Reference Proceedings for Deceased Members of the Bar (8 February 2023)

“Not – How did he die? But – How did he live?
Not – What did he gain? But – What did he give?
These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.”

The Bar has always been rich in tradition.

Regardless of our areas of practice, we uphold justice with integrity, speak with candour, carry ourselves with honour and treat each other with the highest courtesy.

Our call ceremony is steeped in history and bathed in tradition, and new members take their place at the Bar as their masters humbly vacate their seats at the Bar to make way for a newborn lawyer.

A practitioner would undoubtedly attend more call ceremonies than reference proceedings. But even the greatest men and women must one day breathe their last.

It is through these reference proceedings for deceased members of the Bar that even in death, members are remembered with fondness and dignity, as their brethren gather to recall the days that have passed, and to find strength and courage to forge through the days ahead.

One such reference was held before Justice Anselm Charles Fernandis of the Melaka High Court (1) to remember the following deceased members of the Bar on 8 February 2023:

  1. Mr. Teoh Kim Hong
  2. Dato’ Haji Sabarudin Bin Haji Othman
  3. Mr. Thara Singh Sidhu
  4. Mr. Avatar Singh S/O Ram Singh
  5. Madam Tan Chee Lan, Marie
  6. Mr. Francis Hilary D’Cruz

50 members of the Bar and family members of the deceased members were in attendance, as the following movers brought to life that which has been lost:

  1. Mr. Yap Koon Roy
  2. Mr. Francis Ho
  3. Mr. Kushvinder Singh
  4. Mr. Bala Gopal
  5. Mr. Chong Kim Leong
  6. Mr. Rodney D’Cruz

A reference is not a mere Bar event.

The heartfelt speeches by the Chairman of the Malacca Bar (Ms. Foo Qiao Wei), the President of the Malaysian Bar (Ms. Karen Cheah), the representative of the Attorney-General (Ms. Norafiah Saini) and Justice Anselm testify to that fact.

Justice Anselm’s tribute to the deceased members, borne from a personal relationship with each member, added meaning to the proceedings, and surely brought solace to the family members left behind.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.


Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.


Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.


Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.


In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!


Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!


Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;


Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.


Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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