It was an email produced after a sequence ”guided by pure randomness.” He said he might need a place to stay for a day or two, or maybe more in Australia. I think I just woke up from a nap because I found myself unclear when he planned to come exactly . Apparently, he must have slept through writing the email as well. He wrote ”[s]o I booked really cheap tickets to Melbourne and will be there at and occasionally in between 19 June and 12 July 2009.” But it was already August. In the following email, he wrote, ”2010, rather.”
I thought to myself, and later wrote back telling him to email me again next year because with a commitment so far away into the future, anything could happen. I keep a conservative outlook with odds. I was thinking of myself because there were a number of uncertainties that I needed to negotiate throughout the year.
Little did I realize that anything also included death.
Friend Rajan Rishyakaran died earlier today in a road crash. I do not know the details, and I do not want to know the details. But I knew something else about him. Something that gives his existence a huge significance to me.
I knew Rajan first by reputation before becoming a friend of his. I think, many of those early bloggers, especially those whom used to patronize Project Petaling Street portal in its heydays knew him by his frequent saber rattling with another blogger over religion. I followed the argument between the two with interest, even if it was for pleasure. I later fought the same battle he had fought. Rajan was a libertarian. It was not a surprise that we disagreed (I still disagree) deeply with that blogger whom clearly despised the liberties libertarians cherish.
We take the defense of liberty seriously. It is no hobby.
He was, in fact, one of two early self-proclaimed libertarians in Malaysia that I know. It is for this reason that I appreciate his friendship. Weirdly enough, with the three of us, there was a Malay, a Chinese and an Indian libertarians. It is a coincidence resulting in a tiresome clichÃ©.
For the life of me, I cannot remember when I first personally met him. I do however know that I only met him in person years after we knew each other online. The last time I met him was at a crazy summer party in Petaling Jaya with a bunch of other new friends that colored my dull life.
When we first knew each other, I was in the United States and he was preparing for his STPM, a Malaysian version of A-Level. He went on to do economics in Singapore.
Death comes to us all, but somehow, there is a painful sense of injustice here. He was too young to go. He had so many to offer to the libertarian movement in Malaysia, especially with his interest in debating and developing knowledge in economics. Many times when he wrote at his blog, I found myself in agreement with him. The loss of him is a loss to Malaysian libertarian movement. His death is a loss to me because I now have one less libertarian perspective to listen to, amid limited libertarian circle that exists at the moment in Malaysia.
But that makes him as if he was a tool for some political development. He was not. A man is the end, and not a mere mean.
Alas, he is no more.
His family is having a service for him tomorrow in Shah Alam. I wish I could be there. I really do. The suddenness of this all left me with little option but to give my last respect from here in Sydney.
Goodbye, dear friend.
p/s — I shall post links of other obituary that I found over the blogosphere here:
- For Rajan Risyakaran, an obituary. Yvonne Foong. December 30 2009.
- How do you know… Like a magpie, I live for glitter. December 30 2009.
- Chapter 22-08: Cherish Life. Fern Yit. December 30 2009.
- In memoriam. December 30 2009.
- Remembering Rajan Rishyakaran. John Lee. December 30 2009.
- Rest in Peace, Rajan Rishyakaran. Nathaniel Tan. December 31 2009.
- Conversations with Rajan Rishyakaran (1986 — 2009). Zareth Lim. January 1 2010.
pp/s — for those interested, there is service for Rajan on December 31 in Shah Alam. Kindly refer to this particular forum post at usj.com.my.