I started to know Leong about 15 years ago when both of us were elected as committee members of Rukun Tetangga in our housing area. According to a friend, Leong, who hailed from Seremban, was a fomer gang leader. However, he left the underwolrd after getting married and became a contractor to sustain his family.
Our friendship became stronger through our shared hobbies i.e hunting for delicious food and jungle trekking. We have traversed many jungles in the country including Banding, Endau-Rompin, the National Park of Kuala Tahan and Janda Baik. During the trip, we usually shared the same tent and do the cooking together. We even shared the agony of losing our way in the elephant infested jungle of Grik in Perak.
However, one day he confided to me and another friend that he was suffering from cancer and requested us not to tell the bad news to his wife and children. We honoured his request, albeit with a heavy heart. Three months later, he was admitted to the Selayang Hospital. It was during this time that we were bombarded with harsh words by his wife for keeping the secret about his health.
Two days before breathing his last breath, Leong requested that I cook for him Nasi Lemak and Cucur Udang, his favourite food. I fulfilled his request and that was the last time we ate together.
Today, exactly three years after his death, I recalled his good deeds to me, whom he once declared as his brother. He was the one who taught me how to prepare Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chicken Chop and several Chinese food; who advised my two grown up sons not to ever think of becoming gangsters; who took care of my house whenever I was away on holidays; and who drove my family to Jengka to visit an ailing uncle when I was away in Thailand.
Leong, I really treasure your sincerity and friendship. Don’t worry pal, I would surely help your family in any way that I could. Be assured my dear friend that the friendly and neighbourly ties between our families would be as strong as before.