Bidding farewell to a true gentleman

The spotlight shined brightly on outgoing Vice Chancellor, Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, who ends his long years of service with education and WOU, with his retirement on December 31st.

In paying tribute to Prof Ho, the third and longest serving Vice Chancellor, the accolades lavished included gentleman of humble demeanour, reserved, understanding, patient, not one to give vent to his anger, authentic, and earliest to arrive to office practically every day.

 WOU top management and staff take a 'family' photo with Prof Ho and spouse, Datin Mei.

WOU top management and staff take a 'family' photo with Prof Ho and spouse, Datin Mei.

WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap described him as “humble, down to earth, and gracious” and “absolutely shows no distinction in the way he interacts with staff from the different rungs of the ladder. He is reserved by nature, but shoulders every little role he is entrusted with, seriously.”

He said Prof Ho “does not lose his temper or his wits, maybe never I think, but confronts the challenges and pressures with much poise, not letting things get the best of him. He seems to always maintain that air of ‘being cool’ no matter what work or life throws at him. That I believe is a remarkable trait to have, not letting the toss and turn of life bring him down but using every challenge or setback as a lesson to be learnt for scaling greater heights in the future.”

 Prof Ho is a genuine gentleman, says Dato' Seri Stephen.

Prof Ho is a genuine gentleman, says Dato' Seri Stephen.

Dato’ Seri Stephen, who has known Prof Ho for 10 years, declared, “He is really a genuine gentleman in demeanour and in the way he carries himself,” adding, “what stands out is your grace that comes from a place of strength and of course your friendliness.”

WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon highlighted, “He is a very honest person, very transparent, empowering and passionate.” Dr Koh also used terms like “communicative, compassionate” but conceded that the best word to describe Prof Ho is “cool” since he stays cool under all circumstances.

 Dr Koh asks to emulate Prof Ho's example of staying cool in all circumstances.

Dr Koh asks to emulate Prof Ho's example of staying cool in all circumstances.

He also referred to Prof Ho’s executive secretary Julie Lim’s remarks in a farewell video of never seeing her boss lose his temper and that we all can learn from him. Dr Koh stated, “This is one quality which is extremely difficult to emulate. Whenever you feel like losing your temper at your colleagues in WOU, because arguing over certain issues, or even at your loved ones, think of the cool Prof Ho.”

In regards to the comments from the previous Vice Chancellors in WOU’s 10th anniversary video, Dr Koh pointed out that Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng expressed confidence that when WOU celebrates its 21st anniversary, the University would be the leading provider of education in the ASEAN region. “So we must really think big for the next 11 years,” he urged.

 (From left) Prof Ho, Dr Koh, Dato' Seri Stephen and Prof Wong cut the anniversary cake.

(From left) Prof Ho, Dr Koh, Dato' Seri Stephen and Prof Wong cut the anniversary cake.

He also agreed with Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan in which the latter expressed concern whether WOU is ready to meet the future challenges. “So it is not a matter of hardware, it’s not a matter of software, but is very important, mind ware, the mindset. We have to have a mindset ready for change,” Dr Koh stressed.

Dr Koh presented a leather briefcase as a farewell gift from WOU, while the very fitting song, “Simply the Best”, blasted in the background.

 Dr Koh (right) presents a leather briefcase to Prof Ho as Dato' Seri Stephen looks on.

Dr Koh (right) presents a leather briefcase to Prof Ho as Dato' Seri Stephen looks on.

Prof Ho joined WOU on 5 February 2007 as Director of the Centre for Graduate Studies; was Dean of School of Science and Technology from September 2007- October 2009; Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Support) from 1 November 2009 until his promotion to Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) on 1 December 2010; and Vice Chancellor from 1 October 2012.

Prof Ho, in his message, expressed his thankfulness to all and mentioned the need for strategic and financial planning, and maintaining the honour and integrity of WOU's vision while being open to innovative change. 

 Prof Ho expresses his gratitude to management and staff.

Prof Ho expresses his gratitude to management and staff.

About 150 staff and guests attended WOU’s 10th year Anniversary and Appreciation Dinner held at G Hotel today.

 Best dressed contest winners in the men's category (right) and women's category (left) with their prizes presented by Dr Koh (centre).

Best dressed contest winners in the men's category (right) and women's category (left) with their prizes presented by Dr Koh (centre).