Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meeting A Champ

'Hullo Dato'!' was the loud happy greeting of M. Lunch had just been served. The place was quiet and we had the expanse of the sea at Pasir Bogak beach to enjoy right where we sat. I looked around. I thought we had left the titled guys back in Kuala Lumpur.

A six foot tall ,well- built man, tanned to an overall even brown, wearing a red collared tee waved cheerily with brisk steps. Our friends greeted him with wide smiles. He came and extended a warm welcome to W and me.

A Kodak moment with  former badminton ace

'She's Thai and Brit and I'm Malaysian,' our jocularity heightened as we identified ourselves.

He sure is a titled guy. Far from ordinary. The glory Dato' Tan Yee Khan  shared with his team mates and the golden era they brought to Malaysia will never be forgotten. Our  players created waves in the badminton world, so classy in their strokes. Their dedication  and love for the game enamoured them to the hearts of the people. Many households had racquets to swing  and be part of the wave that swept the country.

The formidable pair in Tan Yee Khan and Ng Boon Bee (also a Datuk) were on people's lips. Their killer smashes on the courts made us proud. The duo packed speed and talent. Boon Bee was fondly known as Boom Boom Bee. The nation celebrated when the pair won the All England title in the subsequent years of 1965 and 1966. They and their team mates brought the Thomas Cup back to Malaysian soil in 1967.

Victory Parade

The Thomas Cup winning team with the Minister of Education,  the late Tan Sri Khir Johari
Glory for the Nation

This picture proudly hangs in the lobby of  The SeaView Hotel and Holiday Resort. Hail the Badminton greats!

Being the owner of The SeaView Hotel and Holiday Resort in Pangkor Island, Dato' Yee Khan had come to check the preparations were in order to receive  a sudden influx of sailors who were expected to sail in around midnight from Port Klang for The Raja Muda Selangor International  Regatta.

People know him as an avid golfer who has left his mark on the sport when he took it up after retiring from badminton. During our stay, he made daily  fishing trips which we came to know as one of his forms of relaxation. We were tickled  as he told us that out there in the waters, if the fishes were having a 'kenduri', alas his catch would be small or nil! That evening Yee Khan surprised us with a treat of  five small fishes. Opening his icebox, he told us it would be our starters for dinner . It went down well , the freshest of catch with cili padi and a dab  and lick of soya sauce.

Came the second evening, again Yee Khan went fishing. Hopping out of his boat, two hours later, the four of us were still squarely sitting at the table fronting the beach. Heads bent, addicted to the tiles of Rummy O  board game, we sprung from the seats to peek inside the icebox. 'See what I caught today! Fourteen, a bigger catch.'Seeing is believing! I whipped out the camera. Caught  glistening eyes chockful of freshness.

What's a visit to Pangkor Island without relishing seafood? Yee Khan  certainly is a man who wears many hats. Would I ever dream of having a chance meeting with  the former ace? And him serving us a platter of sotong tossed with crab meat spiced with serai and herbs, a recipe he keeps close to his heart? Minutes later there was nary a crumb  left on the platter. A waitress then appeared. She  seemed to beam proudly her boss' catch as she lowered  a platter of steamed fish ala' teow chew style, the sourish  tangy aroma floating up our nostrils. Our self declared Thai and Brit friend just dug in. ' Hum choy '( pickled mustard) and fresh fish was too tantalizing!

Dato' Yee Khan came a little later to sit and chat. Would he oblige for a photo moment? He hesitated a little saying he was not dressed in his best. But we convinced him that in his red tee,he was already at his best.  - hospitable and humble.

I think I've got myself a scoop. No? Well, at least for my children - a minutiae facet of one of our former badminton greats. I've got to get the word out about Dato' and the other greats lest they are forgotten.

I learned the game  and was a good loser!
Daily visits by hornbills.
Our dinner
Girls wanna have fun!

Sunset at Pasir Bogak, Pangkor Island

Follow the path to the end - that's where we stayed

Septuagenarian  who's good at the harmonica and Rummy O

The double tiered hibiscus does make me pretty. LOL!


  1. Oh my! What beauty! I'm filled with envy. :)
    Such beautiful scenery and cheery smiles. The flower is just gorgeous. Our weather is so dreary these days.
    Lots of hugs,
    P.S. I love fish, that looked so good!

  2. Thank you for nice sharing we have winter season,you have swim,opposite situatıon,with my best wishes

  3. Good post with a couple of brilliant pictures

  4. Beautiful post Keat. I love the girls on the beach...nothing like having a getaway with the girls, so much fun. Here's wishing you a fabulous New Year, gong xi fa cai :))

  5. beautiful pictures - the fish look like an artwork in themselves. and my you do look pretty. lovely memories.

  6. You look gorgeous, Keats!!

    Happy Chinese New Year!!

  7. Hello! I agree with these comments...beautiful post.Have a wonderful days!

  8. The fish look tasty! I bet they were good , fresh caught.
    You are so lovely!

  9. Those were the great days when Malaysia ruled the world of badminton... and Pangkor island, never thought it could be so beautiful there... clear waters... and the hornbills, they are the 'real' stuff, right? :)


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