I’ve reproduced two reports on the passing away of Mr Moo Soon Chong, the founding principal of the Singapore Sports School.
One of them is from The Straits Times, and the other from Lianhe Zaobao, which I edited after getting it translated through Google.
I did this becaue I felt the two reports, when combined together, help to give the full flavour of the man and the extent of his massive impact on Singapore sport.
Truly, Singapore sport owes a huge debt to Mr Moo for all he has done to enable young sporting talents to realise their sporting dreams without having to sacrifice their studies. Without his vision, there would be no Sports School today, and no emergence of some of the brightest young sporting talents that we have witnessed in the past four years.
I would like to express my deepest condolences to his family.
Sports School’s founding principal dies of cancer
(The Straits Times, 17 March 2010)
He was a pioneer in creating a curriculum to nurture student-athletes
By Yeo Shang Long
THE founding principal of the Singapore Sports School, Mr Moo Soon Chong, died yesterday morning, about two years after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Mr Moo, who had celebrated his 63rd birthday last month, saw through the first batch of students at the Sports School before retiring in January 2008. He became ill shortly after.
It was his passion for nurturing talent in sports alongside schoolwork that perhaps made Mr Moo the ideal candidate to lead the Sports School.
In 1994, at a time when other educators were focused on academics, he, as the principal of Anglican High, pioneered a flexible curriculum that accommodated the training needs of student-athletes.
A table tennis player in his schooldays, he once explained that the Sports School was set up as many schools found it difficult to make concessions for student-athletes to pursue their sporting and academic goals together.
‘We are here to develop a student who can compete successfully in the international sporting arena and can handle the academic rigours of Singapore’s education system,’ he said.
Dr Irwin Seet, who worked with Mr Moo as director of sports at the school from its opening in 2004, remembers Mr Moo as ‘a visionary who dared to take up the challenge of setting up the Sports School’.
During his term as principal, the school produced three world champions, two Asian Games gold medallists, two South-east Asian Games gold medallists and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Sailor Joel Pang, 19, a Sports School alumnus, said he would remember Mr Moo as ‘a mentor and a fatherly figure’ who made a difference by putting the needs of students first.
After Mr Moo retired, he worked as an education consultant and director of Yellowbox Education Services, which he set up with his son Errol.
He is survived by his wife and two sons.
A funeral service will be held today at 8pm at Sengkang Methodist Church.
“Former Sports School and Anglican High principal dies”
(Lianhe Zaobao, 17 March 2010)
Mr Moo Soon Chong, the founding principal of the Singapore Sports School, died in his home yesterday morning after a lengthy battle with colon cancer and liver disease, He was 63.
Mr Moo and his wife had two sons. His eldest, Errol Moo, 35, revealed that the doctors had originally given his father just nine months to live after diagnosing him with cancer in 2008. However, Mr Moo battled the disease for two years.
Said Errol: “Our family prayed daily for my father and thanked God every day for the blessings He gave to him.”
Mr Moo seemed to have battled his cancer successfully at first. After undergoing chemotherapy, scans in June 2009 showed that the cancer cells had been wiped out.
“We were, of course, very happy when we received the news,” said Errol. “Unfortunately, another scan five months later showed that the cancer had returned aggressively.”
Errol added that Mr Moo spent the last few months playing with his 14-month-old grand-daughter, and had even seemed better during this last week.
“We are just grateful that we managed to share many good times as a family during these last two years,” he said. “I am also glad that my father got to see his grand-daughter grow. In fact, he even managed to take her swimming in January.
“He also went on many overseas trips with my mother.
Errol said that Mr Moo’s cancer was not the reason for his retirement as Sports School principal at the end of 2007.
“He felt it was time to step down because he had finally found his successor in Mrs Deborah Tan. Also, the school’s students had been doing well in international competitions,” he said.
“When (swimmer) Tao Li won the women’s 50m butterfly at the 2006 Asian Games, my father started to think that his task at the Sports School was more or less done, and that it was time for him to start preparing to retire.”
Sports School business manager Bernard Tan said he was shocked by the news of Mr Moo’s death. “It was just last April that Mr Moo came back to the school for its fifth anniversary celebrations. We even organized a tree-planting event for him,” he said.
“And he sounded quite strong when I spoke with him on the phone three weeks back. Some of my colleagues and me were hoping to visit him during Chinese New Year but he said it wasn’t convenient. Infact, we were hoping to visit him next week.”
Sports School academic dean Raymond Mak said Mr Moo was a father figure to him. “What I respected most about him was his courage to take risks,” said Mak who was a teacher at Anglican High when Mr Moo was still the principal at the school.
“Setting up the Sports School was a huge challenge but he rose to it. He has been a role model to me. I owe him too much.”
Rest in peace, Mr Moo.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan