I’ll never find another you, Steph

(Stephanie Khoo Lean Yi 25.10.1972 – 18.3.2022)

by Yong Soo Heong

Exactly two years ago today, my world again crumbled: Stephanie Khoo Lean Yi, my best friend and confidante, suddenly left this world when she succumbed to cancer, which resurfaced in late 2021 although she had kept those marauding cells at bay in 2012.

Steph’s untimely departure came some seven years after the sudden tragic loss of my beloved wife, Amy Bok Soon Boey, also from the Big C, towards the end of 2015.

It had not been easy, especially when you lose someone who had been a tower of strength and support. And for always being a witty and optimistic companion even when the chips were down or outlook appeared bleak.

Even during the darkest or most challenging of moments, Steph (only reserved for close friends while the Stephanie label was for others!) could still dissect what needs to be done next. Perhaps she might have caught on what I had often extolled about the late PY Chin, Business Editor Extraordinaire at The Star, who was always adept at dismembering the intricate elements of any complicated corporate deal into such coherent and readable narratives!   

An Assuntarian through and through from her primary till secondary years in Petaling Jaya, she went to Taylor’s College before she hopped over to Kalamazoo’s Western Michigan U in Michigan to major in public relations and a minor in journalism.

Upon her return to Malaysia, she interned at Grey, then joined Shandwick Malaysia and Perception Management before she was enticed to a boutique PR firm called Pro-Active Communication.

Meant for bigger things, she joined Shell IT at Cyberjaya before moving to Shell Malaysia where she had a good innings at both Damansara Heights and KL Sentral. Steph later joined Sapura Energy and finally UEM Edgenta, two major GLCs on the Malaysian business landscape.

As someone with a pleasant disposition, she had many friends and acquaintances in the media – New Straits Times, The Star, The Sun, Harian Metro, Sin Chew, Nanyang, The Edge and of course, BERNAMA!

A soprano during her spare time, Steph used to sing for the SFX Choir in Jalan Gasing and was part of a close-knit group engaged to sing at weddings or funerals. Her usual “gang members” were Sandra Phoon (now living in Toronto), Beatrice Choo and the late Pauline Lai with Eugene Morais at the organ.

Steph was also a member of the Selangor Philharmonic and Six to Eight acapella group. Besides admiring Il Divo, the classical crossover vocal group, pop was never far from her with ABBA, Ronan Keating, Boyzone, Backstreet Boys and Alan Tam among her many favourites.

Lest my sight fades because of watery eyes as I write this, I better say that Steph had been a great friend, conscientious employee and filial daughter who bore no malice to anyone. She may have been a tad sensitive at times but she was always a person who did not let people down right till the end despite encountering the occasional slithery souls in her line of work. That was the Steph that I knew. To console her soul, perhaps this proverb may be apt: Ada ubi ada talas, ada budi ada balas.

Steph, I’ll certainly not find another you. You may be out of sight but not out of mind. Rest well at Lutheran Garden, Steph.