Friday, January 21, 2011

A Friendship Always Remembered

Some friends are remembered because of their smile. Some friends are remembered because of their style. But Joash Wee (Jo, his pet name) is always remembered for his friendship and kindness. He never could be short of friends.

It was a sunny morning with clear blue skies on Thursday, 17 June 2010. I woke up early, getting ready for my first time ever being an usher at a car show. My cell phone suddenly rang and it was my roommate calling about Jo’s car accident. My mind was flooded with questions: Is he all right? How did the accident happen? Where is he now? Once those questions popped into my head, my heart literally stopped and my jaw dropped as I heard he died in the accident.

I was just stunned – speechless. Everything seemed surreal suddenly. I still thought my roommate might have been pulling a prank until Jo’s roommate called me and told me all about the accident. “Jo is dead,” – those were the last words I heard on the phone that, I was thinking, would change my life forever. I called Jo’s phone, hoping he would answer the phone and tell me it was just a mischief. Nobody answered and I broke out into tears.

Jo and his family were on their way back home from the usual family vacation in Kuantan before their car collided with an oncoming trailer. The tragic accident killed five Wee family members, including Jo, his grandmother, his father and his two sisters. Both his mother and little brother survived, though badly injured.

Loads of people, including his classmates, teachers, friends and Christian fellowship nearly filled a large auditorium at Taylor’s University to commemorate the life of a 22-year-old bright student and to honour a friend whose life overflowed with love for everyone around him. He lived a life of complete unconditional love – love for God, love for his family, love for his friends and those he would meet for the first time.

There was no shortage of friends coming forward to share stories of the young man’s special ways and his love. Jo was indeed compassionate. He always thought of others before thinking of himself. He was also the kind of person you could talk to in a tough time. It brings to mind those heart-to-heart talks we used to have. He would always lend an ear every time I had problems with school and guys.

Jo was an enthusiastic person. He took a lively interest in almost everything – tennis, pool, books, music, writing and playing guitar. His guitar skills were honed well under painstaking hours of practice, strengthened by experiences of performing and serving the church. Our interest in music and alternative rock connected us to a close friendship. We ever went to concerts together and always wanted to get as close to the stage as possible.

Jo was also a friendly person to everyone. He would stop to say hi to you because you were his friend’s friend and someone he knew – or someone he just met. That made him more popular than an “it” guy.

Jo captured our hearts. He refuses to leave and will always be missed.

His smile never wavered.

Jo and me at the MTV World Stage 2009, Kuala Lumpur

P.S. This article was written to honour the memory of my good buddy, Joash Wee. You'll always be missed, Jo!