Lost & found … after 50 years
A tale of two pen-pal friends.
BY: Laurence Wee
As a secondary schoolboy way back in the late ’50s, Rocky Lim, 75, had a pen-pal friend in Hong Kong whom he corresponded avidly over the years. However, their correspondence with each other ceased gradually when they both got married and raised their respective families in the mid ’60s. They had never met all these years.
However, sometime in January 2015, while on a trip to Hong Kong with a male friend, and taking in the city street sights, he chanced upon a familiar road name. At once, he vaguely recalled the home address of his long lost pen-friend, a Miss Wong. With his curiosity aroused, he managed to find the exact premises. He approached the security guard of the residential building for assistance, knowing that it could be a completely futile exercise as it had been many years since he last heard from her.
Rocky’s effort paid off when the security guard responded positively. Yes, he recalled that there were such a name. However, he informed that the family had since shifted out a long time ago. They had rented out their apartment all these years. Being helpful, the guard took the initiative to call the lady on the phone, but there was no answer from the line. Then he called another number, belonging to the lady’s daughter. The excited voice of the daughter at the other end of the line was very surprised that Rocky could still remember her mother after all these years! Consequently, the guard gave her mother’s contact to Rocky as requested.
For the first two days, Rocky tried, unsuccessfully, making numerous calls anxiously at different times of the day but no one picked up the calls. However, his patience was rewarded on the evening of the third day when she responded. Oh … what a joyous occasion that was, hearing each other’s voice for the first time in their lives. A pen-friend that was lost … but has been found, and over a 50-year span!
The two old pen-friends made an appointment to meet the following day at a restaurant to catch up after all these years. Rocky was happily surprised that she still looked good, petite and well, resembling her likeness from her old photo years ago. She has not put on weight, nor gained any, it appears to him.
The pair chatted happily about old times and exchanged updates on their respective family’s well-being. Her daughter is now a lawyer currently stationed in Beijing while her husband had passed on two years ago. They both believed that destiny has been very kind to them, giving them an opportunity to meet for the first time. They parted at the end of the day with promises to catch up once again, either in Hong Kong or Singapore. It will definitely not be the first nor their last time they would see each other.
To Rocky, that trip to Hong Kong in January has been most significant, satisfying and fulfilling. With such a happy and coincidental meeting of his long lost friend, he felt that he could easily identify with his favourite oldie song “You are always on my mind”.
This 50th jubilee year celebration of Singapore’s independence has been truly a very memorable one for Rocky, with the chance meeting of his long lost pen friend. More importantly, the year also coincides with his 50th wedding anniversary which fell on the first day of January. Surely, this year will see a “triple celebration” for Rocky and his loved ones.
Laurence Wee, 69, is a former NMP and is currently a consultant at the Presbyterian Community Services (PCS). He was previously its executive director.
** Rocky Lim is a current member of the PCS board.