The elephant leaves his tusks behind

This Saturday brought the sad news of the passing away of IOM’s former chief of mission, Pak Steve Cook. A humble man who was loved deeply by almost all the people who knew him.

I have not been particularly close to him when he was alive. At IOM, my work did not demand much interaction with the man, but whenever we passed by at the office, him with his unique gait, newspaper tucked under his arms, a warm smile on his face, I had the unmistakable impression that I in the presence of a greatly kind and humble person.

I don’t know how it is at IOM nowadays, but when I was there, all of the staff under him were closely knit. We were more of a family. And this feeling has lasted even among us who are no longer with the Organization.

I believe that our fond memories of IOM was largely thanks to Pak Steve. His warm demeanor and his affectionate concern for every employee working at IOM have rubbed off on many of us who had the privilege of working with him.

No doubt that the news of his passing have brought tears to a great number of people whose lives he has touched. But we know that he’s in a better place, and that he has lived his life to the fullest and that he has done so the way he wanted it. Nevertheless, we miss him so very deeply.

As an old Indonesian proverb goes, ‘an elephant leaves his tusks when he dies’. Pak Steve has left behind warm and loving memories, and we will remember him for the person he truly was. A very good and kindhearted man.

So long Pak Steve. You will always remain in our hearts.


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