December has not been a good month. The month is not even half over and I've already learnt of the passing of three persons who are known to me.
One of them was a particularly nice lady that lived in the road behind my house. A friend of my aunt. Until about a year ago when her doctor warned her about walking too much, she had always accompanied my aunt on her daily walks to the market about a kilometre away. When she gave up walking, she reverted back to cycling. Still, they would sooner or late end up at the market's hawker stalls with others for their daily gossips. She died last week on Wednesday after a long bout of sickness. Three weeks as an in-patient of the Lam Wah Ee Hospital where the doctors and nurses could not do anything more with the ravaging cancer except to make her as comfortable as possible.
I've already written here earlier about the second person. In case you want to know more about Fang Ewe Churh, here is the link to that story.
Lai Seng was my colleague at the defunct Ban Hin Lee Bank. He joined at a time when I was just about relinquishing my duties as the bank's statistics officer. He took over this function until he left Southern Bank or CIMB Bank for the al-Rajhi Bank. Still, wherever he went, he looked after his employer's banking statistics reports. It was rather momentous that soon after he took over from me, Bank Negara had begun computerising the submission of BNM statistics. Lai Seng plunged into this project with great gusto and under his care, the pain of consolidating all the branch returns manually were consigned to the dump.
I last met him in Penang earlier this year at the gathering of former Ban Hin Lee Bank colleagues. Everyone had looked older and greyer but the familiar laughters were still ringing round the dining ballroom. Lai Seng, as he moved around the hall, still had that big smile for friends and the peculiar laugh that endeared him to his former colleagues during the banking days. He was forever cheerful and come to think of it, I haven't heard of anyone ever commenting that they had seen a serious side to Lai Seng except when he was concentrating over his beloved numbers. Even when he couldn't balance his statistics, he could laugh it away. Away from his Excel worksheets, he was the faithful manager of the BHLB netball team for many years.
Well, I can safely say that Lai Seng will be greatly missed by his friends when we former BHLB colleagues meet again next April for another reunion.