Lee A. Santipongchai dies, aged 90
Lee A. Santipongchai, former chairman of Sing Sian Yit Pao, Thailand’s largest Chinese-language daily newspaper and honorary consul for the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, passed away peacefully on Saturday, aged 90.
Lee, fondly known as “Khun Lee” or “Mr Lee” (from his Chinese name, Lee Aik Sim) to friends and colleagues, was married for 65 years to Mrs Suri (Aw Cheng Sin).
Lee began his career in the import-export business in Myanmar, where he was born. He graduated from Yangon University with a bachelor’s of science in engineering. He managed the Tiger Balm factory in Myanmar and later in Thailand. He and his family emigrated and settled in Bangkok in 1966. The world-renowned Tiger Balm was created by the Aw brothers: Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par (Lee’s wife Suri is the second daughter of Aw Boon Par).
He spoke many languages including Thai, Chinese (Hokkien and Mandarin), English, Burmese, Hindustani and some Spanish.
In 1971, he took over the management of Sing Sian Yit Pao, serving as the chairman of the newspaper until his retirement in 2005. He was also honorary consul for the Oriental Republic of Uruguay from 1986 until his retirement.
Lee was an active member of the Rotary Club of Dhonburi and supported many charitable foundations including the Foundation for the Blind. He was bestowed the Royal Decoration Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant.
He was also a keen golfer and made the Royal Bangkok Sports Club his second home on weekdays.
Lee is survived by his wife Suri, his five children and 11 grandchildren.
Royally sponsored funeral rites are being held nightly, at Wat That Thong, Sala 12 until Saturday at 7pm. Royal cremation service will take place on Sunday, at 5pm.