Inspiring Friendships

by Patrick Liew on March 7, 2012

On 1 March, 2012, I drove my Ma back from her hometown in Kulai. On the way, she shared with me a story that touched my heart.

My Ma told me about the special friendship between my father and her brother. It was a relationship that I never knew about, a bond that few have ever experienced in their lifetimes.

I have to say that their friendship was all very strange to me. Two men with different upbringings, living in two different countries; I could not comprehend how they could be so close to one another, especially when they hardly met one another.

All I could remember was that on the rare occasions when Uncle dropped into my home, Pa would welcome him with an affection that was beyond me. They would usually go to Pa’s favourite Bak Kut Teh stall and order a steaming bowl of soup, then they would pour their hearts out to one another. Their laughter still rings in my ears.

On 17 March 1990, Pa passed away suddenly. He had a heart attack and collapsed at the Changi Airport to the shock of many airline passengers who, like Pa, was returning from overseas.

My Uncle came for the wake, crying literally like a baby. My family had to watch over him throughout the funeral rituals for fear he would do something untowards to himself.

After returning to his home, my Uncle continued to be in deep grief. He missed Pa so much that he was virtually in a daze throughout the day.

He tried to drown his sorrows through alcoholic drinks but his mind would give him no relief from thoughts of Pa. The intimacy and affection that they shared overwhelmed the healing power of time, or perhaps I should say that my Uncle never gave time a chance…

Two weeks later, my Uncle passed away.


If you have been reading my blog, you would know that my father had many friends. He was a friendly man and a person whom many could count upon for help.

When I thought over this story, I couldn’t help but be touched by the friendship between my Uncle and Pa. I am proud of this legacy that my Pa left behind, an inspiration to cultivate more friends throughout my life.

Once again, thank you Pa. When the sun rises tomorrow, I will continue your legacy. I will reach out my hand of friendship to those around me.



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