Monday, January 14, 2008

A tribute to Anne Theresa Chong

Listening to: Clazziquai - speechless
Feeling: sad

Dear Anne Theresa Chong,

You left too abruptly. I didn't get to say goodbye on Friday. I had so many things to ask you still...

Why? Why didn't you let us say goodbye?

You kept your illness to yourself and we thought everything was fine. You were alright... I had always thought of you as someone strong, who cannot do any wrong. You were in my eyes someone who were invincible.

Maybe it was that glint in your eyes when you first checked my work. You sort of scared me then. You had such spirit.

Maybe some people thought you were harsh and strict. I found you honest and fun. I enjoyed the times we spent in the office late together. I remembered how you, the one who was so tight-lipped I had imagined having to pry your mouth open with a crowbar surprised me by talking non-stop.

I remembered how I told the rest that I had an actual conversation with you and they were surprised. You gave out the 'don't fuck with me' vibe. I guess even our editor was a wee scared of you too.

I think that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

We never established the fact that we were friends but I sort of figured that out when you offered to lend me books. Your books, precious to you and you took the time to look through all of them to pick out the one that I would enjoy. And when I did read them, I loved them. And you always looked happy when I told you so.

I always felt so proud when you came up to me to say 'Hey, I really enjoyed reading your 'How-To' page. I never knew that irons could do things like that!' For someone like you, whom I thought knew everything on to come and tell me that, was like WOW. Or when you write little notes on top of my page like 'Good Job' or 'Nice One', it had really given me a little more faith in myself and my writing. I had more pride in my work then...

When we did the Secret Santa thing at the office, I did not imagine in my 25 years of life that you had taken the time to fold pretty little stars for me, download a cute and corny Christmas carol, create a new yahoo account and send it to my workmail to cheer my day up and stuck pretty pink sequins on a glass bottle for me. Everyone was shocked when you announced it was you who did it. Because no one thought too that you did things like that. No one at all... And when I opened up that gift, a pink phone pouch, a pink hair clip and a lollypop, I was shocked that you went all the way out to choose something in pink. The pink hairclip, you explained, was because I had once told you that my fringe keeps falling into my eyes. You thought it would help. It's the first time someone did something so thoughtful for me. I look at the phone pouch and hairclip now and I think of you. Thank you so much!

Yesterday, while having lunch with Seems I told her that I wanted to talk to you because I really wanted to know my writing progress and the only person who I can think of talking to was you. But in just 6 hours I got a call saying you had passed on.

Thinking back, I had at first thought it was a joke. Well, who jokes about things like that anyway? It took about an hour to really sink in. I realized then you had really left us. And I realized I will not be able to ask your opinion about my work, about books or life. It was surreal.

When I saw you just now, you looked so small. It was almost like you were made out of wax. With tears blurring my eyes, I wondered if you would sit up and say 'Gotcha!'. You always surprised us like that. I was still hoping it was not for real. I really hope, I pray with all my heart that you're now in a better place. No deadlines to worry about and no fools that you would need to suffer for anymore.

Your mom had told me that you had thought I was special. I will not get the chance to tell you this and I hope you know this but I had always thought you were special too.

Thank you Anne, you had thought me more than just about verbs and nouns. Thank you. My only wish was that I knew you earlier or had spent more time with you.

May you rest in peace. And for the last time... 'Bye~~~!!! And don't work too late!'


Daniel Henry said...

oh. my condolences to your lost.

Pinkity said...

Thank you. And sorry the update had to be this...

Stephen said...

A very touching tribute. You obviously had her pretty well figured out. Anne will appreciate your words, just as soon as she's done checking them 5 times for errors :o)

Thank you.

Pinkity said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. You're so right about the checking. And because of that super anal attitude of hers, Anne is one of the best subs ever.

Are you a friend of Anne?

John said...

On behalf of her family, Thank You.

stephen said...

Hi there,

It would have been Anne's Birthday today. That being the case:

Frances Tay McHugh said...

Hi there, thank you for this tribute to Anne. She certainly sounds like the Anne I know. (I worked with her and was her editor once.) Her passing was certainly a shock as I last spoke to her in October 2007. However, Anne I think, didn't much care to talk about her health as she knew it would be fairly sudden and arbitrary if and when it did happen. Thank you for posting your thoughts and sharing the warmth you felt for Anne in such a heartfelt and open manner.

Pinkity said...

Dear Frances, John and stephen,

It's been almost nine months since Anne's passing and I do still think of Anne and wish she's still around. I can't say I know her very well but sometimes I wish I can turn back time and have one last conversation with her.

she will always be remembered and missed.