George Heng’s passing: Sports apparel personality was all heart

George Heng Kiah Choong. A familiar face in the Malaysian sports industry. A reporter’s delight. A nightmare for some officials.

Heng, a long-time sufferer of diabetes, passed away last night due to heart failure. The co-founder and owner of Mesuma Sports Sdn Bhd was 72.

A down-to-earth, energetic, and happy-go-lucky man, Heng’s passing came as a shock to many. He had been admitted to a private hospital in Kota Damansara since May 1, but not many knew the extent of his health issues.

Regardless of his situation, Heng would go all out to help those in need. He always stressed that he was just a phone call away.

He established his sports apparel shop in Brickfields over three decades ago before moving to 8 Avenue in Petaling Jaya.

Founded by him and his wife Tan Yuet Ching, Mesuma was named after their three daughters – Melissa, Susan, and Maya. Their youngest child is William.

His brand was once the official kit for the national contingent at various multi-sporting events. In fact, he had, at one time, enjoyed a close relationship with the Youth and Sports Ministry, National Sports Council (NSC), the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), and several national sports associations, including the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress.

However, those relationships soured as disagreements led to legal suits. The case that caught the attention of many, including intellectual property experts, was the ‘tiger stripe jersey’ saga, in which the NSC went all out to fight for its rights – only for the design to be quickly replaced.

Heng was a reporter’s delight as he was easily approachable, regardless the issue.

Drama aside, Heng, a staunch Sai Baba follower, had a big heart. Although selective in what he ate, Heng loved food, more so when he was entertaining guests. He enjoyed Chinese tea.

“He was involved in many charitable activities. He always believed in giving back to society,” said former OCM secretary-general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi.

“Heng was committed to the development of tenpin bowling at both the national and Federal Territory levels. At the Federal Territory level, he was its deputy president for some time.

“He devoted much of his time and resources to raising the standards of Malaysian tenpin bowlers at the Asian, and world levels.”

Sieh described Heng as one of the early pioneers of sports marketing and sponsorship in the country.

“Heng was one of those who introduced the installation of light boxes on street lamps for sponsors to advertise their products prominently,” said Sieh.

“His sudden and unexpected demise is a sad loss to Malaysian sports.”

His daughter, Maya – who had been heavily involved in the business – put up a strong front. But tears rolled freely when she spoke about her dad.

“He would tell us to never give up and supported us in everything we did,” said Maya.

“He was our idol. We will be strong.”

Wake Service

Nirvana Life Mermorial Center 2, Emerald Suite (Level M2- Room N5), Jalan Dewan Bahasa, Bukit Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur.

June 25: 3pm – 7pm (immediate family members only)
June 26: 11am – 7pm (open to close friends and family)

June 27: 11am (immediate family only) at Nirvana Memorial Park, Shah Alam

Tagged with: