Farewell Joe, till we meet again
Haresh Says, as published in Mailsport today.
That was always the first thing Joe Marcose would say each time we met or spoke over the phone.
And every time I paid him a visit at his office at Wisma FAM, he would say: "Come sit down lah."
It didn't matter if I was in a rush or had time to kill. He would insist that I sat and discuss about the latest in football, sports and the media. And when I got overly critical over a particular subject, he would usually end the conversation by saying "what to do" followed by a smile.
Joe headed FA of Malaysia's (FAM) media department. Prior to his stint with the national body, he was the media man for the Olympic Council of Malaysia and spent many years with Utusan Malaysia. He started as a cadet reporter on June 1, 1984 before quitting as the daily's sports editor on Nov 1, 2000.
Former journo Rosmanizam Abdullah had known Joe since the early 80s.
"When he was young, he had a very stern look, perhaps it was because of his thick mustache. But looks are deceiving as he turned out to be a humble and soft-spoken man," recalled Rosmanizam.
"He used to come over to my house during Hari Raya and we used to meet up quite often. He was a good friend, never a fighter, more of a peace-loving man."
Ong Kim Swee, who now handled both the national team and the Harimau Muda A squads, often communicated with Joe as their offices were on the same floor.
"He was the first person I would see and greet every morning," said Kim Swee.
"He has assisted us in so many ways and for that we're thankful and will always cherish him in our hearts."
Sabri Hassan Ismail, who had been Joe's assistant in FAM since Oct 3, 2011, recalled his boss as a patient man.
"He never raised his voice and if there was a problem, he would say 'Sabri, what to do'. That's typical Joe."
Last year, Joe underwent a surgery to remove a tumor in his brain. I had called him just before and soon after his surgery only for him to say; "I'm ok, I'm ok."
Joe's humility, levelheadedness and father-like figure came naturally as he was also a pastor.
I learnt more of his Godly duties when I paid my last respects at the Grace Church in Shah Alam on Saturday morning.
The sermons and messages were mostly in Bahasa Melayu — a language Joe had used to preach the religion. Praises were sung, in recognition to a man who did a string of good deeds during his lifetime.
A loveable man to many, Joe passed away last Friday. He was 52. He leaves behind wife Josephine Ubung Jau and daughter Jenale.
It wasn't a great start to the weekend as barely 24 hours prior to Joe's death, The Malay Mail lost its IT "wizard" Tan Pek Wan, whom I met hours before she drew her last breath.
Joe and Pek Wan may have left us, but their legacy remains. Both individuals came from humble beginnings only to rise to the top in their own ways.
Rest assured Joe that I will continue writing the latest happenings in football till I ''join'' you for teh-tarik one day.
Goodbye Joe, and my beloved Pek Wan. May the both of you rest in peace.