Journalists pay tribute to former Express editor

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Sunity Maharaj pays tribute to former Express news editor Jerome Tang Lee at his funeral at JE Guide Funeral Home and Crematorium on Coffee Street, San Fernando, on Wednesday. – Marvin Hamilton

LATE Express Editor Jerome Tang Lee was remembered as a gentle man, a solid journalist and one who ensured that the world was not lacking in knowledge.

After listening to tributes from his friends and colleagues who spoke of Tang Lee’s influence on their individual lives, at is funeral on Wednesday, lay Minister Cecil Colthrust said he fulfilled his purpose for life – to know God, love God and serve God.

While he did not actually preach the gospel, Colthrust said by his life’s journey, “helping them (friends and colleagues) along the way, never becoming angry, putting his best foot forward at all times, ensuring that they in turn would put their best forward, we can safely conclude Jerome knew his God, Jerome served his God and Jerome loved his God.

“In his own way, he drew them into the mystery of God. He was a man who made sacrifices, as humanly possible, so others can learn from him and by extension, extended that knowledge to others so that the world can become a world where knowledge is not lacking.”

He lamented that a lot of people who are knowledgeable are not exposing or sharing their knowledge with others.”

Tang Lee, who worked with the Express for several decades and in the communications department at former Petrotrin, died last Saturday at the age of 83. He leaves to mourn his wife Brenda, their two children, Shauna-Marie and Tristan and grandchildren, Tribeca and Keanu.

Tributes were invited from the floor, at his final farewell held at Guides Funeral Home, Coffee Street, San Fernando, where his body was also cremated.

Lay minister Cecil Colthrust prays at the funeral of Jerome Tang Lee at the JE Guide Funeral Home and Crematorium on Coffee Street, San Fernando, Wednesday. – Marvin Hamilton

One of his former students of journalism, Sunity Maharaj, a former editor and author, said she learnt from him two main lessons – one, the competitiveness of the profession and secondly, the importance of finding the right angle that will effectively communicate the message.

“Over the years, everything I learnt, I learnt from Jerome. I learnt that we were to be humble and there was no story bigger or smaller than us and that the only important people were the people you were serving – the readers.”

While he was a powerfully unassuming editor who never allowed a story to get stale, she said he always made time for his family.

“We all knew he had to hurry and meet the deadline because he had to go home and spend time with his family and his children.”

She thanked him on behalf of her media colleagues whom she said, had the good luck to pass through his hands.

Former colleague Keith Subero, who succeeded Tang Lee as news editor when he left to take up a position at Petrotrin, also thanked him for his service. Subero said before sitting in that hot seat he was unaware of the hard and mental task Tang Lee made look easy.

“He was a gentle man, a solid journalist.”

Express Managing Editor Curtis Williams spoke of the crucial role Tang Lee played in every aspect of his own development as a journalist.

Like Maharaj, he said everything he learnt about journalism was from Tang Lee, from whom he often sought counsel and wisdom in his approach to an assignment.

“He was not just a friend, supervisor or boss to me. He was a real fatherly figure in my own life.”

Friend Kishore Jhagroo spoke about Tang Lee’s vast knowledge “on everything” and how easily he shared that knowledge and perspectives to enhance his life.

In a video tribute, his daughter Shauna-Marie who is abroad, said her father was her hero and aspired to be be like him after hearing about his vast travels as a journalist and many adventures.

Even after he left the media, he always spoke passionately about journalism and expressed pride in the success of many journalists he trained.

“For me dad, the Express is synonymous with you and it is comforting to see that your legacy lives on, not just in your kids and grandkids but also in some of the current crop of toady’s journalists and editors.”