What My Papa Taught Me – Part 2.

by Patrick Liew on February 23, 2014

On 1 March, 2012, I drove my Ma back from her hometown in Kulai.

On the way back, she shared with me a story that touched my heart.

My Ma told me about the special friendship between Papa and her brother.

It was a relationship that I never knew about, a bond that few have ever experienced in their lifetime.

I have to say that their friendship was all very strange to me.

I could not comprehend how they could be so close to one another – two men with different upbringings and living in two different countries.

They hardly even have the chance to meet one another, let alone spend quality time together.

All I could remember was that on the rare occasions when Uncle dropped by my home, Papa would welcome him with an affection that was beyond me.

They would usually go to Papa’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.

My Uncle came for the wake, crying literally like a baby.

My family had to watch over him throughout the funeral ritual for fear he would do something untowards to himself.

After returning to his home, my Uncle continued to be in deep grief.

He missed Papa so much that he was virtually in a daze throughout the day.

He tried to drown his sorrow through alcoholic drinks but his mind would give him no relief from thoughts of Papa.

The friendship and affection that they shared overwhelmed the healing power of Time.

Perhaps I should say, my Uncle never gave Time a chance.

Two weeks later, my Uncle passed away.

Uncle, thank you for your friendship with my Papa. May you rest in peace.


When I thought over this story, I couldn’t help but be touched by the friendship between my Uncle and Pa.

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.

I am proud of this legacy that my Pa left behind, an inspiration to cultivate more friends and to strengthen my friendships throughout my life.

Once again, thank you Papa.

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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