A speech on Arief's memorial event
This is probably the most difficult speech in my entire life so far. I am a social activist, I speak in front of people all the time. But, this is just so difficult. I am so lost in thousands of floating memories divided into days, minutes, and seconds. Do I have three days to elaborate this? Are three days enough? (oh, I see Alim’s killer eyes.)
Ok, let's start from some interesting things about Arief. Things you may know or you may not know~ Sorry, Arief~
I saw someone wrote that you are coffee buddies, then do you know what is his favourite coffee? Late? No. Nespresso? good guess, but no. It's Cappuccino.
Next, do you know that Arief was once on TV news in Singapore? Guess what was that about? Faye Wong concert 2011. I was thinking what? He even couldn't understand Mandarin! Why him!?
I guess everyone knows his Facebook cover photo is....? Yes, Superman. Does anyone know which super hero is his favourite? I guess most of you will answer: Superman. But no, his favourite hero is Batman. Since being a super hero was impossible, became a MD and science researcher seems to be another way to save the world.
See, how strange, memory works on its own way. When I searched tons of my memories about Arief, the first thing jumped out is: every time I talked, he fell asleep. We came from different background: I am a social science person, and he was a MD, a science researcher. I always have so many opinions in contrast to his silence to most things. It’s hard to count exactly how many times, while I was giving my comments and suddenly I found it was deathly silent besides my voice. He was in sleep already with glassed still on his face, with mouth opened, fortunately with his loved baby Jr. (the Teddy bear, in case you don’t know) in his arms.
I couldn’t wonder that how can we chat every night until midnight back to six years ago, the time we just met.
Arief said, “gosh, you have no idea how many coffee I had one night!!!??? “
Six years. Arief and I are far than just friends. He and I actually have become a family member to each other in untraditional way.
“A family? How strange?” you may think.
But who are our family members? “Sisters and brothers”, “bro” or “dude” we mention these terms all the time. Sometimes it’s just a phrase, but sometimes we do treat them as our own sisters and brothers.
Are we a family?
Taiwan is trying to legalise “Multi-family Act” into civil code since last year. Multi-family is a new concept about different forms of modern family. Today, many people choose not to go into marriage, while some choose to spend lives with their partners, and some who are single but living with their best friends for years. We are all familiar with TV serious “Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleaveland.” Don’y you think the adorable Betty White and other ladies are a family? Don’t you think they are even closer to their original family?
What is family? How do we define family in modern society?
Today, I am standing here, addressed as Arief’s life friend. But deep in my heart, I am a family member to Arief, and so was he to me.
Most of time, we said, love can conquer everything. However, the moment like this, sadly we found that only love is not enough at all.
Last Saturday, on the way back to condo we were used to live together. Suddenly I realised: there won't be a home for me to go back anymore. Just like the old song sings, "a house is not home."
Home should belong to ourselves, hold on our hands.
Without legal recognition to different forms of family, some people were left behind standing alone with their sorrows.
Arief once said that he hope he was under Danone International but not Danone Singapore, at least the head office can provide more benefits to different types of family. From my understanding, some international cooperations in Singapore have tried to find solutions under Singapore’s legal system. Maybe, in nearly future, untraditional family or multi-family will be included in Danone Singapore which is inspired by the gathering for Arief tonight.
Now, I am sure Arief falls asleep again.
I have to thanks everyone here tonight again. Especially to all my friends who help to make this come true. To those are not able to be here, your sincere condolence is with us.
Life memories just like puzzles. Unlike other puzzle we are trying so hard to solve, it is ok, yes, it is ok to have missing parts in life. It will come back in unexpected way, like those unexpected incidents in our lives. When we think of Arief, we will remember these moments with tears, with laughs, with strange images, with his inspiration, and of course, with his love.
Now, take a deep breath and close your eyes. What is the first image about Arief shown in your mind? Please remember the way he looks tonight.