Sunday, 22 March 2009

Ships That Pass, Paths That Cross...

Our lives are invariably influenced by the people in our lives and I sometimes wonder what the future holds; who we are yet to meet or perhaps, who we no longer want to meet and of course, who we can no longer meet (in this life?).

I also do wonder about the people we almost meet; the proverbial ships that pass in the night and the paths that never cross. How would they have enriched or made misery of our lives and vice versa? I am reminded of a 1998 movie, Sliding Doors yet, life should never be about the "what ifs".

Recently, a ship that was supposed to pass into the night crossed my path. The "small world" appears to have been made even smaller in cyberspace. Two weeks ago, I had the dubious distinction of being elected to the chair of my residence association. The secretary of the association is a Mr BH Yap, whom I met for the first time at the AGM, felt I seemed familiar to him. The following are excerpts from email exchanges later:

From: bayi bhyap []
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2009 9:35 PM
To: Cheah
Subject: Re: Minutes of Committee Meeting 9 March 2009

....KS, di you realize that our paths crossed in the cyber space two years ago. I thought your name sounded familiar when I first heard it during the AGM. Does my cyber moniker "bayi" ring a bell somewhere? :)

On Sat, Mar 14, 2009 at 2:39 AM, Cheah Keat Swee <> wrote:

BH, pray tell…when did our paths cross in cyberspace?


From: bayi bhyap []
Sent: Saturday, March 14, 2009 4:03 AM
To: Cheah Keat Swee
Subject: Re: Minutes of Committee Meeting 9 March 2009

I have never met you but I used to read Suet Fun's posts. She writes beautifully. There were times when you commented on her posts, sometimes next to mine.

It took me a day after the AGM to remember where I had seen your name before, as I have not visited her blog for the last few months.

Tiny thread here. Most people would have missed it.


On Sat, Mar 14, 2009 at 12:07 PM, Cheah Keat Swee <> wrote:

Oh I see… :o)

Do you know Suet Fun well? She was my neighbor and school mate in Taiping eons ago. We still do catch up once in a while. Please do check out:




I am so sorry to read about your wife. I don't know Suet Fun. I read her posts and put in some comments, mainly in appreciation of how well she writes. And she replies. But I have not been commenting for some time now, mainly because my workload has increased tremendously of late. I would love to meet up with her one day if this is possible. It will put a face to the author of such excellent written pieces.

Here's the piece from SF which I have taken from her archives. I had read and made a comment about the passing on of your wife without knowing you then. I hope reading it does not bring you more pain than you already have experienced.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Yesterday evening, I got news that the father of a childhood friend had a heart attack. He was on the operating table when it happened. Now he is in ICU, stable but critical.

She was my best friend when I was 16. I remember spending many afternoons in her wide spacious bedroom, talking and confiding in each other as teenagers do. Then, we would have tea and her father, just rising from his afternoon nap would sit and chat and chat with us. He was the most dashing father of my friends, and he spoke about hunting, fishing and life with a kind of unabashed passion that was rare amongst the mostly silent and inscrutable fathers of all my other school friends. But what most endeared him to me was the way he talked to us. We became intelligent adults in his presence. He never scorned our youth.

Early this morning I woke up just after 4am and glanced at my cell phone. There were a few messages and a missed phone call from about 11pm. I had slept through all the beeps and rings, dead to the world. I looked at the messages, and read that my friend's wife had passed on.

I did not know Jeannie. I met her once. She was slender, and smoked incessantly. I remember sitting at the dinner table across from her. She did not say much that evening, but I had the impression that she was quite a strong minded person who would not hesitate to speak her mind.

I knew her husband better, although I can't claim to knowing him that well. He was someone from my girlhood, when I was 18, and only then barely. He was the rugby player I saw whose nose bled profusely as they carried him from the field at the first rugby game I ever witnessed. He was the tall Prefect who strode confidently around in long, crisp white pants. It was much later in life, and only recently that we became better friends, connected by that emotional bond for our alma mater. As I got to know him, I learnt of his devotion and regard for his wife. He often remarked how she had taught him so much about himself, and how this one relationship had shaped him for the better. And yes, that he was a one woman man. It amazed me how this normally emotionally private man could speak so openly about his wife. Love had overflown, and made itself palpable.

I woke up this morning, and the news overwhelmed me. What is it that makes us start and stare when we hear of life, precariously hanging by a thread or moving on? Its our desire for Everlasting Life for ourselves and everyone we love. An oxymoron we cling onto with all our might. Only to be reminded that its a vanquished hope, even before the journey begins. Ironically, Death is the only fact of life we can ever be sure of. And within its grasp, lies that vast, unknowable power to shatter us.
Posted by suet fun at
11:49 PM


KSCheah said...
My Dear SF,

Thank you for being there for me during my most trying time. You are indeed a true friend.
3:42 PM

suet fun said...
Dear KS

I only wish I had been able to do more. My thoughts and prayers for you and your family as you begin the journey to cope with your loss.Take care.
Suet Fun
4:52 PM

bayi said...
Sometimes episodes like this one jolts you back into the past, reliving the happy and painful (fortunately, usually the happy ones) times shared.Obviously you were there for your friend. It's moments like this when true friendship is proven and the bond in strengthened. Such events also show us how time has passed us by and we should erase the painful past as life is too short to be unhappy over what we can choose to forget.
8:00 AM

suet fun said...
Sometimes time heals, sometimes it doesn't. We carry our scars as long as we live, even as we learn to embrace our existence again.
3:05 AM

Nature has a strange way of bringing strangers together. It would be good if we take it that we are destined to be friends. :)


Indeed it has BH, indeed it has...


Kamarul Shahrin said...

Cheah, that's good writing. Really touched me: Ships that cross, paths that cross.

KS Cheah said...

Thanks bro...our paths crossed about 37 years ago and you remain today, one of my best buddies.