Pre-WWII diary unravels mysteries of late father's past

Treasured memories reside in notes taken by engineer's father in days before World War II

Mr Loh Kok Onn, 76, with his father's diary. It captured the colourful life that his father Loh Boon Thim had led in the last days of peace before the Japanese dropped bombs on Singapore in late 1941.
Mr Loh Kok Onn, 76, with his father's diary. It captured the colourful life that his father Loh Boon Thim had led in the last days of peace before the Japanese dropped bombs on Singapore in late 1941.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Engineer Loh Kok Onn, 76, grew up without his father, who died in a car accident in 1943 when he was barely a year old.

His absent parent had been a mystery to him. "When my mother spoke to people about him, she would cry. So I never tried to ask her about him. All I had were a few photos of him, and I knew his occupation, which was printed on my birth certificate."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Pre-WWII diary unravels mysteries of late father's past'. Subscribe