Regular readers of this blog would've noticed some stories about my working life while stationed outside my hometown. Many years back, I worked on a construction project in Terengganu, together with an ex-colleague named Steve Wong. We became very close friends even after we went separate ways upon completion of the project.
We kept in touch by way of emails, Yahoo Messenger and the occasional phone call. After Terengganu, Steve returned to his hometown in Ipoh and worked with a few companies before finally (I hope) settled in on a steady job with his brother's company in Singapore. Steve gave me a call when he first transferred to Singapore almost three years ago and I promised to look him up whenever I have the chance. Despite that promise, I never found the time to meet up with him although I travel to Singapore quite often to visit my parents.
One evening last month, I was still at the office when a buzz from my old friend came in on YM. We chatted for a bit before he asked me when I think we can meet up. I told him that my visits to Singapore are usually weekend trips and don't have that much free time.
He replied back, `Haiya brader... excuses only!'
It hit me instantly that my friend was right. If we want something to be done, we will try our best to make it happen. The Malay phrase is, `Hendak seribu daya...'
I then decided I'll make a specific trip to Singapore just to meet up with my friend. We exchanged messages for a bit more before deciding on the last Saturday of January to have dinner together. On 30.01.10, I drove down to Singapore to meet my old buddy whom I've not met for more than 5 years.
Steve took me out for a seafood dinner near his house in Choa Chu Kang. We talked about old times and old friends. He told me that he's settling down with life in Singapore and hope to move his family from Ipoh soon. On the work front, things have much improved although initially he faced many problems. Things are definitely looking up for my friend.
Steve and I are both tiger guys... we are 48-years old this year. We may be endangered species but our fighting spirit never dies.
During the dinner, I mentioned to Steve that another of our ex-colleague, CP Toh may also be working in Singapore. Steve asked for Toh's local mobile number and immediately placed a call. As luck would have it, Toh was actually in Singapore that evening, still slugging it out at his office somewhere within the National University of Singapore campus. We decided to meet up and have teh tarik somewhere not too far from the NUS.
Three longtime pals : (L to R) CP Toh, Oldstock and Steve Wong
And so that evening, three close friends who've never met in years ended up at a mamak eating place having some drinks and chatting up late into the night. Good friends are like gold... they'll never lose value.
Happy Lunar New Year to all my Chinese friends and readers. Enjoy the long weekend everyone!
Previous posts about my friends can be read here ->
1. The turtle state
2. Iftar with a good friend
Pic of tigers borrowed from National Geographic.