A man who always made an impression


Kee Thuan Chye ponders the death of a dear friend, Gan Teik Chee, but is unable to comprehend the manner of his passing. Gan was a key cultural figure in Penang and Malaysia.

I was stunned when a friend called from Penang on June 19 to tell me that Gan Teik Chee had just died. As far as I knew, Teik Chee had been health-conscious, watched what he ate (“No Ajinomoto ah,” he would tell the waiter when we went eating out together), and performed his yoga and meditation daily.

What I didn’t expect was the cause of death. “Bad news. Very, very bad news…,” my friend repeated in a voice laden with emotion. Only after a long pause did he manage to tell me that Teik Chee had jumped from the eighth floor of a hotel.

“What?” I cried. “Why would he do that?”

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