To the brother who taught me how to “cool”

Loo Jian Liang Terrence Sebastian.

It was a name so distant at the back of my head that it didn’t quite ring a bell the first instant I heard it over the news.

Terrence. Sebastian. wait… Loo? When it struck me as a possibly familiar combination I was already frantically scrutinising the report for what it was about.

“Along with 5 of his students and their adventure guide, a Singaporean teacher from Tanjong Katong Primary School was identified among the bodies recovered from the recent Kota Kinabalu earthquake.”

On an acquaintance’s Facebook wall, the condolences and eulogies that poured in from all his loved ones confirmed that it was indeed this Terrence that I knew who met with the mishap. And even if we had never been close, and would never be now, my heart sank a little.

Because there are friends who make us think, and then there are friends who make us feel, and from the minute I first knew Terrence as a blockmate in hall during freshmen orientation, his happy-go-lucky and collected composure had always been a source of affection and inspiration. The man was everything I can only dream to be. Playful, annoying, yet undeniably charming, he was Loki, mischieving talking his skin out of the worst situations. In the process of letting the reality sink in, there was a split second where I was almost puzzled why he didn’t talk his way out of Death, and another where I briefly contemplated when the reveal to this prank is.

But no. In the end, even the best of us are but humans.

It’s been a long day. Rest in peace, Terrence.

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