Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Pierre de Coubertin of Asia"

Chua Ah Tok (left) with IOA's Isidoros Kouvelos. He is well respected by the people in IOA

He is the "Pierre de Coubertin of Asia". Chua Ah Tok, the academician who is very popular in the sports circle, was given that "title" by some directors of International Olympic Academy (IOA) for his active participation and contribution to the education side of the Olympic movement.
Ah Tok, 64, has been the Director of National Olympic Academy (NOA) Malaysia since 1994 and has helped Thailand and Cambodia set up their respective academies. Now he is in the process of setting up the NOA in Nepal.
Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin mooted the idea to form an educational wing for the Olympic movement and this was approved at in 1949, three years after his death, and finally inaugurated on 14 Jun 1961. As of now, 140 countries have formed their own NOA's, with Malaysia having one of the most active academy in this part of the world.
Ah Tok graduated with a Master of Science degree in Education and Sports Administration from the University of New Mexico, USA. He was the Director of Sports and Lecturer of the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya (UM) for more than 20 years. He retired in 1999.
He has been a teacher, lecturer and administrator in elementary and secondary schools, Colleges and University for more than 40 years. He was also instrumental in establishing the Sports Center at UM, which became he first varsity to offer the Bachelor of Sports Science Degree in Malaysia.
After retiring from UM, he was appointed as Registrar, Office of Admissions and Records, Nilai University College in Negeri Sembilan.
The NOA of Malaysia, under the leadership of Ah Tok, has conducted 12 NOA Sessions without a break and the international body acknowledges the Malaysian Sessions are among the best and attended by participants from more than 25 countries.
As NOA Director, he initiated the Nilai University College-OCM Scholarship program, a move to enable former and current national athletes to pursue tertiary education leading to Diplomas and Degrees.
He is now a member of the prestigious International Pierre De Coubertin Committee, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

As Chef-De-Mission to the Commonwealth Youth Games in India

Ah Tok is currently the Deputy President of Softball Association of Malaysia (SAM) and served as a member of the Football Association of Malaysia's Vetting Committee.
With this credential, Ah Tok would certainly be the best choice to lead the NOA Malaysia again, for now. However, the sports fraternity is buzzing with rumors that there are attempts to replace him with a below 50 year old candidate, a move that is puzzling because for an academic post, the criteria has always been "the older the better".
And, even if there are "succession plans" for replacing older officials, then the process should start from the oldest downward or from the highest down, a process many of us know l as leadership by example.
Officials are saying that a suggestion to that effect was made during a recent Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) meeting of elected office bearers. However there has been no official statement yet, said an official who contacted me.
The only conclusion one can make, said the official, is that Ah Tok is being made a scapegoat for the little waves that was felt during the recent elections.
"If this is how certain people react to waves, I wonder what they will do if they know of a coming tsunami next time around," said the official.
In the meantime Ah Tok is hoping that common sense will prevail and the desire to maintain status quo will be applicable to the post of National NOA Director also.


  1. Looks like some oldies telling Ah Tok that he is too old. Good piece, keep it up.

  2. Joe has highlighted his credentials and his contributions to the Malaysian sports community but I would like to highlight his personal passion for the Olympic Academy, his commitment to the ideals of Olympism is unsurpassed.

    As a former graduate of the Academy session, I have experienced firsthand his level of passion and commitment.

    If he is used as a scapegoat for a person's personal agenda, SHAME ON YOU!

  3. Well said Joe...if the desired person/s in OCM wants Ah Tok to go, let them see of themselves 1st before removing others. It's really a Catch the Sec Gen is 71 and the NOA Director is just 54.

    Now who is the older person here?

  4. Mr. Chua is difinitely the "Pierre de Coubertin" of doubt of it. His dedication and contribution to Olympism no doubt has kept the Olympism spirit alive in Malaysia.

    The person who wants to remove him or use him as a scapegoat should evaluate his intentions and how he is putting his Olympic Values and his OWN Values to use.

    He has done nothing but spread Olympism through the Olympic Academy of Malaysia. What has he done to deserve this type of treatment??

    The Olympic Academy of Malaysia and its members who are trying to spread and teach Olympism also has been bad-mouthed and criticized by a "CERTAIN" someone who SHOULD be upholding these values.

    This someone should RETHINK his actions and RETRACT his words! SHAME ON YOU!

  5. Altius, Citius, Fortius.

    Way to go Mr Chua Ah Tok. Next year, we will do the Chicken dance again for the NOA participants.

    A very good article Joe...keep it up!

  6. Chua Ah Tok deserve the praise and the title of Pierre de Corbutin of Malaysia. Unlike the great Sec Gen of OCM who compares himself to the great Maj. Gen. Charouck Arirachakaran the VP and Sec. Gen. Olypic Council of Thailand. What I know is Charocuk is a fair man who hears both sides in dealing with problems of the NSA. OCM Sec. Gen thinks he should run and tell the NSA how they should run their sports. United Taekwando is the brain child of this SEc Gen. The sad part is the Board of OCM like the proverbial sheep just follow the the Sec Gen.

  7. Having Mr. Chua doing the work in the National Olympic Academy and making the Academy known internationally is something. Respect from the participants past and present, putting up the pogrammes and with the moderaters, running it is what Mr. Chua should be proud off and is good at. Mr.M.P. Haridas being the Secretary is equally fantastic.
    But throwing him out due to the age factor is not fair. Why do certain people in the OCM Board have a grudge? Is it because the Academy had been running well that a certain person is envious?
    If the OCM Board feels that age being the factor than they should look at the people in it too. The Sec Gen (who if I am not wrong) said that he will retire at this year AGM is still at the same position at the age of 71 going on to 72 than he should be able to accept a 54 year old academicion to continue giving or passing his knowedge down to the younger generations.
    Why have a grudge against Mr. Chua? Is it because he is good at what he does and that he is not a yes man? Think OCM Board Members. Do not remove and destroy the people that can do the work for the future for the sake of envy and selfishness.

  8. Keep up the wonderfull work Mr. Chua. Do not let these kind of critics detere your true dedication towards the Olympic Academy Of Malaysia.

    Being a previous participant of NOA and a representitive in Athens, we truly admire your dedication and hard work.

    Rest Assured You Have ALL our Support!

  9. The most important to also note is that Mr. Chua is NOT power hungry or trying to consolidate his power base which is the norm in most associations and dare I say...the OCM itself.

    He has a dedicated group of committed volunteers who also share his passion for the education of the Olympic Values. He has nurtured and guided these young leaders to take on positions of reponsibility within the academy and also other sports associations.

    These volunteers have also ventured into many successful endeavours such as business, sports management and administration work, social and NGO work.

    It has once been said that the sum of a person's legacy is not the consolidation of power or wealth but to ensure there is a young generation to maintain that legacy of success.

    That is the sum of Mr. Chua's life and dedication!

  10. Hmm, all the best to Chua Ah Tok. I guess he's a victim of the witch hunt in OCM?!

  11. Mr.Chua all shields and bullets are with you.
    We share our gratitude for his effort in bringing the Olympism faith true to each one of us.

    He has been the inspiration to form bridges and unity.

    I hope Mr.Chua will still be the omnipresence of future sporting events, involving himself in volunteering work and having a vision for our Malaysian atheletes in the eyes of the world.

    Thanks you Joe for the eye opener.

  12. Ida Fahany OsmanJune 20, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    I have known Mr Chua personally ever since my years in University Malaya. He's one of the most sincere man I've ever known. And he fits what he's doing like a glove. Age is not a factor here. A person who's heart is sincere in introducing, developing and instilling the spirit of Olympism can't be chosen by some set of committees! It must come from 1) straight from the heart 2) years and years of commitment 3) application

  13. Mr Chua
    You'll never walk alone

  14. 8th Session NOA
    From the recent OCM election, we can see certain
    parties gunning for top position. It's useless to hold multiple positions or posts in associations and not working for it.
    Age is not an issue. A person can be 65 or 75
    What we need is ability and experience.
    One things for sure, Mr Chua you are really passionate in your job, and we need a committed person like you. Do not be sleepless over this
    issue.When the storm passes, you will be the last man standing.Mr Chua keep up the good work. All past participants are behind you.

  15. Mr. Ah tok gave big example how his old age never make human weak person..
    he is strong in heart and will...
    i support him for the sake of Olympism...
    ex 11th NOA Malaysia participant...

  16. The email below by a past participant shows the quality and success of Malaysia's NOA session and the commitment put in by Mr. Chua the "Pierre de Coubertin of Asia".

    I rest my case.

    The past two weeks of my life have been so completely amazing. Right from the beginning when Nick picked us upfrom the airport, I knew I was going to have a great experience, but I had no idea just how great it was really going to be.The hospitality you all showed by taking us out basically all day long for two whole days before the session was amazing. Nowhere else in the world could have been that great. You moderators showed us what it truly means to be hospitable, caring, honest, and most of all: FUN!Coming into this trip, I knew I would get a chance to meet new people and travel to a foreign country, but what I gained from this session,I could have never even imagined or hoped for. Everything from the activities bright and early in the morning to the seven or eight lectures throughout the week taught me so many new things: friendship,diversity, humanitarianism, togetherness, but most of all—Olympism! Nowhere else in the world could combine all of these great lifelessons, all the while, still having the time of our lives—and you all made that possible.

    Mr. Chua and Mr. Haridas: the session you put together was amazing. The 18,000km and 36 hour transit to get there was absolutely worth itand I hope to do it all over again next year working as a moderator. I thank both of you for holding the NOA and volunteering your time in order to spread Olympism to us.

    Moderators: How do I even begin to thank you? Even right now as Iwrite this, 40,000 feet up in the air and halfway around the world—allI can think about is you guys. You all helped me have the best week ofmy life and I hope I've touched your lives at least a small fractionof how much you've touched mine.

    Thanks goes out to all of you moderators, Mr. Chua, and Mr. Haridasfor putting together the best Olympic Academy Session in the world.I've never been to any others—but after attending yours, I don't knowif I'd want to be with anyone else or go through any differentsession. It's so hard writing this because I want to be back inKL…waking up at 6AM, eating stingray, and listening to lectures, but most of all—just being with you all. You are all truly special people and the amount of culture and Olympic spirit I can now bring back to the USA with me is all because of you.

    So thank you…from the bottom of my heart, for everything—and I hope to be right backwith you next year, working and spreading the Olympism spirit rightalong with you all. I hope to hear from you ALL very soon!!!

    Sincerely, Bryan

  17. Mr.Chua can be old at his age, but his heart is still preety much young....Guys, not many ppl in this world at his age still very much active in sports circle, and with his help he has produce many talented young ppl to serve the nation,sports asso n the ppl itself. so, why do an organisation wants to replace him...My vote is for Mr.Chua Ah Tok....
    i have learn a lot from him during the Commanwealth Youth Games in India...Bravo Mr.Chua

  18. Mr.Chua is the best of all.
    His action are a reflection of the courage and unselfishness that we have come to recognize in him.. thanks a lot..

    ex-12th NOA session

  19. At the moment, I can't imagine the NOA without Mr. Chua. He has been the pulse of the organization and his passion remains strong. There shouldn't be any debate at all on who to take his place.

    A message to the people who wants Mr. Chua out, "Judge yourself before you judge somebody else!"

  20. Mr. Chua gets all the support out there. The truth shall prevail.

  21. Anon June 25 7:05, whose truth will prevail?

  22. Yee Kuai (NOA Participant 2007)June 29, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    I came to know Mr Chua when I joined Nilai University College in 2004. From my personal acquaintance, Mr Chua is a benevolent person and will go all the way to help any student or staff who needs his assistance. His office is always open and he had never turned away any student. He would solve all the problems quietly without any fuss. After solving the problems, Mr Chua would unwittingly never to mention these trivial cases anymore. It is not surprising that many students having problems would request to see him personally. To him no problem cannot be solved!

    It is during my participation at the NOA Session that I found Mr Chua’s true passion and commitment in promoting Olympism to young people. You can really see him fired up with passion when he delivers his lecture. His friendliness and easy interaction with all the participants both local and international is amazing. You can never tell his age! He would communicate with everyone without any air or protocol. Many international participants even approached Mr Chua to write recommendations to their NOCs for their selection to participate at the IOA in Olympia, Greece. This he did without any qualms at all. He is truly an educator of Olympism just like Coubertin.

    His commitment goes beyond the Academy when he initiated the Nilai UC-OCM Scholarship in 2002 for former and current national athletes to obtain tertiary education. He is responsible for interviewing and selecting the national athletes who have a desire to pursue tertiary education. One of the recipients, Ms Carol Lucia even graduated with a First Class Honours from Oxford Brookes University, U.K. under this Nilai UC–OCM scholarship. With Mr Chua’s recommendation, she was chosen as the Valedictorian at the Graduation ceremony. Currently, two national athletes are doing their degree programmes under this scheme.

    I am sure many past participants of the NOA Sessions cannot comprehend the motive of replacing him as the Director of the NOA of Malaysia. He has always taught us of friendship, fair play and sportsmanship.

    To me, Mr Chua is not only my boss, my mentor but above all, he is a true friend!

    Personally, I feel it will be a great loss to the National Olympic Academy if Mr Chua and his Board Members’ service are no longer required by OCM.

    Mr Chua, you can be proud and walk tall among the ‘little people’ of OCM and we, the participants of the NOA Sessions, salute you and hope that your good work and life will be blessed with good health, fortune and best wishes.

    We will always remember the true Olympism and the Olympic motto you taught us: Citius, Altius, Fortius means more than just sports that is: faster in mental alertness, higher in our moral standard, stronger in our character and struggle.

  23. Well said Yee summarized it perfectly....thank you!

    I like the way you use Citius, Altius, Fortius...excellent....

  24. Dear Ms Asst Secretary of OCM,

    Please read the above writeup (all) carefully and see whether any of the contributors has actually written your name or say about you, unless its the Malay saying "siapa yang makan cili dia yang rasa pedas". If not, please refrain from attacking me this shows bad upbringing or training as an educationist from your part!!!