Condolence Letter from President Halimah Yacob on the Passing of Mrs Wee Kim Wee

8 July 2018


Dear Eng Hwa, 

My husband and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of your beloved mother Mdm Koh Sok Hiong.


As the wife of one of the most well-loved Presidents of Singapore, Mdm Koh played an important role in supporting the late Dr Wee Kim Wee.  During Dr Wee’s two Presidential terms from 1985 to 1993, Mdm Koh served the people with grace, and gained the affection of many Singaporeans through her personable nature.  Like Dr Wee, Mdm Koh was unassuming and humble.  They invited many Singaporeans to the Istana, and Mdm Koh’s famed Peranakan cooking was often the highlight of those visits for the guests.


When Dr Wee was High Commissioner to Malaysia and Ambassador to Japan and South Korea, Mdm Koh was ever the gracious host at diplomatic functions.  She would make the guests and their spouses feel at ease, and add personal touches to the events which would otherwise have been stiff and formal.


Mdm Koh was herself a steadfast advocate of education and providing opportunities for disadvantaged children and youth. During Dr Wee’s Presidency, Mdm Koh was very active in supporting charitable causes in these areas.  Later, when she published her cookbook – “Cooking for the President: Reflections & Recipes of Mrs Wee Kim Wee” – she continued to champion these causes, and donated the proceeds of the book to charities including Girl Guides Singapore and Jamiyah Home for the Aged.


But perhaps most of all, Singaporeans will remember Mdm Koh for her selfless dedication to Dr Wee.  Throughout their 69 years of marriage, Mdm Koh always stood by and supported Dr Wee, to the extent that Dr Wee once described Mdm Koh as the “wife, mother, cook, tailor, washerwoman, doctor and barber of the family all rolled into one”.  Their love story will remain an inspiration to many.


Please accept our deepest condolences to you and your family during this time of mourning.


Yours sincerely,