In memory of…

A Dear Friend

Found out yesterday the passing of a long-time friend. Didn’t realize that we had known each other for 15 years, and that would’ve made him one of the first people I know when I came to Saigon.

Apparently, he died of a stroke, at 51, too young to be leaving everything behind. I supposed God does work in mysterious ways, always taking people that mattered in our lives.

As I followed the thread on fb condolences left by friends that know him, it is no surprise at all that he was so loved by those that had befriended him. I am not close to him by any measure, at least compared to some other friends, but we did share some meaningful conversations, and a couple of drinks.

From the outpourings on fb, I supposed he did touch many in the simple ways he conducted himself – simply by being kind, gentle, generous, smiling, and genuine.

He left behind a legacy that somewhat shaped Saigon’s pub scene, from Gekko to Underground, from Blue Salute to Red Drum.

The one constant of these places is that you’ll always get to meet a familiar face, or if you’re mintly new, you’ll be greeted by him first. The objective of these places was to make you feel at home, away from home, and the brotherhood (or sisterhood – Emile, I’m talking about you) spirit as drinks are toasted to familiar anthem that we know so well.

Michael, you will be so missed by all, for many years to come. The regular darts and pool competitions will never be the same. I know you’ll want everyone to be happy but the fact is, we will fight hard to resist the tears of your memory as we take every aim and every shot.

Today is Valentine’s Day but I don’t think there’s much love in Saigon. But all said, you’ve left indelible memories that we will carry with us until we meet. Until then, my friend, let’s toast this once more:

bo ta, bo lan pa
bo liao, bo lan chiao
bo lim, bo lan pa lan chiao


14 Feb, 2013