has anyone ever wondered why my blog url is named “starcrash”? this question crept into my mind earlier today when i was listening to adele’s “don’t you remember” while doing an incredibly mundane activity – reviewing my monthly expenditure. thinking about the origins of the blog url brought back plenty of memories…memories that went as far back as 1997.
i got to know james through irc when i was 16 going on 17. the ‘o’ levels were over and i was waiting to get into polytechnic to begin another 3 years of education. the mood of my 16 year old self was usually gloomy and pensive. life felt like drudgery and i felt stuck, empty and repressed. i had no interest in school as reflected in my poor attendance (i was there for the 2 hour tutorials but was always 1 hour and 45 minutes late) during the first (out of six) semester in my 3 years worth of accounting education. semester one was completed with a complete C for 6 subjects.
the emotion that was the undercurrent of my teenage years, which continued into my early 20s, was of feeling that i am not of this world so it was with gladness that I receive james into my life – a worldly man 22 years older with so much to offer me – knowledge, intellect, cynicism and humour. life through the eyes of a 40 year old man can be quite peculiar to a 17 year old girl but i think those were the important years that shaped me into who i am now.
through james’s encouragement and concern, i started to pay a little more attention to school and eventually started seeing some As for a few modules for the remaining years in school. for someone who has completed much of his education in the top schools in this country, being serious about learning and working hard was very important to him. he was quick witted and smart and was planning to start on a new business venture when i knew him. i did not always agree with his working style or his life style – all the long hours, the heavy smoking, his way too cold relationship with his family and his temperament. i did not always enjoy being around him and he is always quick to correct me – my attitude, my behaviour and my etiquette. i don’t think i’ve met another man who was as quick to correct me as him.
he watched me grow up. i watched him grow older. he watched me transit into the working world. i watched him build his company from nothing to where it is now. he watched me clocked crazy hours at work. i watched him slowing down into retirement. he watched me grow happier. i watched him get healthier – for someone who smokes 20 sticks a day, he managed to quit the habit for good in 2009.
11 years is a long time. if it seemed like we spent a lot of time together, well, we did not. all the days we did meet up in this 11 years probably can’t add up to a year but it does not make us any less close. i think we connected because we both felt we did not belong here – all 22 years of distance disappeared when we realised how odd we both were. we both loved old buildings, loved being by the sea, loved our solitude, loved to read (him news and business, me anything but news and business), loved the fact that we were so abnormal and loved the same kind of simplicity in life. we were the same but yet different in so many ways.
a few years back, when reflecting on the years we have known each other, i asked him why he bothered staying around in my life for almost a decade. i didn’t have much to offer him other than the intangibles that came along with a close relationship – like warmth, companionship and an enduring pair of listening ears. like a man of few heartfelt words, he said, “the stars crashed on my path. it probably was destiny to care for you. nothing else i could do about it.”
i have loved the phrase since then. life is like that, isn’t it? random act of brilliance happens every once in a while and it is all up to us to make the best of it. i wouldn’t have knew at age 16 that james would eventually be the only friend whom i will have a decade long friendship with at age 28. i wouldn’t have knew that the person who would witnessed most of my major moments in life would be a 51 year old man in 2012. i wouldn’t have knew that we’d survived this long. i wouldn’t have knew that we could get through numerous fall outs and still remain friends.
james, like many of the other great guys i’ve met during my growing years (benjamin, derek and hf), cushioned me through some of my most miserable growing years. there were all older, all attached, all had great careers of their own but somehow had time to watch over the path i was taking in my life.
i am insanely blessed to have had the pleasure of knowing them even if not all lasted as long as james.
they were all stars that shone brightness into my life. living a great, fruitful and meaningful life would be the most wonderful way to remember them.