|March 31, 2008|
|Former BT deputy news editor dies|
|By Chong Chee Kin
|THE one true passion of former Business Times (BT) deputy news editor Eddie Toh was journalism.
Even after leaving the newspaper for public relations last year, he retained a voracious appetite for politics and current affairs.
Yesterday, just two days short of his 41st birthday, Mr Toh died in hospital after suffering a massive heart attack at home.
He is survived by his wife of three years, Linda. The couple, who had no children, had birthdays one day apart and planned to celebrate her birthday today.
Mr Toh, a Malaysian, started his journalism career at The Straits Times almost 20 years ago, reporting on financial news.
He left to work as an analyst before returning to BT as its Malaysia correspondent. He was later made the paper’s deputy news editor here.
His sudden death was a shock to his family and friends.
BT senior correspondent Ven Sreenivasan, who knew him for over a decade, described Mr Toh as ‘easily one of the nicest people around’.
‘He was warm and approachable and one of those genuinely friendly people,’ he said. ‘He was very laid back and easy to talk to. He was very knowledgeable about Malaysian politics and we used to talk about it all the time.’
A close friend of nearly two decades, former BT news editor Quak Hiang Whai said: ‘Other men may talk about football when they meet but, with Eddie, it was always politics and global issues. Even after he left BT, we would spend our time doing a postmortem of the newspapers when we met.’
Mr Vince Chong, Beijing correspondent with The Straits Times, said he was in Singapore last week and had dinner with Mr Toh at Clarke Quay.
‘He was his usual jovial self, joking about politics and catching up on the gossip in the corporate world,’ he said.
At about 3pm yesterday, Mr Toh complained of discomfort and began to vomit.
With the help of a neighbour, his wife took him to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. By then, he was unconscious.
Mr Quak, who was among the friends and colleagues who went to the hospital as soon as they heard the news, said: ‘I kept whispering in his ear, telling him we should both return to BT and we would stir up a storm together – anything that would excite him. I felt so helpless.’
But Mr Toh slipped away.
BT editor Alvin Tay, who had also gone to the hospital, said: ‘I was shocked when I heard the news. He seemed quite fit when he was with BT.’
He remembered Mr Toh representing the paper at one of the Singapore Exchange’s Bull Runs in the Central Business District.
‘He was also affectionately known in BT as the newspaper’s CEO, or chief entertainment officer, mainly for chairing the organising committees for several of our fun events.
‘I was disappointed when he decided to quit the paper last year. To me, it was a loss to journalism.’
Sudden Death – Heart Seizures!
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