A Different Kind of Merdeka Countdown

On 30 August 2007, my ex-colleague/good friend's dad passed away. He had been ill for quite awhile, due to alcohol abuse. I was told in the last few months of his life, he switched from drinking Guinness to Chinese wine (2 bottles a day).

I was at the wake last night. My friend, who is usually a picture of calm and carefree ha-ha, was anything but.

Guilt. Having just started a business with her husband, work had been unrelenting. And for almost a month, she hadn't been able to squeeze in a visit to her dad.

Regret. Just the night before was her sister's birthday. They were out drinking and partying till 4am. She stopped by her parent's home, but didn't go in to see her dad. She told her mother she would visit the next day.

Grief. A few days before, she asked me about doctors who made house visits. Her dad refused to see a doctor, and the only way to get help was to bring a doctor to him. They thought they had time, and kept putting it off.

Her family is an incredible example of contradictions. Amidst anger, there is much love. Between the quarrels, there are joyous family celebrations. From being alone, to being together.

After her marriage in March, she spent almost every day with her dad - bringing him dinner, sitting down and making sure he ate, and most importantly, spending time talking to him. Up till a month before he passed away, when work took over.

Today is another day of prayers before the cremation tomorrow. They are thinking of taking his ashes to Penang to scatter them into the ocean.

He was from Penang. And he loved the sea.

Ok, time to say hi to my folks.