I read somewhere, friends are like leaves. They grow old. And they fade away. Dropping to the ground. New leaves then will grow in its place. That’s how friendship is described as I ponder over the above saying very carefully. Find for yourselves, how true the above is.
Thinking over the vast number of friends, that I have had, since young, since my school days, I sometimes wonder, where some of my friends are these days. First of all, I shall try to recollect friends of mine during my primary school days.
One close friend of mine, I remember was none other than my cousin, T.C. He lived in a kampong or village, next to mine. I was then staying at Kampung Martin, in Telok Pulai Road, Klang.
T.C. and myself, happened to be in the same class, quite a number of years. To be exact, we studied until standard six together. I still remember, I was slightly better in studies than my close buddy, T.C.
My cousin, T.C. and I were rather close friends. Being rather small sized and a thin kid when young, I used to depend on T.C. for protection in our schooldays. Being a lot bigger and stronger than I was, I had to seek out T.C.’s help, when faced with school enemies and bullies, out to intimidate me.
My close friend and I went places together, enjoying our young days, frolicking in the sun, swimming in the pools and muddy ponds and rivers, abundant around our kampong. We fished and caught fish, like “fighting fish” in the drains.
One thing I could still remember of T.C., was that he was strong. He could throw a “stick”, approximately 1 foot in length, at fruits such as rambutans and mangoes hanging high on the branches. He was reputed to be able to even able to throw at “sentul” fruits.
For readers’ information, the sentul tree was a very high tree, sometimes growing even 80 to 100 feet tall. Only strong boys like my cousin, T.C. were able to achieve this fantastic feat.
Even though my cousin, T.C. and myself were very close in our friendship, our close relationship like I said, was destined to come to an end eventually. As both of us grew up into our teens, we began to drift into our separate ways. Being a better student, I went to better classes. While my cousin, T.C. or better known as “Sunny Boy”, eventually was put in a weaker class.
And so, as we grew up into secondary classes in school, we saw less and less of each other. Although we met and saw each other practically every other day, as time progressed, due to different itinerary and programmes, we grew apart.
When we left secondary schools, T.C. did not pursue his studies any further. I think T.C. went into employment with Malayan Railways, in Port Klang, as a “telly clerk”. While I went into becoming a temporary teacher in 1963 in Telok Datok town, 20 miles from Banting. Later, I was to take up a teaching diploma course, aspiring to become a teacher instead.
Although my friendship with my cousin T.C. did not last very long, only a few short years, during our primary and secondary school days, as I think back, over the years we were together, those short lived years, were indeed wonderful and carefree days.
Where is my cousin T.C today? Even though, I have lost contact with him for many years now, we do occasionally meet each other from time to time, at relatives’ weddings and when we attend funerals and so forth. And not to forget also, our yearly meetings at Deepavali house gatherings at my cousin’s sister’s house in Simpang Empat, Telok Pulai, Klang.
You see, my cousin sister Daisy, who is of Malacca Chinese decent like me, is married very happily to her childhood kampong friend, Segeran. Unfortunately, Daisy is said to be not very healthy these days.
My elder brother, my younger brother and my only sister, Molly, makes it a point to visit Daisy, during the Deepavali celebrations each and every year without fail. We infact enjoy visiting her to taste her good cooking and eating all sorts of rendang, curries, muruku, keropok, ketupat, assorted Malay cuisines and kuih-muih such as “baulu” and “love letters”, which she without fail will arrange for us.
All close relatives, including T.C. will without fail, be at Daisy’s house every Deepavali. It is now the month of July. Very soon, Deepavali will be fast approaching. And good willing, all of us will gather again at my cousin sister Daisy’s house this year.
We will talk about her mother, my mother and father and all other interesting things such as her brothers Henry and Tony, who have both passed away a few years ago. One thing this author is certain is, my childhood close buddy and close friend, T.C. will surely be there too.
I look forward to meeting him, to talk about the good old times when we were both young and about our young days at the Anglo Chinese School, in Jalan Raya Barat, Klang.
Next, I would want to talk about 2 other close friends that I knew. I shall refer to them as Tan and Wong. They were infact partners in business. Initially, I found them to be very close buddies. They were always together, having lunch and breakfast most of the times. Each, does not go anywhere without the other.
My friends have always reminded me, time and again, that when we become friends with someone, make certain that the friendship is cultivated upon a 50 – 50 basis. In that way, they say, friendship will thus will last longer. And how true it was.
Today, Mr. Tan and Mr. Wong are now not on speaking terms with each other. They are at logger heads. It was said, as the story unfolds, one day Mr. Wong struck it rich at some 4 digits games. Mr. Tan came to know about it.
According to sources, one day Mr. Tan requested for a loan from his close buddy, Mr. Wong. Mr. Tan borrowed quite a lot of money from his good friend, Mr. Wong. The story has it that after the money was borrowed, Mr. Tan failed to keep his promise to pay back the sum of money he took from Mr. Wong.
When Mr. Wong claimed back the money he lent to Mr. Tan, both friends began to quarrel. As Shakespeare once said, “Never a lender nor borrower be.” How wise Shakespeare’s advice was.
Today, it has been brought to my knowledge that the two good and close friends, no longer speak to one another. They have infact, become enemies. And all because of what? Because of money!
Both Mr. Wong and Mr. Tan have since grown apart. If once, they were close friends and buddies, today, they are no longer friendly with one another. They have become enemies.
At the onset of this story, it has been said, “friends are like leaves. Like leaves, they grow old and fade away. Eventually they will drop away onto the ground.” New leaves will grow in its place, to replace them. And new friendships will then develop.
Think about what I have been saying. You will certainly agree what I have suggested is true. We may have cultivated many instances of friendships in the process of our lives. Where are our good friends these days? They have disappeared from our lives. They are no longer beside us. That’s life, I suppose!