He kept the faith till he finished the race: The late Lee Liat Cheng, man of God and devoted friend
Salt&Light // November 9, 2020, 5:57 pm
"When you think of Liat Cheng, you think of The Boys' Brigade, YMCA and ACS," say many who credit the late Mr Lee Liat Cheng for decades of service and leadership to the three organisations.
Some give their whole life to serving one cause. The late Mr Lee Liat Cheng gave his life to three.
“When you think of Liat Cheng, you think of The Boys’ Brigade, YMCA and ACS.”
This is a common refrain among friends and colleagues of the late Mr Lee.
Mr Lee, 78, was called home on October 27 after a bout of pneumonia, leaving behind his wife, Shook Ken, two married children and four grandchildren.
“Many who knew him regarded him as friend, brother, mentor and shepherd to both old friends and younger ones.”
His was a life of service and servant leadership.
As a young boy of the 12th Singapore Company of The Boys’ Brigade Singapore, Mr Lee received his Queen’s Badge in 1960.
He would later become President of The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore from 1982 to 1985 and Honorary Vice-President (Lay) until the time of his passing. He was also President of the ACS Old Boys Association, and served on the YMCA of Singapore Board of Directors for 27 years.
The Methodist Welfare Association also credits Mr Lee for its beginnings: “The seed for the formation of Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) was sown by Mr Peter Joe Chia in June 1976. It took root in 1977 when the board of social concerns of the Trinity Annual Conference, under the leadership of Mr Lee Liat Cheng, appointed Dr Chia Lin Sien to draft a constitution for its formation.”
But, above and beyond his many offices, Mr Lee is best remembered for his love of God and his genuine friendship.
“In many ways he was an outstanding and proven natural leader, serving as school prefect, rising through the ranks in BB and being awarded the highest award of Queen’s Man,” Mr Edward KW Ong told Salt&Light. Mr Ong, a member of Barker Road Methodist Church together with the late Mr Lee, served alongside him in BB and YMCA, and remembers his friend of more than 60 years as “an ACS classmate since secondary school, friend, brother-in-Christ and fellow servant of our Lord”.
“Liat Cheng always believed in giving his best and served his multiple roles with distinction. Despite his various involvements, he loved his family foremost and was devoted to them.
“But, more than that, many who knew him regarded him as friend, brother, mentor and shepherd to both old friends and younger ones. He loved the Lord and always sought to live by the Word. Indeed, he was all these to me.
“Truly the verse chosen for his obituary befits him: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)”
“Liat Cheng has left a wonderful legacy through his family, friends and the numerous lives he touched.”
Added Mr Tye Yew Meng, Group Chairman and Financial Controller of the 12th BB Company: “Liat Cheng was a mentor, officer, friend and brother-in-Christ to me. He was very generous and kind and would go all out for BB and ACS. But in any decision, he would wait to hear the Lord’s word so that he could do according to His will.
“I remember him best as a God-fearing child of God, very much caring for the family and friends around him. He was one of a kind – always willing to assist, help and support. Liat Cheng has left a wonderful legacy through his family, friends and the numerous lives he touched.”
Mr Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO, YMCA of Singapore, agreed. “It is with great sorrow that we learned of Mr Lee Liat Cheng’s passing on 27 October 2020. It was our absolute privilege to have Mr Lee’s service at the YMCA of Singapore for almost three decades.
“In addition to being a great leader, he was also a genuine and loyal friend to many of us. We are deeply saddened by his passing. We wish his family and loved ones strength during this time of grief.”
In the quietness of his final moments, he would draw comfort from those he loved and served all his life.
He added that Mr Lee played a major role in shaping and growing the YMCA of Singapore, serving on the Board for 27 years since 1982. He provided leadership as Vice-President (1987-1991), President (1992-1998), on the Advisory Council (2011-2020) and Board of Trustee (1987-2020). Internationally, he also served as the Vice Chairman of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs’ (APAY) Golden Anniversary Trust Fund, and as a committee member of the Extension and Development Committee.
Neither retirement nor ill health stopped Mr Lee from serving the causes he believed were of God and, in the quietness of his final moments, he would draw comfort from those he loved and served all his life.
In a message from Mr Lee’s son, Brian Lee, to the BB honorary office bearers on October 31, Brian wrote: “During the last day before my dad’s passing, he was quite unreactive as compared to earlier days when we could at least feel his fingers move more (though his eyes remained closed). Led by the spirit, we played the BB Vesper and the ACS Anthem before telling him to rest for the night. He moved his fingers and I knew instantly that he heard; and that he had been truly impacted by the work of the BB – a lifetime he had dedicated himself to serve.”
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