Waiting for lunch on a very warm and humid Saturday yesterday, I got into FB to kill time - looking at the rants, the love messages, the complaints and all that what my FB friends had to offer. Suddenly I got an FB message from a dear old friend.
We were in the same class from kindergarten in 1979 until Form 5, minus a couple of years during lower secondary when I moved to Government school and he followed suit a couple of years later. Tora and I went to the same sixth-form college in 1991 but he lasted only three months - his GCE 'O' levels result the year before was so good the government sent him abroad to do his A levels and subsequently his medical studies in Ireland.
During a motivational talk for the government scholarship students three years later, I was so proud I had goosebumps when the Director of Studies mentioned, "Tora is not only the best Bruneian student in Ireland, he IS the best student in Ireland". That was MY friend Tora Leong. Today he is Dr Dr Tora Leong Sun Fu - he is a medical doctor and got his PhD last year. He brushed it aside as nothing - that is Tora.
I graduated in 1997 and has worked for 2 companies in 14 years. In contrast, Tora is STILL practising / specialising in Ireland and London, with the last leg in Paris later this year, before he is due to return to Brunei in 2012. By then he will be one of the few local cardiologist Brunei has to offer.
The thing I remembered most about Tora is his big handwriting (he claimed being a doctor, that is now long gone), he plays piano very well (he said he has little time for that now) and the best one, he's very very smart yet very down to earth. He enjoyed having meals at the gerai (stalls) and loved local coffee (Kopi kampung) that he'll bring back to UK following his short trip home. At school he mingled with everyone, and make time to assist us on the math and sciences... including my wife and I.
So, Tora came home on Thursday and will fly back to UK this coming Thursday. Mr Leong's two elder sons came home especially to celebrate his 7th decade of life. In between, as is his usual practice during his trip back, Tora had personal audience with the Minister of Health on his specialization and catching up on old friends, including yours truly.
Tora's FB message to me was to check if I would have time for coffee with him. Who wouldn't. So I agreed immediately and spent the afternoon baking my wife's favourite - Cinnamon Rolls - which my wife assured me would go well with coffee. She wasn't lying. I am sinfully hooked.
Tora came around half eight and we chatted until well after 11 about everything: his life, his studies, our childhood friends, my kids, his dad's 70 years birthday, also the fact that the mother still remembers me despite haven't seen me for the last 20 years!
It has been a pleasure having you Tora, and we look forward to have you around again.
Coffee with Dr Dr Tora last night
This was taken 2 years ago, after another short trip.