It takes a 5,000km journey to Australia to chance upon a former housemate from Johor Baru
I BELIEVE in miracles. I pray constantly for miracles. I experienced one of many in my life in Perth recently. I was on board a Captain Cook cruise to Freemantle (or Freo as the locals fondly call it), drinking in the beautiful scenery on the Swan River and snapping away at the pretty scenes of white yachts and riverside homes. Imagine, Perth has the highest number of yachts per capita in the world. What a life!
Having a hunky Aussie — Ryan Zaknich of Two Feet And A Heartbeat, which runs insightful walking tours of the city — to show me the streets of Perth made the outing even more enchanting. He is a mine of information and I enjoyed listening to his stories.
Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice calling my name. Instantly, I recognised that voice. It was Suzanne from my days in Johor Baru when our paths often crossed in the course of our work. I still remember vividly the mad capers the three of us — Suzanne, Mae and I — had during those hazy days of our early careers, in an unfamiliar town.
Indeed, I still recall that time with fondness as it was my first opportunity living away from home. I had always fancied having housemates and joining in the balik kampung rush during festive occasions. It would be so very exciting or at least that was what I thought then.
However, after frantically trying to get home in time for Christmas one time and the all-important Chinese New Year reunion dinner the next, I realised how misguided my fancies were.
After a couple of years, I came back to KL as I could not get used to the pace and cost of living in JB. Food is expensive (no thanks to our neighbours across the Causeway with their strong dollar), the roads are narrow and mum’s nutritious soups not forthcoming when I needed them most.
The three of us parted ways and we went down separate career paths. We did keep in touch for a while but as time passed, Suzanne moved on and we lost touch, each busy with our own work and forming new bonds.
Mae eventually married and settled down in JB. She has a teenaged son now.
Yes, we still keep in touch and meet whenever she comes to KL for the Chinese New Year reunion dinner with her family.
We often wondered what has happened to Suzanne.
A month ago, while I was in Penang, where she hails from, I asked myself: “Suzanne, where are you?”.
So you can imagine the thrill and shock to be reconnecting with a long-lost friend 5,000km Down Under! It seems she is now working in Shah Alam and lives in Klang. Will wonders never cease?
I couldn’t help but text Mae immediately to tell her of my “great discovery” in Oz. I have always found this vast continent magical, anyway.
We are now arranging to meet for a reunion lunch in KL — once we can agree on a mutually convenient date.