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.
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.
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.
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’.