Dearest Li Ching,
It is hard for me to believe that you have left this world. I still remember vividly the last time we said goodbye to each other (when I visited Singapore)- you and your husband, together with your child in the middle, walked hand-in-hand to see me off to the stairs of the complex you lived in. We just had lunch with your family. You showed me your wedding photos and I laughed at your cheesy poses. I did not expect that was the last time we saw each other.
It is even harder for me to believe that you took you own life. I had heard that you had complication with the birth of your 2nd child when I started searching for you. But I did not expect that suicide was how your life was ended.
You will always be the bubbly Li Ching I once shared the hall of residence with. We did not study in the same universities in London but fate led us to stay in Cartwright University Halls. You were the bright student who was awarded a full scholarship to study Economics at LSE. You were so clever that you did not seem to need to study much. Remember the night when you were due to have exam the next day, but you kept chatting to us? I had to physically move you back to your room so that you would get ready! Of course, you passed everything with flying colours. (Even after you graduated, you passed all the 3 grades of financial analysts in no time.)
My memory is not great but suddenly all the scenes started emerging in my head while I am writing this letter to you. Even now, 14 years after we first met, I can still remember your voice, the way you talked, your accent and the little hand movements you made to express yourself. In fact, I remembered clearly the many scenes of us talking on the square table (with tacky plastic white and red checked tablecloth) in the dining hall. I particularly remembered that summer when your identical twin sister came towards the end of your course. You were due to travel around Europe before heading back to Singapore for good. I could not tell the difference between you and your sister by appearance! Of course, she was much quieter than you were. So it did not take long for me to identify you as you could not stop talking for long. We all laughed when I told you this!
That’s how I will always remember you- cheerful and talkative. You could have a conversation with anyone! The fact that you received the Rising Star Award as a reporter clearly showed just that. I enjoyed listening to your stories about how you interviewed people and came up with questions on the spot. I knew that was a profession you were born to excel in! I particular appreciate your attention to detail, especially the sentimental side of things. Remember you told me I failed to notice that our great mutual friend, Dennis, was sad but you noticed it by noting the way he talked about a cat? Well, I never asked Dennis if he was really sad then but the fact that you took notice the whole situation was pretty impressive.
I treasure the letters you wrote to me about all the stories of the old days and about your life after graduation. You were always positive and appreciated the good sides of things. I do not write to my friends anymore these days, not in Chinese, not like how we talked to each other. There is such a thing called Facebook or Twitter. But it is just a line or two.
It must have been very painful and difficult for someone smart, cheerful and chatty like you to decide to take your own life. I am really sorry that I was not there for you. I found it strange that the email I sent to your work email address got bounced back but I thought you changed job and forgot to tell me. I thought you would get in touch when you were less busy. I am sorry. I should have been a lot more proactive to get in touch with you. The outcome might have been different.
I have passed on your news to Dennis. I do not know how he would take it as his girl friend just passed away a few months ago unexpectedly. Life is really too short.
It is very sad that we no longer can share stories of our lives and our womanhood together. I hope you are in a happier and a more pain- free place now.
Goodbye. You will always be in my heart.