The Late Datuk Lim Huck AikPAST PRESIDENT
[interview held on 7 October 1998 by Adeline Khoo, Asst. Secretary of the Club]
Adeline: Datuk, how many years were you President of the Club?
Datuk Lim: I was President of the Club for many years from 1958 to 1982.
Adeline: Datuk, what are the changes to racing when you were President of PTC and today?
Datuk Lim: I have not been to the Club for a long time but in my opinion, the horses are more or less the same. I believe there are a lot of changes to racing. Since Teh Choon Beng retired, Auric Stables have also semi-retired. When Teh Choon Beng was training, he won a lot of classic races for Auric Stables. When I was President, racing was more glamorous. Dinners were held before Cup days and the owners and trainers were smartly dressed. People came to the Club more for the sport but today they come in more for the gambling.
Adeline:What are your views on the improvements to the Club in recent years?
Datuk Lim: When I came into the Club as President, the financial position of the Club was very bad. The Manager of OCBC was complaining that the Club had overdrawn a lot of funds. I built up the Club and today the Club has accumulated reserves and money to spend. I hear that the Club now has a new multi-storey car park and veterinary clinic and also a very nice swimming pool for the horses. This is definitely a major step that the Club has taken to improve the facilities for the trainers. The improvements to the Club are much appreciated and for the betterment of the Club and racing.
Adeline:What was the most memorable event during your tenure as President?
Datuk Lim: The most memorable event in my time as President was when my horse Malapin won the Penang Gold Cup in 1965.
Adeline:What was a typical racing day like in the old days?
Datuk Lim: It was more of a sporting attraction which was also popular with the ladies.There was nothing much unless something unexpected happens.
Adeline: Can you name the racing personalities that you met over the years?
Datuk Lim: As far as I can remember, one of them was the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, a man who really encouraged racing. The others were the late Tan Sri Runme Shaw, Tan Sri Dr. Tan Chin Nam, the late Mr. Wong Siew Leng, the late Dr. C.K.Quek, the late Dato' Sir Clough Thuraisingham, Mr. H.M.Lee, the late Mr. Leong Hoe Yeng, Dato' Lee Kok Chee, the late Dato' Yeoh Cheang Lee, the late Mr. Cheah Ghim Leng, the late Mr. Foo Soo Kai, Tan Sri Dato' Seri V. Jeyaratnam, the late Mr. Ong Huck Lim, the late Mr. I.K.Cheah, the late Tan Sri Lee Tiang Keng, Dato' Lee Saik Kee and Datuk Haji K.Mushir Ariff.
The leading owners for the years 1961 to 1990 were L&T Stable, Shaw Stable, Veni Vici Stable, Mr. Ng Loong Kee, Lucky Stable, Goldmine Stable, Dato' & datin Wee Hood Teck, Dato' & Datin Chong Kok Lim, Auric Stable, Agasam Stable and Inderapura Stable
The leading trainers for the same period were the late K.R.Daniels, J.R.Rodgers, E.T. van Breukelen, R.W. van Breukelen, C.M.Tulloh, Teh Say Leong and his son who succeeded him, Teh Choon Beng, I.W.Allan and Johnny Kok.
The leading jockeys were L.W.Johnson, L.F.Harbridge, J.L.Wilson, J.D.Coleman, G.M.Pretty, J.E.Johnson, G.Podmore, R.Hutchinson, N.G.Harris, C.Gwilliam, A.Tweedie, N.Tiley, K.C.Ng, R.Dominguez, T.Lucas, M.Michikawa and M.Sng.
Adeline: What were the notable horses/races that you won over the years?
Datuk Lim: The names of the horses were Golden Lotus, Malahon, Malapin, Malasin and Precious Lotus.
Adeline: Is the standard of racing under the British and now any different?
Datuk Lim: The racing now is more professional. In my days as President, Penang did not have any resident vet and farrier. I was informed that Penang today has two resident veterinary surgeons. I believe that in order to improve the standard of racing, we need to have an expatriate veterinary surgeon as there are very few veterinary surgeons of international standard. Our local veterinary surgeon will definitely benefit from the exposure in working together with the expatriate veterinary surgeon. The horses I am sure, are very well taken care of. In addition to this, the new swimming pool which is an asset to the trainers will ensure better quality horses for the Club.
Adeline: Can you single out any MRA officials that you most remember?
Datuk Lim: Three MRA officials that I most remember were the late Bob Norton, the late Alan Lewis the commentator and Dr. George Lim Ah Soo who was a qualified veterinary surgeon. He started as a starter and then as Chief Stipendiary Steward and to Committee Member of Penang Turf Club. I remember Dr. George Lim Ah Soo as a small wiry soft spoken man who was very knowledgeable in our equine friends. You can ask him anything from A to Z about horses and he will not fail to give you an answer. I am sure he had imparted a lot of his knowledge and wisdom to the racing fraternity during his term of office as Committee Member of the Club. I am very sure that his demise is a great loss not only to the Club but also to the racing industry. I also remember the late analyst Dr. Walter Rintoul.