August 2005, I received a phone call at the office informing me that someone from my previous camp had committed suicide.
The man on the phone was 2nd LTA Lee Ting Hong, Assistant Ops Officer for HQARMCEG, and the dead personnel was 3rd Sergent Adrien Seow. He had thrown himself off a building the night before and was found dead in the morning.
I had him on msn the previous night, and all he could say was "hiak hiak".
Ting Hong was a good friend of ours back in HQARMCEG. I had been transferred out to another department and haven't been in touch. When the call came after the night's msn message I was kinda expecting it.
There wasn't much to say - I asked the standard questions:
I knew the answers to all the questions, and I could tell that Ting Hong wanted me to tell him that I'd rush right down to the funeral and say my goodbyes.
But I didn't. At that moment in time all I could think about was how Adrien broke our promise to each other.
I'm not a likable person. I've been told I get too cocky too quickly, and that there's an arrogance that pisses people off. There was a very bad vibe when I got posted to HQARMCEG, and I could tell instantly I wasn't going to make a lot of friend there.
But there he was, ready do initiate me into the friendly side of things. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for me, and we got close really quickly.
We belonged to the Ops room (well he did... I got included since we hung around so much), and there were a few more people he introduced me to - Samuel, the clerk; Ting Hong, the 2nd LTA; and Gilbert, the outgoing 1st LTA. We fooled around and became kings of our little blind kingdom.
Then Samuel went and killed himself in August 2004. Some say it was because of money, Adrien thinks it's coz of the girl. She was at his funeral and he didn't look very pleased. We went to Samuel's wake and I gave him a good long look.
"Goodbye," was all I could muster, but it's still more than what I gave Adrien.
After the wake he made me take a promise - that we wouldn't kill ourselves because of a girl. We've been telling each other our girl troubles (funny how all army guys got em), and I thought it would be a good thing to do - like a pact or something. That way when something went wrong I would always know beforehand and I could do something about it.
So the promise was made, and I went off to another unit. I could tell that he didn't want me to go, but he gave me his blessings anyway because it would be a lot better for me at the new posting.
That night on msn, he must have wanted to tell me he was going to break the pact. If I had asked on I'd be able to do something about it.
I was selfish bro, and I'm sorry. All this time I've been more concerned about getting my problems heard than to care more about yours. If there's anything I could change about my life, I'll go back then and get you out of the darkness somehow.
Nothing beats the love of someone who cares about you, and I got that love from Adrien. He cared for me as a brudder and a friend. The best I could do is to reciprocate.
Now, so many years later, I look back as I often do, and tell myself that I could've done more.
My birthday is almost here. I celebrated it with him once - we went for dinner.
Life isn't the same without you bro. The time we spent had been too short; you were gone too soon.
When I die and go to heaven, I promise I'll look you up.
Till then keep waiting. I'll be sure to pray for you.