CHENNAI: Even as the Sri Lanka and Philippines teams were warming up for their last league match in the Asia women’s championship at the Nehru Indoor Stadium on Tuesday, a sweet voice wafts through the venue giving a soothing feeling to those present. As you follow the voice, it leads you to Malaysia’s Colonel Lee Kak Kuan, FIBA Asia Technical Director.
As he croons the 1960s musical hit ‘Rambling Rose’ sung by Nat King Cole, quite a few local coaches and a young Indian umpire dutifully take videos on their mobile phones. “Singing is my hobby,” he says. “I am not a singer, but I love singing very much.”
A singer at family functions, Kuan is a much wanted man wherever there is a get-together in his country.
“Singing gives a nice feeling to people around you. It also evokes a lot of emotions in you,” he says.
Despite his busy schedule, which involves solving disputes between teams and ensuring everything moves in a methodical fashion, Kuan rushes to the mike whenever an opportunity presents itself to belt out old English hits.
“I sing only during the break. It softens the mood of the players and the spectators,” he says.
After having served in the Army for 33 years, Kuan was roped in by FIBA as he had a strong coaching foundation — having trained the Malay Regiment Recce Corp.
“I played basketball in the Army and that kept me going. Later on I started coaching,” he explains.
Rajnarayan Patro, one of the Technical Officials, says singing is a passion for Kuan.
“Moreover, he is a good evaluator of referees and a nice person to get along.”
Born to Chinese parents in Malaysia, Kuan is enjoying his work that has taken him to different places on the globe. “Life has been good,” he smiles.