I remember the day I first met Boon San..(no one ever forgets the first day they meet him)...
It was during one of the SAFSA trainings and I vivdly remember that I was doing upright rows when he sauntered in to SDBA in that usual cocky walk that we all know so well.Dressed in his navy uniform,with that outdated specs,his ba-geh and his attitude, you can't help but feel..MAN THIS GUY IS COCKY...and that was in 2003.
Foward to July 2004 when he stepped into NTU and had his first dragon boat training..who would ever forget the eternal moment in history when he stood there, arms folded in front of him, and (still) with that outdated specs, his ba-geh and his attitude and the eternal words that would echo from batches to batches in NTU,"zhe ge senior buay gan".
I had 3 quarrels with Boon San.And through these 3 quarrels, Boon San has taught me lessons that would remain with me through my life.
Our first quarrel happened when we first joined NTU Dragon Boat team and he told Eugene, the captain then, that he would not be joining NTU for Sunday trainings. Eugene then asked us what our opinion was. Without bothering to probe further into the reasons that he was apprehensive about studies in the first semester, I said to sack him. We had a cold war for about 2-3 weeks.
Boon San taught me that being a teammate is not just about coming to trainings, but to understand each other's problems and fears and commitment.
Our second quarrel happened when National Team was supposed to go Tanjong Pinang for a race and he didn't want to go due to studies and his mother was not feeling well.Again, I didn't ask or probe but was just being angry. We had a cold war again, for about 1-2 weeks.
Boon San taught me about filial piety and compassion and understanding for teammates.
Our third quarrel happened during one of the trainings for the PM race in 2006.It was one of the night trainings and we were keeping the boat and he said,"Jingwei say NTU will lost the PM cup this year".During debrief, I said if we start to think we will lose, we might as well not train.We had a cold war for about a week before we both apologised to each other.Thanks Tongle, for mediating.What I failed to see beyond my myopic view was that this was the guy who kept pushing every frontier and came for trainings and raced his hearts out for every set despite knowing the odds are stacked against us.
Boon San taught me that we CAN achieve in the face of adversity. He paced us to victory.It was glorious.
I have the honour of being Boon San's teammate in 4 different teams, SAFSA, N Team, NTU, NTU ALUMNI.To say that I have rowed with one of the best is an understatement. HE IS THE BEST. The confidence he instils in us when he pace is something we can only hope to emulate.
...when he willingly gave up his SEA Games seat to concentrate on exams
...when he came up to me with tears in his eyes and said that he's sorry he couldn't get us the PM cup in 2007
...how touched he was(and he nearly teared though he vehemently denies it) when we all cheered"BA-GEH!BA-GEH!BA-GEH!" at the victory dinner after SDBF 2007
...how big his smile was when we all when we all cheered"BA-GEH!BA-GEH!BA-GEH!" at the sports appreciation night
...all his practical jokes and witty and cruel comments and impersanations
...how he have touched all our lives in so many different ways...
Boon San, I really miss you.
On 23rd November 2007, I lost a teammate..a friend..a brother..
Rest in peace..