Sunday, January 14, 2007

En memoriam

I've always had a reluctant crush on MP Ms Indranee Rajah, ever since her great boobs and fantastic poise caught my attention. I don't know her personally, and I think she's mildly condescending, but I've never had the urge to diss her competence. She's ok, and I think she mostly knows what she's doing.

So the news of her brother's death was - well, I wouldn't say upsetting, since it's not as if I was friendly with either of them - so let's just say that it caught my attention in a "oh shit, that sucks" kind of way.

Of course, the fact that it took place two floors below me was a factor as well.

I heard that Dr Rajah had a heart attack while a student was consulting him in his room. Much as I live for the drama, I'll skip this starring role in ER: Singapore edition.

Poor guy. Heart attacks are just awful - it's out of the blue, and that little chunk of muscle that we never pay attention to as it blip-blops along suddenly goes blip-blop-bzzzzt.

You never get to say goodbye - so other people have to do it for you. I don't know the man, so the notice that was sent out on the mailing list will have to do:

Death Notice - Dr Ananda Rajah

It is with great sadness that I write to say that my friend and
colleague Ananda Rajah died on the afternoon of Tuesday, 9 January
2007, of an apparent heart attack at the age of 54. Ananda is probably
best known for his research on the Karen and on ethnic relations,
particularly relating to Myanmar, but anyone who had the pleasure of
knowing him will also remember his fine sense of humor and the great
pleasure he took from relating to friends, colleagues and students.

Paul Kratoska
Editor, H-SEASIA

He was one of the first generation of NUS academics, back when it was the University of Malaya. He would have remembered a time when the university believed itself an insitution of learning, not the Human Resource centre of Singapore, when they accepted government grants as homage, not as payment.

And now he steps into the past, carrying his memory with him. I think the older professors look at him, and see their own future - the last of a greater generation, marginalised by a government that sees them as inconvenient reminders of another time.

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