Steph's Friend

Monday, March 20, 2006


What's that? Is it some kind of food? Or is it some exotic place? Well, it's the name of my friend from Medan, Indonesia. Her name's Kartika Riady. How did we meet? Well, it's a long story...

1997, the year I first met her. We were in a church in Medan practicing for a Christmas item. I was there for my primary school December holidays. At first, I didn't know who she was nor her existence. But there was this day...

I was sitting down alone after one of the rehearsals as many of them didn't really came over to talk to me. I guess it must be because of my nationality. When I spoke English, they were like "Huh?". Luckily, I could do with some Hokkien and a teeny-weeny-bit of Indonesian. But that didn't really helped in bringing people to talk to me. It was so until this girl came over...

(Note: Conversations were in Hokkien, but for the benefit of those who don't speak the dialect, I will translate it to English)

She: "Hi! So what's your name?"
Me: "Huh?"
She: "What's your name?"
Me: "I am in Primary 6."

(I was not being stupid. I was just not very interested in girls.)

She: "Haha. I think you heard me wrongly. What's your name?"
Me: "Orh...Stephen."
She: "I see..."
Me: "So what's your name?"
She: "Kartika..."

(That was the first time in my life that I've heard of such a weird name. But in Medan, that name is pretty quite common. It's like "Timothy" or "James" in Singapore.)

She: "So which year were you born in?"
Me: "Erm...1986. Why?"
She: "Just asking :) For me it's 1987. Why are you so quiet?"
Me: "Quiet? I guess I am just being myself. I am a quiet person after all."
She: "Really? Well, you got to learn to talk more."

After that short conversation, I began to get to know her even better. She would call me a quiet boy, while I would help her in her Christian life. After a while, I realised that she's a good friend.

(Coming back to 2006...)

She came over on Thursday along with her brother and mother. They went to Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza, shopping centres...etc. Didn't have time to bring her around due to my NS (National Service). On Saturday, she went out with her friends and the only time that was available for us to meet and catch up on old times was on Sunday at my church - the same setting where I first met her only now it's in Singapore.

I invited her and her friends but only she could make it. Why her friends? Because I will be playing the drum and she will be left sitting down there with the congregation. It isn't nice to invite someone over to your Church and have him/her sit alone. But she understood and didn't complain. Interestingly, that Sunday was the only time when I almost flipped my drumsticks while playing. Furthermore, it was a slow song! I guess my grip was bad.

After Church, we celebrated the birthdays of those born on the month of March. Among them is my cousin Jia En. He's a nice guy (and also one of my students).

(Jia En and Steph ~ You can see how much he respects me)

(Jia En and Kartika ~ She's the one with I've been talking about)

We ate and talked. My Church friends knew her also as they were from the same church in Medan. It was quite an enjoyable time. I learnt that she's know taking interior design in one of the schools there. Time passes by very fast when you are enjoying yourself. After eating, we had another conversation. Only now, it's between two young adults (or a young adult and a kid as some would see it).

(Note: Conversations were in Hokkien, but for the benefit of those who don't speak the dialect, I will translate it to English)

She: "So will you be free after Church?"
Me: "I need to check with my parents first. Why?"
She: "Nevermind it's ok."
Me: "So where will you be going after this?"
She: "I guess I will be meeting my friend later and explore around Orchard."
Me: "Okay, enjoy yourself then :) "
She: " :) "

That day was her last day in Singapore. She will be leaving to Kuala Lumpur at midnight on the same day. So before midnight at about 10.30 pm (I was about to sleep), I SMS-ed her...

"Before you go, I would like to say a few things. 1. Thanks for coming over to church. 2. Stay strong in your faith. Remember that you were baptised."

Her reply,

"Thanks! I would like to say a few things too. 1. Thanks for the invitation. 2. Don't forget to keep in touch! We are best friends right? 3. Be careful in your NS, I still need you as a friend. 4. Thanks for everything!"

My reply,

"Haha...relax man. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. So of course I am still your friend."

Her reply,

"Glad to hear it. If I need someone to talk too, I will share it with you ok? You can share whatever you have with me too!"
(This I don't really understand. What share-here-share-there thing. At least she tried to SMS in English - that's what matters)

(Note: We are just close friends.)

The End

(Untuk KR: Kalau kamu lagi baca ini, ingat untuk baca Alkitab mu. Tuhan Memberkati.)

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