Monday, July 31, 2000

Where are you, daddy?

New Straits Times

It has been more than two months since 83-year-old Tan Sue Yong, who is suffering from senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, wandered off from home. Where could he be? His family is appealing to the public for help, reports ISA ISMAIL.

FIND HIM... Tan has been missing since May 23.FATHER’S Day this year has come and gone for lawyer Roger Tan without much celebration. He and his family have been spending days and weeks going to various non-governmental organisations, religious institutions and newspapers to seek help. His father is missing. This is not the first time but 83-year-old Tan Sue Yong has never gone missing for more than two months before. Every time the older Tan goes wandering off, someone would pick him up and send his home.

“He would wander off in jungle every day,” says Roger, of his father. “I suppose he thinks it’s his rubber plantation.” When Tan did not come home on May 23, the Yong Peng Police Field Force was mobilised to comb the surrounding jungle. They searched until early next morning but still did not find him.

The older Tan suffers from senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. He was last sighted on an express bus in Yong Peng on the evening of June 13. Having learnt to use public transport, Tan is most probably on the move, wandering from town to town.

Notwithstanding dementia, Tan is a healthy and hearty old chap. Once, Tan rode his 20-year-old motorbike to Malacca from his home in Yong Peng. He was brought home by a member of the public who had found him wandering around town.

Since then, Tan has been deprived of his trusty old motorbike and confined to home. But even a locked gate could not keep this restless senior citizen from going out as he would use a ladder to climb over it. When they took away the ladder, Tan would rattle the gates until someone lets him out.

“There are two possibilities,” says Roger of his father’s present state. “He may have collapsed somewhere in which case he would eventually be found due to the decomposition of his body.”

Roger’s other suggestion is more optimistic: “He may be kept by somebody who is ignorant about the publicity and the efforts of his family to look for him.”

“He may be in a hospital or an old folks’ home. So we are asking the relevant authorities to double check their homes and hospitals to see if my father is there.”

Tan’s family had previously put him under medication to keep him calm but eventually decided to let him be. Medication had caused him to develop hallucinations and made him unable to look after himself.

Tan had toiled selflessly until he was 70. At 60, he would often dye his hair so his employers would not dismiss him for being too old to work.

“He had worked hard in his younger days to bring us up,” recounts Roger.

“Due to poverty, six of his children died shortly after birth.”

Tan had worked as a labourer for RM7 a day. After 1960, he took up contracts to clear jungles for plantations.

“Everytime he left for work, we would miss him. We would also worry for his safety as he had often told us about the many close encounters he had had.”

“Once, when I had done badly in my exams, I went to tell my father, who was working in the estate. He did not scold me but as he turned his head to carry on with his work, I saw tears rolling down his cheeks,” said Roger.

Roger obviously studied harder as he eventually went to England to read law.

“His last words before I left for England were, ‘You better study hard because your father is already old’. My father sold an entire plantation to support my studies in Britain.”

Today, Roger is still going around asking the public to help look for his elderly father.

“I appeal to the public to send him to the nearest police station when he is found. It’s no good telling us where he has been sighted because he won’t stay at any place for long.”

Please contact the Yong Peng police station at 07-4671222 if you find Tan Sue Yong or if you have seen him recently. Those interested may know more about the search at this web site:

Monday, July 24, 2000

Son's search for missing father continues

New Straits Times

JOHOR BARU, Sun. - Although exhausted and in despair, lawyer Roger Tan remains optimistic that he will find his father who has been missing from home since May.

And MCA vice-chairman Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, touched by the love of this filial son, has agreed to render assistance to find the 83-year-old Tan Sue Yong.

Ong, who met Roger Tan in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday, has called on all MCA branches to be on the lookout for Sue Yong.

Roger Tan said 15,000 colour posters of his father would be distributed to MCA branches through the party's State secretariat.

"I appeal to those who see my father to bring him directly to the nearest police station," he said.

Sue Yong, who is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, went for a walk on May 23 and has not returned to his Yong Peng home since. He was last seen wearing a short-sleeved greyish white shirt and a brown pair of trousers.

He was reported to have been spotted by an express bus driver in Larkin on June 13. Prior to that, he was said to have been spotted in Lucky Garden in Yong Peng, and in Taman Melor and Taman Johor in Johor Baru.

Roger Tan has again appealed to people to stop making crank calls.

Those with information on Sue Yong can contact the Yong Peng police station at tel: 07-4671222, or the nearest police station.

Tan's website is at

Saturday, July 22, 2000

Family still searching for missing patriarch

The Star
By Mazwin Nik Anis

JOHOR BARU: Posters bearing his photograph are on almost every available wall but Tan’s family members have not received any news on their patriarch’s whereabouts since he left home exactly two months ago today.

Tan Sue Yong, 87, has been missing since May 23 and his family members have searched extensively for him, including putting up missing persons advertisements in all the English, Malay and Chinese dailies but to no avail.

Tan’s son, Roger, said the family members were at their wits end but have not given up hope.

“We have also put up posters in public places, obtained assistance from the police, Rela, Rukun Tetangga and every other association that we can think of, but still, my father has not been found.

“My family, especially my 76-year-old mother is extremely worried about his well-being,” he said.

Roger said his mother had refused to leave home fearing her husband would return and find the house empty, and no amount of persuasion could help change her mind.

On May 23, Tan, who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease left his home in Lorong Enam, Yong Peng for his daily walk in the afternoon but failed to return.

This is the second time Tan had gone missing.

In 1998, he took off on his old motorcycle and was found two days later in Malacca.

Tan was wearing a straw hat, a short-sleeved white shirt with stripes and a pair of brown long pants when he left home on May 23.

He was also carrying his identification papers.

Roger said the last information that they had received was that Tan was spotted boarding an express bus from Yong Peng to Johor Baru on June 13.

He said the family had also received other leads but all had ended in wild goose chases.