It has been a week since we were informed of his passing. It was just past midnight on the day of my birthday when I got the calls bearing the bad news. Disbelief overwhelmed me and I had all these mixed feelings within me, as my text messages were a blend of cheery birthday wishes and doubtful shock.
The local motoring journalism industry has lost one of our veteran writers – Raymond Lai.
Ah Lai, as he is more affectionately known, has been an integral part of the industry, always having the latest scoop on the cars, the people, movements in the industry and anything else chatworthy. His forthright honesty might be hard for some to swallow initially, but most will later realise that he never meant any harm. His pen still reigns mightier than his tongue.
I will remember him for his funny Singlish jargon – he created his own set of catchphrases like “Heck ah, heck ah“, “Torkkkkkkk“, “Not say…”, which the rest of us started using and will continue to use. He also was very quick in coming up with nicknames for others – I never knew what his nickname for mine was though.
I will also remember his huge penchant for diecast model cars. In fact, it was him who got me interested in these diecast model cars, which he had tons of, all still in mint condition and in their boxes.
I spent more time with him three years ago when I was doing an internship at Volkswagen Group Singapore. I would send him to Camden Medical Centre or pick him up from there, or send the press car to him sometimes. Since then we only met each other at events, or he would call me on a rare occasion to gossip about something he heard. We also went on some media trips.
The call that came in the late of the night bearing his bad news shocked us all, but it also reminded us how vulnerable life can be. Treasure those around us and never take things for granted.
It is good to have him back with us (after departing us from Korea) and those who know him and would like to give him your blessings, here are his memorial details:
Anglo Chinese Primary School
50 Barker Road
Saturday, 20 Oct 2012
Entrance to the music studio is located at the primary school canteen.
Ah Lai, rest in peace.