Tan Choon Lim (“C.L Tan”) (14/12/1933 – 14/01/2013)

MR TAN CHOON LIM known to all and sundry as “C.L” (“and he is hereafter referrred to as “C.L”) a Barrister-at-law of the Hon. Society of The Lincoln’s Inn and an Advocate and Solicitor of the Malaysian Bar passed away peacefully in the early hours of this morning (14.1.2013) at the Sultanah Aminah General Hospital Johor Bahru where he was receiving treatment for a heart condition.

C.L was born in Ipoh, Perak and had his education at the Anglo Chinese School (“ACS”) Ipoh. He was proud of the ACS and kept in touch with the Old Boys Association and attended the Alumni functions to rekindle old ties.

C.L was a very senior member of the Johor Bar who was called to the Bar States of Malaya on the 2nd October 1972. He started a practice under an English Barrister Ian Meek in the prestigious firm of Presgraves and Mathews in Penang before moving down to Johor Bahru in the mid-seventies to practice as a sole-proprietor handling mainly civil litigation. At the time of his passing C.L was attached to the firm of Lim & Hooi, Johor Bahru. He was a meticulous and scrupulous lawyer and was honest to the core. Honesty and integrity were the twin hallmarks of the man C.L was.

The Passing of C.L is in a way a personal loss to me. It was on the 30th of October 1967 my very first day in Great city of London that I as a Lad of 20 came to know C.L at the Malaysia Hall in Bryanston Square. The Malaysian Students Department had placed C.L and me to share a room before finding permanent lodgings elsewhere in London for us. C.L was a matured student when he embarked on the law as he was an Inspector of Mines Ipoh Perak before he resigned to read law at Lincolns Inn.

After C.L found lodgings and settled himself down in London he called for his sweetheart Annie Lee from Johor Bahru to join him in London. In his own way C.L was a romantic. Annie and C.L shared the same birthday though she was a lot younger than him. Interestingly she passed away on 7.1.2008 and he on 14.1.2013 exactly a month after his 79th birthday. Annie and C.L registered their marriage at the Caxton Registry of Marriages and they celebrated the wedding with a lavish champagne dinner at a West End restaurant. He glowed with pride whenever he recollected the wedding. Annie did a Pitman’s Secretarial course and later on in Johor Bahru worked for Malaya Glass for 30 years. Leslie Struys who was Annie’s company chairman once remarked that Annie was so good that she could run the company all by herself! Annie passed away on 7.1.2008 and this devasted C.L but he carried on a quiet life with his two children and kept a low profile.

To many C.L may have appeared to be a cantankerous and moody person. This was because he did not tolerate fools. He was therefore quick on the draw and this earned him the wrath of some unfortunate ones who crossed his path. Like the Merapi he will erupt but will be calm and collected like the Ganges after a reasonable passage of time. C.L was quick to blow but quick to forgive forget and move along. Once when he was in a pensive mood with his favorite whisky in hand he pontificated and quoted one D.L. Moody who is reputed to have said: “I have never met a man who has given me so much trouble as myself!” The passing of C.L removes a rather colourful character from the annals of the Johore Bar.

C.L’s wake will be at the Tiong Hua Funeral Parlor (No:10) at Ngee Heng Johor Bahru and he will be cremated there at 11am on Wednesday the 16th of January 2013 and his ashes will be entombed next to his dear wife Annie’s. C.L the romantic had ensured this.

To C.L’s children Ben Tan a journalist with the NST and Samantha Tan an officer in a public company Johor Bahru offers its heartfelt condolences. Your father’s life was an eventful journey. He was an octogenarian with experiences both bitter and sweet. You can take pride that C.L was not a mere journeyman taking care of his personal and private interest only. He once belonged to the Lion’s Club and served in bodies like the Spastic Centre, Johore Leprosy Association and the Chesire Home. The quote below extracted from K S Maniam’s article is said to be Buddha’s or Roosevelt’s or even the tortoise in KUNGFU PANDA but it shows that life is transitory and he that is born must one day-die:

“Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is

why it is called the present. What the caterpillar perceives is the end; to the

butterfly is just the beginning. Everything that has a beginning has an ending.

Make your peace with that and all will be well.”

The passing away of senior members reminds one of Sai Baba who wrote:

“Unfirm is worldly life. All that is visible is bound to vanish.

Spouse and progeny, youth and wealth are equally unfirm;

These two alone have roots enduring;

Fair name and Truth.”

May C.L find peace joy and comfort in God’s glorious gardens. May his God be with him and be merciful in His judgment.

Farewell my friend and Rest in Peace.


S. Balarajah

Johore Bar


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