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Thomas Lee dies at 64 after bout with cancer

Sun 2012-Jun-3 @ +08 20:40:13 pm

By Gobind Rudra
Journalist and political commentator Thomas Lee Seng Hock, 64, died at home in Shah Alam at 4.30pm on Sunday. He had been undergoing treatment for hip and liver cancer for the past two months, and was brought home from University of Malaya Medical Centre in early May.

The wake will begin at 8.30pm on Monday at Fairy Park funeral parlour, Jalan Batu Tiga Lama, Klang, (Map) with funeral services at 11am on Tuesday before cremation at the Fairy Park crematorium off Jalan Meru, Klang.

Thomas began his career with the Star in the mid-1970s and went on to the NST under Noordin Sopiee, the National Echo under VK Chin, and the Star again where he met his wife Dolly. After a stint with the Sun, he returned to the Star where he remained until his retirement two years ago, then becoming editor of MySinchew for a short spell, succeeding Bob Teoh. Until his illness earlier this year, he was a casual sub-editor with the Sun and a media consultant to the Penang state government, producing its monthly newsletter Buletin Mutiara.

After he retired from the Star, Thomas wrote a scathing condemnation of some editors he had known in the main newspapers. He also wrote political commentaries, mostly critical of Barisan Nasional and the MCA, and favouring the DAP (he was a DAP member and close friend of DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang for many years). As a devout Christian and a lay preacher with several Evangelical churches, Thomas was concerned with the attacks on the Christian community and championed religious freedom and minority rights in many articles.

As a media consultant for the Penang government’s Bulletin Mutiara, he produced much of the content and supervised its design and production, for very little money, he later said. Methodical and slightly pedantic in his approach to journalism and news writing, Thomas Lee left a lasting impact on many reporters and subeditors in his 40 years with newspapers and journalism.

» Thomas and his coconut head — recollections by fellow journalists

25 June 1948 – 3 June 2012
survived by wife Dolly Tan and children Beverly Lee Hsiao-Fung, 32, and Isaac Lee Xi-Kwang, 26.

A selection of articles by or about Thomas Lee:

» Editorial Eunuchs and Press Prostitutes
Written after leaving the Star, it condemns a range of journalists for editorial impotence.
» Of press prostitutes and cowed media
A scathing response to a boo-boo in the Star report on the Lim Guan Eng-Chua Soi Lek debate: Thomas repeats his earlier condemnation of newspaper editors; sexual harassment is mentioned in this article, a reference to an allegation, never proven, that was laid against Thomas in the Star.
» Insignificant and irrelevant hogwash
Defending the Penang DAP against reports of an internal party rift.
» Twisted take on fiasco
The Star quoting Barisan Nasional politicians in a vigorous reaction to Thomas’s article in Buletin Mutiara about a car park controversy in Penang.
» DAP and the PAS Islamic agenda
Defending the DAP-PAS partnership, against an attack by MCA president Chua Soi Lek.
» Epistle to the Church in Malaysia
Thomas “the Pastor” getting Biblical in full pulpit-thumping mood in an article at the Malaysian Insider, widely reproduced at Christian sites.
» Decline in moral accountability?
Criticism of the Chief Secretary and a defence of the DAP: written while editor of MySinchew, the English-language site of Sin Chew Online.
» Saint Hannah stones the BN sex sinners
Thomas Lee and Selangor assembly member Hannah Yeoh (DAP) under attack by blogger Helen Ang for their right-wing Christian political views.


  1. SaintJohn permalink
    Sun 2012-Jun-3 @ +08 22:09:09 pm 22:09

    May he burn

    • C SLee permalink
      Mon 2012-Jun-4 @ +08 00:17:04 am 00:17

      What is the matter with you?

  2. Mon 2012-Jun-4 @ +08 02:40:13 am 02:40

    Thomas Lee reminds me of Gaius Gracchus in the classic film by Stanley Kubrick, Spartacus. A good head and a big heart in the right place. Bless you, Mr Thomas Lee Seng Hock!

  3. AnakSarawak permalink
    Mon 2012-Jun-4 @ +08 09:34:44 am 09:34

    Rest in peace, Thomas.

  4. Mon 2012-Jun-4 @ +08 10:32:58 am 10:32

    I knew Thomas during my brief stint as a cub-reporter with the sun in the mid-90s. He was a principled and caring man, always calling us “good boy/girl” on his walk around the newsdesk as we sat and typed out our stories. He will be sadly missed by all of us who knew him. My deepest condolences to his family. We have lost a good man today.

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