Gong Gong says

This is a posthumous blog of our father's (Lim Kok Ann) life. When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography. We'd like to celebrate his life by sharing his autobiography through this blog.

"I have dredged these anecdotes from memory just to pass the time; if they amuse my grandchildren their purpose will have been served; if they provide any instruction, it will be a happy coincidence; that they are disjointed is probably to be expected.

Aurora was the name of my grandfather’s house in Kulangsu.   Amoy, where I spent the first five or six years of my life.   I still have vivid memories of events that took place when I was barely three years old.

Lim Kok Ann
October 1996"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

4:16 YY found.

The other new converts that we met in the follow-up class included Y.Y. Wong and Douglas Ingles both of whom had interesting stories to tell about their conversions. After a few weekly classes at Oon Teik’s house we met atY.Y. ‘s apartment in Nassim Road, and continued to meet in his home thereafter, even when he moved to a house in Swettenham Road. The strength of YY’s conviction may be judged by the fact that he chose to buy a house rather than an apartment mainly because he wanted to have space for our meetings, if we choose to meet at his home. He was prepared to provide premises for a house-church if there was a congregation.

Wong Yip Yan (YY) was a former General Manager of Equatron, a subsidiary of Inchcape Company (formerly Borneo Company), specialising in office equipment. After resigning fromInchcape to strike out on his own, he obtained the agency for Ricoh Photo-copiers as the main-stayof his firm, WYWY Private Limited, and built up a flourishing business with branches in Penang andKuala Lumpur. One fine day YY opened his morning newspaper to find a full page advertisement showing photographs of his staff with this statement: “We, the Managers, Sales Executives andEngineers of WYWY Private Limited have no confidence in the Managing Director and we have allresigned with immediate effect.” YY hurried to his office to find the premises deserted but for a few old faithfuls who had not known of the mass desertion.

Now, the photo-copier business depended essentially on maintenance of services to the office and copy centres that rented copiers from YY. They had to be supplied daily with copy paper, ink, and spare-parts, and given technical assistance in the event of machine faults. Any interruption to this service would interrupt the cash-flow on which YY relied upon to run his business and to pay for thenext shipment of copiers from Japan. To maintain this service, YY “borrowed” a number of managers and engineers (technicians) from his Malaysian branches and recruited new local staff. He told all enquirers it would be business as usual, and took a hand himself in maintaining services to hiscustomers. Perhaps he even managed some sales.

YY had been married for about 10 years to Ng Geok Choo, a Christian of the Lutheran persuasion, and who had been trying to persuade YY without success to attend church with her. In his extremity, as he was working late in the storeroom preparing the bottles of ink for distribution thenext day, YY was inspired to say, “If there is a God out there, I promise to try to become a Christianif you get me out of this fix, but you must send me someone I can respect to teach me,” YY wouldhave nothing to do with young evangelists who had challenged him with the words, “Are you saved?”

It seems that God was there and listening, for YY’s business survived the crisis; his customers put up with the temporary inconveniences and after a while business return to normal and WYWY Private Limited continued to grow. YY learned subsequently that his former staff had turned up en bloc in Tokyo to see Ricoh’s Far East Sales Manager and asked him to give them the Ricoh agency in Singapore. They were told that Ricoh had an agreement with Y.Y. Wong, and until he notified Ricoh that he wished to give up the agency, and so long as he fulfilled his purchase agreement Ricoh had no reason to give the agency to anyone else. A few weeks after things had returned to normal, YY received an invitation to attend the Billy Graham Crusade in the National Stadium and was urged by his wife to go. YY was not impressed by the bally-hoo surrounding the evangelist crusade and said he would not go, but Geok Choo kept on urging his to do so.

YY tells the following story later: “Somehow, on the last night of the Crusade, I found myself driving on the highway to the Stadium in a mile -long traffic-jam, and with the engine of my Mere heating up. ‘There you are,’ I said to Geok Choo, ‘I told you we should not have come, the engine is going to seize up and we shall be stranded in the middle of the traffic.’ Geok Choo did not reply, and I guessed she was praying. Our car did not break down and soon we entered the Stadium parking lot, ‘Now,’ I said to Geok Choo, ‘the parking spaces are all taken, where am I to park our car?’ ‘There,’ said Geok Choo, pointing to an empty parking lot just in front of me, from which another car had just emerged, and of course, she had not forgotten to bring our VIP parking ticket.

“We went into the Stadium and I did not want to go into the VIP stands so I led Geok Choo to the upper tiers at the back to hide myself. Billy Graham had nearly finished his sermon and was calling on us to go down and be prayed for. ‘Don’t push me,’ I told Geok Choo, “everyone is looking at you.’ and with that, I got up and made my way down to the front where I found myself at the back of a crowd of sinners being prayed for. I was about to turn away when I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder and saying, ’Have you been attended to?’ I looked round to see this old gentleman with a name card saying, ‘Professor Khoo Oon Teik’. “The name was familiar to me, for a Professor Khoo Oon Teik had been asking for me in the office in the last few days and I had not returned his call (Someone had recently given Oon Teik a Ricoh copier and he wanted some help on it). My first thought was, how did he know how to find me in the Stadium, but it turned out, he did not know who I was, only that I was a sinner wanting to be saved. So, he put his arms round my shoulder and led me through the Sinner’s Prayer, then took my name and address and told me I would hear from him again. A week or so later, Geok Choo and I went to Professor Khoo’s house to attend follow-up classes in which we learned how to study the Bible. I was really impressed when I found Professor Lim Kok Ann a fellow student at my side.” When YY commented that God had sent him not one, but two professors to convert him, I said, “When God gives, he fills your cup full measure, pressed down and running over.”

Oon Teik had surrounded himself with a number of Christians from various churches, and after our follow-up classes were over and we had been baptised and became members of WesleyMethodist Church which was Oon Teik’s church, YY invited Oon Teik to lead a bible-study group in his house in Swettenham Road, meeting on Wednesday evenings. Geok Choo led a women’s bible study group that included a number of Japanese women. In the past 18 years, over 60 Japanese were converted by Japanese evangelists, working partly from Geok Choo’s group, and all were baptised in YY’s swimming pool. The converts included a few Japanese men who are the most difficult on earth to convert.

Besides the Wednesday group, YY also had a few men meeting on Friday mornings to praise God and pray for each other and for anything that we felt needed praying for, even for the world at large. This has been sustained though the Wednesday evening group had dwindled as the members found their own prayer-groups, or just other interests.


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