I, FES Sarawak team and a graduate attended “Joe” Sii Chung Huei’s funeral ceremony yesterday, the sole Malaysian passenger of Air Asia flight QZ850 plane crashed last December 2014, at Nirvana Memorial Park in Siniawan, Kuching. There were about two hundreds people paying their last respect and give supports to the family members. It was a very heart-moving ceremony and I want to share some highlights during the prayer service.
I know this family through Prof. Madya Annie Wong Min Ngiik, wife of late Joe Sii. She lectures at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) where I was studied. We use to be in the same church and she is one of the big influences during my student life. Because she always bring students to her house for lunch after church, I then also get to know the family. Not intimately, of course, but quite close back then. That was why when Madam Annie and her children shared about their life with their father, I somewhat very moved.
After pastor Lim Gee Tiong of Blessed Church Kuching conducted prayer service, he called the family to share their personal testimonies. First, Stephanie Sii shared about how her father encouraged her to achieve her dreams as medical doctor, business woman and property investor. She read her father’s favourite passage of the Scripture, Psalm 23. Then Samantha Sii, second daughter of the family, shared a poet that she wrote during the difficult period of waiting. I wish I can share it here. Nonetheless, it was very personal and intimate portrait of daughter-father relationship. Samuel Sii open his speech by saying, “I’m the son of my father…” When he first heard about the news, he texted his father: “Where are you dad? I love you.” All of the children testified about how their father always texted and called them at least twice a week. Late Joe Sii was indeed a family man. A loving father.
Lastly, Madam Annie gives thanks to AirAsia Group chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and staffs for their “professionalism and transparency” in handling the incident. I have to tell you that Tan Sri Tony is a very humble person. His physical present in the midst of his busy schedules during the ceremony was a great encouragement to the family. He even walked to the burial area when he can easily go by car (No publicity too). Madam Annie testified that she prayed to God for her husband to be home safe or if not, at least, let her husband’s body be found. Tan Sri Tony, she said, was very committed to find her husband’s body. She also appreciates family of Blessed Church and SIB the City friends for their continuous support and prayer throughout her family mourning period. Madam shared about her grieves and sadness of losing her beloved spouse but at the same time glorifying God in the midst of her lost. She quoted Jesus as saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). She then said, “I believe that my husband is happy now with the Lord in heaven…” She looked at all those present and asked this burning question, “Do you have an assurance of place in heaven?”
I concludes that it was more than a funeral ceremony – it was an evangelistic funeral service. Indeed, Christians are able to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of our suffering and lost because Jesus is in us, and us in Him. This is Christian privilege. The service end with a song “TUHAN Peduli” by Jonathan Prawira:
TUHAN Peduli (God Cares)
Banyak perkara yang tak dapat ku mengerti
(There are many things I cannot understand and accept)
Mengapakah harus terjadi
(Why must they end up that way)
Di dalam kehidupan ini
(In this life we are living)
Satu perkara yang ku simpan dalam hati
(But one thing I keep deep in my heart)
Tiada satu pun ‘kan terjadi
(Nothing will ever occur)
Tanpa TUHAN mengerti
(Without God’s concern and care)
*TUHAN mengerti, TUHAN peduli
(God understands, God cares)
Segala persoalan yang kita hadapi
(For all the doubts and questions we are facing)
Tak akan pernah dibiarkannya
(He will never abandon nor forsake)
Ku bergumul sendiri
(or leave me alone to struggle)
(or leave me alone to struggle)
S’bab TUHAN mengerti
(because God understands me)
Shang di zai hu wo
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.