(This is for Mat Salo*, who is somewhere out there drilling for oil off-shore in an Indonesian backwater).
I had made it a point to drive to Port Klang this morning just to meet Mat Salo's uncle Basiruddin or 'Acheh', a childhood friend I have not seen for almost 30 years. Over teh tarik kurang manis at the famous Abdullah's mamak restaurant opposite the bus terminal, we sure had a lot of catching up to do. He had just completed a two year contract managing the Port Klang Golf Club and is now on his second 'retirement'.
The years have indeed taken a toll on the both of us. Somehow we had lost touch over the years, not that he was on a different planet but we had both pursued our respective careers and raised our families in different states. He excelled in sports and had remained in our home town Seremban, teaching and coaching tennis in local schools while I went on to pilot ships in Port Klang. I did not know that he had gone to pursue a degree in sports management in the U.S. in the mid 80's nor was I aware that he had lost his eldest son to leukemia about fifteen years ago. Almost in despair, he had quit teaching then and managed several golf clubs and resorts in between.
They say the good die young and time heals but I could feel his pain even now. How I wish that I had been there for him while he and his family were going through the trauma and the tragedy over the loss of his son. I recall I had held the boy in my arms when he was a toddler.
We parted making promises to keep in touch and to meet again soon, promises lightly made as in the past but Insyaallah, this time I shall try to keep them.
* Borneo Blues - a Mat Salo Perspective is at http://matsalo.blogspot.com/