Christina Kwok: I was only 13 years old when we first “met”. Seems a bit young, now when I think back… but it was all very innocent . I remember being in my father’s “temporary office” located in one wing of the Merdeka Stadium during the 1968 Merdeka Football Tournament . He walked in – he saw me, I saw him.
We next laid eyes on each other a few months later – again at Merdeka Stadium – after another football game. He was bounding up the stairs to the F& B on the top level. I was standing by the ticket turnstiles – again, waiting for my father to finish whatever he was doing, and to go home.Halfway up, he yelled to me “I didn’t recognise you!”…to explain – I had undergone a small metamorphosis – changed my spectacle frames, hairstyle, and perhaps grown taller. I was by now 14 going on 18… and since I was rather tall for my age, I guess many people thought I was a lot older than I actually was.
And that was that – my father showed up, ready to go home at last, and off we went.
A few days later, I was at home – upstairs, watching TV –“ Mission Impossible” in black and white, and the phone rang downstairs. It was around 9-something in the evening, and we hardly received any phone calls after 9pm.
My parents were out, brothers in bed, maids in their room. I dragged myself downstairs and picked up the phone and spoke with a rather abrupt “Hello”. At the other end, a rather deep voice, said “Hello, may I speak to Christina please?” “Speaking…who’s that please?” He asked me to guess – and I couldn’t for the life of me guess who !! Well, the rest, as they say, is history.
If you are amazed that over 50 years later, I can still remember this so vividly, it will give you a measure of the impact and influence Chow Chee Keong has had on my life .
There followed years apart – me in the UK completing my education, he in Hong Kong pursuing his football career – he was the envy of many of our friends, “playing” and getting paid for it! We saw each other in a good many summers, when I was back in Malaysia for the holidays and it was off-season for him.
We eventually tied the knot when I was the respectable age of 24, and then it was back to Hong Kong for another few years as a married couple, before settling down back in KL. Adrian came along shortly after, and Chee Keong was
by now focused on embarking on a second career as a professional golfer.
Adrian has only really known his Dad as a golfer. But he has been privy to observing his father’s discipline and tenacity of purpose in “practice practice practice”.
In 50 years, a couple in a relationship can amass a ton of ups and downs – and we were not spared the downs. But what did not kill us made us stronger. One of my close relatives used to say – Chee Keong was the kung fu master, and I was the one who successfully carried the burning Shaolin pot across the bridge…and then came back for more!!
Looking back, I learnt many life lessons from him and from “the other side of the track”. We came from pretty different worlds, but from the beginning, we knew there was this “thing” between us – and whatever this “thing” was, it carried us through till the end.
Beyond soul-mates, beyond the unspoken common values, beyond the excitement and passion, beyond being best friends, the love we shared took us to heights and depths .
We had plenty of good times, fulfilling times and also trying times…but hey, whoever said it was going to be easy with the likes of Chow Chee Keong?!