ForeverMissed
Stories

High Tea, Japan, Road Trips and Yarn... Lots of Yarn...

Shared by Stacey Stace on September 17, 2020
Lee Yoong, Connie and I shared an interest in Japanese EGL fashion and the three of us loved having high tea while dressed up in our finest Lolita dresses. I still remember the day when she invited Connie and I over for high tea and had somehow convinced Victor to dress up as a butler! Victor played the part perfectly. For the entire afternoon he was pouring our tea and making sure we were well looked after as we bonded over scones and cucumber sandwiches. That was truly the beginning of a beautiful friendship and from that day, the three of us made it our mission to enjoy all the High Teas that Melbourne had to offer.

Lee Yoong loved Japan, Japanese culture, anime and J-rock.  She shared this love with Victor, Derek, Rayner, and her friends in Singapore Kenneth, Ruiling and Steph. She loved Japan so much that she ended up purchasing tickets to fly back there, 3 days after returning home from a recent Japan trip. 

Lee Yoong loved to make desserts and best of all, she loved sharing them with us as well. She would make us the most delicious cakes, different flavoured sorbets, green tea and black sesame ice creams. This eventually inspired Cindy to start baking and creating desserts as well. Each time she and Victor organized a gathering at their place, she would welcome us all with wide open arms, a warm smile and big "HELLO!". 

Lee Yoong was filled with love. She loved her family; her friends; her colleagues; and she loved her hobbies such as knitting and sewing. Even though our good friend Ki Jin moved from Melbourne to Perth she was very much like a big sister to him.  She was much like a big sister to the baby of the group Vincent as well - setting him straight if he ever played up too much. She was always looking out for us. When Jordan and Connie had a little baby, Lee Yoong knitted a beautiful shawl for Connie to make sure she would stay warm during the cold nights when the baby woke up.

Underneath that loving but tough exterior, Lee Yong had a wicked and mischievous sense of humour. One day she managed to convince the group to follow her on a little road trip to a lamb festival. The group being a bunch of greedy foodies thought that the lamb festival would be a feast of barbecued chops and slow cooked meats, as such, agreed to go on that trip with her. After a couple of hours driving, the gang were all shocked to discover that this lamb festival was in fact a celebration of yarn!  Lee Yong had wanted to visit this place to stock up on yarn and wool for her knitting projects!

Oh, she got us good, she got us really good.

Today, we remember Lee Yoong for who she was: That quiet, determined, beautiful soul filled with love and hope. We will forever treasure memories of her and her companionship. The lessons that she has taught us and the good times that we’ve had with her will remain with us always. May her light shine down upon us, and may her legacy live on so that we may all continue to love one another, to persevere in the face of difficulty and most of all, to have the courage to hope. 

Building her own desktop PC.

Shared by Keyane Loh on September 7, 2020
This is the PC that my sister Lee Yoong built herself. I am proud of her that she can assemble all these parts by herself. It is a AMD Ryzen 5 system with 16GB of RAM and GTX1650. She even installed a AIO CPU water cooler to reduce the noise. 
She mainly uses the PC to research on sewing patterns and knitting articles,  web browsing and light gaming.
Shared by Evonne Tim on September 5, 2020
I have been trying to think of a way to express my appreciation for Lee Yoong. Everyone has spoken of her kindness, care and creativity and it’s all true, without a doubt. What struck me most about Lee Yoong was that she was game for anything.

Example 1: I really got to know Lee Yoong when we both rather naively volunteered to sing songs from Les Miserables for a youth performance. We stood next to each other, the alto girls. We were not natural singers, so we practiced in my car to and from rehearsals and meetings, inventing “car karaoke” way before it was James Corden’s idea. Our repertoire wasn’t just limited to Les Mis, but expanded to other songs, especially Redd Kross’ version of “Yesterday Once More” with its “sha-la-la-laaaaahhhh!!!!” chorus (at this point I should also add that Vic was also in the car with us). I never felt self-conscious because Lee Yoong was all in and her sense of fun and ridiculousness was infectious. I am yet to laugh and sing until I lose my voice like I did with Lee Yoong.

Example 2: When ACMI hosted the Pixar exhibition years ago, a giant Toy Story ball sculpture was sitting outside. I had the idea that we could take a photo of one of us being crushed by the ball and the other person screaming. The image in my head was hilarious, but I was not committed enough to lie on the (gross) ground. But Lee Yoong was committed to the vision and lay straight down! All I had to do was look devasted and scream, but I was so self-conscious that I only look vaguely perplexed in the photo — Lee Yoong looks amazing though. Her deep commitment to encourage those around her was expressed in her courage. She could be doing things outside of her comfort zone, but you’d never know it. She lived so true to her values and who she was that she inspired everyone to do the same.

Thank you, Lee Yoong, for your sharing your enormous heart. I am forever changed for the better for knowing you.

The Gang

Shared by Agnes Ng on September 5, 2020
Dear Lee Yoong,
I am blessed that life has given me the opportunity to know you, through this crazy, funny Asian uni group (the Gang) where it was like a big family, just as brothers and sisters. We all went to movies as a 20+ group, the long tables joined together to accommodate all of us at La Porchetta, and so many birthday celebrations and gatherings. You were always a happy person. I wish I could know you better that we could share cooking, travelling/adventures, and perhaps riding a bike beside you! Thank you for being there at my farewell party before I went to exchange in L.A. when I thought I might be losing all the friendships as it's the last uni year. But this amazing gang has such a deep bonding where we then witnessed graduations, weddings and having kids! You and Victor simply bring joy and laughs to those around you especially during our trip to Bandung and Singapore! I look forward to more gatherings of the Gang and I am sure your spirit will still be with us, shining through via your incredible husband Victor! You life is just a victory, Lee Yoong. My daughter has decided to pay her tribute by donating her long hair to the cancer council. I think you will like that. Miss you.
Shared by Dolly Thothongkum on September 5, 2020
Dearest Lee Yoong,

You’re one of a kind. You're never afraid to express your unique self, which I really admire. I love your bright smiles and caring gestures when I buy something in the bookshop seeing you there and exchange our hugs. You have so many passions and great energy. I love seeing you dressed in your special made costumes and they were so impressive. I’m so inspired by your beautiful soul. I know you won’t be resting too long because of your great passion for life itself. You will come back again soon for the next adventure near by your loved ones. Thank you for being my friend and sharing some of your incredible journey in this life with me.

Meanwhile please rest well.

Much love,

Dolly

Shared by Wanlian Ooi on September 4, 2020
Lee Yoong was always encouraging, always cheerful with her dimpled smile and laugh that you won’t forget. She has supported me and so many other people, especially when I first came to Melbourne and started practising in SGIA. I will always be grateful to her for encouraging me to apply for a Gohonzon. 
Dear Lee Yoong, Thank you for all your encouragements to me and your contributions to so many people’s lives. Thank you for giving me, along with Pey Jung and Yee Fei the privilege to come up with games for you and Victor on your wedding day. It was one of the most memorable and fun weddings I’ve ever attended and we had fun coming up with the games.You will be missed Lee Yoong.

Shared by Engteck Soon on September 4, 2020
I first came to know Lee Yoong through my association with Victor and the SGIA Youth, when both of them were still students. For anyone whom know her for the first time or long time, Lee Yoong would always greet you with a big smile. The one indelible memory took place when I was hanging out with Victor at their "student house" and Lee Yoong would just come home late night after finishing her restaurant part time job. She would packed some food from the restaurant to ensure Victor is "fed" and looked after. We know that's Lee Yoong, her care and concerns for her loved ones, friends and strangers alike, will leave anyone with a deep impression. 

I would also like to share that on the day of her passing, I got woken up at 7am with Lee Yoong's beautiful smiles and laughters. That's how she looks after her friends! 


A Youthful Diary

Shared by YM Ho on September 4, 2020
At one point, studying Sensei's A Youthful Diary was the rave. Even when we were in a study we will talk about studying it. Some of us got the book and for Lee Yoong she got the book and also started her own Youthful Diary. I remembered very vividly the moment she actually let me have a glimpse of her youthful diary. It was a very precious moment because the diary is so personal. Her first youthful diary was in an unassuming notebook that was spiral bound and the pages had horizontal lines. As my eyes landed onto an entry, I didn't see perfect calligraphic handwriting liken to that of those Hogwarts academy. Instead I saw ordinary handwriting of the daily life of someone extraordinary.  Thank you for sharing - Teresa

Wedding Book Entry

Shared by Viet Doan on September 4, 2020
Lee Yoong and Vic were at my wedding in Nov 2018, my wife (Amy) and I were very happy to see them. Just want to share their entry in our guest book (it was either Vic writing and LY's words or LY writing and Vic's words):

Dear Viet and Amy,

"Happy wife, Happy life" may seem cliche, but it's only half the truth. Love and marriage is not just people facing each other honestly, but both facing the same direction, working hard side by side for the same destination. Cherish, support, forgive, love, fight, make up, surprise and hold each other dearly, everyday, every moment. Vic and Lee Yoong"

We won't forget seeing you at our wedding and the kind words you've given us.
Shared by Debbie Li on September 3, 2020
This photo will always be how I will remember Lee Yoong. I was having the hardest time during my uni days and I had no one. She invited me over to make pineapple tarts and the rest was history. We did trays of it and we fed Victor along the way!
Her magnanimous and gracious heart inviting a lonely kid into her home when I needed solace was a testament to her gentility, her grace and best of all, she was always the big sister I looked up to during my times in Melbourne. It saddens me that I never got the chance to speak to her during my years back in KL but I will always remember the plum wine she loved making, her knitting patience and lets not forget her beautiful garden in her home and the produce that came out of it! Thank you for your grace in this world Lee Yoong x 

Woolly Wool

Shared by EePin Pang on September 3, 2020
Leeyoong once convinced us to go to a Wool festival in regional Victoria. It was winter and cold. She promised us that the festival had lots and lots of good food. So we all piled into the car and drove to this faraway place, and walked on the mud into the venue. It was a pretty big venue... but there was not a lot of food. There was 1 lamb burger stand. And we all ate from there in the rain. The festival itself was alright. We saw sheep shearing which was fun, and there was a nice market too. But Leeyoong had found paradise and was buying wool, wool, wool and more wool. 

From then on, we've always said she had tricked us into travelling to a place she loved. 

What are words...

Shared by Bernice Huang on September 2, 2020
What are words now that you’ve gone to a better place? We have so much to say, but we’ll save them up for you another day.
Till we meet again dear friend, we’ll always remember our first Muar trip with you in 2012. And 2017 in Singapore chinatown, we had desserts so fun, so full.
We love your smiles, and laughter. And thanks for bringing so much joy whenever we gather.
I read our Melbourne Uni group chats 2014 till 2020. Thanks for leaving your words of legacy to entertain us aplenty.
Zion and I think about you and Victor. Our hearts are with you both forever.
God Bless you Sister. We’ll go disturb you when our time here’s over.
I still have your fb message chickpeas recipe: “This was described by colleague so all amounts are agak agak. Melt butter, sautee garlic till fragrant. Put in drained chickpeas (soaked overnight if using dried  ones, I used a canned pre soaked chickpeas). When it's cooked through, put in parsley and lemon juice (I used half a lemon). Season with salt and pepper. Done. Took me 10 mins.” — Lee Yoong
Zion and I love to cook a lot now. We will cook this recipe for our kids, and tell them Aunty Lee Yoong’s not just a medical scientist, an artist but a chef too. We thank you for your warm friendship, it’s been an honour to know you.
Love you Lee Yoong... 
We will miss you. We can’t sing very well, thus we have attached a song, “What Are Words” — our heartfelt tribute to you.

The blue jacket and the brown "Billabong" jacket

Shared by Victor Sam on September 3, 2020
Lee Yoong has a blue jacket when I first met her in university. It was her day to day jacket that she wore. It served its purpose, keeping her warm without feeling heavy. She loved that jacket - and because she loved it so much, it started to wear down until one seam fell apart. The jacket had a big gap between the fleece layer and the top water proof layer.

But Lee Yoong still kept and wore that blue jacket - making her look like she was homeless which annoyed me a lot. Whatever parties or events we went to, she would wear the blue jacket with the gaping hole. I've tried every which way to convince her to buy a new one - even buying her a new jacket (brown Billabong jacket). She would always choose the blue jacket to put on and looked at me with the evil eye when I complained about it. I made it a point to express my dislike of the blue jacket, to the point that one day, she mended that hole and triumphantly showed me, "proving" that it is good as new.

And I did give up for a year, until I couldn't stand it anymore and I hid the blue jacket one day. She looked high and low all over the house and couldn't find it, but I rushed her saying we were late. She begrudgingly wore her other brown jacket - victory! Or so I thought. The brown jacket became her next favorite jacket that she wore everyday until it too had the same problem of the seams falling apart. It was back to square one trying to convince Lee Yoong to buy a new jacket to wear.

Once Lee Yoong has her mind set on something, she is determined to see it through and achieve it. I've always admired that tenacity and discipline. Because when she says she loves me bluntly, I am always at ease because I know she means it from the depths of her heart. And whenever she gives in to my ideas and wishes, I know that she does it with great love - because I'll be damned if Lee Yoong just says "ok" immediately to anything I want.

Over lolita and 2D ikemens

Shared by Connie Lo on September 2, 2020
Lee Yoong and I have a love for all things Japanese, from anime to uni (sea urchin), lolita fashion to thermos bottles, and our love for umeshu and otome games, which were filled with 2D ikemen (pretty boys). 

I remember that day in Japan, we dressed in our beautiful "same day bought" yukatas to go see fireworks. Feeling extremely excited when we left the hotel, only to find out the distance of the fireworks from the closest station was super far. In our new getas that hasn't relaxed yet.. both our feet were so sore by the time we got there. We ate our yakisoba and karage we bought at the matsuri while waited. Finally the fireworks started, it was beautiful, beautifully hypnotising, yes hypnotising.. we both fell asleep midway through it. It was a long day for us after rushing from places to places to visit, Lee Yoong style, Lee Yoong pace. It was fun none the less. After the fireworks, we hobbled our way back to our hotel, had the longest bath, stuck on our cooling feet pads (one of the best Japanese inventions!), sat on the bed, drank umeshu while watching unsubbed anime on TV, and waited for the boys to come back from Rock in Japan. It was one of my favourite days in Japan.

The other will have to be our Swallowtail butler's cafe experience where we wore lolita for the first time. Had one of the most pampered high teas we ever had. Before leaving for Japan, you knew I wanted to try lolita, so you researched and took me to all these places in Harajuku, and I got my first dress. Looking back at our coords then, there were definitely lots of room to improve and improve we did. We evolved into our own styles of lolita and am so grateful to have Stacey with us in our lolita journey as a Trio. We will continue to have more tea parties in memory of you. You taught me to always live the fullest and never leave any regrets behind. Meaning "Buy that dress you like! Just don't tell Jordan." 

When you told me you starting playing Ikemen Sengoku (a girly love story game), I was overjoyed, I picked it back up right away after a hiatus after baby, because it is so much fun when your real life friend plays it too. We spend hours on it and maybe a bit of coins, just a little bit. This was around when you first found out about your tumour and had it removed waiting for results. A month or so later, just a "So has the results come back?" I became one  of the first people to know that it was cancerous. I felt incredibly sad, I cried, I could not sleep for days. But you were so positive, never showed any signs of weakness, and continued living as the Lee Yoong we knew. You spoke fondly of all those beautiful 2D men in the games. Joking that 3D Vic can't win against them and need to cover him in a body pillow cover. Although I know Vic is still your one true love no matter how hot Shingen or Masamune is.

Rest well now my dear friend. I hope you are enjoying all the things you love right now wherever you are. I look forward to catching up over tea when we meet again. I love you.

One Lady - Many Talents!

Shared by Danielle Ward on September 2, 2020
When I think of you Lee, I think of three things: Couture, Anime and Degustation and in no particular order.  You enjoyed all three and if possible, all together. 

Your passion for the beautiful, the unique, the challenging and the fun was so evident in all the things that you chose to put your time and effort into.  Your friend's pictures and stories all paint a picture of a beautiful caring, passionate, witty, loving and talented lady. 

As a very valued member of the Melbourne Couture Group, we will miss you dearly but think of you always.  It is so hard to believe you will not be with us again. What you achieved and completed in your time with us was extremely special and I will forever be grateful for the times that we spent discussing fitting, beading, fabrics, all things cute and Japanese and so much more.  I think of you when I hear Yiruma's music, so you.  You discovered and embraced such special things in life, it truly is impressive.  Your family must be so incredibly proud of you.

We will meet often down Memory Lane, but it is with heavy heart that we must say goodbye for now Lee.

Rest in peace dear friend.
Shared by EePin Pang on September 2, 2020
I first met Leeyoong in my first year of Uni. I believe Derek was the one that introduced us, with Rayner, Steph and Ruiling, right before our first gathering at the Melbourne Uni anime club. Anime club was fun. We would sit in a darkened lecture hall and watch a couple of anime episodes. Our little group especially loved anime and we bonded from that. From there, it was a fast friendship, and we would have lunch everyday together and hang out at the biomedical libraries because we were nerds. The Biomed group would do actual studying while the others would have naps. It was then Victor Sam joined us. A year higher than us, he joined us with an expressed intention to impress Leeyoong. I was annoyed by his presence at first, but he joined our merry band after. To those who know us, the rest, is really, history. Eighteen years of it. And there’s so much to remember and to share.

I remember the way Leeyong speaks to you. She’s direct and honest to the point of bluntness. If she doesn’t like something, she will tell you. It will show on her face. It’s never to hurt but it can be confronting. But when she likes you or something you’ve done, her face lights up and her smile, ah her smile lights up the room. She is always practical, and so requires practical ideas and solutions, sometimes to a fault, but she is always supportive of more unorthodox ideas as well. Maybe with a frown on her face while it happens. And when it all blows up, she jumps in with a ‘I knew it!’ and proceeds to look after us like the mum she is while giving cautionary advice.

I remember Leeyong’s love for reading. She would always have a book in her bag. She reads all kinds of books, but I especially recall her love of the classics. We also share a love for Neil Gaiman and anime art books. Oh the money we spent! She absolutely loves Kinokuniya and we often lost her there when shopping. Or she loses herself through no fault of ours. If you see her library, it is meticulously arranged so please do not touch it. 

I remember Leeyoong’s knitting and sewing. She is the one who knits. Scarves, blankets, socks, the cutest dolls. To know Leeyoong is to see her knit. She would knit at gatherings, restaurants, in the car while her husband weaves through traffic at breakneck speed, and once at a hardcore drunken rave party at my place. To this day, my friends still say how impressed they were that she entered the room, got herself a drink, found some friends and a little corner before taking out her needles to knit while the party raged about her. To get a knitted item from Leeyoong was considered a precious and important thing. I once bugged her to knit me a scarf. For 10 years I bugged her to which she always replied ‘one day’, until that one day, she turned up with this beautiful scarf, an absolute rainbow of warmth. Til now, this rainbow protects me from the cold and I am so grateful for this treasure.

I remember Leeyoong’s cooking. And her generosity with it. She would especially share her baked goods, and her fragrant plum wine. They were absolutely delicious and full of soul. We were also her guinea pigs, especially for fermented goods, and our reactions would help her tweak the recipe. If you were lucky, she would have spare homemade ice cream in the freezer. If you annoyed her, she had a set of sharp Japanese knives ready to chase you around with. And with the food, there was the hospitality. So many events and lunches and dinners in her home. I have always looked forward to the CNY, Christmas and the Mooncake festivals in her home. 

I remember Leeyong’s ferocity, commitment and her adventurous spirit. Nothing is a wall for her. There would always be a way forward and she led the way. I mean, she rode a motorcycle three times her size, down the streets at who knows what demonic speed, and looking so badass in her motorcycle jacket while doing it. She was also always in the midst of learning new skills and travelling the world whenever she saw the need to explore. She worked and studied hard to constantly improve herself. She constantly pushed her limits of what could be done with inspiring commitment and passion. 

I remember our trips together. Road and sky. Our travels with food and fun. Our epic Japan trip that we didn’t know would actually happen. What an adventure. She led us on a chase to find the all-woman acting troupe. She researched so many yummy places to eat. She dressed up in her lolita outfit which she had brought all the way from Melbourne, in 30 degree heat, all so she could meet butlers in a cafe, while her husband and I went to an Ultraman exhibition. We had very different ideas of fun then. But one of my favourite times was us all wearing yukatas and roaming Kyoto. She looked so radiant in hers and other tourists would take sneaky photos of her. We have had so many photos together in so many places. I’m thankful for them. 

I remember Leeyong’s love and thoughtfulness for her friends. And her kindness. She always had little gifts when we saw each other. Be it stationery (it’s usually cute stationery), or some fruit she’s grown in her jungle of a garden. She loved the garden and the sunflowers she grew. She also talked about watermelons a lot. She would write letters and notes for us, all with her fancy fountain pen in super-neat handwriting. She would listen to you and did her best to support, advise and help. There were so many late nights of sharing stories of woe and support, especially when we did our sleepovers. I remember our sleepovers and our anime marathons, and just our quiet times talking about the world. I remember watching Insidious together and scaring ourselves. Why oh why did we watch Insidious? 

I remember Leeyong’s love for Victor Sam. It is a love people remember and talk about for decades to come. It is a love that inspires and one for the epics. From the early days of Uni, to the tougher days of Nhill travelling, to the magic event that was their costumed wedding. I was so honoured to be the best man, who had frontseat view of seeing her walk into the hall, wearing the beautiful dress she had made herself (which she finished the morning of), to the light piano tones of a Ghibli song (I think it was Totoro). That’s not to say there weren’t hiccups. There was a time where Victor had forgotten to pick her up from the airport and I believe he got into trouble, but the rest of us just giggled at it. I mean, the love between the two of them is plain for all to see. It is so deep and so strong. It is the ocean and the sky. Their devotion to each other is so genuine and they fit together so damn well. They are as thick as thieves and they have stolen each other’s hearts. It is a love that endures and burns eternal. This I clearly remember. All who know them do. 

It’s impossible to describe everything. There is still so much to say. There is too much. There are so many memories. There’s her buzzing into my apartment after her shift and just collapsing onto the couch without a word while waiting for Victor to pick her up. There’s her scolding Rayner after he pulls another prank on her or makes a silly joke. There’s her on a beanbag watching TV. There’s the invite to her murder mystery birthday and I played an Egyptian mummy dressed in a tutu. There’s us roaming Manifest and ending up in a theatre to just watch anime in the comforting darkness. There’s her singing Hokkien songs with such passion in KBox and us all covering our ears when Victor Sam screams Linkin Park songs. There’s her always with a V sign pose and all the different, amazing hairstyles. There’s her with mirth in her eyes as Derek tries to get the video projector to work and of course failing. She is a good soul. She is a caring friend. She is kindness and generosity. She is courageous and noble and defiant at what life throws at her. There’s so much to say and not enough words. We have had a complicated relationship these past few years, but I still am honoured to have known her friendship and love. I know it is not easily given, which makes me even luckier to have had so much time with her.

Yong Jie, I am heartbroken that you have moved to another adventure so soon. I am sure it is one of warmth and where there is no pain. But I miss you and to know that you’re not here pains me. But I also know that you have never left. There are so many that remember you and all that you are. And you stay in their hearts. I remember you, and you will always remain in my heart. Yong Jie, wherever you are, know that I love you. Thank you so much for your love, your friendship and these precious memories. Until our paths meet again. 


A passion for sewing

Shared by Rayner Lim on September 2, 2020
I remember the good old uni days where we hang out together. One of those memorable times was Eepin's bday party. Eeps decided to invite his workmates and close friends all in one go. 30+ people in one tiny apartment, sure why not? Mingling was literally just a rotation away.

I would go around having a chat with various people only I couldn't quite find Lee Yoong. Where was she? Eventually I found her, sat down and with the most common pose we've seen so many a times. She was sewing; in the midst of 30+ people! I kept a look out and she never moved from that spot. I imagine it would be troublesome with the yarn.

Truly a lady dedicated to the arts! And oh behold the masterpieces from those lengthy sewing sessions. There was too many to mention but for sure, Lee Yoong was one driven lady!

To Lee Yoong! May you be Sewing, wherever you are.

High school: House on Fire

Shared by Keyane Loh on September 2, 2020
I remember Lee Yoong coming home one day sobbing, in tears and crying. She told us that a classmate's house had burnt down and her classmate was badly injured and burnt, requiring extensive skin grafts. She chanted and prayed a lot for him, over a few weeks, sending strong daimoku so that the doctors and nurses could help him.
I believe this is one of the moments that contributed to Lee Yoong wanting to work in the medical industry.

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