The Story of Yoriko Tan, my Mum’s Best Friend from Sungai Siput

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Chow Niah aka Aunt Yoriko during CNY Day 3 (30 January 2017). She is age 89, 2 years older than Mum
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Aunt Yoriko and Tan Poh Choo, her eldest child

Yoriko Tan aka Chow Niah was my Mum’s neighbor childhood friends during the Second World War in Ipoh, our hometown (200 km north of Kuala Lumpur). Before the WWII Yoriko and her elder brother were adopted by her father and his Japanese wife from a very close relative which was a common practice in that era.

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Aunt Yoriko’s parents. Yorilko’s father look like an Eurasian and was a handsome man, and Yoriko’s mum looked and wear local Nyonya kebaya

In fact my own father Michael was an adopted son and was called “Loke Sok” (Sixth Uncle). Click here to read about my tribute to my Dad in the defunct Malaysian Insider.

When WWII broke out Yoriko’s ended up in British India as refugees, and her brother who was left in Malaya rose to a high-ranking officer in the Japanese Imperial Army as he could speak Japanese.

After WWII ended Yoriko’s family moved to Chateau Gardens Ipoh and became neighbors to my Mum. My mum were in a house with many cousins and was located near Jalan Chin Hwa / Ave Maria Convent Ipoh School in Jalan Chung Thye Phin.

My Mum and cousins would protect Yoriko especially from her horny brother. Yoriko and my mum became very close buddies over the years.

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Aunt Yoriko and mum always share their deepest family secrets until today. Yoriko is now bed-ridden under nursing care but can still mumble and her eyes are so alive and active for her 89 age.

Yoriko moved to Sungai Siput after her marriage while my mum married when she was 19 and stayed in Ipoh in Jalan Chung Ah Ming, near Pasir Pinji-Putih area. I grew up in Jalan Chung Ah Meng. At 5 years old, we moved to a 10,000 sq ft  huge bungalow with 3 rambutan trees, 1 jackfruit tree, 1 mango tree, 1 guava tree, 3 giant fern trees, and lots of orchids in Sarmukh Road, Chateau Gardens. In 2004, my parents move to Damaipuri Condominium still in Chateau Gardens, and only half km from my mum’s old house where she grew up.

Yoriko had 11 children with Tan Poh Choo as the eldest child. Poh Choo stayed one year in our house during her Form 3. She was born in the Year of the Dragon, and was the prettiest of the Tan family.

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Yoriko’s old house in Sungai Siput

When Poh Choo got married in Sungai Siput, Yoriko spontaneously instructed Poh Choo to serve my Mum tea as Poh Choo’s only Godmother. Mum was shocked but went along. Poh Choo was never comfortable to call mum Kei Ma and called my mum Noni Yee as most junior relatives would call her. Lately she calls mum Mimi, the name that my eldest brother Tom called as he couldn’t pronounce Mummy. All of us followed Tom and called mum Mimi.

Poh Choo married a Roman Catholic surnamed Chang who operated a timber mill. As timber was a high-danger business Poh Choo’s parents were not keen on their marriage but Poh Choo insisted. Poh Choo’s husband died some 10 years ago from ill health.

Yoriko’s husband operated a small hardware shop in Sungai Siput. Poh Choo and 2 brothers also worked there. One of the brothers died 2 years ago, the other brother took over the old hardware store, and Poh Choo opened Da Yuen, the biggest hardware store in Sungai Siput.

Tan Poh Choo has accomplished much in life. She now has lots of grandnieces and grandnephews from her 10 siblings. So Chinese New Year is huge gathering for the Tans and Changs every year yet she’ll always visit my Mum every CNY.

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Poh Choo’s mansion in Sungai Siput, overlooks See Chee San (Lion-head hill in the background)
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Published on 1 February 2017.

Next story: Ah Tuck, the miracle “blue baby” son of Tan Poh Choo – saved by divine intervention.

Published by

Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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