Kwek Kok Kwong, ICA Board member since 2017, passed away on 14 November at the age of 53. He was chair of the Singapore National Cooperative Federation (SNCF) and chief executive of NTUC Learning Hub Cooperative.
A committed cooperator, he has been at the helm of NTUC Learning Hub Cooperative, Singapore’s largest education and training cooperative, since February 2013.
He led LearningHub to be a leading training organisation and cooperative in Singapore, training more than 10,000 workers per month in various areas like trade skills, soft skills, IT, safety and health, so that they remain relevant to market needs.
Kwek Kok Kwong was elected to the ICA Asia- Pacific Regional Board in November 2016 and to the ICA Global Board in 2017 in the General Assembly in Malaysia. Kok Kwong Kwek had a degree in Mathematics and Public Administration and was a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner. Prior to joining NTUC, he had served with distinction in the Singapore Armed Forces.
The sudden death of Kwek Kok Kwong has aroused intense emotion among ICA Board Members. Their messages came from all over the world. It is clear from these individual testimonies that Kwek Kok Kwong won hearts not only with his talent and intelligence but also with his kindness and humanity. The ICA Board Members lost a dear friend and an exceptional colleague. We have compiled these messages below, as well as the letters sent jointly by the President and the Director-General of the ICA.
You can post your messages on the Facebook group created by family and friends here
Message from ICA President Ariel Guarco and Director General Bruno Roelants
The sudden passing of Kwek Kok Kwong has plunged us into a state of deep sadness. We saw him last during the online meeting of the ICA Board on November 10, less than a week ago, and he was his usual bright and humorous self.
Kwek Kok Kwong was a thoughtful person. He was thoughtful with his words, and always made sensible and critical observations with a sense of utmost responsibility towards the global cooperative movement. A man of humility who was deeply attentive to others, we remember him as someone who commanded respect and as well as someone who built friendships across countries with people of all ages in the ICA family and beyond.
He was quite simply an intelligent, pleasant and honourable person who was committed to help and develop young leaders and managers. We at the ICA are all saddened by his sudden passing. He will long be remembered with respect and gratitude. Our deepest thoughts go out to his family, friends, colleagues at the Singapore National Co-operative Federation, all in the Singaporean cooperative movement, and all those he had inspired and motivated through his meaningful life.
We will miss him dearly.
Joint letter from ICA Board members
The ICA Board members are very sad and shocked by the sudden passing of our friend Kwek Kok Kwong, or KK as we called him.
We will always remember him for his kindness, his pragmatic vision and very sharp intellect. A true cooperator, it has been a pleasure to work with him.
He will long be remembered with respect and gratitude. We will greatly miss him, his wisdom and his contagious smile.
Our very sincere condolences to his family and the entire cooperative movement in Singapore and in the Asia Pacific Region.
Messages from individual ICA Board members
It is with a heavy heart that I learn about the sudden demise of Mr. Kwek Kok Kwong. We at ICA-AP and ACFSMC are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of a dedicated cooperative warrior and a dear friend. I last heard Mr. Kwek congratulating through a video message on the 60th Anniversary of ICA-AP just a few days back, bright and confident as he has always been. He was a constant presence at the forefront of cooperative movement in the region, with a passionate devotion to technology and the empowerment of young cooperators. Beyond his professionalism and strong commitment, Mr. Kwek was a humble and kind person, always attentive, supportive and pleasant. His passing will be a great loss not only for the cooperative movement in Singapore, but also for that in ICA-AP as a whole. Please convey our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones, friends and SNCF colleagues. He will be forever remembered as an outstanding leader and a true cooperator and friend. Li Chunsheng, President ICA Asia and Pacific
I pray the departed soul may find his way to the heaven. May his soul rest in peace. I express heartfelt condolences to his family and relatives. We all miss his positive inspiration and physical presence in forthcoming Board meetings. Om Devi Malla, Senior Vice chairperson of National Cooperative Federation of Nepal and ICA Board member.
This is so very sad and shocking. I will miss his wisdom and his beautiful, contagious smile. He had so much more to give to the world. So very sorry for his family and for his cooperative friends, especially his fellow ICA board members. Martin Lowery ICA Board member
My sincere condolences to all of you, your family, and to the entire Cooperative movement. Manuel Mariscal, ICA Board member
We are deeply shocked and saddened by Mr. Kwek Kok Kwong’s passing. He was our precious friend and made a great contribution to our team and the cooperative movement. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends. May he rest in peace. Toru Nakaya, President of JA Zenchu and ICA Board member
What a complete shock. A tragedy. I will always remember him for his charming personality, great smile and very sharp intellect. It has been a pleasure to work with him on the Communications Committee. He will be greatly missed. Ben Reid, ICA Board member
My sincere condolences to his family and cooperators in Singapore. I will miss his positive attitude and friendliness, not to mention his understanding of today’s business and its challenges and needs in order to develop. Marjaana Sarikoski, SOK Corporation, Vice Chair of the ICA Gender Equality Committee and ICA Board member
It is a very sad news. I will remember his smile and his natural sympathy. Rest in peace. Carlo Scarzanella, ICA Board member
With feeling of profound grief, I express sincere condolences to the family of Kok Kwong Kwek for their grievous loss. Losing him means we lost a strong supporter of cooperative principles and values and a very smiley friend. May his memory live forever! Petar Stefanov, President of Central Cooperative Union of Bulgaria & ICA Board member.
I am profoundly shocked and saddened by this unexpected news. KK was a great asset on the board and a charming individual. What a terrible loss to his family, to the cooperative movement in Singapore and to the ICA. Alexandra Wilson, ICA Board member.