Goodbye, Bernard

Bernard Khoo aka Zorro Unmasked (1941-2014)

Bernard Khoo aka Zorro Unmasked (1941-2014)

This morning, our blogging-brother Bernard Khoo of Zorro-Unmasked was called to be with the Lord after a long illness. He was 73 and leaves behind wife Karen, daughter Patrina and son Kevin.

Retired teacher Bernard “Zorro” Khoo and I became acquainted when we came together hand-in-hand when our blogging brothers Datuk Ahirudin “Rocky” Attan and Jeff Ooi were sued by then NSTP Supremo Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan and four others. The January 2007 peculiar action by a respectable media company became a landmark case. We were introduced at the High Court in Wisma Denmark, the day the case was mentioned.

That formed the first bloggers’ comradeship.

There on we became friends. At one point of time, we became close friends. We met almost everyday and drink and shared food and be merry over stories and jokes.

Once a week, we would converge for ‘Mee Rebus Tuesday’. Although we had political differences and opposing affiliation, we had a common desire to see then PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abullah Ahmad Badawi leave the soonest opportunity presented itself. We were steadfast in attacking a regime which wanted new media voices be leashed.

National Alliance of Bloggers, formed at the National Press Club

National Alliance of Bloggers, formed at the National Press Club

We got together to form National Alliance of Bloggers, All Blogs, on 12 April 2007. That brought us even closer.

So, at times we tolerated each other’s political opinion especially in the kinship of being blogging brothers. We organised and attended meetings with political leaders, from the different sides of the political divide.

Bernard even supported a campaign that I was staging for my alma matta alumni. That was the sort of respect we forged together. In the mood of celebrating the nation’s 50th Kemerdekaan, he helped to organise “Bangsa Malaysia” forum.

Then the 12GE came> We found ourselves deep in opposing political divide. 8 March 2008 was decided and there on, we started to drift apart. Bernard and likeminded bloggers formed a loose coalition known as ‘Barisan Alternatif Bloggers’. Later they called themselves ‘Barisan Rakyat Bloggers’.

Our political position drifted us further. We see very little of each other, taking also the consideration that all of us had more and more things to do. Bernard was deeply involved in many of Pakatan Rakyat especially PKR’s activities.

I was more focused on UMNO’s party elections.

Our political standing wedged even further apart. Bernard is never shy about what he felt and even blogged about it.

Zorro Unmasked posting about Big Dog, 10 May 2011

Zorro Unmasked posting about Big Dog, 10 May 2011

More of how Zorro felt about BigDog

More of how Zorro felt about BigDog

Never the less, we remained as friends. Not as close as before, but friends. Occasionally, we chatted over Facebook and catching up how each of us are getting along. The pipe-totting blogger never fail to talk about his grandsons, who lives in the Carribeans and asking about my daughter, whom he often expressed his fondness of her.

The last probably we met was at a common blogger’s wedding in Kelana Jaya. We sat and talked but time was not permitting. We promised to get together for all times sake but never got around of doing it.

Then I heard Bernard started to fall ill and had medical condition. In our occasional chats, he would briefly talk about it.

One of our occasional FB chats

One of our occasional FB chats

More of chats

More of chats

And more between friends

And more between friends

Comforting assuarnces

Comforting assurances

Concerned about a friend's state

Concerned about a friend’s being

In opposing sides, still manage to be friends

In opposing sides, still manage to be friends

In the heat of the Red Rock Hotel controversy, many pro-opposition bloggers shred me into pieces in their postings. So did Bernard. But he knewwhere  the borders were. Someone asked him about I in one of the social media platforms, “Isn’t Big Dog an enemy?”.

“Adversarial, maybe. An enemy, no. We are friends”.

I cannot express how it was comforting and appreciative that was. I did raise this with him. And Bernard coyly responded, “Yes, we are friends”.

Today, my friend has departed. I shall sorely miss him. Goodbye, Bernard Khoo. May you rest well, in eternity. May the memories of you etched in the hearts and minds of everyone, whom you call as ‘My friends’.

The wake for Bernard Khoo at St Ignatius Church, Petaling Jaya

The wake for Bernard Khoo at St Ignatius Church, Petaling Jaya

Published in: on April 5, 2014 at 03:33  Comments (4)  

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  1. Though our political view dffers, Bernard is without doubt a good and concerned man.

    Remembered when Dr Kua Kia Soong published the questionable May 13 book, he agreed with us that the number of death generated by Kua was fabricated.

    He shared how he helped Malay families from the anger of the Chinese. He acknowledged that Malay families were also saving Chinese in the heat of the moment.

    From my point of view, I can understand his disgust wth UMNO but I fail to understand why Zorro must be part of the other side that is moving the country in the same idelological, sectarian and racial divide.

    But leave that as that and it is not for duscussion now.

    It has been a long time since we could sit together. Last I saw him was in the FRU truck in Ipoh outside the state assembly for protesting against the change of government in Perak.

    I had a media clearance so I approached him at the FRU truck and took a pix of him. Will try find that photo.

    Wished him well and with help of some policeman tried to fnd out of his status at the balai. Was willing to help bail him out but he was out by 5 PM. So was Helen Ang.

    Since then, I would still wish him during Christmas by SMS but I never got any Raya wishes from him.

    After several failed attempt to call him, I give up for a while from trying. Thought he had turned to the extreme in his politics, thus refused to pick up my calls.

    Finally we did manage to talk on the phone, he said he has slowed down with his politics. I said I am still pretty much at it trying to prevent Bernard from being MP. And we laughed …

    We agreed to meet up but off course, when?

    Bernard is never strong on facts and details and his views are not in depth analysis, but I know he is what it is based on his moral persuasion or his perception and understanding of morality and right/wrong.

    Perfectly all right but I wanted to sit one on one with him to share my moral reasons.

    It would have been great that two friends – son of an Imam and someone almost beceme a pastor – could sit to understand and appreciate each other’s moral reasons of doing things.

    Like a friend used to say, let us not just tolerate each other but accept each others’ differences.

    Only then can come unity, and bangsa Malaysia. It can’t happen with an insecure majority Bumiputera and Pribumi and in denial non Bumiputera.

    Somehow Zorro’s death is a repeat of the similar incident of unfulfilled wishes wth the late Ancient Mariner, a friend and neighbour of Zorro.

    I wanted to meet Ancient Mariner the following week to the day he died to explain his compunded number of RM10 billion on PKFC was wrong.

    Alas it is too late for Ancient Mariner and also Zorro.

    Now all I can say is good bye to my friend Zorro. May you find your everlasting peace and that Bangsa Malaysia in the eternal world whereever it is.

    I will continue soldier on for some of his wishes and ideals but in a different way.

  2. Hi 13M+G …

    I couldn’t have said it better.

    Bernard was a gentleman throughout and passionate about his causes. He and I may have fallen out along the way but I still consider him as a very dear brother. Our greatest mission together was when Bernard and I walked for Hindraf on 25 November 2007.

    Here’s my post about the event: http://iamamalaysian.wordpress.com/2007/11/25/zorro-and-i-walked-with-our-hindraf-brothers-and-sisters-this-morning/

    I am just as saddened we have lost a gentleman and a “good brother’ today.

    [God bless your soul, Zorro. Rest in peace. You have earned it.]

    ewoon

  3. a good story BD. i guess such stories exist among many us.

    i realised that the poitical divide has driven many friends apart – me included. after GE13 especially, we have just just drifted away..yet to come back to old joints, unanswered calls, last minute excuses for not turning up. etc etc.

    i think the sentiments are still raw, constantly refreshed by this social media thing, manipulated, amplified, misinformed, disinformed.

    i suggest we turn off this media thing for a week and limit ourselves to phone calls only. the temperature will cool down, the proper context would be understood, its probably nothing worth commenting.

    that will give us time to finish that novel, teach the kid some manners, clean the store-room, repair the bike…

    and the country will be a better place..

  4. To Karen and family,
    Karen,I am Eddie Vela the temporary teacher then in 1963 in La Salle School.
    I have photos of you and bernard with me.
    Please accept my deepest condolences and sympathy on his sudden demise.
    Hopefully when I am back in K.L. soon, I can catch up with you and the family and relive his wonderful life.
    i live in Melbourne now.
    warm regards
    Eddie Vela


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