Tributes to Harold

1 Dec 19 Empowering those who read

IMPACT is an interdenominational Christian magazine based in Singapore serving the Southeast Asia region. We are thankful and grateful to IMPACT Editorial for the Dec edition in 2019. May Harold’s testimony encourage those who read and strengthen their walk with the Lord.

3 Nov 19 Running The Race by Pastor Emanuel Goh, Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12: 1 – 2.

Indeed they are great men of faith who had finished their faith race well. They have inspired and encouraged me to run my race, run it and finishing well.

2 Oct 19: Paul Naidu, an uncle who loved Harold like his own son

It would be a waste if these 3 men were not born. Then, there would be nothing to lament about. But they came to be and showed their steadfast faith in God and renewed the hope among backsliders. What an unselfish gift to all believers. They all had a strong heart and a beautiful posture for our Lord even as time tick ticked away. They lived their short lives without regret and rejoiced in the joy of the Lord. Their passing away was not a loss in the spirit realm where they will live for eternity and see the amazing glory of God in heaven 🤗

Emilyn’s article can be viewed at http://saltandlight.sg/faith/is-it-a-waste-when-a-young-man-dies/

27 Jul 19 Hair For Hope by Clement Chan, buddy from Church

An annual event where individuals shave their head to support children with cancer. Clement participated this event to remember Harold as Harold was an inspiration to him. “Harold did so much when he had cancer such as going on a mission trip and joining the TRACKERS programme. This is my way of showing support”.

25 May 19 Singapore Society King’s College London

A couple of days ago, we brought Mr Thomas Tan and Mrs Alene Tan on a tour of Strand campus and helped them fulfill one of the last wishes of their late son, Harold Tan.

Harold had been accepted to study PPE at King’s in the 2018/2019 Academic Year. Unfortunately, he had been fighting a strong battle against a bone cancer called osteosarcoma since 2015 and passed on in June 2018. But although he passed at the young age of 21, his journey against cancer was one of inspiration and his young life strongly impacted the lives of his friends and family. His story of faith and love is one that provides a source of a hope for those suffering from cancer, those supporting someone suffering from it and everyone else facing struggles:

http://saltandlight.sg/faith/till-we-meet-again-harold-boy/

www.rememberingharold.org/

Since Harold’s passing, Mr and Mrs Tan have been actively raising awareness about osteosarcoma and various charities. One of these charities is Arc Children’s Centre, a charity that provides education and support for sick children-in-need and their families, pushing for every child to be able to excel despite the great odds against them. Please do support: www.arcchildren.org @ Strand Campus, King’s College London

21 Apr 19 Sermon preached on Easter Sunday ‘The Victory of Ai’ by Rev Anthony Lee, Pastor-in-charge, AMK Methodist Church

A life death cannot silence. Death may take away one’s life, but death cannot silence one’s life especially if the life is lived for God. Though his life was short, Harold’s life shine brightly for Jesus; demonstrating an unwavering and perseverance life truly devoted to God.

20 April 19: Remembering Harold by a waterpolo senior, IB 2013 Cohort

I was two years above Harold and knew him as part of the Water polo team. We were not particularly close due to age and cohort differences but I recall an energetic and kind individual who got on well with everyone. Harold was always curious, eager to learn and would take the initiative to strike up a conversation with others. He had a real warmth to him that instantly put you at ease. 

“When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou. 
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.  

19 April 19: Recollection on Harold by Jeremy Lim, IB 2014 Cohort

In the acs prefectorial board, we have/had a committee called the Cheering and Fundraising Committee (CFC). As the name suggests we were in charge of cheering and fundraising. In prefects we are really big on cheering and CFC used to pride ourselves on being really passionate about ACS cause we were in charge of all the cheering at sports finals. Harold was one of the prefects in CFC.

During our annual committee camp, the current CFC exco usually held “interviews” with our juniors to see who to put into what EXCO position the following year. Harold was one of my direct juniors and so he also participated in the interview that year which I think was 2011.

I can still remember that we had the interviews very late at night. We were literally sitting on the floor at corridor of the blue level (year 1 classrooms) of the old block. For context, most acsi camps centre around the amphitheater and classrooms of the old block. It was so dark that we couldn’t really see each other. We felt that people would be more honest that way.

I remember Harold was like the 3rd of 4th person to be interviewed out of like 6 people we had I think. Our conversation with him was really interesting because he mentioned that he actually wanted to be the chairman of the committee. It was surprising because people usually wouldn’t say outrightly that they want the top position. Presumably Harold was also pretty involved in other school activities like Polo and I believe RSP and NCC. Most significantly though, it was surprising because our impression was that Harold had always been quite laidback and easygoing when it came to prefect stuff. To clarify, this exco is just for the year 3 CFC committee and not for the entire prefectorial board, but presumably being a chairman would earmark one to be one of the head prefects.

I think we all felt like Harold’s interview was impressive because he demonstrated that he had desires to lead the committee. Moreover, I remember him having some quite concrete plans about what he would do as chairman. He had a lot of confidence in his leadership capabilities. I believe he became one of the vice-chairmen in the end.

I don’t really have anything particular to say by sharing this but this is one of the most significant memories I have of Harold. In this memory of mine, we were just young kids, enjoying life on 121 Dover Road.

Harold was really passionate about life and about ACS. He was doing it all and he was good at it. He had a very signature cheeky smile which accompanied a lot of cheeky statements. I can say that amongst us prefects he will be dearly missed.

19 Apr 19: Salt&Light Good Friday story of faith, hope, and love by Emilyn Tan, an aunty who loved Harold like her own son

Thankful and grateful to Emilyn for writing this beautiful story and allow Harold’s testimony to be reached out to many. It resulted us received many encouragement and recollection on Harold, and take comfort in the knowledge that his life meant so much to so many. Death cannot silence one’s life if the life was to live for God.

Emilyn’s article can be viewed at: https://saltandlight.sg/faith/till-we-meet-again-harold-boy/

3 March 19: Sharing of Harold’s testimony by Cynthia Chew, an aunty who walked and prayed for Harold and family

Cynthia Chew did a sharing on the topic of Thankfulness in the Youth Ministry on 3 Mar 19. About a week before he departed, Cynthia and son Jeremy visited us. Harold was in a lot of pain and struggled to breathe but he did his best to come down to meet them. Cynthia gave him a jar of thankgiving. On the same night, this was what Harold wrote “Thank you Lord for making me feel better after a difficult morning and for all the visitation, prayer and fellowing” . Harold chose to focus on God’s comfort and grace upon him instead of his pain and unberable discomfort.

3rd March 19: Remembering Harold's courageous by Tan Chuan-Jin, ACS 1985 cohort

Harold passed away in 2018 after a courageous fight against cancer. I got to know about Harold from our ACS chat group and linked up with his parents. I met Thomas and Alene at the Singapore Cancer Society – Talkmed Relay for Life 2019. Theirs is a remarkable story of courage as with many individuals and families who have battled with cancer. Glad to meet you both in person. God bless!

Feb 19 A loving memory that stays with us till the end of our times

Harold undergone last three years of his life going through the refining process. The refining process continues when his cremated ashes were transformed into an unique memorial diamond. Carbon in his ashes were extracted by means of physical and chemical process. The carbon was then transformed under high pressure and high temperature into graphite. The graphite was then used as a stone straying base for the diamond to grow. The growing process took about 6 months to grow. After growing, the diamond was cut and polished into the design which Alene has chosen. This memorial diamond grew from Harold’s ashes is an unique, beautiful and an everlasting symbol of permanence accompanying us.
https://www.algordanza.sg

17th January 19: Dedication by Yun Da

1 year on since this picture…

“Well, they say people come
They say people go
This particular diamond was extra special
And though you might be gone, and the world may not know
Still I see you, celestial…

 …So if you love someone, you should let them know
Oh, the light that you left me will everglow”.

-Everglow by Coldplay

Thanks Harold for the beautiful memories.
#rememberingharold1997

9th July 18: Remembering Harold, by Shawn Siah, Harold's friend from ACS (Independent)

Hi there,

This is Shawn. I got to know Harold from the Prefectorial Board in ACS (I) back in 2010. We were 2 grades apart, and thus didn’t know each other well in school. However, I recall distinctly that he possessed the rare gift of transcending year group barriers with his personable nature.

I remember having a chat with Harold at our Prefectorial Board reunion barbecue 3 years back on the eve of SG 50, when he was still well and his typical playful self, right before his battle unfolded. We weren’t in touch for half a year thereafter, and I only found out by chance about his fight against cancer when I ran into him at my ex-classmate’s PLMC Trackers graduation in March 2016. We started talking afterwards, and I remember Harold’s parents so kindly driving him over to my place where we had our 2016 Prefectorial Board reunion barbecue, shortly after he had surmounted treatment in June 2016. 

Our conversation continued because we had the common aspiration of studying in England, and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet up with Harold twice when I was back from my first year of university. It was our second, and last meeting a year ago on 6 July 2017 that I look back upon poignantly. Harold shared with me over lunch then that nodules had started forming in his lungs, and that he was deferring his studies to undergo chemotherapy and surgery. I recall us heading to ACS (I) after to collect his IB results for the 3 remaining subjects that he had sat for in May 2017, and him attaining an impressive result of 39 points. We continued staying in touch after, and he would update me regularly about his treatment and surgeries while I was away in London. Some regrets that I have include not meeting up with Harold when I was back in Singapore for Christmas, even though he had suggested doing so, and also not being able to attend Harold’s wake as I was out of the country for an internship.

While Harold’s passing will leave a void in the hearts of all who knew him, I will always be inspired by his incredible strength. His positive attitude in the face of adversity, and his continued appreciation of the abundance of life spurs me to live my life bravely and to its fullest, and to treasure the people in my life. I’d say that Harold’s life best exemplifies this maxim – that it isn’t the number of years in one’s life, but the life in one’s years that matters. 

That’s all I have to say! Maybe I should add that this isn’t a token nicety, but what I genuinely feel about Harold through our short but meaningful interactions 🙂 Finally, thank you for setting up this email account, it is a great outlet for all who knew Harold to share about what he meant to us as a friend.

29th June 18: Tribute to Harold by Agnes Tan, mother of Harold's god sister

This tribute is specially dedicated to a fine young man, whose immense courage and strength in fighting the cancer battle has touched and inspired many hearts and souls. His 21-year on earth is a true testament of a life well-lived — serving God in church and going on mission trip even when sickness racked his body, but not his love for God. His passing left a legacy of love, grace and strength that will remain in the hearts of many.

Are you resting in Jesus’ arms now?
Looking down from up above,
Those who remain here
Grieving for you, missing you.

Will you send us dreams?
To tell us you are in a better place,
Where there is no more pain or suffering.
‘Cos it’ll soothe our aching hearts,
That you are happy and at peace now.

Thank you for showing us God’s strength,
In the midst of fighting that gruelling battle.
Never giving up, till the last breath
Through you, we see a strong spirit in a gentle soul.

Thank you for showing us God’s love,
That even in the final moments,
You still dragged your battered body to church
Just to worship Him and listen to His words.

Now that God has called you home,
You will be deeply missed,
Gone too soon, too sudden.
Your tired body on earth may be gone,
But your spirit lives on in many of our hearts. Always.

 

24th June 18: Video designed to remember Harold by Jamison Teng, Harold's online gamer friend

The song “Touch the Sky”, which was Harold’s favourite, was specially composed for the video.

Play Video

18th June 18: A reflection by Ms Mages, Harold's year 5 class teacher.

Harold demonstrated the true meaning of serving others

Harold showed through actions that serving others was about giving to others even when you at little to give

Harold showed through actions that serving others was about helping others even when you needed help

Harold showed through actions that serving others was about being a pillar of support for others even when you needed a pillar of support

Harold showed through actions that serving others was about easing the pain of others even when you were in pain

Harold showed through actions that serving others was about offering words of encouragement even when you needed encouragement 

Harold showed through actions that serving others was about praying for others even when you needed prayers

I will forever remember Harold for teaching me the true meaning of serving others

16th June 18: Dedication by Tan Tee Joo, an uncle from Church

I know it must be a difficult week for you losing Harold to cancer but over the years of my conversations with him as well as witnessing what must be hundreds of youth, adults and seniors giving wonderful eulogies about him; same things always come up – he was an extraordinary young adult. Sincere and genuine with his Friendships, fiercely caring and had a gentle sweet spirit.

There was once a house warming and my children were playing, the big ones locked themselves in a room leaving Jonah alone and sad – Harold took it upon himself to baby sit and spent that whole evening with someone 15yr younger than him keeping him company – that was Harold!

This year I’m doing an Ironman 70.3 race in Bintan and I would like to dedicate my last few months of training, next few weeks and my race to your remarkable Son. Like the many lives he’s touched, Harold has given me a purpose to race this year. I will endeavour to complete this race and remember him everytime I pound the pavements, swim and hit the roads.

May we all one day be reunited with him in heaven. Till then, I will remember Harold as a Scholar, Athlete and Gentleman!

14th June 18: A Note to Harold by Dr Philip Tieh, TOK Teacher

Dear Harold,

The first time I met you, Harold, was when I entered the class of 6.9 in 2015. You were sitting at the second row, in the middle. You didn’t say very much, but very soon, I found out you were a curious young man who loved to learn new things, open and humble, and not at all awkward when talking to me, your TOK teacher. In fact, you have become very comfortable in relating to me, often, before TOK lessons, you were waiting outside the classroom along the corridor to greet me with your big wide smile. Yes, how could I ever forget those days?

You were a young gentleman, cheerful, full of zest for life and had big dreams ahead of you.

Then came the news that you were hospitalized and were unable to take the IB exam at the end of the year. 

We all thought that you would come back very soon to continue your studies. 

But you didn’t. 

your name was on the class list but after a couple of weeks, you couldn’t come back and joined the class. Finally you could only come to meet up with your various subject teachers to have special sessions at your convenience, when you were physically able to do so.  I met you a couple of times to work on your TOK essay. You always looked cheerful and smiling when we met.  We sat at the bench outside the DD office and we discussed the essay. You were always hopeful, no hint of giving up and always looking forward for better days ahead of you. You shared with me your plans to study overseas. You talked to me your trip to Australia, and your church mission trip. You were having such a fruitful life. 

Finally you submitted your essay and it was a good essay – you got a B for your effort. I was so happy and proud of you.

Then I heard that you were accepted by the King’s College in UK.  But before that you wanted to go through NS, and wanted to be a pilot.   You even managed to pass one of the stringent tests and all prepared to go through the tough 2-year training.

But you never did. 

It must be very frustrating to say the least, when you just about to look forward to realize your plan and then, you have to stop and change plan.  But your Dad told me that you never gave up, yes, you were discouraged and frustrated, who wouldn’t?  But you never gave up your hope, your life.  You kept on fighting.  In the midst of all these, you remain cheerful and joyful. Teachers who have visited you at your home and in the hospital said that you were still full of energy, able to share jokes and laugh. Harold, you are such a fighter!

Most importantly, you never grew bitter towards God, indeed, your faith grew stronger, as you walked even closer to God and found comfort in His words as the day went by. You went out to serve others both in your church and overseas as you went for mission trip, sharing the goodness of God and the Gospel of Christ, while you were fully aware your own condition. You went about living a full life while you were in and out of hospital, and as you shared in your testimony, you went through ‘7 cycles of chemotherapy of 22 treatment, 28 sessions of radiotherapy and stayed in the hospital for more than 90 days throughout 45 weeks’! 

Harold, it is an understatement to say that you were a brave young man.  I can’t imagine how much pains and discomforts you have gone through, and on top, you have to endure your emotional strains.  You must have gone through so many emotional and spiritual roller coasters. So many times, you were all ready to move on to the nest stage of your life, but in the last minutes, your physical body was just too weak to allow you to move on. 

Who could ever truly know the frustrations you had gone through?

But you were not defeated.  Never.

You came back to share your testimony to the whole school during a Monday chapel.  I was sitting at the upper gallery but half way through I came down and stood at the backstage to see you share with confidence and conviction (the second photo attached). You were physically weak but you held on.

I wanted to meet you after the Chapel but you had to go off because you were not feeling too good.

I whatsapped you and asked you to send me a copy of your testimony.  You gladly did so.  Then I called you to ask whether I could bring you out for a cup of tea and to have spent some time with you during the June holiday (which was just one week away). You said, ‘Yes, of course.’ You sounded so cheerful, just like the Harold I know so well.  

But we never met. 

I went to see you when you were in Gleneagles.  I held your hand, your eyes were closed. I told you ‘Dr Tieh is here’, you moved. You nodded. You tried to say something but you couldn’t. 

I held on to your hand…then I left the room. I wept.

 

I went to see you again on Sunday 10 June.

So many people were there. I just managed to see you for less than 5 mins.  You were sitting up on your bed, both eyes closed with your mom by your side holding on to your hand. You breathed slowly but steadily. 

Harold, what is in your mind?  I could only pray that you were experiencing His perfect peace in your heart even though you were suffering physically.  

It was heart breaking to see you in such a stage. That cheerfulness, exuberant spirit, smiling face – where are they now? 

Standing there watching you, I couldn’t but ask the question that I had asked so many times but no answer. The question that would never go away, as long as we are living in this physical body which will deteriorate and suffer as time goes by. 

The question which nevertheless, I will continue to ask : God, why do you allow such pain and suffering  in the life of such a fine young man who loves you and trusts in your goodness, mercy and grace? 

People suffer from sicknesses and pains as they grow old, this I accept and understand. But why Harold? Why a 21 years old young man who has the whole future waiting ahead of him?

God, do you have an answer for me?

Then I remember what you shared in your testimony: “As His disciple, I believe God did not set this up and it is not God who wanted it to happen but He permits it to happen. I continue to remind myself it is not asking why this happens to me but keep my faith in Him, reminding myself who is with me when I navigate through this storm of life. “

You have gone through so much but you didn’t grow bitter towards God. You kept your faith in your most difficult time, and your total submission to God’s plan for you deeply touched my heart as you shared.  

This young man of 21 years old knows what it truly means to have faith in God and what it takes to submit to His will.

 

 

As I stood there looking at you, I called out in my heart, “Harold, I want you to wake up and speak to me one more time. Just one more time. Have you forgotten that we were supposed to meet and spend some time together during the June holiday?”

“God, is that too much for You to do?”

 

Then  the message came in the morning 13 June at 0835, I broke down. 

Harold, you finally have left us. The Lord has come to bring you Home.  You have gone to be with the Lord forever, I am happy for you because you have no more pains and sufferings, not anymore.  Never again. 

But O, how I miss you, Harold.

Your smile, your cheerfulness, your inner strength, your hope and mature faith, Harold, you have taught me far more than I’ve taught you as your teacher. Indeed, you were my teacher.

You have taught me how to have a positive attitude and always believe a better tomorrow even in the midst of going through all the medical procedures, checks, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and even when you know your condition was deteriorating.  That is your unwavering faith in the goodness and faithfulness of God.

You have taught me that I have to make full use of the time God has given me, and to continue to plan for the future even though I may not be sure of what will come next, and indeed, even when all seems to fall apart.  That is faith in action.

You have taught me never give up but always hope.  It is our hope in the almighty God, hope that He has His perfect plan for each of us even though His plan for us may be so different from our own plans. It is this hope that keeps us going, day after day. 

That day when you came back to share your testimony to the whole school, you stood on the stage facing the whole school, with the Senior Admin, staff and students sitting there listening to you, totally captivated, even among the Year One students whose attention span usually lasts for less than 3 minutes. They saw you, not much older than they were,  stood confidently behind the rostrum and shared with conviction and strength. 

But only later I heard from your father that you were in great pain.  You certainly didn’t show it. You were so brave, Harold.

Harold, I know you are listening. I know you are in a far better place that this earthly dwelling place. You can certainly remember our school motto : The Best Is Yet To Be!  Well Harold, your waiting is over now.  You have received what you have hoped for. You  are now in the BEST place, there is no better place than heaven when you can meet God face to face, when you can now hold Jesus hand and say to Him, ‘Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, my Comforter and my Confidante, finally I get to see you face to face!’  Paul said, ‘Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest is Love.’ Yes, Harold, now you are with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, you don’t need faith and hope anymore, but love remains, and it will remain forever because God is love. Yes, what a blissful and perfect picture it is, as you submerge and lost in the wonder of God’s Love.  

I will see you again one day, Harold. 

But here I am on this planet earth, I just miss you so much!

Thank you, Harold, for being such a blessing in my life. 

And I thank God for giving this opportunity to know you and to be your teacher.