Catching Up with Old Friends … …

I recently met two old friends … no, not that they are old, but more that we knew each other a long time ago. 😉

To protect their identities (I always like this! :p) … let’s call my friend … ok, ok, let’s cut the bull and get it over. If my friend has problem with his name appearing on my obscure blog, then he needs to stop living under a rock! 😉

So ChingWi messaged me one day that she has a friend Hanguan who needs some advice from a monk and referred him to me. I agreed but didn’t thought much about the name, though I thought she was referring to Angguan, another friend from awhile back, but that’s another story.

Friday came, and when this Hanguan came over my cubicle (monks have cubicles? *gasp*), I was like “Hey, I know you!” and he was like “Yeah, wow … you … “

He turned out to be a friend from army days back in T****n an overseas base some 13 years ago! It’s hazy whether we knew each other in Singapore already or only in the overseas base, but nonetheless, it was really great to have bumped into him again! 13 years came and went, fun had and gone, friends made and lost, and here we were in the cubicle. I later dug through my old photo piles at my parent’s place to find a photo of us, frozen in time, when the world was slightly less complex, mainstream internet was not heard of yet, and DBASE III was the defacto database for medium sized companies, and the two of us were just lads doing their ‘time’ service in the army.

It took a serious enough matter for us to actually meet up again after all these years. I wonder when we’ll sit down again to chat and do silly stuffs catch up.

On reflection, the surprise was that he, Chingwi and me know each other, despite our different paths through life. hmmm …

… …

Sometime late last week, my mom told me that her aunty, whom I address as “Lao-Yee” (Yee with a higher TeoChew pitch, Old-Aunty), was not doing very well, that there is a high chance that she was in her last days. I visited her on Sunday and did a short puja/prayer/chant with her and later on spent some time talking to her son (my distant uncle Patrick) and other relatives. I was told later that one of the uncles has a son who was the president of NTUBS some years back and was around my age. My mom did not know the name, but this mysterious ex-president’s a “Phua”. I reckoned it should be Kenneth Phua, a good friend whom I’ve not met for years but caught up online a few years back. On further query, I thought otherwise as other characteristics did not quite match the Kenneth I know, but I’ll figure out sooner or later.

As it turned out, this distant cousin is indeed Kenneth Phua! Again, someone whom I’ve not met for years, but met up with because of the realities of life. And best yet was the
fact that we now know that we are actually related! *gosh* what a small world!

At the rate things go … I won’t be surprised that you may well be related to me in some ways, albeit distant and perhaps convoluted way … (oh, how I love the word convoluted. It makes the sentence sound so much smarter! … hahaha)

… …

Many years back, when I was in Secondary Four, I was told the news that a primary school friend had drowned in an accident. At the wake, classmates met and shared in the loss. We lamented on the fact that we never catch up with each other in those four years and had to meet on such an occasion. Everyone felt that we should have met up more than we did. … … We never really met up again thereafter anyway.
It’s interesting how the departed has this ability to convene a reunion better than anyone else. We are so conditioned to just get on with life, to make ends meet, or to get that project done, to get that new phone etc … sometimes we forget to make time for people who really matter.

We are related and inter-dependent in more ways than we can imagine, but we live our life pursuing our individualistic lifestyle, goals and dreams. Maybe we should take the time to be grateful for all the kindness, friendship and time that others gave us. And out of gratitude, perhaps we can develop kindness and compassion for them and others in return.
Perhaps we may find a place in our heart to forgive others and make peace.

Indeed, didn’t the Buddha declared in SN15: Matta Sutta, that “A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find… A being who has not been your father… your brother… your sister… your son… your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find”

Samyutta Nikaya 15: Matta Sutta