Category Archives: People

A fighter til the end


I first met him in August 2009. It was not long after Mike’s passing and I was contemplating to leave the newsroom to pursue my crazy little project.

After our first meeting, I kept in touch with him and his family members, namely his mum, sister and two brothers, and they warmly took me in.

I remember once I drove him and the mother to the hospital for an appointment and was made to wait for over two hours. I sat with him so that his mother could have her breakfast. He was really skinny at the time and was nodding off. I had him half lying in his seat with his head on my lap. He never complained, unless the pain was unbearable.

He passed away yesterday evening, after three years of being sick with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The final send-off was efficiently quick and while the mood was melancholic, I felt relieved. That he is not in pain anymore. And I was relieved that my last image of him was a good one. He smiled, laughed even. And he asked for a massage.

Davie thinks that it was his way of telling me how much I meant to him. 😦

I might have posted this before, but this was him two years ago.

Note how when he was talking about his mother, he said he wanted to make her happy. Coming from a sick teenage boy, that puts even myself to shame.

He was from a low income family but he was so decent that when he received help he still put other people’s needs before his. Like giving money to his relatives to have their house repaired. Or sending his mother to the dentist for a set of new teeth so that she could smile with confidence.

RIP Hazim. Thank you for your friendship. You don’t have to worry about your mum, she’ll be okay.

Worrying’s making me eat

Like Cocoy said, now everyone knows Fukushima.

– – –

Ayako got back to me this morning, was really glad to know that she and the family are all safe. Turned out that she was in Sendai when the everything happened.

Strong earthquake and it was more than 3 minutes. Kowakatta…. Power was just back after 3 days but no water yet.

– – –

Yesterday, I found a few letters and cards sent by Ayako, along with an old organizer containing names and addresses of people I knew from uni days. Had a strong urge to call everyone but I doubt most are still using the same numbers. Tried to e-mail about five people but all bounced back…

– – –

My alumni may send a person or two to accompany the Malaysian Relief Agency as soon as next week, for about a month. すごく行きたいけど、月末までにはここから離れないんだ。

Angry earth day

The image of the tsunami water enveloping Miyagi-ken was scary but I couldn’t take my eyes off the tv. Names of places affected like Sendai, Fukushima, Shirakawa.. all too familiar.

– – –

Coy was online for most part of the first couple of hours. Even called me up. I can’t imagine how she was feeling, talking on the phone during never ending aftershocks. It’s a relief to know she has electricity and internet access.

Sean, Megumi and their girls are safe in Fukushima. He was waiting in the car to pick up Hiroko and Ria when the earthquake started. In his own words, in an email sent 30 minutes ago:

It felt like a very strong wind (from in my car) at first, thenthe swaying got horrible. Hard to walk outside, actually. The children said they first took shelter under their desks in the classrooms and were led out to the soccer pitch after the initial shaking had subsided. Many were crying, as were some parents who’d also come. Megumi’s school lost power, but she called a few hours ago. The highway’s closed, as are damaged sections of some roads, so we’ll have to wait more before she’s home.

As for Aya’s family, I am hoping they’re safe in Sendai. I don’t have their address or phone number. Managed to find Aya’s work number in Guam but she had just started her leave and can’t be reached. It didn’t help that Guam was also on tsunami alert. Hoping for the best.

Mariko-san was at home everything is fine, apart from the gas and elevator not working. Her husband is not so lucky, being stuck in Tokyo city and may have to camp there for the night.


– – –

Sato-san, Takahashi-san, 松野ゼミと斎藤ゼミのみんな、無事でいますように。


“You haven’t changed,” K Sensei said, when we met the other day. I was really glad he remembered me at all. He’s still the same, except for the grey hair at the temple.

After more than 15 years, I should think that my appearance have changed, at least a little bit. But then, I’ve been told that I look no older than 27. Heh.

It was so nice to see Sensei again, and conversing in the language he had taught me. “Mata asobini kitekudasai”, he said. I think I’d like that.

life is no nintendo game

I am bad at being around sick people, especially those I don’t know too well. I can stay for maybe five minutes but after that I won’t know what to say or where to look. I’ll end up sticking to the relatives or talking with others and not the person I went to visit.

– – –

It’s really sad to see him, just skin and bones, in pain. He’s a shadow of the boy I met some 15 months ago. I admire his courage, his mother’s strong will and I salute my friend who is constantly there for them.