19 June 2005


I just returned from a funeral today. A fellow member from my golf team passed away on Friday night. He was only 37 when his heart gave up on him. The news came to us as a shock as we were among the younger ones in the expat community over here.

There were no doubt that there will be friends and family who will helping to take care of the wife and kids in their time of grief but what is going to happen to his business? As a fellow business owner, this had certainly struck me deep in the heart (no pun intended). It was not a question of an altruistic nature. I am not asking what would happen to the livelhood of the staff and their family. It was more of a selfish nature as I wonder how all the fruits of his labour going to come back to the family? It is out there in a foreign land and I wondered how this can be returned. How do we take it back home?

As I entered the hall to pay my last respect, I was handed a pair of joss sticks. I felt this wasn't the time nor place to be arguing over the differences of our faiths and so I took the joss sticks and said a silent prayer for a friend. Even if the joss sticks were irrelevant to me, I am sure he would have appreciated it anyway. You should have seen the little daugther bawling her eyes out. It was heartwrenching.

When I stepped out of the hall, I looked up at the sky and pondered at my own life. It seemed only yesterday that we were celebrating each other's 21st birthday, each other's graduation, each other's first pay check, weddings, baby showers and today, our walk of life and enter a new stage as we start to bid farewell to our friends who are beginning to leave us. I guess this is where my moniker for this blog come from. JayWalk.

Other than the usual thoughts about our own mortality, it got me thinking about our links to our friends. Immediate friends and family would have known about the passing via word of mouth from one person to the other. What about those who are known only to the deceased himself? How would they know? I am thinking about my own friends on the net. Many of them whom I have never met. Ever since I started blogging a few years ago, I have made friends from the blogosphere. Our usual modes of communication are the usual instant messengers, emails and each other's blogs. Then come that one day when all of a sudden, the communication stops. How would they know what had happened?

I was chatting online with a friend just a few days ago about the lost of contact. I must say that in this time and age of modern technology, losing contact is quite unlikely, except perhaps the event of death itself. I remembered it was more common to lose contact with our friends from far away before we had the internet. The usual scenario would be the case where the letters just stopped on the part of our laziness. Be it a penpal, an ex-classmate who had gone overseas to study or a friend who had migrated. The letters were frequent in the initial months but they would start to dwindle as we get distracted by our separate new lives. I remembered my first penpal when I was just 10 years old. She was an Australian girl from Tasmania by the name of Belinda Gobel. I wonder if any of you actually seen or even know what an aerogramme was? We corresponded for a few years before we got lazy and let that link fade into oblivion. I also remembered an ex-girlfriend who was my JC school-mate. She left for Australia to further her studies after our A-Levels. We were just friends then and we wrote regularly with the occasional audio tape along with it. It was a good 3 years before she returned and we got together as a couple but only briefly. When she left for Australia for good the second time, we had emails and ICQ by then. We went through her subsequent marriage, divorce, second marriage and recently the birth of her first child. We maintained the link all this while although I must admit, I am starting to slack off again. Perhaps, it's a good time now to drop her a note to see how she is doing.

Perhaps this is a wake up call for me not to take my friends for granted and should actively keep in touch with them for once the link is lost, it is pretty hard to get it back.

So to Belinda, if you are reading this. Drop me a mail will ya? Would love to hear from you again after more than 20 years.

To Shirley, email me your cellphone number as a backup. Frank-ly, it would be a pity to lose a dear friend this way.

Perhaps also, I should write a note for my family, in the event of my demise. It won't be a will but a letter of instruction and a list of people to inform, instead of leaving them in silent limbo.

So to all my friends and good buddies, from the ones that I grew up with to the ones that I only recently gotten to know on the net and everybody else in between.

I love you all.

Image Credit:
- Voxeros

1. Merenwen left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 7:36 pm
Gosh, my condolences. Don't be so morbid yeah? And as for whatever referring to yourself... CHOI!!!

2. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 8:42 pm ::
Sheena: Nothing's going to happen to me lah. Don't worry about that. It's just that I tend to think quite far ahead.

Just like doing this blog in the hope that I may compile it into a book for my grandchildren.
How's that for thinking far?

3. AKK left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 10:18 pm
hey, I am sorry to hear about your friend. I've got a classmate who suddenly dies after jogging in school.... it's a shock to us because he was a long dist. runner and very healthy.

4. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 11:01 pm :: 
AKK: The people at the funeral were speculating what happened. Some said it was the smoking, others said it was the pressure from the business and yet some stoopid jokers said that the chubby guy died due to lack of cardio exercise because he doesn't womanise like the rest of them. *face palm*

Here's my take of the situation in just 4 words. His time was up.

5. CiN left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 11:33 pm
oh dear. my condolences. i'm also reminded of a Girls' Brigade junior who committed suicide w/o anyone of us knowing at all. she was only sec 1 :(! it was just so sudden cuz she was still smiling widely to all of us on the exact same day when she committed suicide. sighs. you're absolutely right about treasuring all the relationships and friendships. after crying buckets that day, i decide to treat every single one that i come across with care and love :). (omg this is sooo orbiang la! oh well.) i'm really glad that technology has helped us soo much! anw, dun be too upset over it k :).

6. jaschocolate left...
Sunday, 19 June 2005 11:54 pm
Yeah.. i agree... his time is up.. Nobody knows when we will die or not... That's the scary part but also the wonderful part, as we will learn to cherish our present lives more..

7. Meepok left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 8:15 am
I love you too.

Weath and material stuff are transient. To me, at the end of the day, relationships are all that matter. Hence I'm working on being a good and filial son, loving hubby and a loyal friend (note: good boss and subordinate not included in the list).

Hey, thanks for being a friend after all these years.

8. JayWalk left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 9:12 am :: 
CiN: Suicide? Oh dear. I know of a friend who attempted suicide when back in the Uni but fortunately she survived.

jaschocolate: Yah lor.... you may be a perfectly healthy specimen and still die from a falling piano. Carpé Diem!

Meepok: Ok.... we are starting to sound very gay here. -_-"

Say, how long have we know each other? 21 years? Ahh.. the good ol' chatek days....

9. aGentX left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 2:41 pm ::
sorry to read about your friend.

yes, mortality is something that we have taken for granted.

serve all, love's hard rock cafe motto! but along that similar lines, lah...

time to catch up with old/new friends here too...thanks.

10. Sheena left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 2:48 pm
Hey thought you might like this. Check out Andy's views on XX vs SPG at

For once, he actually writes well (minus the grammar and spelling mistakes, heh). I'm so proud of him. One more for the Anti-Bandung Vader troops!

11. JayWalk left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 3:20 pm :: 
aGentX: Hard Rock Café... ahhh. The memories from a long time ago when we were young a foolish.

Sheena: Went over to Andy's blog. Buay pai leh! Granted there are the typos and grammar boo boos but let's us not be anal here. heh heh... More importantly, is that I get what he said. Hear Hear!
Adding him to my blogroll. *click*

12. anna left...
Monday, 20 June 2005 11:13 pm
Sorry to hear about your friend. He was young. The first thing I thought of was his family, and how they cope with it.

However, like you said, his time was up. I suppose, the most impt thing for many of us is, to live meaningfully and not take things for granted.

13. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 21 June 2005 12:31 am ::
anna: He was a good guy when he was alive and naturally, a lot of good friends stepped up and offered to help.

In fact, the 6 golf teams (of which I am in 2 of them) are planning to raised half a million RMB for the children as their education endowment fund. We pray that money will not be an obstacle in future for the 2 bright young kids to receive a good education.

Such is the unity and friendship of the expat community here. Golf just happened to be our common language here.

14. barffie left...
Tuesday, 21 June 2005 10:40 am
Life is full of changes. And there's nothing we can do about such things. Healthy people may drop dead suddenly, and hardcore smokers might live to a ripe old age. It's the irony that keeps us amazed at this thing called "life" isn't it? Death is a part of life, and all we can do is, indeed, treasure everyone and love everyone as if it's your last day.

15. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 21 June 2005 11:02 pm :: 
barffie the Empire Slayer: Well said indeed. So let bring out the booze and hoon kees!!!
... and in the mean time look out above regularly for falling pianos.

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