Life marked by service to Muslim community

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 February, 2009, 12:00am

Yakoob Alladin 1930-2009

To his colleagues at the South China Morning Post, former proofreader Yakoob Alladin will be remembered for his smiling chats and food offerings. Even when fasting during Ramadan, he would bring in bags of fruit and dates for his co-workers.

Born in 1930 in Kowloon of Pakistani heritage, Alladin was one of 10 children. He died last week of pneumonia.

Alladin attended La Salle College and joined the Water Supplies Department as a meter reader at the age of 19, working his way up to senior waterworks inspector and then prosecutor, before retiring in 1985. In 1990 he joined the Post, where his son Unus Alladin is a sports journalist, and worked as a proofreader for 18 years until his second retirement last year.

Throughout his life he worked to help the Muslim community in the city and on the mainland.

A friend since childhood, Rakha Karamdin, said: 'He was a gentleman, he could mix with everyone. The Chinese referred to him as sun dung - the lamp - as in Aladdin and the Lamp. A lot of Chinese knew him like that ... during the [second world] war we were together. We belonged to the same religion so were always together in mosque activities.'

As a young man, Alladin had been a member of the Volunteer Defence Corps and was a keen sportsman.

'He was a good lawn bowler and also played a bit of hockey. He was a good table tennis player,' Mr Karamdin said.

For many years, Alladin worked on the board of trustees of the Islamic Union of Hong Kong as well as on the administrations of the Kowloon and Wan Chai mosques.

He helped raise funds for impoverished Muslims on the mainland and for Aceh Muslims after the Indonesian province was devastated by the December 2004 tsunami.

'He was very keen on friendship building with Muslims in mainland China,' Unus Alladin said. 'He went to Yunnan and other areas to create cross-border fraternity.'

The chief imam of Hong Kong and imam of Kowloon Mosque, Mufti Muhammad Arshad, said: 'He was a sincere man, always dedicated to the betterment of the Muslim community. In 1984 he was involved in the fund-raising for the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre and later with its renovation. He was also chairman of the Wan Chai Mosque administration until he died.'

Alladin is survived by his wife, four children and seven grandchildren.