It was the time of the year to show our respects for the lost ones. We did it late this time round on April 14 instead of the the actual day of April 5. The superstitious ones would be shocked at the tardiness of the obligation. But it was a great day. Left Bkt Jalil at 5.50 a.m. and was in Temiang by 6.30 a.m. Hua, Hoe and Bro were only rising at that point in time and we actually proceed for the hills at 7.00 am. Sim stayed back in Malacca to accompany mom while Seng preferred not to follow. The next generation were all missing, making me wonder whether this tradition will be continued in 2020 and why only my current generation is punished. Traffic was great, absolutely smooth and we reached Sendayan by 7.45 a.m.
While Bro went about with the traditionally obligations, I toured the temple of urns checking out the dates of the dead. It came as a shock to me that many of the dead were born in the sixties and seventies. Would estimate that about 20% of the urns belong to people who had died in their 20s, 30s and 40s. It served as a reminder that life is fragile and that we make most of what we have, while we have the opportunity.
Found the urn of Lim Kien Seng who died in the USA in a traffic accident and this brought back memories of the friends who has left before me.
The most recent was Yong Lai Kim who left behind a wife and three young children. Yong succumb to liver and lung cancer 9 months after finding out that he had cancer. Yong left us on March 11, 2007 the day that Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong won the doubles All England. Met Yong a year before that and he was perfectly fine then. First met Yong when we represented the school in football during under 12. We both lost our fathers at about the same time then and during the school years, we have done much together, from the days of the Demolition Boys, Cougars FC, football in the Lake Gardens, dinners in Trafalgar Square looking out for Deep Purple, numerous sleep overs in Rasah, the first party at 15 in Yong’s place, PD trips, chasing after Bad Toad & Co., Yong’s stint in Genting, his Hamburg stories, Imbi Road and finally the Madam Kwan days. Will miss you, my friend.
The first to leave us was Vivian Tho Thau Tee, Vivian with 3 Ts she called herself. Sad story of getting hit by a motorcycle outside her house in Rasah on her way to Form 6 class. This was in 1984. It was real freaky!
After Vivian, it was Lim Kien Seng who was killed together with 3 other Malaysians in a car accident in the USA. Can’t imagine the grief of the parents who had sacrificed so much to send a son overseas for studies.
Yap Swee Kong who called himself Trevor Francis but we called him Yap Ah Loy, succumbed to throat cancer while he was still an undergraduate in UM.
P. Mariappan was killed in a hit and run in Sarawak. He is the gentlest giant you will ever find. Known as Ma Baker throughout his secondary school days, he would have been a friend whom I hope to keep for the rest of my life. Absolutely nice 100%. Good guys die young!
Siew Yoke Hoong who was always seeking thrills and spills, finally found the ultimate escape by propelling himself through the 3rd floor balcony unto a parked BMW, midway during the game when France beat Brazil 3:0 on July 12, 1998 to win the World Cup.
Zaidi Ismail, the most talented hockey player I know, who would made it in the national team with his one handed dribbling, overdosed himself.
Along the way, there were others; Rosalind Tan who has gone missing until today and presumed dead, Johhny Neo who died in a freak accident in front of my very eyes, Ng Juat Tong who was killed in a hit and run in Singapore, my neighbours Mohammad Noh and Safuan who lost their lives to illness.
May all of you rest in peace, my friends.
Just did not do a head count, which normal person would do that, until that day I found the urn of Lim Kien Seng. Looking back, life is really fragile and we should be glad of the life we have and make the most of it.