Monday, February 18, 2008

People - Sarikei Dr. Yap Ah Ming, Joseph

Dr Yap Ah Ming, Joseph. 1963
One of his favourite pictures that he gave out to friends.



Sarikei Kwang Chien Primary School.
Primary 6, 1956. This was the only school block then.
Dr. Yap was at the back row, 5th from right.
Source: Ikan Sembilang


Dr. Yap Ah Ming (Joseph) was born at the fishing village of Belawai in 1944 though his birth certifcate stated 28th of March 1945 . His family is related to the Kueh family that owns the only row of 3 shops in Belawai. He moved to Sarikei at an early age. He got his primary education at Kwang Chien School and completed Primary 6 in 1956. His father worked in the shop, Seng Kit, which distributed cigarettes.


Sarikei Dr Yap and basketball buddies, 1961.
Dr Yap (back row, 2nd from right).
Source: Ikan Sembilang


Sarikei Dr Yap and friends at outings, 1963.
Top: Dr Yap (back row, 2nd from left). Find Father Ahern).
Bottom: Dr Yap (extreme left), Jacob Sebastian (4th from left), Manuel Lopez (5th from Left)
Source: Ikan Sembilang



He spent a year in Hwa Chiew High School (now SMK Tinggi Sarikei) before switching over to St Anthony’s in 1958. He completed his Form Five in St Anthony’s in 1963 and his Form Six in St Joseph’s, Kuching in 1965. With his excellent HSC results, he was awarded a Colombo Plan scholarship to study Medicine in the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada.


Sarikei St Anthony's School, Form 3, 1961.
Find Dr Yap (Back row, 4th from left).
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: My uncle's album (his classmate)


Sarikei St Anthony's School, Form 5, 1963.
Find Dr. Yap (last row, 2nd from right)
Click to enlarge. Click back arrow to come back.
Source: My uncle's album (his classmate)

Front row (L-R): Yii Choo Tieng, Jacob Sebastian, Father Ahern (English Mill Hill Priest), Fr Rottinghuis, KA Titus, Manuel Lopez, Teng Pang Yii.


After graduation, he worked for nearly two years at the Kuching General Hospital before he was posted to serve in his hometown at the old Sarikei General Hospital. He was popular there because of his helpfulness and charisma.



Dr Yap, Upper 6, Kuching's St Joseph School, 1965.
Dr Yap (back row, 5th from right).
Source: Ikan Sembilang

Dr Yap & St Joseph School's boarders, 1965.
Dr Yap (1st from left).
Source: Ikan Sembilang


Sarikei's old General Hospital, 2006
Hospital Road, 1 mile Repok Road


He opened a private clinic behind Oriental Hotel (48 Repok Road) in the 1970s and later moved to 64 Repok Road in the 1980s. He was an active community leader and everyone in town knows and respects him.


Sarikei Dr Yap & Lily's engagement, 1973.
Taken at Peking Studio, Repok Road.
Source: Ikan Sembilang


Sarikei Dr Yap and wife Lily at Genting.
Xmas 2007.
Source: Nelson Yap



Interestingly, even though he and Lily both came from Sarikei, it was only while working in Kuching that they found each other. Lily was living with her brother, Michael, and mother in a single-storey government's quarter, just opposite Dr. Yap's flat (1st floor), along Jalan Batu Lintang in Kuching. His mother-in-law used to operate one of the earliest hair salons in Sarikei called 红玫瑰 (Red Rose). He and Lily got engaged in 1973. They have 4 boys (Winston, Ivan, Eric and Nelson). He used to live at Nyelong Park and even allowed patients to visit his house for emergency cases.


Sarikei Dr Yap and wife Lily at Genting.
Xmas 2007.
Source: Nelson Yap


A few days before CNY 2008, while he was jogging near Nyelong Park in the evening, an underaged motorbiker knocked him down from behind. He was rushed to Sibu General Hospital in an ambulance for serious head injuries. The top Sarawak neurosurgeon was flown in from Kuching for emergency surgery. This neurosurgeon was his neighbour in Nyelong Park and used to be Dr. Yap's patient just like most of us.


Sarikei Dr Yap Ah Ming's Clinic.
64 Repok Road.
Source: Sarikei Spaces


I recall that when I was sick as a kid, I always got better just by entering his clinic (placebo effect?). That was after the receptionist tried her best to pronounce your name correctly to announce your turn in a serious tone. Dr Yap's big eyes would peer out of his horn rimmed glasses and he would put his stethoscope on your chest and asked how's everything. Then he would ask you to open your mouth to say "Ahhh". Do you recall how pills and syrups were dispensed in his clinic? Do you remember the manila card type of papers that stored patients' information?


Sarikei Dr. Yap
1944-2008
Source: Dr. Kueh Nai Hui (his cousin)


Dr Yap passed away on 13 Feb, 2008 at the young age of 63. He was buried at Kuching's 7th mile cemetery. Let us salute one of Sarikei's favourite sons.

40 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...

If anyone has Dr Yap's close up picture, pls email me to post on this blog.

Sarikei does not have many private doctors left. Dr. Eric Wong Siong Kong, Dr. Jawi Masing, Dr. Sim, Dr. Law and Dr. Wong Hua Seh

By the way, Dr Wong Hua Seh is the DAP candidate for the Sarikei parliamentary seat vs SUPP's Ding Kuong Hiing.

burunghelang said...

Got quite a few jabs on my sick young arse from "Miss C" at Dr. Yap's clinic (and Dr. Wong Hua Seh's also). Tribute to Dr. Yap from a son of Sarikei.

mackerel tabby said...

I was sadden by the news. My deepest sympathy and condolences to late Dr. Yap's family. Tribute to Dr. Yap.

Laura Hii said...

Oh.. Nooo. I cant believe it! I used to his patient when I was little kid.

David said...

Dr Yap was well-known even in London for his unfailing courtesy and professionalism. His untimely death was a tragedy for his family, patients, professional colleagues, community and all who knew him. Deepest sympathies and condolences are the least that are due to him.

David Phillips

Nelson said...

Thank you for the post and thank you for the condolences. My dad is blessed with 4 sons - Winston, Ivan, Eric and I. My dad was born on the 28th of March 1945 but he said was actually earlier, probably in 1944 as he was born in Belawai and was not registered until he was brought to Sarikei.

Marcus said...

Yes. People in Sarikei will be remembering Dr. Yap for a very, very long time. He had served the people well. Who does not know Dr. Yap, eh? If not directly, then indirectly. My classmate and good friend, Alan was his nephew. My condolences to his family...

Tuan Lokong said...

Thanks Daniel for the DR. Yap's info. May he rest in peace...

Ikan Sembilang said...

Daniel,

I’ll send you some photos of Dr. Yap when I am back in Sarawak next week to cast my vote for any party that would make fighting corruption among politicians a major issue in the coming election.
Dr. Yap came to Sarikei from Belawai at a very early age and started his schooling in Kwang Chien where he completed his Chinese Primary Six in 1956. He spent a year in Hwa Chiew High School (now SMK Tinggi Sarikei) before switching over to St Anthony’s in 1958. He completed his Form Five in St Anthony’s in 1963 and his Form Six in St Joseph’s, Kuching in 1965. With his excellent HSC results, he was awarded a Colombo Plan scholarship to study medicine in the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. After graduation, he worked for nearly two years in the Kuching General Hospital before he was posted to serve in his hometown, Sarikei. Interestingly, even though he and Lily both came from Sarikei, it was only while working in Kuching that they really found each other and tied their nuptial knot.
To those many Sarikeians who had been treated by him, he would always be held in great affection and remembered as a good and very compassionate doctor. To those of us who know him well, it may take quite some time to come to terms with the fact that a dear old friend has indeed gone!

fred said...

Very sad indeed. May he rest in peace.

A lost for Sarikei.

Nelson said...

you are right ikan sembilang.

My mum lived with his brother Michael and mother in a single storey government's quarter, just opposite my dad's flat(1st floor), along Jalan Batu Lintang.

Daniel Yiek said...

Ikan Sembilang,
Thanks for the good background. I have added a more recent pic of Dr Yap. I personally have not seen him for >25years so I only remembered the 40-ish Dr Yap then.

Kong said...

This indeed a sad story of so many things gone wrong with this beautiful country. Unlicensed motorist or kopi-o license abound.

BTW, what happened to the menace, the underage motorcyclist? What would you do? Sue him till his pants drop off or forgive?

Nelson said...

The kid should be forgiven for he is still immature and humans are easily tempted by devils. Our Father tells us to forgive those who sin against us. But his parents are the ones that should be dealt with. Men-made laws are plenty but the important thing is for all of us to learn from this tragedy. There is a lot of lessons to learn from this be it the kid, the parents, the pedestrians or the masses. It shall not repeat again. To forgive or to sue, it will not bring back my dad to my side physically but I'm happy that he is with the Lord now watching over us from the above and we the family members and kins are becoming even more united now.

Kanga said...

Nelson,
If I may say that Dr. Yap has indeed brought up a fine man like you, judging by the excellent words you present in this blog. As to the poor boy who has misjudged just for a moment, he will have to live with a dark spot for the rest of his life and we know that would not easy.

Ikan Sembilang said...

Nelson,
It's a pleasure to meet you in cyberspace. Hope to meet you in person one of these days to share with you some fond memories of your dad.

Nelson said...

=) Hope to meet my dad's old friends too. He has one very good friend/classmate in Saskatoon, a Canadian born chinese Dr. Simon Huang/Hwang.

Kong said...

I don't know whether it will be insensitive to say this:

Judging by the word of his son, I would have to say Dr. Yap life on this earth is not in vain. The world could do with more people like Dr. Yap and Nelson. Pity I had never dropped in to see this good man, Dr. Yap.

aidalauyc said...

Nelson,
I am touched by your words of no judgement and no element of hatred at all. May the Lord bless your family abundantly. Deepest condolences from me.

Roland Tiong said...

Deepest Condolences to the family members. I was shocked to hear the news as well. Dr Yap has lived a fruitful and meaningful life. May he rest in peace.

Alice said...

Hi Nelson, how are u doing?

Like aida(ah mek), I am surprisingly touched by your mature n forgiving words cos it wont be the same story if I am in your situation right now. That's a lot to learn from you.

The Lord will shower His blessings on you guys. I pray the best for your family n you. Dr. Yap has a wonderful and forgiving family just like him and I m sure he's so proud of u right now.

Do take care. God bless you all.

Nelson said...

Thank you for all the prayers and comments. Do pray for your families too. =) I am fine here. Well, I don't think the kid wanted to knock somebody on purpose. We can be in his situation too. Mistakes shall be forgiven as to err is human and it's better to not repeat the same mistakes that we or other people have done. To forgive and forget are the best things to do in life and let us continue living our lives meaningfully. That's what my dad preached too. Revenge will only breed more revenge until one day the scar will be too deep to heal. Both sides will lose. There are so many examples, one of them is the middle east crisis. My dad will be so angry so see if I took revenge or he will be very sad if I keep on moaning and blaming others or myself for the loss. Continue living your life to the fullest! Godspeed!

easechen said...

Deepest condolences from our family to yours, Nelson. My parents knew your parents. We're originally from Sarikei, then moved to Kuching, Lintang Park (1971-1977). After seeing your mum's pic (with her long hair), I remember who she is. Don't know if your mum remembers my dad, Chen Ko Ming. He passed away 2 years ago. We're now in Vancouver, Canada. My parents' doctor, Dr. William Yeung(who died of prostate cancer few years ago) was a friend/classmate of your dad in Saskatoon. Do you know if Dr Simon Huang is in Saskatoon now?

viviane lau said...

Hi, Nelson..how r u doing?
Condolences to You & Ur family.
I heard the bad news from Jeffery's mom.
God bless You & ur family.
Take care.

Nelson said...

I'm doing fine Viviane. Thank you. Easechen - I'll try to ask my mum and i can get Dr Simon's number if you want. My eldest brother Winston has his number and he told him about my dad's already.

easechen said...

Hi Nelson,

How's your mum doing? Praying that she'll find comfort in God. Please send our condolence & regards to her.

Actually, my mum & sister said that your mum & grandma were our next door neighbours in Wingli Garden, Lintang Park, Kuching. Now I remember. You're the cousin of Ruby, right? Is she in England? Actually, my husband is related to her.
Take care.
My e-mail is easechen@hotmail.com

Nelson said...

My mum is doing fine. My brothers and kins are taking good care of her. She said she remembers Chen Ko Ming. :)

Yes Ruby is my aunt, she is staying in Arsenal, London.

Navin said...

Windston and Ivan and to the family. Very sorry to hear about ya dad. My deepest sympathy and c Yapondolences to late Dr Yap
May he rest in peace. God Bless

Navin

Navin said...

Windston and Ivan and to the family. Very sorry to hear about ya dad. My deepest sympathy and condolences to late Dr Yap
May he rest in peace. God Bless

Navin said...

Windston and Ivan and to the family. Very sorry to hear about ya dad. My deepest sympathy and condolences to late Dr Yap
May he rest in peace. God Bless

Anonymous said...

Hi Winston, Ivan, Eric and Nelson. My father is Ng Kwong Heng. My deepest sympathy and condolences to late Dr. Yap's family. May he rest in peace. God Bless. -Cassandra Ng

Jas Curtis said...

Dearest Winston, Eric, Ivan and Nelson,
My deepest condolences to you all. Andy and I were lucky to have met Dr Yap and Mrs Yap when they came to visit Ivan in the UK.
We have fond memories of your father during our BBQ and lunch out. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts are with Auntie and all of you.
With Gods blessing - Jas and Andy Curtis

Philip L. Law said...

Dear Winston, Eric, Ivan and Nelson,

Just received/read this blog from my cousin today.
I was in deep shocked when I got this news from my mum (Dr. Yap's old classmate) in Frebruary during CNY. It was a sad moment for my family. He was our family doctor, I remember how he always knew me that I would rather take medicines than injections when I pay him a visit. He is definitely one of the best doctor I have met. I used to have some good basketball game with him during my young days in Nyelong Park, Dr. Yap really got very good shooting skill. His house is always open to sick that people needs his attention. My prayers will always be with his soul and the family. Take good care of one another and your mum. Philip, KL.

Nelson said...

Thank you and we will.

L Legak said...

Dearest Winston, Eric, Ivan and Nelson...
My mom told me the news. Sorry to hear about your dad. Deepest sympathy and condolences to late Dr. Yap's family

Anonymous said...

I am friend of Winston, i have never met his father, only heard about him. I stay in PJ, whenever i met people from Sarikei, and ask them do you know Doctor Yap, they say yes. I did plan that if i met him one day, i will joke with him about this, but... i guess i will tell him when we meet in heaven.

hoyoyi

Al-Mualim Shah @ Dino~ said...

huhu.i didn't know he died last year..condolence to his family..

KKLo said...

Hi Nelson,
I am an old varsity mate of your Dad at Saskatoon. Even though I was not doing medicine, we were in the same residential college, so we had spent lots of time together, especiall playing table tennis, or ordering midnite snacks from the take-out Chinese restaurant, together with Dr. Simon Huang. So sorry to find out about his untimely demise. Should have got in touch with him earlier, at least via email, as I am in KL all the while.

Nelson said...

kklo, thanks for sharing. he likes sports esp. table tennis(he represented his varsity for this and won the 1st place - single), basketball, badminton & jogging and he enjoys watching american football & nba too. He did tell us about midnight snacks and also about the industrious chinese introducing midnight take-outs to north america.

Btw, he had 2 email accounts.

Anonymous said...

May Dr Yap rest in peace.

I remember dated back to 1980, I sought medical treatment from his clinic somewhere near to the oriental Hotel. My classmate worked as a dispensary clerk there.. she was Miss Wong.. ( Cantonese )

Also in the late 1995, before my dad passed away, I took my dad to seek medical treatment at his clinic, which was then located at the new shop lot.

May his soul rest in peace.
MK

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