Late tycoon honoured for public service

The late Cathay cinema magnate Loke Wan Tho was given a posthumous public service award this week in 1965.

His sister, Mrs Choo Kok Leong, received the Meritorious Service Medal from President Yusof Ishak at the Istana on his behalf. The late tycoon was honoured for his contributions in chairing the National Library Board and Malaysian Airways, among others.

Mr Loke Wan Tho, the chairman of Cathay Organisation, died in 1964 in a plane crash.

The ninth child of Mr Loke Yew, one of Malaya's richest men, he studied English literature and history at Cambridge and was passionate about ornithology. He inherited his father's tin mines, rubber plantations and properties, and also went into the cinema business. As chairman of Cathay Organisation, he oversaw the production of Malay and Chinese films, the operations of cinemas and film studios, as well as hotels and restaurants.


The girls here are very pretty but their tummies stick out.

MR MICHAEL HERSHON, director of Hestia of Australia, who was here in 1965 to launch his company’s brassieres and girdles, on how women in Singapore needed girdles badly

Mr Loke, who was thrice married, died in an air crash in Taiwan in 1964 at age 49, after attending a film festival in Taichung.

Research by Jagjit Kaur, Information Resource Centre, Singapore Press Holdings

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'Late tycoon honoured for public service'. Print Edition | Subscribe