As I sit here, thinking of what I should write about Nigel, I keep asking myself what he would have liked me to write about him.
First of all, it was not in my plans or my schedule to pen down (actually “tap, tap, tap” on the keyboard. The sound was more like “teep, tap, teep, terp-tup, tick-tac”. The “ter-tup” is the sound when hitting the spacebar. The “tick-tac” is the sound of the mouse left-button click. No scroll bar sound on the mouse as I have it on free play so that I can scroll 1,000 lines per second or so it claims.)
There is so much to write about Nigel as he never led a mundane life. I wrote down three virtues in my writing “sketch” pad, which I will share here. He had many but I will talk about three for now.
Nigel was, is and will be for evermore a family man to his wife Shirley and daughter, Sarah. He would ensure that Shirley is seen off when she goes to work, do most of the house errands, making sure that the bills were paid on time, buy lunch and dinner for them or see to it that there were meals for them, ensure the house was always clean and tidy (here – he ensured that he would see to it as cleanliness and tidiness had to meet his standards). He practically did most of the things for them. Both Shirley and Sarah shared with us, his siblings; that they did not have to do anything, he would take care of everything as he always going to be around.
Though he was very protective of his family which included us, his siblings and our families, mum and dad and his very close friends; Nigel had a stubbornness for no nonsense. He was strongly guided by a set of principles based on his Christian faith and belief in God. He would not bend these principles even by a little bit.
On the stroke of midnight as we ushered in the new year on January 1st 2018, our cousins, Brendon Surin from Perth, Australia; Darren Atkinson; Nigel and I made a new year’s resolution to reduce weight and the size of our potbellies. In fact, we had pictures taken of the four of us – believe me, it was not a pretty picture. Haha.
At that time; we thought it was just going to be one of those “every new year make resolutions” and then forget about them the next day.
About a week or so later, one bright spark (can’t remember if it was me) came up with a zany idea that we walk from SS15 mamak restaurant (spelling is wrong – it usually reads “restoran”) in Subang Jaya all the way to KLCC Shopping Centre in K.L. (or Kay El or Kuala Lumpur). Jeannie, my wife; warmed up to the idea and said, “let’s do it”. She was the fittest of the four of us. We set the date on the 1st day of Chinese New Year, which was a public holiday.
At 5.30am on that February 16th morning, we set out from the mamak restaurant in SS15. We walked past Sunway Pyramid, turned into Sunway Bestari and crossed the Federal Highway.
Then, we cut across Petaling Jaya by walking though Kampung Tunku, SS1, SS3, Section 14, 13, 17, across University Malaya to Bangsar; our first section in Kuala Lumpur.
We went past Majestic Hotel where mum and dad had their wedding reception on June 16th 1956; headed for Jalan Ampang and finally got to KLCC. Sounds simple but it took us 7 hours to cover the 26 kilometer excursion. The weather was cool in the morning but got really hot as it approached noon.
Nigel was the man of the hour. He kept a steady brisk pace throughout the journey. Jeannie enjoyed herself as she got to see may parts of our journey in detail; which otherwise we would miss when travelling by car or other types of vehicles.
Darren, with his futsal training; kept up with Nigel. I, was the one who slowed down the others. I kept saying that this was a ridiculous idea to begin with and I literally struggled to keep up. And that’s putting it mildly.
These are the things we did for adventure, which reminded us of similar adventures we had during our school days, like cycling through what was once palm oil estates; now it is Taman Chi Liung and Bukit Tinggi housing estates in Klang.
We never repeated the KLCC walk after that, though nowadays; I am quite use to walks of between 15 kilmometers to 30 kilometers a day, every day.
Right to Left: Nigel, Jeannie, Darren and myself. This was taken near the Icon City, Petaling Jaya.
Here, I am looking at the time, distance covered, pace and estimated time of arrival. Darren is checking his phone for messages. And Nigel, look at him: he looks like he is impatient to get on with our journey. Haha (We will have to settle for “Haha” as my keyboard does not have a key for emojis.) This picture was taken near the Icon City, Petaling Jaya.
Nigel was not financially rich. It never stopped him from being generous. He always helped family and friends whenever he could, with whatever he had, even to the point on many occasions where he sacrificed and did without many things that he wanted. He always went beyond the call of duty. That was Nigel.
He and Shirley related some of the tough times they went through many years ago when they first got married and even through their married life. Financially; they sacrificed. It strengthened their lives together and gave them the resolve that they could do anything. They were happy. It was their 34th wedding anniversary a few days ago, on August 31st.
Today marks 1 month since Nigel left us. The only images I keep getting of Nigel is that he is always smiling , he is happy. And that is what he would want of all of us.