Guiding Light of The Month

In this immense heroic struggle, in this sublime struggle of love against hatred, of justice against injustice, of obedience to Thy supreme law against revolt, may I gradually be able to make humanity worthy of a still sublimer peace in which, all internal dissensions having ceased, the whole effort of man may be united for the attainment of a more and more perfect and integral realisation of Thy divine Will and Thy progressive ideal. - The Mother

In Memory of the late Mr Lok Kek Seng, Co-Vice-Chairperson, Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore

Mr. Lok Kek Seng, who departed on 19 November 2013, was a caring husband and a doting father of two daughters, who remember him for his simple ways and a general state of cheer and positive energy. He was from a humble background, having lost his father at a very young age, He embraced frugal living, discipline and hard work at a very young age. He dedicated over 40 years of his life to the teaching service in Singapore. As a trained teacher, he started his career in Assumption English School where he taught English Language and Mathematics. He was also a band instructor for schools such as Cedar Girls’ Secondary School and Anderson Junior College. Subsequently, he returned to Assumption English School and went on to teach English Language, Mathematics, Science and Physical Education at Pei Chun Public School. He subsequently retired as a Senior Teacher and Mentor to new trainee teachers.


Daya Remembers...

Lok, as we dearly call him, joined the Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore, in 1973. Mr. Purushotaman Naidu both of whom were schoolteachers like Jagir Singh and V.Nadesu introduced him to the Society. All of them were nominated as Committee Members while Lok was appointed as Treasurer of the Society and I was nominated as Hon. Secretary. Mr. Devan Nair invited Sri Navajata, who was then Chairperson of the Sri Aurobindo Society in Pondicherry, to Singapore to give a series of Talks. The first talk was held at the National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC) meeting hall along Shenton Way.  Devan invited some of his close friends like Tay Joo Teck, Mr. N.C. Patel, Mr. P Selvadurai, Dr. Lee Suan Yew and a few Members of Parliament to attend the talk. Shri Navajata gave a brief introduction on Sri Aurobindo and spoke on the topic "The Supermind". He also gave talks at the Ramakrishna Mission, University of Singapore and at our Centre.

We started our first Centre at The Singapore Khalsa Association along Tesssensohn Road, off Balestier Road. We decided first of all to start a library and bought about $2,000 worth of books for borrowing and for sale. Mrs. Puspa Govindasamy also a school teacher and Committee member sponsored this. Mr. Devan Nair gave weekly talks every Sunday at 6.00 pm, in spite of his busy schedule as Secretary-General of NTUC. Lok, Jagir Singh and myself kept the Library open every day from 6pm to 8pm. We promoted the sales of books and invited some people we knew to join the Society. We took part in the Book Fairs held annually and promoted the sales of books. Lok was an active member and he also promoted the sales of books through some retail outlets.

At this point of time Mr. Devan Nair and family, Mr. and Mrs. Tay Joo Teck, Mr. M. Ramachandran and Mr. and Mrs. N.C Patel had already visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the late sixties and had the Darshan of The Mother. In 1976, Shri M. P. Pandit came to Singapore with his Secretary Ms. Vasanthi. Shri M. P. Pandit gave lectures at our Centre, University of Singapore, The Ramakrishna Mission and the Theosophical Society of Singapore. It was at this time that Mrs. Sonia Dyne and few other members joined the Society and our membership increased gradually. Devan Nair was the first President of the Society and Tay Joo Teck became the 2nd President.

In 1975, Lok, Jagir, Sarada, Veronica Wan, Kim and myself went to Pondicherry and visited the Ashram for a month. We went to the Samadhi, visited the rooms of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and got a better understanding of the Ashram.  We ate at the Dining Hall every day and got to know many Ashramites. We took part in the weekly meditations and visited the Samadhi every morning.  This Ashram visit broadened our knowledge of the Ashram and the concept of Auroville and established personal contact with some Ashramites.  Among the senior sadhaks we met was Shri Hu Hsu probably the only Chinese Ashramite, who was an artist, writer and yogi. Other senior sadhaks we met was Dr. Nirodbaran, Pujalal, Nolini Kanta Gupta, and Amal Kiran. Hu Hsu was pleased to meet us, especially Lok and Veronica Wan who could speak Mandarin with him and gave him some Chinese tea.  He invited us to his house and showed us his paintings and told us why he came to the Ashram in 1949, when the Communist Revolution began.

Lok continued to be an active member of the Society. He and Jagir Singh took turns to be the Treasurer of the Society. Three years ago he was nominated as Vice-Chairperson of the Society and continued to be an active member of the Society.  He did confide to some members like V Nadesu, Jared and a few others that he had a lung problem but did not specify he had lung cancer and had undergone surgery in this respect.

The last time I saw Lok, at the Centre was on 15th August 2013 during the morning meditation. After the session, Lok, Nadesu, and myself went to Ananda Bhavan and had a good vegetarian meal. After the meal, we went to City Square and had some refreshments. Lok looked fit and healthy and did not tell us about his illness. But he did say he would not come to the evening function.

 Since the formation of the Society, Lok, Jagir and myself worked closely together on membership subscriptions, Society activities, sale of books and participation in the National Book fairs. We were then in our thirties and were very active. We continued to visit the Ashram many times later.

For the last few years he continued to play an active role in the Society. He went to the Ashram and Auroville a few times. He took video films of all the talks delivered by Prof. Ananda Reddy, Prof. M. V. Nadkarni, Sonia Dyne and other public talks at the Gita Jayanti.

In the last two years, my communication with Lok was mainly through email. Last year, he took the sole initiative to participate in the Book Fair at the Marina Convention Centre and coordinated with some members to take turns to man the Society Stall. He put in a lot of effort to set up the stall and displayed the books. He came every evening to check on the sales of books.

Lok was very dedicated to the work and activities of the Society since he joined in 1973.  He was a disciplined person and health conscious. He did not drink, smoke, or socialize and but spent his free time mainly with his family and Society.  He never spoke about his health condition except to a few members. He had always hoped that the Society would have a building of its own someday and was willing to donate generously to the Building Fund.

On 22nd November 2013, members were shocked to hear of his death on 19th November 2013 and that his cremation would be held at 11 a.m. at the biggest Buddhist Temple in Singapore. However, inspite of the short notice, members who received the shocking news on time came to pay their last respects to Lok and expressed their condolences to the family. News of his passing away was sent to friends in the Ashram and Auroville who knew him as one of the pillars of the Society and a dedicated child of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

Lok, a school teacher and also music teacher, was a very simple person, humble and helpful. He retired from service at the age of 55 years. We remember him always in his casual wear of T-shirts and shorts, with a cheerful smile on his face. Society members will miss him dearly.

- S Dayanandan

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