July 18, 2010

Friends change or change friends?

When I left my last job, I wrote “Who Are Your Friends” because I am well aware that when I don’t possess the “connection” and “influence” in the corporate playing field, the many so called “pung yaus” (friends) and “hing tais”(brothers) will quickly disappear. Unfortunately that’s a sad reality. So many of these so called “friends” and “brothers” conveniently disappeared, some vanished mysteriously almost immediately … while a few (probably out of courtesy) continued to send me emails or an SMS or two with words like “stay in contact” or “keep in touch” for a while longer. Very soon, most of them too stopped corresponding.

True to the saying “lou yuen chi ma lik, yat kau keen yan sum” [meaning (in Cantonese) distance will test a horse’s strength and time will reveal a person’s heart], now I can clearly see only a few are worthy of a true friendship.

I have changed and because my status changed, my thinking changed, my lifestyle changed, my influence changed, my interest changed and my material value changed ... maybe people feel that I no longer possess anything worthy to be their so called "friends". Or maybe people just don’t understand or accept that friends change, so they change friends.

Only a handful who really meant it when they said “keep in touch”… really staying in contact, making an effort to catch up in between their busy schedules, genuinely concern and honestly keen to know about my well-being. Good to know they still value my friendship regardless the many changes in my life.

I am the old school type who values friendship strongly. I am lucky to have many good friends … some I knew not too long ago and some I knew for over 40 years (since 1969, from Standard One). At times we grew apart as we moved about to make a living and adjust our lives but we always kept in touch. We try to meet whenever possible. Along the way, we changed many things but we did not change friends. Whether old or new, good or bad, rain or shine, thick or thin … they still remain my friends and I remain as theirs. I value this friendship very much and I am sure they do the same.

My point is … do you understand and accept that friends change or do you just change friends?


Anonymous said...

hi, i hv read n like ur articles on nuang fr janda baik, d recent frenship and bunga buah article. thx for d sharing. my frens n i r attempting to hike fr janda baik to nuang soon n ur info helps. thx!

i used to emphasize a lot on frenship, but disappointed as i was always d one who made d effort to keep in touch, thru email or sms, but hardly get any msg fr d other party. so, if i dun even msg, i think d frenship is totally lost. now, i m more open n accept d fact tat frens come n go. v meet frens at diff stages of time. so, for d lost frenship, it is a memory but at d same time, v shud appreciate d true sincere frenship. v will know most of d time, who r sincere n who r not..



Shiek Eng Meng said...

Hi HL ... thanks for reading my blog and I see that you too are into hiking/trekking. I hope you have a successful hike up to Nuang from Janda Baik.

On friendship, I see that you and I have some common thoughts :)

Cheers !

samo said...


Now I feel very guilty cos I never leave you messages or even write you a postcard..


Shiek Eng Meng said...

Sam, no worries ... I know we will catch up soon over a couple of beers. Cheers bro !

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiek it's always very interesting to read your blogs. Keep it up and write more. Only boring people don't change. I agree with you that life is not greed for more and that's why I retire with the age of 50 after working very hard for 30 years and I'm enjoying my life to the fullest like you. Believe me you can count real sincere friends with only one hand (five fingers). I appreciate your friendship and hope to meet you and your family the next time I'm back in Malaysia! Cheers Rosy from Switzerland

Shiek Eng Meng said...

Hi Rosy ... I too always look forward to your emails ... great stuffs from you always.

I am glad that you and I have a lot in common and you are among the best of friends to me and my family. I am looking to your next visit to Malaysia. Keep the emails coming :)


Anonymous said...


Im interested to join you on your trekking and hiking trips. Can you contact me at mahdartahir@gmail.com


Shiek Eng Meng said...


We welcome people to join us in our trekking trips if timing, schedule plus other related arrangements are able to accomodate.

But we would appreciate if you could let us know more info about yourself ... your name please (I do not want to guess from your email address), where are you from, are you a regular trekker and where have you been trekking regularly.

You can contact me at shiekstone@gmail.com. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

hi shiek,

i'll email u my details, as i prefer to stay anonymous on public website.