Lee Khoon Choy
|Born||24 January 1924|
Butterworth, Penang, British Malaya (now Malaysia)
|Died||27 February 2016 (aged 92)|
|Spouse(s)||Florence Khor Swee Hoon (Deceased), Eng Ah Siam|
|Alma mater||Regent Street Polytechnic (Dip. in Journalism)|
|Occupation||journalist, diplomat and politician|
|Known for||Minister of State for Culture, Ambassador to Indonesia|
Lee Khoon Choy (Chinese: 李炯才; pinyin: Lǐ Jǐongcái 24 January 1924 – 27 February 2016) was a Malaysian-born teacher and later as a Singaporean journalist, politician and diplomat, and an author and painter. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Singapore, a member of the first five Parliaments of Singapore, Senior Minister of State, and ambassador and high commissioner to eight countries.
In 1946 Lee commenced a career in journalism in Penang with Sin Pin Jit Poh, then left for Singapore to work for a number of Chinese (Sin Chew Jit Poh, Nanyang Siang Pau) and English (Singapore Tiger Standard) newspapers before culminating in his working for The Straits Times in 1957.
Member of Parliament (1959–1984)
Resigning in 1959, Lee commenced his political career and was elected to the legislative assembly. He served as Minister of State for Culture, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Senior Minister of State in PMO. He stepped down from his parliamentary positions in 1984.
Diplomat (1968–1974, 1984–1988)
In 1968 he commenced his diplomatic career, serving as Singapore's Ambassador to Egypt, Ethiopia, Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Indonesia, and High Commissioner in Pakistan. On stepping down from Parliament, he served as Singapore's Ambassador to Japan and South Korea.
He retired from public service in 1988, founding his own firm, Eng Lee Investment Consultants, in 1990.
He has been and is a director of a number of companies. He is currently Chairman of Eng Lee Investment Consultants, and an Independent non-executive director of Koh Brothers Group Ltd. Previous positions held include:
- Chairman, Sino-American (UIC) Tours Corporation
- independent director, Metro Holdings
- Non-Executive chairman, SSH Corporation (formerly known as Sin Soon Huat)
- independent director, L & M Group Investments
Since 1966 Lee has published ten books, including:
- Lee, Khoon Choy (2013) Lee, Khoon Choy (2013). Golden Dragon and Purple Phoenix: The Chinese and Their Multi-Ethnic Descendants in Southeast Asia. Hackensack, New Jersey: World Scientific. p. 604. doi:10.1142/8357. ISBN 978-981-4383-43-1.
- Lee, Khoon Choy (2005) Choy, Lee Khoon (2005). Pioneers of Modern China: Understanding the Inscrutable Chinese. Hackensack, New Jersey: World Scientific. p. 576. doi:10.1142/5921. ISBN 978-981-256-618-8.
- Lee, Khoon Choy (1999) A fragile nation: the Indonesian crisis. World Scientific Publishing.
- Lee, Khoon Choy (1995) Japan: Between Myth and Reality. World Scientific Publishing. ISBN 9810218656, 9789810218652.
- Lee, Khoon Choy (1993) Diplomacy of a Tiny State. World Scientific Publishing. ISBN 9810212194.
- Lee, Khoon Choy (1976) Indonesia: Between Myth and Reality.
Lee's hobbies included painting and playing musical instruments. Lee married Florence Khor Swee Hoon, and they had two sons. She died of cancer at age 30 in 1959. In 1962 he married Eng Ah Siam, with whom he has had five daughters. Lee died in his sleep at home aged 92, at 3am on 27 February 2016. He is survived by his second wife, seven children and 11 grandchildren.
Lee was one of the last People's Action Party (PAP) old guard office holders still alive. Other PAP members of his generation include Othman Wok, Jek Yeun Thong, Chor Yeok Eng and Ong Pang Boon. Lee's death was the first to follow the death of party founder Lee Kuan Yew.
Honours and awards
- 1974: (Indonesian) Bintang Bakti Utama (Meritorious Service Star) for his work in enhancing relations between Indonesia and Singapore.
- 1986: The Scholarly Achievement Award by the Japan Institute of Oriental Philosophy for his achievements in the research and development of eastern philosophy, thought and culture.
- 1988: (South Korean) Order of Diplomatic Service Merit for his service in promoting relations between South Korea and Singapore.
- 1990: (Singaporean) Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Distinguished Service Order) in recognition of his contributions.
- 1997: Made an honorary member of the Chinese National Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing for his contributions in the field of humanities and social sciences.
- Historical Dictionary of Singapore. Singapore: Justin Corfield. 2010. p. 143. ISBN 978-0810873872.
- Wong Hong Teng: Profile of the Class of 1957, Chung Ling High School, Penang. ISBN 981-04-7710-4
- Chew, Valerie (2008) Lee Khoon Choy Archived 7 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, National Library Board, Singapore
- "Lee Khoon Choy | Infopedia". eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- Lee, Khoon Choy, Independent non-executive director of Koh Brothers Group Ltd since 1994, www.reuters.com
- "Former Senior Minister of State Lee Khoon Choy dies at 92". AsiaOne. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
- "Former Senior Minister of State, PAP MP Lee Khoon Choy dies". CNA. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
- Au-Yong, Rachel. "Former PAP old guard MP Lee Khoon Choy dies". Straits Times. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
- Lee Khoon Choy's website
- The Lee Khoon Choy Collection at the National Library of Singapore comprises monographs, periodicals and documents pertaining to East Asian culture, art and history. These were acquired from his years of travel around the globe as a journalist, politician, artist and author. Collection Highlights: