REMEMBERING LUM WENG HOE

REMEMBERING LUM WENG HOE

25 February 1949 to 05 November 2020

It has been half a century of restless service that Lum Weng Hoe had passionately rendered the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. He had served the Cause wholly and wholeheartedly, as would be readily and undeniably acknowledged by those who had moved with him. His Creator has called Lum Weng Hoe to His realms on high perhaps for a wisdom only known to Him. History would have it that Weng Hoe, as he was called, resisted accepting the Faith when the Healing Message of Bahá’u’lláh wafter over him. But Weng Hoe’s own will was overpowered by the superior Divine Will and from the time Weng Hoe accepted the Faith, he served the Cause with such a commitment, passion, and devotion, that came to be appreciated and admired by many institutions and numerous individuals.

Weng Hoe was the third child out of seven siblings. His father Mr. Lum Theam Fatt was a civil servant with the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Government of Malaysia and was assigned to the Police Department. As a civil servant it was normal to be transferred to several  duty stations right to the retirement age. Mr. Theam Fatt was thus transferred from Penang island to the towns of Seremban, Alor Star, Ipoh and finally to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur where he retired as a senior officer. It was while in Penang that the first six Lum brothers were born, and the last was born in Alor Star. Lum Weng Hoe studied at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College for three years where, as a very active member in the Scout movement he picked up skills that he would later use, such as gardening and handyman. He next underwent a science course in the Penang Technical Institute. His first was a temporary job with a Chinese company in Ipoh. That was as a Lab Researcher conducting field studies on soil. He then secured a job for a short stint as a Sales Representative in Rex Rotary, a company dealing with office machines. When Weng Hoe got a job in William Jacks, a trading company in Petaling Jaya, he moved into Petaling Jaya.


A 1970 family photo taken in Jalan Langar Alor Star. Back row L-R: Lum Weng Hoe, Lum Weng Chuen, their Madam  Wong Choon Kum (grandmother) and parents Mrs. Yap Yoke Cheng and Mr. Lum Theam Fatt, and Lum Weng Chew. Front row L-R:  Lum Weng Hup, Lum Weng Kuan, Lum  Weng Yew and Lum Weng Tuck.

His elder brother Lum Weng Chew had accepted the Faith as a student at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star on 29 May 1966 and moved to reside in Petaling Jaya to take up a degree course in University Malaya. Lum Weng Chew was the Secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Petaling Jaya from 1972 to 1976. Lum Weng Chew was renting a room in the Petaling Jaya Bahá’í Centre at 8, Jalan Padang, which was also the home of Senior Police Inspector Leong Ho Chiew, the eldest son of Leong Tat Chee and the first Auxiliary Board member of Malaysia. Weng Hoe, by this time was still not a believer. Mr. V. Theenathayalu, a believer of Alor Star town had moved into Petaling Jaya and presented him the Faith. But Weng Hoe was quite reluctant as uppermost in his mind was building up a good career first. He then transferred his residence to the Happy Gardens to escape accepting the Faith, not realising that he was destined to be spiritually trapped there! When he moved to the Happy Gardens, he did not realise that the persistent Bahá’í teacher Mr. S. L. Thevar was residing in his neighbourhood. Mr. and Mrs. Thevar who had learnt that Weng Hoe was the younger brother of Lum Weng Chew invited him for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners frequently. Weng Hoe soon realised that the Thevars showered sincere and genuine love upon him and had no kind of ultimate motive. Weng Hoe attended the firesides that were held regularly at the residence of the Thevars. After reading and investigating further, Weng Hoe finally accepted the Faith on 7 September 1972, and there was no turning back. As Happy Gardens was administratively under the jurisdiction of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Petaling Jaya, the Assembly was most happy to welcome this inspired believer into the Faith. In the September 1972 issue of its official newsletter THE SATELLITE, the Assembly announced the enrolment of new believers and Weng Hoe’s name was on that list. The rest was half a century of history that he wrote with constant and relentless service to the Cause on many areas and aspects. This servant became a great asset for the Cause in Petaling Jaya when he alongside with other youths were called the “Shining Lights”. His two other younger brothers—Lum Weng Hup and Lum Weng Kuan too accepted the Faith and served the Cause well in later years.


Weng Hoe in front of the Bahá’í Centre at Lorong Assunta A in Petaling Jaya

From the day Weng Hoe accepted the Cause his passion turned to field teaching. He was one of the early believers in Petaling Jaya to buy a car starting with a white coloured mini minor and later a green coloured Toyota Corolla to go places for teaching. When the opening of Klang town was entrusted to the Petaling Jaya community, Weng Hoe used his cars to visit Klang almost each weekend. A teaching campaign known as “Operation Automobile” was conceived and introduced by the Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Rahmatu’lláh Muhájir in December 1974, and the Bahá’ís of Petaling Jaya made regular teaching trips to Klang and Kuala Selangor towns. Weng Hoe joined Miss Shirley Wong Mooi Nyuke, a local believer in Petaling Jaya, V. Theenathayalu and Elsa Monteiro to visit Klang constantly for two years. Finally, the difficult and yet important Klang was opened to the Faith with  Mr. and Mrs. Tan Long Hock becoming the first to accept  the Faith. Soon after a Local Spiritual Assembly was successfully formed in Klang town.


Dr. Muhájir – inspired Operation Automobile Team, 1974. L-R: Weng Hoe, Shirley Wong, Elsa Monterio, Theenathayalu and son of Elsa

Weng Hoe and Shirley were natural lovers of field work, often teamed up to take part in local and national teaching activities. In mid-1970s the Bahá’ís of Petaling Jaya made frequent visits to the Bilut Valley over each weekend, stayed overnight and consolidated them. Lum Weng Hoe and Shirley Wong Mooi Nyuke were constantly on the move to consolidate this area. Weng Hoe had also committed to provide transportation for believers who had difficulty in coming for activities. He was one of the few who owned cars. He drove his Toyota Corolla car all the way to the University Malaya to bring along the undergraduate Bahá’ís there for activities in the Bahá’í Centre, a commitment and service the graduates still fondly remember.

Weng Hoe was elected to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Petaling and proved to be an able secretary, and a good administrator. He was admired and appreciated for keeping deliberations of the meetings of the Local Spiritual Assembly and each and every activity in that community in his personal notebook that he would never barter for anything. The annual reports that he drafted set a standard. When leaving the community for Kuantan, Pahang in 1975, the Local Spiritual Assembly of Petaling Jaya placed on record its appreciations for the annual reports that he had prepared during his tenure as secretary of the Assembly. Attached with the last annual report that he prepared was an appendix that carried an inventory of each and every item that was kept in the Bahá’í Centre. And that included every spoon, fork and even a single chopstick missing its pair. Even while serving as secretary of the Local Spiritual Assemblies in Petaling Jaya, and later in the towns of Kuantan and Subang Jaya, he was so committed that he slept very late on meeting days. He would never go to bed before completing the minutes of the meeting that took place. He would sleep at the wee hours of the night and get up at dawn to proceed to his office work.

There is one episode in the life of Weng Hoe, which to him was a turning point in its own way in his service to the Cause. William Jacks & Co. (M) Sdn. Bhd., a leading trading company in which he was working transferred him to the Kuantan branch in 1976, as the person working there was about to retire. His colleagues advised him against taking up the offer as it would be career wise suicidal with no possibility of climbing up the career ladder in what was considered a dead town in a faraway place. But Kuantan happened to be a goal area for the Petaling Jaya Bahá’í community and needed much assistance. Keeping the needs of the Faith uppermost in his mind, Weng Hoe took the offer and went to Kuantan. On the way to Kuantan, he passed a night in a hotel in a small town called Mentakab and prayed. It was Raymond Peter, one of the greatest teachers of the Faith in Malaysia who taught Weng Hoe how to tap on the power of divine assistance. Peter used to tell Weng Hoe, “ … Pray, pray, pray hard, focus to the task at hand and do pray like never before, and stay focused. The answer shall come from the prayer hearing and prayer answering God.” Weng Hoe went one step ahead and prayed from beginning of the prayer book to the last page, and from back to the front again. The next morning, he continued the journey to Kuantan feeling absolutely confident that divine assistance would assuredly come.

Arriving in Kuantan just before noon he found Kuantan to be a sleepy hollow with three main roads! He recalled what his skeptics at his workplace in Kuala Lumpur had cautioned and thought for a moment if they might be right after all. He nervously checked into a hotel on that first day, continued to pray hard and tried to focus to the task at hand. He started praying again from front to back and back to front of the prayer book.

His prayers were answered on the spot. He met the Malaysian Armed Forces believer Captain Munusamy and his wife Mrs. Theresa, and the Technician at the Telecommunications department Mr. R. Marriappan.  He rented a room somewhere for a start and joined in the local community activities. Raymond Peter who was residing in Kuala Lumpur visited Captain Munusamy in the Armed Forces Kuantan and came over to meet Weng Hoe. Peter took a good look at his room and with keen spiritual intuition, and said, “Move out of this place, think big, rent a house, use it as the Bahá’í Centre. You are here for a purpose. It was not too much of the job you are plunged into. It is to serve the Faith. Have no more doubts. Just focus and pray, focus and pray. Other obstacles bothering you would soon come to pass. Do not be surprised when it comes and remember me when it comes.” Weng Hoe then resorted to reciting the “Tablet of Ahmad” several times.

Together they found a house at Taman Kubang Buaya off the road leading to Telok Chempedak Beach. That was more spacious and became a Bahá’í Centre and thus started a new wave of heightened activities. After two years the owner wants it back. Weng Hoe then rented another house at Jalan Mahmud, quite close to the previous one, this time a semi-detached double storey house which also became the Bahá’í Centre for the next three years. The already strongly emerging community became even stronger with a pair of devoted tenants moved into this house, that was none other than Francis Satkunasingam and his wife Usha.

From Kuantan he used to drive back to Petaling Jaya on most of the weekends to meet up with his brothers Lum Weng Chew, Lum Weng Hup and the local friends, not forgetting Shirley Wong whom he was courting. When Weng Hoe and Shirley became teaching partners, and it did not take long before they decided to become life partners as well. They wedded on 19 November 1976 at the Jaya Puri Hotel in Petaling Jaya, graced by the presence of the Hand of the Cause of God, Mr. Collis Featherstone, and his wife Madge. More than 500 friends gathered and that happened to be the biggest wedding crowd for the year. The couple ensured only plain water and Chinese tea were served as a substitute for the usual traditional wine for toast at the ten-course dinner. Mr. Featherstone gave a powerful talk at this wedding on the significance of the day in which we were living, touching the hearts of believers and non-believers.

After their marriage, Weng Hoe took his wife to Kuantan and stayed in a semi-detached house which also became the Bahá’í Centre for the next three years. Together with another couple Mr. Francis Satkunasingam and Usha Cheryan, and other believers like Kariipponon and Ponnusamy, they worked to build a dynamic Bahá’í community in Kuantan. With Francis Satkunasingam as Chairman and Weng Hoe as Secretary of the Assembly the administrative strength was enhanced. While in Kuantan Weng Hoe became the editor of a local Bahá’í newsletter called the “KUANTAN FLAME.” This newsletter received many accolades for the news items and the deepening materials it carried.


Weng Hoe weds Shirley

The first Bahá’í Summer School in Kuantan was held in July 1978. Weng Hoe had an important role to play at this summer school by joining forces with his fellow believers in turning that into a well-remembered and highly historical event. It was quite amazing to see the small band of believers in Kuantan taking on such a herculean task and executing it on a befitting manner, only to earn the appreciations of the Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Muhájir who graced the event. This event was also graced by Counsellors Inbum Chinniah and Yankee Leong of Malaysia and Vicente Samaniego of the Philippines.


Some members of the Kuantan community at the Summer School. Seated at extreme left is Yankee Leong. The three adults in the center are L-R: Jeyabalan, Ponnusamy, and Kariippanon. Standing L-R;  (unknown) Bawani, Palimah, Ratha Jeyabalan, Madam Maria, Francis Singam, Counselor Vicente Samaniego from the Philippines and Lum Weng Hoe

It did not take long before the Kuantan Bahá’í community grew further into a vibrant one in the East Coast of Peninsula Malaysia. When Weng Hoe decided to take up the job offer in Kuantan he was cautioned that he had to forgo or forget any fortunes of promotion. But that was completely demystified through a miracle that Baháʼu’lláh performed. With Weng Hoe placing the Faith above everything else, his business grew four folds in the first year in Kuantan and by the end of his stint for 5 years, sales grew by an unbelievable ten-fold. Weng Hoe knew the source of the blessing, while his colleagues in Kuala Lumpur remained completely baffled!


Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuantan, 1978. Back row L-R: Mohan, Ponnusamy, Jeyabalan, Kariippanon, and Francis. Seated L-R: Madam Maria, Bee Lee Goh, Shirley Wong, and Lum Weng Hoe


Sunday Children’s Class in Jeram Kuantan Estate in  February 1977 during Intercalary Days for some 70 children.  Weng Hoe stands second from right. Shirley Wong stands at the extreme left

Weng Hoe and Shirley returned to Kuala Lumpur in 1980. Weng Hoe served on the Local Spiritual Assembly of Kuala Lumpur in 1985 and 1986. They next settled in Subang Jaya in 1987. Subang Jaya was then under the Bahá’í administrative jurisdiction of Petaling Jaya. When the first Local Spiritual Assembly was formed for Subang Jaya in 1997, Weng Hoe and Shirley were elected to this divine institution. The couple served the Assembly with such devotion and commitment. He was on this assembly for right up to 2011.

In the first year of the establishment of the Local Spiritual Assembly in Subang Jaya in 1997, the Assembly established a local lending library. Weng Hoe, as an avid reader of Bahá’í books bought almost all new arrivals at the national Bahá’í bookshop and having read them contributed many of such materials to this local library. During these years he had served as Secretary or Assistant Secretary. As Secretary he produced annual reports with such detailed charts and photographs, setting high standards for any Local Spiritual Assembly. Weng Hoe took great pains in keeping in touch with each member of the community in sharing the messages from the Local Spiritual Assembly by way of personal telephone calls, emails, and SMS. He was indeed a very good communicator, always in touch with a wide range of friends through several forms of social media.


First Local Spiritual Assembly of Subang Jaya 1997. Standing L-R: Wee Pang Liang, Ronnie Koh, Dennis Chee, James Kijam and Anthony Wong. Seated L-R: Ramaish, Ravichandran, Shirley Wong and Weng Hoe

Weng Hoe had a good command of the English language which he kept polishing for the interest of the Faith. He enjoyed competing with another titan, Mr. Lim Kok Hoon, with whom he would play scrabble game. He was also a gifted writer and found the right avenue, when he was appointed first as Assistant Editor and effective 2002 as Chief Editor of the Subang Post, the official newsletter of the Subang Jaya community. He used to put in much painful efforts to produce this newsletter that shall ever be remembered as one of his greatest services for the Cause. As an official photographer he was actively involved in many local, regional, and national events to cover the events and take photographs to be published in the Subang Post. He was seen with camera and a sling bag that contained film rolls. All issues of the Subang Post were released on time for the Nineteen Day Feasts. He had all the skills, talents, and the making to be a good editor in the print media in the outside world, but his priority was the Cause. Till this day all subsequent editors draw the inspiration and examples from the high standards that Weng Hoe had set.

Local Spiritual Assembly of 2001. Standing L-R: Anthony Wong, Subromaniam, Ravichandran, Ramaish, Dennis Chee and Weng Hoe. Seated L-R: Parvaneh Lee,  Paul Koh and Shirley Wong

Weng Hoe was a good collector of historical media and was known as keeper of useful information. From the year he accepted the Faith Weng Hoe moved with a camera, taking as many photographs as possible, and turned out to be a possessor of several hundreds of photographs. His talent as a good photographer assisted him in snapping some of the best remembered photographs, many of which he shared very generously with those who needed them, sometimes even unasked. He truly believed in spiritual generosity in sharing such materials for the needs of the Faith.

When he decided to digitize many of them had lost the quality but managed to salvage the most important ones. His passion for photographs and love for the Cause were well combined when he enlarged high quality photographs of the Holy Places that he himself had snapped and placed them on the walls of the Subang Jaya Bahá’í Centre. The photos became silent teachers of the Cause for any visitor to the center, and a great inspiration to the believers.

The National Spiritual Assembly tasked Weng Hoe and Mr. Thinathayallam in collating and organizing materials in the Bahá’í Archives at the National Bahá’í Centre. These two put their entire energy in doing their very best, going to the centre each weekend, and even weekdays. They carried out this very important task with great fervor and dedication. For a brief period Weng Hoe had served as Treasurer of the National Teaching Committee in the early 1980s.

Weng Hoe was a full supporter of both local and national plans. He gave his fullest support to all the national plans. In its letter dated 10 December 1993, the Universal House of Justice called the Malaysian Bahá’í community to extend a helping hand towards the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Cambodia. Weng Hoe and Shirley were among those who arose to this call. He went in February 1994 to the war-torn country, which was slowly returning to normal life, although the remnants of the old Pol Pot regime were still not totally disarmed. He returned to Malaysia and encouraged more than 50 volunteers to go to assist the sister country in setting up the national institution. The entire Local Spiritual Assembly of Petaling Jaya rose to assist. Great workers like S. Satanam, Ravichandran, Shirley, Veronica, Anthony Wong, and Dr. Joseph Swaminathan were creating waves through their services there in laying a strong foundation.


Weng Hoe and Raymond Peter getting ready to go for field work in Cambodia 

Likewise, he was about the first to be present in community activities and took ownership of the tasks entrusted. When the Project 1000 was launched by the National Spiritual Assembly, to bring in 1000 believers under this plan, Weng Hoe was in the forefront in the teaching field. Likewise, when the Project 2000 was in force he gave the fullest support in ensuring its triumph in his own way. Weng Hoe was committed to the study of the Ruhi books from the time of its introduction in the community.

Weng Hoe well balanced the Faith and his family needs. He served in such a way that his family was not neglected and looked after the family’s needs in such a way that he still had sufficient time to serve the Cause. At home he was a very loving son to his aged mother and ever supportive to his siblings in every way. Weng Hoe always had the greatest admiration for the elders in the Cause. Out of his love for Yankee Leong, the first enlightened soul to accept the Faith in Malaysia, Weng Hoe named his eldest son Ken Leong in remembrance of that saintly figure.

It has to be mentioned that as far as possible Weng Hoe never missed meetings with the Hands of the Cause. Likewise he attended  all, if not most of the National Conventions, Teaching Conferences, Summer Schools and Winter Schools, unless situations did not permit. He was to be seen in almost all Bahá’í events, not only to participate, but also to support them. To him language was not a barrier and was also there for gatherings held in other languages.  And he likewise never missed attending both marriages and funerals of believers, as far as possible.


Fund raising project held in the premises of the former  Bahá’í Centre at Lorong Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur on the occasion of the Intercalary days, 2004. Weng Hoe stands second from left

There were yet two wishes that he had been contemplating for many years. He had a strong desire to produce a pictorial presentation of the history of the Faith in Subang Jaya community, and to write the history of the Petaling Jaya community.

When he came into the Faith he was one of the few who had a camera and had been snapping hundreds of photographs. He had  hundreds of photos that he had snapped from 1970 to 2020, with his famous Olympus Camera. They were all in films and was worried with efflux of time they would degenerate in quality and the colour may fade away. Some were without dates and mention of places where they were taken, while as for others he was not able to place the right captions. Just two months before his passing, Weng Hoe then sent over all his photographic collections to the National Bahá’í archives of the National Spiritual Assembly for safekeeping.

Weng Hoe seemed to have had some premonition that his days were approaching. He was speaking the same language to a few believers, just two months before he passed away. One of them was Dr. Leong Yow Peng, member of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Subang Jaya. In his message to Dr Leong he wrote, “If I am not around due to unforeseen circumstances, I want to let the Local Spiritual Assembly to know that all my albums and archives records which are in my possession be handed over to the Assembly. I have also told the same to my wife that my archives comprising photos from 1970 to 2020 in about 30 albums, and some in digital format be passed to the community as my last Will to the community. I am getting old and must prepare for any eventuality.” In the conversations and actions of his last days it became too apparent that he had a premonition that his days were drawing to a close.

And true enough he passed away suddenly, most unexpectedly and so soon to the shock of the family, friends, and community. His desire to write the history of Petaling Jaya remained unfulfilled, but he for sure has become part of the history of Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia as a whole. And though he could not come out with the  history of the Faith in some parts of the country from 1970 to 2020, flipping through historical albums would have his photographs well in place.

Weng Hoe had some rare qualities and virtues that need special mention. Having understood the Faith well, he developed a burning love for the Cause and developed a motto that he used as his guiding light throughout his life.  He served with a singular mind and heart and his bidding aim was never to procrastinate. He took ownership of the needs of the Faith as though carrying out his own family’s tasks. Weng Hoe was highly responsible and had a great sense of determination and perseverance in completing both the family tasks and Bahá’í tasks entrusted. He was very organized, methodical, and neat in discharging his duties. He followed a strict sense of committing and giving the best in all his undertakings. Every day, almost like clockwork he will have something to do for the Faith. He used to be stressed out whenever some important tasks had to be completed. The one most admirable deed of Weng Hoe was to complete the minutes of the meetings of the Local Spiritual Assembly efficiently and on time. Such meetings would end close to midnight and Weng Hoe would return home and start typing out the minutes, which he would complete close to early dawn on many occasions. “When there is a Bahá’í task to be completed today, I do not believe in postponing it to tomorrow,” was the stand he always took. Weng Hoe shall also be remembered for his contribution for the community through his open, frank, and mature consultation at Feasts, Cluster Reflection meetings and at Ridván elections. He could be quick-minded and sharp tongued, and yet had no malicious intentions. The greatness of the man was that he would calm down the next minute after any exchange of words and would move on as nothing had transpired. By all accounts Weng Hoe was a warm-hearted believer. He was always there to assist and console people in distress, and gave the fullest encouragement when believers arose to serve, with no traces of rancour, hate or jealousy.


Weng Hoe at the extreme right with friends L-R: Thinathayallam, R. Ganasamurthi, Raymond Peter

As an individual member of the community, he was an ardent supporter of the Local Spiritual Assembly and gave his wholehearted support for the institute process. Weng Hoe laughed a lot and made others laugh as well. He was sporting especially during Naw-Rúz day celebrations, he would dress up to the occasion, and even take to the stage to dance as well, with such a sporting spirit. He would liven the crowd. From the time he accepted the Faith, Weng Hoe was fully involved and immersed in the Faith with a relentless energy and dedication leaving room to suspect if he at all had any time to move in the outside world.

Thus ended the life of yet one more star-servant of the Cause in Malaysia. In the half a century of earthly life, Weng Hoe had won numerous friends both within and outside Malaysia. His was a life well lived as a good son, husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather. He shall be remembered by the community of the Greatest Name as one who had served relentlessly and set an exemplary path of services for current generations and generations yet to be born to emulate. It is our ardent hope and prayer that Bahá’u’lláh may reward Lum Weng Hoe the fullest share of divine blessings for his labours in this world, performed with so much commitment, zeal, and sincerity.

Thy Trust hath been returned unto Thee. It behooveth Thy grace and Thy bounty… 

– Bahá’u’lláh

A. Manisegaran
31 May 2022

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20 thoughts on “REMEMBERING LUM WENG HOE

  1. Thank you Manisegaran for an excellent account of my younger brother Lum Weng Hoe and his services to the Cause.

    Although a brother to him, I must confess that most of the facts therein are new to me. Except for the earlier days in Petaling Jaya, our paths in the service of the Cause had been different.

    I note that before becoming a Baha’i he had been evasive, trying not to get “caught”. I was also in such a situation. We actually did not have a religion although we had been labelled as Buddhists at school. To us Buddhism was the practice of my grandmother and our mother. Praying was very much foreign to us. They prayed for us. We had zero knowledge of Buddhism. Yes we came a long way from zero to the level we are serving today. We feel blessed by Bahaullah for our spiritual progress. Both our families, including those of my younger brothers Lum Weng Hup and the late Lum Weng Kuan are all Baha’is including their spouses and their children.

    I agree with you that through the half century, he had served Bahaullah well, sacrificially and with utmost humility. His legacy to the Faith is now well recorded for posterity. I know for sure he and his family are blessed.

    Lum Weng Chew
    Toronto
    Canada

    1. In November 2020 we got the shock of our life when we heard of his untimely death. It was only the year before that he and his dearest wife Shirley Wong, son and daughter in law visited us here in our home, such a happy reunion as we have known the family for many years, in Malaysia and Australia during their periodic visits Down Under.

      Later that day we ended up having a fabulous dinner at an upmarketed restaurant on the beach giving us a great view of the ocean, and we talked and talked and had so much fun and laughter together. Went Hoe was in his element, the life of the party, pouring out his jokes, his great sense of humour and a shared cameraderie spirit!

      We are sorry he’s no more around to have a catchup but we still cherish his memories!

      Leong Ho San
      Wollongong
      Australia

  2. Dear Mr Manisegaran,

    Thank you for sharing another fascinating story, this time the legacy of Lum Weng Hoe who certainly occupies a place in the Malaysian Bahá’í History. We the younger generation Baha’is of Malaysia are so much indebted to people like Lum Weng Hoe and his service oriented spirit that Baha’is of Malaysia are known for. I admire his dedication throughout his life and how he served with so much sincerity. His decision to move to a remote town of Kuantan from the busy city of Kuala Lumpur itself shows his eagerness to serve and he never stopped this spirit till the end. The Faith was first and foremost for him. As for me it’s a gift to read contemporary history of our own time and learn how the Faith grew and developed in Malaysia.

    I admire his meticulous attention on preparing minutes. I also appreciate Raymond Peter’s advice on the power of divine assistance that Weng Hoe took deep into his heart. Every Bahai has some outstanding aspects to be emulated. Raymond Peter, among others have shown many paths to be followed.

    Admittedly this story made me renew my service for the Faith. Perhaps I want to pick some of the examples that Weng Hoe has set, especially doing the best for Bahaullah.

    I wish the author will write more of Malaysian believers and the history.

    Nehru Arunasalam
    Chicago
    USA

  3. I always knew that Weng Hoe was a silent and humble worker for the Cause. He was the official photographer for many years especially during Winter and Summer Schools and Conferences. He also was very generous in sharing those photos with many of us unasked for. He then gave his entire collection to the national institution.

    I have quite a number of his excellent work at one of the national summer schools at Kuantan while l was introducing and facilitating Ruhi Book I in Mandarin that time.

    Weng Hoe shall be in our hearts forever.

    Koh Kuang Wang
    Port Dickson
    Malaysia

  4. Many thanks Mr Mani , for bringing Lum back to life through your writing skills.

    He was the General Manager of a PVC pile company in Klang town and after a while transferred to Ipoh town where I live. This has to be in 1994. He was General Manager in Ipoh too. He needed a supervisor to work for him and so he contacted Mr Tan Boon Tin to scout for one, preferably a Bahai. Tan Boon Tin recommended me and so I took up the job as Supervisor and later as Store Assistant Executive.

    In 96 I bought my new home. Weng Hoe bought for me big portrait of Abdul Baha to be hung in the living room. To this day the photo is still there, reminding me of Weng Hoe each time I look at the portrait.

    I worked under him, and he was a very good boss, always placing the Bahai principles at workplace. He was great man to me , in the company during 1 hr lunch we use to discuss about Baha’i activities. Sometimes he will ask me to come to his house and talk about activities. But I had to leave the job owing to health problems. Today he is sadly missed

    Vincent Chelvam
    Ipoh
    Malaysia

  5. Hi Mani
    Read the recollection about Weng Hoe earlier this morning and was moved to say a few words about this fellow brother who was in many ways an embodiment of faith and service in everything he undertook.

    You had well captured his many skills which many would find it difficult to emulate viz a viz his photography and report writing competence! I can bear testimony to Weng Hoe’s skills sitting with him for a few years in the Local Spiritual Assembly of Subang Jaya. His minuting of the minute to details, well presented annual reports and vocal presentation skills were remarkable. On one occasion, during the celebration of the birthday of Baha’u’llah, he came dressed as Professor E.G. Brown in a skit performed by the neighbourhood friends! He takes hella of pride in being meticulous. Yes, sometimes he was a little brash with his remarks or calling ‘a spade a spade’ but only for a moment.

    During my days in the Imperial Chemical Company (ICI), Weng Hoe’s company were contract cleaners of our laboratories. On occasions when the Technicians in the lab are not happy with the job done by his workers, I would call him up and he would come running and sort out the problems by himself and immediately. That was his level of commitment.

    Weng Hoe was also one of my favourite teh tarik addicts. We discuss everything under the sun, and I would enjoy some of his impromptu commentary of current events happening in the country

    Weng Hoe’s sudden passing came as great shock to many of us. It was so sudden and unexpected. I remember him fondly for the relaxed and jovial friend as he was always. When he was at the Holy Land for his pilgrimage he came back showing all of us beautiful snaps of the Holy Land and the surroundings. Such was his photography skills using only a simple digital camera. I can still remember the occasion when he came to visit me after the pilgrimage with a beautiful, framed photo of the Shrine of the Bab as a gift to my family. This portrait still hangs in my hall.

    Sandran Govindasamy
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  6. Dear Mani,
    Many thanks for the excellent article on our beloved Lum Weng Hoe (uncle Lum) from Subang Jaya community. You have relived quite a bit of his 50 years of legacy serving Baha’u’llah. It’s been an honour and privilege to know, to learn and to serve with uncle Lum and his wife aunty Shirley. He has been a good mentor and exemplar in serving the Cause.

    He’s a man of many talents, helpful, cheerful with a smile at all times, meticulous, and down to details as the secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Subang Jaya. We are truly blessed with his photography skills, good job in keeping detailed archives on the development of Subang Jaya community from 1997.

    On many occasions, he would participate keenly in the community teaching and social activities. Pretty sure most of the friends will agree for his sporting spirit, good sense of humour, wearing his trademark cap with a broad smile and laughter that captures the friends’ admiration.

    On several outings, field trips and visits he’s our men to fall upon for assistance especially to Endau Rompin nature park, treasure hunt to Bukit Merah, community retreat to Fraser Hill and many other teaching trips.

    Uncle Lum’s spirit of service will truly inspire generations to come, he will be fondly missed and remain forever in our hearts. May his soul be well nourished with divine blessings in the next realm.

    Dr. Leong Yow Peng
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  7. Our dear Lum was a very dedicated servant of the Faith and his whole life centred around it. His dedication and commitment to service was certainly second to none. He was a constant mentor to young Baha’is aspiring to serve as well. He was hard and firm in his views, mostly driven by principles of the Faith and in absolute obedience to guidance and direction provided by the Supreme body and other Institutions. His service as an administrator i.e. mostly as secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Petaling Jaya and subsequently Subang Jaya was enkindled by efficiency and dedication in upholding the Administrative Order of the Faith. His pet project as chief editor of the Subang Post, saw him work tirelessly, working at times into the wee hours of the night, and publishing the newsletter for many awaiting souls eager to get a glimpse of the affairs surrounding the Subang Jaya community. The community has lost a great person and we pray that his soul rest in peace within the confines of the Kingdom of his Creator

    T. Selvakumar
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  8. Lum Weng Hoe, my friend and mentor, is probably one of the most distinguished secretaries of the Local Spiritual Assembly I have known.

    Lum, had assisted and molded me in many ways in secretarial work and others. He always carried his camera along wherever he went- visit to the Palace, residence of the Chief Minister, picnics, Feasts, Holy Days, etc…

    Lum was soft spoken. As a man of few words his advice to me was very soulful. He was an exemplary Baha’i friend, very hardworking, meticulous and a very resourceful person. He always in top spirit and made a meaningful change in many lives. He was a reservoir of knowledge and a source of reference in Baha’i History -both at local and international levels.

    Lum, we will remember you as a great man who went beyond borders to change people’s lives.

    Thank you
    Dato’ Seri Subromaniam Tholasy
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  9. Hello Uncle Mani,
    Thank you for such a wonderful write up about Dad. I knew you were very close to my dad for have included so many unknown details. I also remember you read the eulogy at the funeral service.

    Reading about my Dad in his early days gives me the pleasure of knowing more about the man. I knew only the summarized versions of his works for the Cause, and some of his Kuantan days, but never the details. So, thank you Uncle Mani for the history lesson.

    My Dad, he was ever so thankful to have found the Faith and the opportunity to serve. He always reminded his children about how he found the Faith. My late Dad used ask us to remember to say our prayers and seek Baha’u’llah’s assistance in any difficult situation, crossroads or journey the three of us, his children faced. He also taught us not only to serve the Cause, but to be supportive of whoever serves the Faith. He had so much love for the elders in the Faith. Again, what an honour for my parents to have been blessed by the presence of Hand of the Cause of God Mr. Collis Featherstone at their wedding.

    I am happy Dad had this clear purpose in his life. He was never swayed or lost when he himself had a difficult decision to make. Under all situations he kept on this firm path. As you rightly wrote, knowing his last days were coming to and end he rushed to complete whatever was left to be done and one of them was the digitizing of the many photos that form part of community’s history.
    Those photos bring me to constant remembrance of him. I remember my dad using several cameras during those days- Canon, Olympus, Nikon and Minolta. What surprised me was that although had had taken so many photos of the community activities he was seldom in the photos as he as a photographer could not be in the photograph as well. That is the reason he is rarely seen in those historical photos.

    Dad sacrificed a lot. The Faith and his family were the main focus. The Faith was placed above himself. There are many examples of this but one that remains top in my mind is his hunger for purchasing many Bahai books of various forms. He was most interested in the biographies He claimed, “…one day when I retire, I’ll read them one by one”.

    Sadly, there was no retirement for him. He was serving nonstop till his last breath. There were over 500 books in his library, all of which had stamps and dates of when they were purchased.

    He was a great father, caring and nurturing us until each of us had sound education, stable lives, and good jobs. He was a great and supporting husband to my mum in her new venture in F&B. He was supportive of his brothers and his elderly mum Madam Yap.

    Today I miss him dearly. He has been an inspiration to me. His determination to never fall and falter but to go on with an attitude of self-belief is truly remarkable. And to hear many unknown stories about him from his close friends is the epitome of a man who remained humble till his last day.

    I am deeply sad that he never got to meet my two little girls, but I get comfort in the fact that I told Dad about them. “There are 2 of them Dad”. Of course, he didn’t catch it at first but was ecstatic once he learnt that he was going to be a grandad of twin girls. He could be happier. He told his mother the same day. I am sad to lose him on this earth but happy he knows his direction, which is the path towards Baha’u’llah.

    Go with God Dad. Hope you get to meet your father and your brothers who passed before you.

    He left me with a reminder on a remedy for healing-“Pray, Smile, Laugh – Be happy and leave it to God.” My Dad sent this last reminder to me on 23 October 2020. Next came a message dated 5 November 2020 informing me of the most unexpected and shocking news of his passing. My heart sank and I am still unable to come to terms that he has left us. The only consolation is that he is in a better place, harvesting all the bounties from the sincere services rendered during 50 years of his Bahai life.

    Ken Wye Lum
    Australia

  10. Dear Mani,
    I must admit that I did not know Weng Hoe very well. I met him in Kuantan only once when I was working in the Drainage and Irrigation Department. But within a short while I moved back to Penang when the City Council of Penang offered me a job. Thereafter I used to meet Weng Hoe at National Conventions and other national gatherings. We used to have some private conversations in some remote corners outside the gathering premises and got to understand each other better. Yet this story that you wrote has given me a clearer picture of the great services Weng Hoe has rendered the Cause.

    Thank you for the heartfelt and inspiring account of the life of Weng Hoe as a dedicated servant of Baha’u’llah. His lengthy service and devotion befitted that of a true soldier of the army of God as described by the Universal House of Justice in the Century of Light. Page 105, Malaysian Edition 2001. A priceless tribute from the Supreme Body to our community.

    Likewise, all your earlier memorable articles on the lives of so many heroes and heroines of our land which you had painstakingly researched and compiled render further testimonies to the infallible words of the House of Justice. Quote:” … Malaysian Baha’i community as an engine of the expansion work, winning its own goals with stunning speed and dispatching pioneers and travelling teachers to neighbouring lands…….seemed to be the very embodiment of the military metaphors with which Shoghi Effendi’s writings seek to capture the spirit of Baha’i teaching efforts.”

    Hua Keng Tong
    Skudai
    Johor
    Malaysia

  11. May God bless Lum Weng Hoe’s radiant soul. Although I did not know him close enough to appreciate his humble and tireless services to the Cause adequately, I had heard about his dynamic spirit of service whenever I visited Malaysia. This story speaks well for the great services Lum Weng Hoe has rendered the Cause.

    While the horizons of the contemporary world society are darkened by the vices of materialism, ignorance, and disbelieve in the existence of God there are still some devoted veterans of the army of light fighting hard to eradicate the dark forces. I can say that Lum Weng Hoe was one of those who shone like a brilliant star in the classical history of the development of the Faith in Malaysia. Weng Hoe with his exemplary life of service not only has decorated the pages of the Baha’i history but has left a strong legacy for the present and the future generations to emulate. He has clearly joined the rank and file of the champion builders of the Baha’i World Oder.

    Dr. Firaydun Mithaq
    Cheing Mai
    Thailand

  12. When Weng Hoe was transferred to Kuantan town, l was in the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base and l got acquainted with him very fast as we had some common interests and hobbies. At about this time Raymond Peter came to Kuantan and stayed in my house. We then met up with Lum.

    Shortly after his moving to Kuantan l got posted out and met Lum in Subang Jaya when he moved to Subang Jaya from Shah Alam. During the early days in Shah Alam there were only a couple of families such as Major Purushothman Nair, Chan H C and me. Our meetings were held in Nair’s place. Slowly many families moved to Subang Jaya and when the Local Teaching Committee was formed, a few of us were in the that committee.

    Lum was a very pleasant person with outpouring of love to everyone he met. He was also very patient and always ready to help with a smile. During my stay in Subang Jaya most meetings such as devotional meetings, deepening gatherings and Ruhi book study were always held in his house.
    We had numerous breakings of the fast together. Lum was also a good photographer and we had had common habits such as Do It Yourself, collecting tools and gardening. Both of us shared many ideas.

    When we moved to Rawang, Lum presented us with a 4 square foot photo of the Shrine of the Bab as a housewarming gift. That has been hanging in the same spot in my living room for the past 27 years.

    He is a person who has captured many hearts by his kindness and generosity. He will surely have a special place in the Abha kingdom.

    N. Munusamy
    Rawang
    Malaysia

  13. I first met Lum Weng Hoe in 1976 or 1977 when I was serving in the Royal Malaysia Air Force in Kuantan . His coming to Kuantan brought joy great to the small community in Kuantan. He brought experiences of an experienced secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly. He was the first editor of Kuantan Flame the first local newsletter. His annual report was a benchmark standard. He was a joyful character and always loved by those who were around him.

    Thank you Manisegaran for bringing back such fond memories about Weng Hoe.

    Kariipponnon
    Kelantan
    Malaysia

  14. My dear Manisegaran,

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful write-up of my late husband Lum Weng Hoe. You must have certainly taken many sleepless nights and days to get the inspiration and to compile. There are many of Weng Hoe’s episodes that we are not aware of before.

    Weng Hoe’s soul is honoured and rejoiced. I think when we reflect back into our lives little did we realize the events that took place are the blessings, love and guidance all the time from the Almighty. Truly we must thank Him very much for not letting go our hands.

    Very glad that together we were able to serve Baha’u’llah and privileged to be trusted to bring up three lovely and filial children. We had many adventures and experiences together which made our lives very colourful and rich.

    He was a faithful and responsible husband and father who protected and provided his family well both materially and spiritually. Caring and generosity was his second nature to all who cross his path. And a very filial son to his aged parents.

    I was with him when his precious soul winged its flight to the unseen realms. I thank him for his faithfulness. I think after his fall he waited for me to return to say goodbye. I rushed to him when I saw him at the landing of the stairs. He looked at me and gave a smile and breathed his last.

    Thank you so much to all the friends who shared their comments in the Bahai Recollections Historical blog. Thank you again Manisegaran, a true family friend.

    Hope Weng Hoe’s legacy will continue with his children and grandchildren.

    Regards
    Shirley Wong
    Subang Jaya
    Malaysia

  15. Brother Mani,
    Your write up has captured well the towering man I grew up watching in Subang Jaya. I was not his peer in age. As a young Baha’i I watched in awe our dear uncle Lum. Later I had the privilege of serving with both uncle Lum and his wife Shirley on the Subang Jaya Local Spiritual Assembly. Both uncle Lum and Shirley are our dear brother and sister.

    During Feasts and community gatherings uncle Lum as the secretary, will be giving report. As the secretary, he was simply par excellent. I cannot forget his stature in the front of the hall, with that thick A4 size notebook in which he kept all those minute details. He used to call it the Bible of the secretary.

    His capabilities showed up at an era when there were not many computers, unlike today. He was also the main editor of our local newsletter- THE SUBANG POST. At that time, he was very busy at his own work. I just cannot fathom how was able to organize his time undertaking multiple tasks.

    I became closer to him when I was serving on the Assembly with him and also when tutoring him book 4. I have watched him as an able administrator but during our book 4, I realized he also had that deep spiritual maturity.

    My family was living in Puchong neighborhood. During Pproject 1000, the Subang Jaya Assembly had chosen Puchong as its goal area. Every week, uncle Lum, Shirley and a few friends from Subang Jaya will visit us and we all will go street teaching. Lum was very passionate about teaching and always talked about audacity when teaching the Cause. He was by nature very humorous. But once in field teaching he was a transformed person.

    Another example of his administrative prowess came to the fore when the Assembly launched the Long Term Teaching Project in Puchong. Uncle Lum prepared the blueprint which I am keeping till this day kept for posterity.He always encourage the friends and his wife Shirley. He has openly mentioned how Shirley was an inspiration for him. In his utter humility he would attribute all the success in the teaching field to his wife Shirley.

    Uncle Lum and Shirley formed a great team. During his later years, with the Five-Year Plan, he strove to be part of the Plan and had initiated many personal initiatives in his neighborhood. I always cherish my time with him in all the spaces mentioned above.

    Thank you brother Mani again for the vivid recollection of the life and legacy of Lum.

    Kavidas
    Putrajaya
    Malaysia

  16. I had known Lum Weng Hoe for many years. I had met him at gatherings, and he was always with his camera, snapping photos. I knew he was an active believer. And that was the only kind of information I had about him.

    But when reading this story, I came to know that he has done so much for the Cause and mostly without any publicity. I can see that he was meticulous, hardworking, and very committed. He will surely be remembered in our history.

    KarthiGovindan
    Subang
    Selangor
    Malaysia

  17. I am happy to have known Lum Weng Hoe, a dear and dedicated servant of Bahaullah. Lum Weng Hoe is a doer and managed his time well in spite of his workload! He was a very frank person and possessed many virtues, and righteousness to me was his outstanding virtue!

    I personally knew Lum Weng Hoe as a very outgoing person. His editorial prowess came to the fore when he was the editor of THE SUBANG POST. I did not get all copies but from the few copies I was able to get hold of I saw that it was a source of so much information and very inspiring articles. I can bravely say that at the time when Lum Weng Hoe was handling the editorial work, his writing abilities simply surpassed many other editors by a wide margin. He had that ability to capture the readers and get them glued to the newsletters!

    Lum Weng Hoe had a peculiar easy going kind of attitude as well. Many years ago we sat down and had some hot tea. He ordered a big bowl of ais kacang (nuts and condensed milk mixed in shredded ice) and enjoyed himself. It was an open secret that he had high glucose level in his blood. I told him it is very dangerous, but he replied that he wanted to enjoy life well until Thy kingdom come! And true enough, he lived many many years after that.

    He is one of those I truly miss! May his soul continue to progress in all the worlds of God.

    Yong Siew Kang
    Port Dickson
    Malaysia

  18. Thank you Uncle Mani for your outstanding research and documenting for posterity the legacy of my father Lum Weng Hoe. The inspiring work that you carried out solidifies the memory of my father forever in history.

    Thank you also to all the friends who have written comments of so many memorable things about my dear father. My brother Ken Wye and sister Pek Lynn commented to me that there were so many episodes in your write up about our father that we did not know. We are so grateful for the sharing and cannot be more proud of the man.

    So many things were said and shared about my father’s legacy. My father was and still is a man of many words. But it was his deeds and examples that made an impact to me and my siblings. And in a way those virtues and attributes are the most valuable things we inherited from him.

    My father was a workaholic and a disciplined man. When I was much younger I remember him spending long nights completing minutes of the meetings of the Local Spiritual Assembly, drafting, and editing annual reports, editing newsletters while also juggling his everyday job. He worked hard with dedication and commitment which saw him receive promotions throughout his working career. Although my father was away at work on many occasions, he was always around for us, checking in and making sure we were all fine.

    He was fascinated with latest technology and gadgets. He had a passion for photography and so invested in cameras, lenses, flashes, tripods which later evolved into digital cameras. He not only kept written drafts of the growth of The Baha’i Faith in Petaling Jaya and Kuantan but also a photographic history of it. He printed almost every snap he took with those old film cameras and later kept thousands of digital versions. Several friends have mentioned that father would present them with framed Baha’i related pictures which still hang on their house walls. My father also printed and framed many of his pictures that have found a place on the walls of a couple of Baha’i Centers in Malaysia.
    Gardening and fishing were also a huge passion of his. My father loved spending hours upon hours in the garden. He would plant, prune, transplant, pot, repot, and would do it again and again. He had so many different species of plants, flowers, and palms in his garden it was like a botanical garden. Father also had a couple of prized fish. Among them a few different arowanas and other tropical fish. He would spend alot of time in his back yard building a fishpond with multiple chambers for his fish.

    Now as a parent myself, I constantly look back at the life lessons and advice that my father gave me. He was never imposing and was always very patient and loving whist uploading advice onto my hard drive. At this point in time looking back, I am now handing down the same life lessons and advice to my daughter.

    My father was a handyman and a daredevil. Father had all sorts of tools and was also quite a good handyman. From simple carpentry to electricals and also constructing fishponds, he did it all. All these taught me that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. Being a handyman also meant he performed some crazy stunts like roof climbing, hanging from ladders in precarious positions, going up 3 story buildings in scissors lifts. He always led by example and showed that impossible things could be done.

    He was not a big disciplinarian but would not hesitate to discipline us when we got out of line. Looking back now, I must say that the discipline my father instilled in us made me the successful person I am today. My father was always ready to attend to the needs of my grandparents. I will always remember all the family outings with my grandparents because father made sure to include them. Till this day, the example my father showed in his duty and obedience to his parents will always be something I want to exemplify.

    Looking at the many family and friends who have shared memories and stories of my father as well as my recollections, my father was a remarkable son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. His lasting words of wisdom will always stay with me as I try to follow in his footsteps.

    Ken Leong
    Adelaide
    Australia

  19. I first met Lum Weng Ho when he came over from Kuantan to our home in Jerantut town somewhere around 1976. He was on his business trips. He chose to stay with us during these visits and joined us in our Baha’i activities like home visits and devotionals. He was such a jubilant guy that we always looked forward to his visits. When he told us of his plan to buy a new car, we offered to buy over the car he was using (Toyota Corolla – BAJ 2564) which we kept for the next 13 years.

    We lost touch with him after he got married to Shirley. We were constantly in touch with him at every opportunity. We became family friends and met often when we were shifted over to Kuala Lumpur and happened to be in the same community. He was such a jovial guy, and we had a great time together whenever we met. He was always there for all Baha’i gatherings. We were totally devastated when we heard of his tragic death. We can never forget such a great soul with such a great spirit.

    G.K.Balan
    Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia

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