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Hey all! I'm totally new here and wanted to say hello!
MJ Lim
He Made A Difference
Gene Lim Shoun-Jo
No More Ceteris Paribus Bro!

It is just a few more hours before your birthday strikes the clock. I mentioned earlier on that i would revisit with a better article about you. This is your birthday present bro. Dont strike me with thunder tomorrow.

I will always recall meeting you in a scout camp. A camp meant for hardship as well as torture. Nick Yoong approached me and said "hey you!!, meet markus!, he is the greatest of them all". Yet you showed no signs of arrogance neither did you show any signs of regret for that statement. You were just being you. Accepting flaws in people as well as being humble to people. How do you ever stay that way for so long? You are freaking thin bro, but your heart is fat (huge).

Our lives pretty much went our own individual ways in high school, you being the prefect, and i being the student getting caught by a prefect for coming to school late. You had to catch me when i jumped over the wall to escape the punishment of picking up rubbish. Grrr....

*fast forward*

Then a remarkable incident happened. We were all going for our 40km hike by foot for one scouting activity of which our time limits were 24 hours. Within the last 10 km you were the only still going strong. Most of us were already on our four limbs. Once again grrrr.

When my house was on renovation in 2002, and i needed a place to bum after school, id know where id go; Markus's house with the blue gates. And the funniest thing is, YOU would invite me in to the house and say "Here have a seat". Then you will get me a drink. And then tell me to wait for you for two hours just because you were going for tuition. And you left me alone in your house. Your kindness knew no end. I hope you know that i appreaciate those deeds. I really do. Hahah something just came into my mind. I remember you telling me about how you use to train soccer with your brothers which involved alot of gate wrecking sounds.

You were one of the only few people i knew from school who treated me without judgement despite how awful i can become. The funny thing is, ive never heard anyone saying any negative remark about you as well as who you might have had a crush on in school. You were a target of all the right attractions. Thomas Chew taught me how to pluck the guitar. You taught me how to feel the music. I will always remember how you made me sing my "second voice" out just to explain to me about the music harmonies.

School was over. Hello college/uni life.

We were in the same class for the same subjects; which was an extremely tough degree to get through. We surprisingly became writers for three seperate entities together; HELP Herald, Ceteris Paribus and Malaysian Today. You were always the better writer. We entered football matches together and you were one of the few who played gracefully on the field even when someone tackles you hard. I can remember we had a match with some Sunway boys. I was the goalkeeper and you were well err...playing everywhere just because you can. One guy was so pist at you because he just couldnt get past you in the field. I believed you had a 100% rate of stopping him run into your area. Haha how he cursed you with awful languages and you just smiled and apologized!!! A few of us were saying hey lets roughen that guy up on the field for being a prick to Markus. But noo.... you had to know of our plan and say its ok, leave him be.

When we worked in Malaysian Today, and you were driving that second hand black proton iswara of which you bought it for RM6k you actually taught me to drive with bravery in the streets of Ampang. Mind you i just got my driving permit a few days ago (then). Grrr again. Oh that car was contaminated with all of our sweat after football; probably a hub of football germs. Haaha i would always remember how i shared the experience of your first, second and third car accidents when i was at your passengers seat. And sometimes you would dissapear into the night just to go around the streets of KL for fun. You are unique!! I will also remember the time when you were driving at the speed of 150km on the street just because we had to cover a report in Bukit Jalil at 6pm and another report in Inti College, Negeri Sembilan at 630pm. The car was shaking when we cruised the highway. Bubble gum kids!! You risked your life for them. You had to ask them where they were. You had to put us in the eyes of the syndicate. You had to call the police to save them. Hey, maybe you did save those kids, cause there was an article on the newspapers about the bubble gum kids a few days later.

Every staff in HELP who knew you is missing you. It feels like ive known you for so long but not long enough. You were the only one who did not give up on me about my smoking habits. By the way, im clean of that crap now. And i am truly glad you got to know that i was clean of it before you left. No one really went to college as early as us; 615 am just because we wanted to free parking. haha. We were crazy. You still have one of the fastest time record for Bukit Gasing run. And your fav lecturer, Mr B. is retiring from teaching in a few months from now. Our football team VS the ADP dutch team was epic.

After you left HELP, we never really talked much even though we always saw each other online. Sometimes your monkey display picture would say "hi" when i am taking a dump; and when i reply back; you wil say "im rushing for class now". But i knew u were doing fine there with all the new food you learnt to cook with your roomates over there. I can also remember you and Peter being the wierdos who plays football by yourselves at 7 pm at the field in front of my house. I couldnt resist and joined you guys  too. No one plays football in front of my house now. Those were the days when all of us would play football from 2pm to 530 pm on a daily basis.

Your friends are doing well here. Hope your mandarin is improving up there. I am treasuring the book you gave to me in helping me to describe the purpose of life. You knew your purpose. Do me a favour and strike a lightning up Micheal's end. The rest you leave it to me and rest. Assignments bro, its messing my biological clock. A story of you is a story of no end....

Your friend,

Gene Lim
Kon Onn Sein

Markus was a remarkable man. When we first heard about news of Markus leaving us by Idhlan, our first response was one of shock and unbelief. Markus had become a very special family friend. Our  two daughters enjoyed playing with him and they invited    Markus to their birthday which he graciously accepted. He  always had time for people,  he was always there when you needed him. Our early introduction to him was when he organised a welcoming reception for those  going to Essex University  for the first time from Malaysia. On first impressions, he was a very helpful person, unassuming  and polite but we had not yet discovered the depth and substance of this  man. Over the course of getting to  know him better as president of the Malaysian society and as a friend from 2007, we discovered that under his humble and thin appearance was a man of many talents. A talented guitar player, a football whizz kid and also one who was well able to articulate complex issues of life.


Outstanding was his love for Malaysia, a love for all the races and a big vision to contribute towards nation building and a bangsa Malaysia. He was a natural leader, not one who imposed himself but his vision, enthusiasm, helpfulness and care for people marked him  as an obvious leader.

He was clearly years ahead of his peers in thinking and maturity. We shared precious  moments of talking about life, politics, the economy and nothing. Whilst enjoying life, he was also deeply concerned with how to  build a better world. it was clear to us, wealth and power were not the driving motivational forces of his life. He wanted the best for everyone, for humanity and for a united and progressive Malaysia. He had little tolerance for racial propaganda and narrow mindedness. Instead, he had an unusually matured approach of inclusiveness- seeking to bring all Malaysians together for a better
tomorrow- especially the poor and marginalised of all races.  In 2008, under the University  of  Essex Malaysian Students society,  he very ably  organised a national student conference to highlight the plight  of the Orang Asli. A community known to be the poorest among the poor in Malaysian society.

Markus also struck us as a man who had a deep faith in God. He was above all driven to love and accept everyone as taught in his Christian faith. He struck us as one who lived out  what he believed in,  putting away  hypocrisy, struggling but authentically applying
his faith values in a challenging environment as best as he knew how. We came to know later that during his exams, he was going through a personal crisis  and did not inform anyone. He did not want to burden anyone with his own trouble. His personal  success was never more important than his desire to do what was right.  He struggled in
understanding his faith without over simplifying  harsh realities of life.

This is the Markus we had the privilege to know and one in whom we loved and will miss dearly. We are so thankful to God for a life so beautifully lived. Perhaps, Markus would through his life  have us think; there is only one life to live and that will soon pass away.
And only what is done for God will last for eternity. Love and accept one another.


Onn Sein  and Sook Wah

David Ng

Letter To My Brother
by David Ng
February 7, 2009

Dearest Markus,

Words just cant express how I feel right now. It's been 3 days since you've gone and a part of me is still in denial. I ask God "why did you have to go so early?" You had so much more to offer.

Papa, mama, Peter and I went through a period of great grief. A sorrow so deep that there was a point where I felt completely shattered and did not know where to start picking up the broken pieces from.

We miss you so dearly.. I think that papa feels that there was so much he wanted to tell you, so much wisdom & knowledge that he wants to impart to you, but did not have the opportunity to do so. I cannot imagine his shock the morning he found you on your bed. Mama misses you, how you never fail to ask her “how was your day?” when she fetches you back from work each evening. Peter is grief-stricken too, he was the last one you emailed just hours before your death.

I will miss all the good times we had together. It’s been my pleasure being a brother to you for the past 23 years. I’ve seen you grown up into a man after God’s heart, growing in wisdom and stature and touching many lives as you go along the way.

I remember the times when we were young. Playing together as brothers, having simple fun with one another. I remember the time while we were still in Mentakab, we used to play and pretend as if were travelling in a plane, visiting places all over the world. We would take papa& mama's travel suitcases, arrange them on the floor as if we were sitting in a plane. I'd become the captain, you and Peter were the passengers. We took out the big atlas book and you’d would point to where you want to go, and I 'flew' both of you there.

I remember when you first started playing football. I used to teach you tricks and dribbled around you while you were younger. Over the years, you grew more skillful and became a better player than what I am today.

I remember how you first picked up guitar and I taught you a thing or two. Over the years, you grew better, began composing your own songs and became a tutor to many others. Have i told you that your songs sound good? You must have heard that many times already. I love the way you write your lyrics, how you beautifully & truthfully express yourself on your struggles. I am at awe at how you manage to write your lyrics and yet add a nice jazzy tune to it. I remember two weeks ago when you played the guitar for me and sang two songs that you were still halfway through in composing. I guess now, we’ll never be able to hear those songs again.

Over the years, you have grown so much in the Lord. We used to attend different churches ever since we came to PJ. I was comfortable in GA with my friends, but the family moved on to SSGC. I myself am not sure why I did not follow the family, but looking back, I think it gave us time & space to grow and flourish in our own special ways. I had the opportunity to serve and lead in my youth and music team, and you were able to develop and stand up on yourself, not always under the shadows of your elder brother.

We had a memorable wake service. Many of your friends, relatives and even people whom did not know you came. They were all saddened at your lost. We were so blessed to see the crowd, it moved us to tears to see all the people you knew coming to mourn at the service. Some stood up and testified on the footprints you left in their lives.

We really thank God for all the people who came to show their support - your childhood friends, the people from TGC, your secondary school friends, collegemates, unimates, churchmates, football kakis, the people from ibridge, the PJ vigil, Unicef, the Headstart group and so many more which I cannot even recall.

Their presence, support and testimonies gave us so much encouragement. It really helped us during this time of despair.

We are so proud of you. We are proud to know that your death is not in vain. We are proud to know that you have made a difference in many lives that you came in contact with during your short time here. You were a friendly person, full of humility and also had a vision for a better Malaysia. I could see your love for the country, to see our country united under one banner, under one race called bangsa Malaysia. I hope this dream comes true and I too dare hope for a better future. You know, we sang 'Negaraku' at your memorial service. It was so unconventional, but yet I know if you were there, that was what you would have wanted.

We put a few of your favourite things into your coffin. There was your bible in there, your 'Anak Bangsa Malaysia' name cards, your favourite shirt, your football and boots. Hey, your comrade at PJ vigil has also left behind the Anak Bangsa Malaysia cap which you wanted very much. Then there were also letters from your Essex unifriends / course mates.

Found 3 guitar picks in your wallet. Peter took one and exchanged it with another of his pick. I took the orange one and replaced it with my orange pick (its still brand new). Keep it for me yah.. I'll collect it back from you when I meet you in heaven. Till then, keep playing songs for God!

Sigh.. It feels like you have left for a long trip and we are saying goodbye to you. The difference is that you have already made it to the end of your journey and will never come back here.

You have fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. Cheer us on as we complete our own race. I remember the lyrics of your song ‘feeling blue’.. You ran and you ran, without knowing where you’d land.. All weary, from that aimless journey, that you began.. Now, it is time for you to rest. No more running, now safe in the arms of our Lord Jesus.

Your departure doesn't change the fact that God is good. He cares, He loves us, and He is faithful. Dear Lord, grant us the comfort, grace and strength in time of our greatest sorrow. Heal those wounds, help us to pick up all the broken pieces. Make us whole again, renew our joy. Thank you so much for Markus!

I’ll miss you my brother, my football partner, music buddy. Our family misses you dearly. We rest assured knowing that one day, we will all be united again.


Lots of love,
February 7, 2009

Alvin Ung

The Last Supper
by Alvin Ung
February 6, 2009

To the family and friends of Markus,

I write this with the knowledge that many of you know Markus, and love him, with deep and tender affection.

Alas, I knew Markus all too fleetingly. I met Markus on only four occasions. In that short time, I've been struck by Markus’ deep love for the Lord Jesus Christ, his passionate love for our country, and the bond of friendships woven across racial and religious lines.

The reason why I am writing this is because I represent the Headstart group which Markus belongs to. Together – the twelve of us – we were among the last ones to bid farewell to Markus on Tuesday night. And I may have been the last person to wave goodbye to him. (Markus was called home on Wednesday morning).

Let me tell you more about the last supper with Markus.

On Tuesday evening, shortly after nine o'clock, Markus rang the doorbell of my apartment. He arrived late, somewhat breathless. He was here to join us for the first Headstart small group session. Headstart, as some of you know, comprises a small group of committed Christian young adults who have made a covenant to help one another grow in their discipleship with Jesus Christ in the workplace. Headstart is a ministry of the Graduates Christian Fellowship.

Markus arrived just in time to share with us the moments he felt most and least grateful over the past week. He had a crazy week at work, he said. Long hours. He lamented how he wasn’t able to spend Chinese New Year with the family. However, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity last Friday to enjoy a deep and heartfelt conversation with a few trusted friends. From that brief sharing, it was evident that Markus valued spiritual friendships that went beyond the superficial.

Like the rest of us, Markus had signed a group covenant. Together, we pledged that we would pray for one another. We would endeavor to be as open as we knew how in our sharing. We would listen to one another. We would encourage, support and trust one another. Then as a group, we stood up and waved aloft our signed agreement. Markus waved his, too. We congratulated each other. We gave one another fist bumps. We laughed.

Then came an awkward moment. As a group, we had to decide whether to permanently eject one of our Headstart members because she didn’t show up for the first meeting. When I posed the question on what we should do, the room fell silent. I scanned the room for faces. Most people avoided eye contact. Silence. But Markus had a smile on his face – a half-crooked smile, a broad smile that stretched from cheek to cheek. He spoke up first: "Why so serious? Just let her in lah." Markus' remarks released a chorus of agreement from everyone else.

It's always hard to be the first one to speak up, especially in a potential awkward situation. But Markus spoke up. Markus stood up for a voiceless person, someone who wasn’t there to speak up for herself. And he did it with class... and a smile. It was only later on that I learned that Markus had been standing up for the voiceless for many years. He spoke up against unjust laws. He spoke up for the poor and marginalized. In speaking, he gave the power for others to speak. Let us also speak up on behalf of the voiceless.

At about nine-thirty, that Tuesday night, I asked if everyone had read the two assigned chapters of reading – nearly 40 pages. The confident look in Markus' eyes told me he had. It was an almost challenging look: "C’mon, test me, I’ve read it." He looked confident, not combative. He relished a challenge. It was only later on that I learned how busy he was over the past few weeks. Yet he found the time to read.

As the night passed, while the group discussion was going on, my wife and I cajoled Markus to eat something. We knew he'd missed dinner. We offered him snacks, Tim Tams, bread with bak kua. But he politely said no each time. "My mother has bought something for me to eat," he whispered. "I'll eat it after the meeting ends."

At about 10.15pm, our Headstart group of 12 people separated into three breakout sessions. Markus join my sub-group, together with two others, Ernest and Charis. Though all four of us had just gotten to know one another, we launched into a deep, earnest conversation about education, friendships, and church. Markus shared about his assumptions about relationships. We also invited one another to critique our assumptions about life. I shared about how, from young, I've seen education as a pathway to success. Markus immediately challenged me: "What's your definition of success? If you don't define success, you'll soon be a lost soul. And you'll end up living a selfish life." Amen, brother, amen.

Later on, I asked for prayer requests. Markus cleared his throat. "I'm not sure whether I should share this or not." He paused. I could hear an internal struggle. "Okay, I'll take the plunge. As the group covenant says, 'I will endeavor to be as open, as I know how, in sharing with the group.’" And so for 10 minutes, he shared from the heart. In his honesty, we could identify with his struggles, the adrenaline buzz, the oscillating emotions. But beyond the contents of his sharing, I remember being struck by two things. First, he could quote verbatim the line from our group covenant. He must have had an amazing memory. And secondly, he took the group seriously. He was willing to take the plunge. He was the first to build the bridge of trust. Markus, your legacy will live in our group.

And then we prayed. Once again, I recalled Markus starting us off, asking God for forgiveness for the assumptions we made about life. Markus asked for wisdom, for all of us, in developing the marker points in the process of discerning God’s will in our lives.

By the time prayer was over, it was 11.15pm. The Headstart session was officially over. But we were still standing around talking.

I was in the kitchen helping Markus warm up the food for his last supper: rice, curry vegetables and fried kembong.

"Whoa, that's a lot of rice!" I exclaimed.

"It's a lot, isn't it?" he said. He scooped back half the rice into the paper packet. I gave him a rubber band to secure the package.

While he stepped out of the kitchen (the group needed to fix our next meeting date), I warmed the rice in the microwave. Fifty seconds. When I brought out the plate of food, my wife Huey Fern asked: "You sure it's hot enough?" So I used my finger to poke the rice, and the fish (that's what I usually do with my own food; I’d forgotten that I was poking Markus' meal.) Markus saw me do it. He just smiled.

When he finished his meal, he disappeared into the kitchen to wash the plate, the fork and the spoon. I've always appreciated people who insist on washing the plates (saves me the work!). Most guests don't offer; others offer to wash, but then they desist when my wife tells them they don’t have to. But Markus simply did it without announcing his intention. That gave me an indicator of his servant spirit.

By now it was 11.45pm. Markus had finished his last supper. One by one, the group members went home, leaving only the three of us – Markus, Huey Fern and I. Markus did not seem in a rush to leave. We talked about his work at UNICEF. While he felt ambivalent about working in a global organization such as UNICEF, he was incredibly dedicated to its projects. He needed to go back to his office in Damansara Heights, he explained. He needed to look through the final logistical details for a camp jointly organized with the Ministry of Education, that's being held for 20 children in Melaka on Wednesday morning.

"Everything's running fine, actually," he said. "But I've not had the opportunity to do one final look-through . I’ve got to make sure that things run smoothly, especially on the transportation side. Then I can go to sleep knowing that everything is all right."

At fifteen minutes past midnight, we were still chatting at the table. Finally we got up. Markus hoisted two bags on his shoulders. He wore his black leather shoes. He said good night to Huey Fern. He was about to close the door of our condo, but I walked out onto the corridor. I walked with him to the lift on the second floor. He looked puzzled.

"This is the Penang tradition," I said.

"What do you mean?" he said.

"Well, Penangites usually walk their guests out of the house. Then they stand at the gate and wave goodbye. Since I live in a condo, I'm walking you to the lift."

He walked into the lift. I saw the doors close behind him as he waved good night.

Good night, Markus. Death is a revolving door. We’ll see you on the other side of Paradise.

p.s. The door bell rang a few minutes later. Markus again. He looked sheepish. "I left my food behind," he said. I looked behind me. There it was: the unfinished curry rice, wrapped in a wadded pile of newspaper on our dining table, bound by a rubber band. Markus gratefully scooped up the package, and walked away with his last supper.

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