Multi-Colour -- November 27 2007
Today, as usual, is our bloggers' Mee Rebus day at Kak Ton's. I thought I would have to miss it because of a farewell lunch I was to have attended for my very dear friend, Angie, otherwise known as Angeline Chivapathy.
The lunch was cancelled because Angie was not able to be there as she has so many things to do before leaving for Qatar to start her new job.
When I told Bapak about Angie, he asked: "Yang budak tinggi tu... the sportswoman?"
He remembered. I was delighted, although well, Angie is not a budak no more and she has not done the 200-metre sprint or jumped over hurdles in a long time.
Bapak will not be able to remember Angie of five years ago. Not Angie the accountant. But Angie, the athlete and SEAP Games silver medallist of more than 30 years ago.
Angie and I (and Kak Eda, Rohaya Ghani and Diane Lesley Cheah) were very close way back when (in Assunta primary and secondary school).
Well, we still are.
In school, we called ourselves "Vamps". Don't ask why but the name sounded good, and, er, cool.
Another very close friend, Hanim (Ku Nur Hanim Ku Bahadur) later joined the gang.
School days were fun because we made it fun. Never a dull moment.
We (with the exception of Hanim) were all in our school athletics club. Rohaya, Kak Eda, Diane and I were in our school's softball team. We all also played hockey.
And when the school decided to form a football team, we all went for it. Alas, the team lasted for just so long. Our coach was Douglas Gomez. I'm pretty sure he was quite relieved about that.
After MCE (that's the form five exams - like SPM today), we more or less went our separate ways, except for Kak Eda, Rohaya and I who joined UiTM. Kak Eda to do architecture, Rohaya (Chartered Secretary) and I (pre-university).
Angie and Diane left for England for further studies. I don't remember where Hanim went but she kept in constant touch because she also happened to live nearby in section 5 and later (until today), section 16.
Angie had been working with a multi-national company for the longest time until she was offered a job in Qatar.
We - Angie, Hanim, Rohaya, Diane and I - had dinner at Tony Roma's at the Cineleisure in Mutiara Damansara two weeks ago to celebrate Diane's birthday.
We had a ball. When the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" was on, we all sang along, to the amusement of the young waiters.
When Rohaya and another friend, Aminah, visited Bapak during Hari Raya Aidilfitri last month, we asked him whether he remembered Rohaya.
With a wide grin, he remarked:
"Hah....ni yang selalu datang sini bawa boyfriend-boyfriend.."
We all burst out laughing.
"Alamak, Pak Cik ingat," Rohaya said sheepishly.
We were remembering Radha, Abang Med's good friend. More like a brother, as far as I'm concerned.
Well. Mak used to refer to Radha as her "other son".
We were talking about old friends the other day.
"Bapak ingat tak Radha, kawan Abang Med?", we asked.
"Anak si-Nair tu? Aah....dia suka debate dengan aku pasal Islam.. Mana dia sekarang?" he asked, his eyes reflective.
That was something. We thought he would not recollect.
"He is in Australia, the last we heard." we told him.
Radha was like a son. he'd drop by anytime. If it was lunch, he'd join us. He'd watch TV, he'd read the books on the bookshelf.
Bapak would indulge in after-dinner discussions with him.
He'd ask Bapak a whole load of things -- religion, the country's social and political system, the NEP ... and, oh, the universe, I suspect.
I remember one question about Islam he asked Bapak.
"How come there are different imams and different schools of thought in Islam?"
"Do you remember Kar Beng?" we asked Bapak.
Francis Ooi Kar Beng formed the trio of Hamed, Radha and Kar Beng. Radha stuck around until he left for Australia. Even when Abang Med was in Australia for further studies, Radha still visited Bapak and us.
Kar Beng came over our Section 5 house almost everyday. But, he soon disappeared from the radar after we moved to Section 16, about the time Abang Med left for Australia.
I used to think Sunethra Rao was the most beautiful girl I had seen.
She was Kak Ton's best friend (besides Joyce Lam) in school.
Sunethra was also a dancer -- a member of Gopal Shetty dancers.
When she and her sister appeared on TV, we would all be glued to the set. Sunethra was one reason I had wanted to take up Indian classical dance.
I used to look forward to visits by Sunethra, Vijaya and Vino Narayanan. I was such a busybody that I would always want to join them in Kak Ton's room and be part of whatever they were up to.
I remember (it was in the 60s) -- every Hari Raya, they'd visit us wearing baju kurung.
I thought they looked smashing.
Kak Ton is just so moved thinking about her old buddies.
But....aah. Those were the days...
Now, I am looking forward to visiting Angie in Qatar. Bapak thinks its a cool idea to go to Qatar to visit my pal -- as Bapak said with a smile -- "Budak yang menang medal tu".