Ronney Choong, Still Smashing Shuttlecocks At 60 In Maryland
By Salmy Hashim
WASHINGTON, Aug 30(Bernama)-- Ronney Choong has lived and worked in the United States for the past 31 years, but his heart is still with Malaysia and Malaysians as well.
The thing is, all that time he has worked as a "local staff" at the Malaysian embassy in Washington at the Consular Section, and prior to that at the Malaysian embassy then located in Bonn, Germany. Ronney will turn 60 on Sept. 4 and that will be his last day at work.
"Hard to believe, man! Time flies, man! I came to Washington in '77 - 31 years too short - I had a lot of fun. Life must be good!"
"The embassy is like my second home. People are very nice. They bring Malaysian food from home -- I feel at home. It is kind of sad to leave.
"I was brought up the old-fashioned way. I don't like to hop around. When I work in one place I like to stay in one place. I have put too many years and decided not to move," he told Bernama and explaining his loyalty to the embassy.
Ronney confessed that he got married late - at the age of 39. "My mom was very worried. Very hard to get "amoi" (girl) in Malaysia. Jual murah pun tak ada orang mahu! Most of these girls' fathers would not allow their daughters to go overseas," he chuckled.
A serious badminton player with four gold medals under his belt from various tournaments around the US, Ronney met his wife, Melinda Chen, an American-born Chinese, while playing badminton. They have two teenage daughters, Elena, 14, and Katrina, 10.
As a retiree, Ronney will have time to take the " little one" to school, cook for the family - "cook rice and fry some eggs, go coach badminton, and take art classes."
He will also have more time to tend to his home-based sporting goods business with supplies imported from Taiwan and China. Badminton players travel from Pennsylvania and Baltimore to buy the best badminton racquets and shuttlecocks from him.
But what he's proud of is probably the "Badminton Keep Fit Club" that he opened in Rockville, Maryland, with friends two years ago.
The club has a membership of 20 to 25 players and they rent a local high school badminton court for two hours every Friday night.
"Membership is full - we can't have too many - and many times we have to turn down new applicants."
Although he claims that he's too old to play, Ronney will play in the senior tournament on Sept 6. If he wins, he will represent the state of Maryland next year in the US national games.