As I walk the streets of the Lion City, a rush of memories we had together comes back. How beautiful it was, each and every moment we spent together is still fresh in my mind. Pannir is just two years older to me, he was a friend and at the same time, a protective and caring brother. Have you had an older sibling? If you did, you would probably understand the experience of lifelong love and struggles you must have had while growing up together.
We used to spend our early days going to Sunday school at our church and had a wonderful primary and secondary education together at ACS Ipoh. Growing up with Pannir, I would say I’m the luckiest child at home. When others get me into trouble, Pannir will defend me and blame himself to save me. He has always stood by myside when I was being bullied in school. I was never left behind, we had our fair share of adventures! I still remember how Pannir and I raced to save up our pocket money to visit internet cafes and to play our favourite computer games like Counter Strike and Half-Life.
He had my back always, be it having fun at the field playing football, going to marathons, trying our luck flying kites or spinning the gasing. Pannir was very active in sports and he was one of our school’s athlete. It still awes me till today as to how he could do fairly well in his studies and juggle with his extra-curriculum commitments. I’m amazed at his ability to balance his studies, sports and a bunch of other interests he had. He is a good example and a role model of how a student can be happily going to school, expecting lots of homework, and for that, I am forever grateful (and equally awestruck).
When I was 16 years old, I got into a nasty accident that got me critically ill and admitted into the ICU due to sustaining multiple fractures. I could barely move at that time and was only able to turn my head. Pannir was only 18 years old back then. He gave me hope in his usual goofy way, when I felt like there was no hope left. Pannir was at the hospital the whole time, helping my bed-ridden self out, during those tough times. He fed me when I was hungry, bathed me twice a day and did everything necessary that helpless me needed, even without requesting for it. At that moment, I realized that Pannir carries a virtuous heart of gold. Even though at times Pannir seems intimidating, behind that tough guy façade, was a soft, caring heart.
After finishing secondary school, Pannir left Ipoh, seeking better opportunities in Johor Bharu and landed himself a marketing job which involves doing direct sales for children educational books. He was so skilful at it and soon after, he rose the ranks to be his team leader. As a younger brother, I’ve always looked up to Pannir. After my schooling, I decided to move to JB as well, with Pannir, to look for a job opportunity to support my family, we’ve (me and Pannir) always been keeping in touch even though we were far. I joined Pannir in Johor Bharu, doing direct sales with him. I’m glad that I did that because I gained so much knowledge and experience from it, especially in business and public relations. Without Pannir’s guidance, I would not have been who I am today. He is ambitious. He used to share his plans for the future with me. He never stopped inspiring me to be a better person.
Now at 30, I am completing my Masters soon and am proud to call myself a young entrepreneur, owing an F&B business at this age. To this very day, even though Pannir has been locked away by Singapore, he would often write to me. He reminds me, in his letters, that with everything I do, there are consequences. He inspires me to continue pursuing my dreams and to strive for the ideals I believe in. I consciously remind myself daily to heed those words and to become more grounded and more careful in my choices in life. He is someone I still look up too and I will never stop believing in him.