When you’re aged 25, you just don’t expect a friend who you’ve gone to school and rowed boats with to die — it just isn’t supposed to happen. I’ve had acquaintances die before, but nobody who was closer. Samuel Ling and I served the same club back in junior college, we fought the same fights, sometimes against each other, but mostly we fought as brothers-in-arms.
He was eccentric, to say the least. In a place where most people could barely manage to write and speak proper Mandarin, his grasp of the language rendered some of his deeper writings arcane to the common reader. On a boat, he paddled with sometimes berserk ferocity, throwing form to the wind; other times he would let the paddle prance above the water just keeping a straight back and perfecting form. Samuel had strength in his legs, as many doors in school would attest. And damn, could the man sweat!
Watching him compose and play at a piano, I don’t think he is anything if not at least a minor prodigy.
Although we did not contact each other very much after university — he being busy with work, and myself busying in school — whenever we did meet, there would be happy backslapping and laughter.
I hope I could write better about this, and maybe I will at some point, but for now, I’ll just miss you Sam.