Friday, May 22, 2009
Rapaee Kawi in Beijing before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, here seen posing with China's tallest man, Bao Xishun who stood at 7 feet 9 inches or 2.36 metres!!
UN troubleshooter: Rapaee Kawi posing with his 16mm Bolex camera during his peacekeeping mission with the United Nations in Africa in 1989.
One of Malaysia's most senior and experienced news photographer, Rapaee Kawi or fondly known as Apai, died suddenly yesterday, May 21 2009..
He was a friend of all journalists in Malaysia, especially in Sabah and Sarawak..
He was a friend of me too.
Whenever i go to Sarawak, he will always assist me and always in jovial mood.
He always came to Sabah to do assignments coverage also.
He was very active, as he was a former army commando..
Rest In Peace Rapaee.... May God Bless You..
This is the news report by the Star..
Goodbye to The Star’s veteran adventurer
MIRI: He was an ex-commando, active parachutist and scuba diver but The Star’s senior photographer Rapaee Kawi’s first passion was photojournalism.
Despite his love for tough and risky outdoor jobs, Rapaee, who passed away suddenly yesterday, was known for his gentle disposition. He was three weeks shy of his 51st birthday.
Rapaee, who was based at the Sarawak bureau in Kuching, hailed from Mukah.
He died of heart failure at noon while he was in the city centre.
He leaves behind wife Patricia Grinau, 43, and four children aged between 11 and 23.
His death shocked members of the media in Sarawak as he was a well-built and physically healthy person and had not shown any sign of a serious illness.
No assignment was too tough for him, no situation was too difficult for him – and he would do it all with a smile.
He had even ventured into high-risk zones, like when he was sent to cover the Abu Sayyaf kidnapping crisis in southern Philippines, apart from having travelled extensively throughout Sarawak and Sabah to capture news and sports events.
The Star’s staff correspondent Jack Wong told Rapaee to take a break from work yesterday after he called in the morning to say that he was not feeling well.
The news of his death also shocked his colleagues at The Star’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya and at the other bureaus nationwide.
Rapaee, fondly called Apai, which means “father”, ventured into journalism in the early 1990s.
He had served as a commando and paratrooper with the Defence Ministry. He was sent on a peacekeeping mission to Africa during the 1980s.
He was also an adventurer. He managed to climb to the base camp of Mount Everest during The Star’s expedition there with the first group of Malaysians who scaled the highest peak in the world.
He had covered many assignments, both local and overseas, during his stint as a photographer with Utusan in Johor and after he joined The Star in 1996.
He had covered many state and parliamentary elections and also visited the Penans in the interior of Baram in Miri Division, visited the Bakun dam site in the heart of Sarawak and handled a number of helicopter tragedies.
His body has been brought back to Dalat in Mukah. His burial will be held tomorrow.
Rest in Peace.. Apai