Farewell Satwant Singh Dhaliwal

"Haresh, meet S.S Dhaliwal. It's like a name of a ship."

I was in the midst of typing an article when Johnson Fernandez's voice broke the silence. Standing next to the then Malay Mail sports editor was a tall man clad in a turban. His name: Satwant Singh Dhaliwal.

The year was 2001. It was my early days with the daily. The introduction took place when the Malay Mail crew shared the same office space with the New Straits Times - right at the far corner on the fourth floor of Balai Berita in Jalan Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

Satwant already had a reputation of sorts prior to joining the newspaper. He was a respected hockey administrator, especially during his days with Yayasan Negeri Sembilan and the Negeri Sembilan state team.

As a journalist, he stayed true to his byline: S.S. Dhaliwal - where his articles were similar to that of a large ship that simply cannot be missed.

He has made good friends along the way. He also made enemies. As the saying goes, in life, you just can't please everybody.

As an individual, Satwant was ever supportive. I will never forget how I hugged him tightly at the Loke Yew crematorium at my dad's funeral in Feb 2002. Satwant attended the funeral, together with Graig Nunis, Rizal Hashim, and several others from the office.

When I was sued by the late Datuk Bustaman Abdullah, he was there to provide support. The defamation suit was eventually struck out by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on grounds the case was an abuse of the judicial process.

He was among those who believed in me. 

I'm glad my son got to meet him and several of my former colleagues.

Satwant shares a light moment with junior, who is in the arms of former Malay Mail sports editor Tony Maridass in 2018.

The last time I saw Satwant was at Serbegth 'Shebby' Singh's funeral at the Loke Yew crematorium in January this year. He was already struggling with his vision then, perhaps due to the fact that he had diabetes and was undergoing dialysis almost daily.

This morning, I was informed Satwant is no longer with us. He was apparently having tea in a shop in his hometown, Tampin, when he suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead.

The main picture shows Satwant holding a 12.5kg gold bar at Kuala Lumpur Rackets Club owner Datuk Seri Andrew Kam's office. The gold bar was an incentive for the national shuttlers to win the Olympics at the 2012 London Olympics. 

Some may disagree, but deep down, Satwant had a heart of gold.

Farewell, sir. Rest in peace.


  1. Excellent tribute. I often argued with him over football, but I always respected him and felt he cared about the game and not selfish interests. he will be missed. RIP


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