Yip Fook Thai was born on 22 July 1955 in Teluk Intan, Perak to Mr and Mrs Yip Chee Lang and was the second child of six siblings. There, he attended St Anthony Secondary School, where through much personal struggle and financial hardship, obtained a place to read law at University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand.
After his graduation, he was called to the New Zealand Bar on 16 December 1981. On his return to Malaysia in 1982, he read in chambers in Skrine & Co. and was admitted and enrolled as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya on 2 June 1983. Yip, as he is fondly remembered, was retained in Skrine & Co. as a legal assistant until 1985, when he left them to join Syed Alwi, Ng & Teoh in the litigation department for five years.
While at Syed Alwi, Ng & Teoh, he met Celia Teoh and a romance bloomed leading to their marriage on 23 November 1991. With the love and encouragement of his wife, Yip strived and set up his own law firm, Yip & Co in June 1990, building a successful practice in both the litigation and corporate/conveyancing sectors.
In the past, Yip and I had some briefs which we worked on together and I have recollections of Yip’s passionate views over points of law and politics and also of points other than law! Yip practised law passionately in the same way as in his beliefs of right and wrong.
On the private side, Yip was very much a family man. He was very proud of his two children, his son Yip Mun Keat and daughter Yip Sean Yi and instilled his love in the sports of golf to them, both now competitive golfers. I remember one of his proudest moments amongst many others, when he told me how his daughter, Yip Sean Yi, then 16 had beaten all ‘the uncles’ on the golf course! As a husband, he was loving, responsible and without a doubt, well looked after by his wife, Celia Teoh, so much so that for any answers to any personal questions posed to him, his retort would be “ask my wife”!
Yip was also very diligent in whatever he committed himself to and was the de facto leader of the wider Yip family. He loved reading and travelling and in the last few years before his demise, he travelled extensively with his family.
I respectfully offer my deepest condolences to Celia Teoh, Yip Mun Keat and Yip Sean Yi and to all relatives and friends dear to the late Yip Fook Thai.
This eulogy would not be complete if I was not to repeat the principle that guarded Yip which Yip would always adhere to in that a man is the master of his own destiny and despite a humble background, hardwork would always prevail. He may have led a short life but he has certainly left us with a lifetime of memories for us to remember him by and though he has now passed on, he is in a better place and at peace, immortal in the hands of God.