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Tribute to Sivapragasam Govindasamy

I came to know Sivapragasam (Siva to his friends) in mid-2002 when we met to chart the course of a non-governmental organisation, appropriately named Ipoh City Watch. As the name suggested, the outfit was formed by like-minded individuals who had the interest of Ipoh in their hearts.

There were barely 10 of us and all of us were nominated to be in the working committee. Siva was among the two who paid the full subscription of RM100 to be a life member.

Siva was pretty quiet throughout the meeting. That was by nature his character. He spoke only when it was necessary and whenever he said something others would crank their necks to hear him out. Siva was a rational man who brooked no nonsense, articulating his views with clarity and conviction. That I guessed was what gravitated many to him.

When we decided to transform Ipoh City Watch’s newsletter into a broadsheet in order to reach out to a bigger audience, Siva asked me to look around for samples. I got a few from Melbourne and the rest, like they say, is history.

With Siva’s passing it leaves a huge void in me and in Ipoh Echo. It is a fact that without Siva and the late Dato’ KK Lim, Ipoh’s only community newspaper will remain just a figment of our imagination.

I mourn the passing of a great friend who had been a source of inspiration for the many who knew him.

Adieu, Siva.

Fathol Zaman Bukhari

 

I met Siva for the first time in 1967. The next time we met up again was in 1997.

We carried on from where we left off despite not having kept in touch. That is a measure of the man – open and welcoming.

One of the things Siva likes to say is “Throw a stone, see what happens”. And that he did many times.

Together with the late Fan Yew Teng we started the Thursday Club where people could gather to discuss matters of public concern especially concerning Ipoh. Siva provided space at the Syuen Hotel and also refreshments. The club did not last long because people were apathetic and many who came were more interested in the refreshments.

But that did not discourage him.

He threw another stone and Ipoh Echo was born.

He wanted to give voice to the voiceless, to keep the authorities on their toes but also to contribute positively with ideas to make Ipoh better.

Ipoh has always been in his heart – I have told him many times he should have been the Mayor. He would have made a great Mayor!

A man of conviction; he stuck to his principles but he also seeked compromise and common cause – not through deal-making but persuasion, friendship and humour. His arguments never became personal.

Siva was also a kind and generous person. Always looking for ways to add another rung of opportunity on the ladder for those who want it.

He has talked of starting a reading room in a poor area of Ipoh so that residents can have a place to read. He was an avid reader and very well informed.

On one of his visits to Medan he donated generously to the work of Father James to help give education to orphans; never mind that he was not a Catholic and the orphans were Muslims. Race and religion did not matter to him.

There’s a metaphysical saying that the guru comes when the student is ready. And the guru leaves when the student has learned his lesson.

Similarly, friends come into each other’s lives when we have most to give and receive from each other.

But it’s always too soon when a friend leaves.

I will miss him.

Bobby Yin

 

He was a man who simply wanted to make Ipoh a better place to live. He cared about Ipoh and would help anyone who thought the same way.

Ian Anderson

 

G. Sivapragasam and I both finished off Form Five in year 1960 as classmates at St Michael Institution, Ipoh.

Thereafter Siva continued to pursue his tertiary education overseas. Humble and unassuming, he acquitted himself well and was socially likeable among his fellow classmates and friends.

Endowed with a spirit of camaraderie and a disposition with no traces of racial discrimination, he is flushed with empathy, openness and compassion for others. His absence among friendly gatherings is a notable miss.

Indeed, grace and generosity are endearing traits in him when the occasion arises. His active participation whenever he could, at social events, manifest a warm and charming personality when friends and classmates meet routinely for coffee chats, occasional lunches, dinners, as well as the ritual annual Alma Mater alumni bashes.

I am glad to have Siva as an exemplary buddy. Thank you Siva for being with us especially as a fellow Michaelian.

Hoy Soon Yeong (Henry)

 

A Man worth his salt
He is Siva Pragasam s/o Govindasamy
He spurred tourism with passion
A dialogue with him stirred ideas
Indicting manuscripts he fashioned tourism
Making it his foremost concern
As Vice President of Perak Tourism Association,
a place in Greentown Square office, he gave at no cost at all
Tourism development in Perak was his interest
Heritage Ipoh Old Town was his heartbeat
He encouraged and moved us forward to excellence
Perak Tourism Association is deprived of a distinguished personality
We suffer the loss of a true friend.
In his demise we bid him farewell

Datuk Hj Mohd Odzman bin Abdul Kadir

 

Mr G. Sivapragasam was an Advocate & Solicitor practising in the firm of Thevin, Siva & Chong before turning to the business world.

I got to know him closely when we formed the Malaysian Karst Society in 2003 of which he was vice-president for 5 years. He had said that the limestone hills in Ipoh is our icon. Sadly today the destruction of our limestone hills are more extensive. Just look at the hills around Ipoh.

It is with great sadness that I hear of his passing away and I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

C.K. Leong

Siva my school mate was my legal adviser and confidante. His integrity and services have enabled me to move successfully in the business circle. My company and staff all respected Siva greatly.I am grateful and thankful to him for his selfless service. Sivapragrasam’s principle and philosophy “Remain calm. Carry on and know when to pick your battles” will always be my guide. I am truly indebted to him. A sincere dedicated and loyal friend never will be forgotten.

Soon Cheong

 

Siva and I shared many happy memories together during our early schooldays at St Michael Ipoh and later our legal studies in London. Always the life and soul at parties with forensic intellect and wit in social discourse, ever ready to right a wrong and above all not forgetting his renowned generosity to a fault. It’s definitely the passing of an era, he’ll be sorely missed by many and rest in peace, my friend.

Jio Lim

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