprepared. As I sat and enjoyed that lunch I realized that these were not the regular Chinese people that I meet and mingle with daily They captivated my heart by their zero prejudice to me an Indian This is 1963 social setting. As I left that table I felt that there was something wrong with these people; what was that? That was they have completely lost their “Chineseness” in them They were a new breed. Later I realized they were the new race of man. How I wished that all beings could be like that.

    The next sp[iritual thunderbolt I experienced was in the gathering of the Nineteen Day Feast held in their house when I was introduced as a newly declared believer. Uncle Leong Tat Chee was so thrilled that he called me aside and whispered to me, ” Brother, you don’t know what you have done!!’ I was taken aback and wondering what I have I done.! What he meant was that my declaration was the most momentous act in my entire life. The way he held my hands and the embraces and the depth of love-expressions that continually flooded me penetrated so deeply into my heart that even now could feel it as if it was yesterday. Before I left Malacca. he gave me a Bahai prayer book in which he wrote some most touching wishes and advice that had always influenced my entire Bahai career.

    Dr. Joseph Swaminathan

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