Letting Go

At the conclusion of a training course I ran for a bunch of fresh graduates recently I said, “At some point soon, you’re all going to leave home to try to make a life of your own. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself as parents watching your own children leave home to try to make lives of their own.”

Then, without realizing it, I added, “When that day comes, I want all of you to look back to this day and know that this is how I feel watching you go.”

After a month together, it was hard to let go. Although I knew all along that the day would come, I had never expected it to be even half as hard as it was. Somewhere along the line, trainees and trainer had bonded. Somewhere along the line, we had become more than friends; somewhere along the line, we had become family.

Will Yong ever find that missing proverbial sandwich, the one that that makes him one sandwich short of a picnic? Will Azrul, the incurable ladies’ man, be able to wangle his way out of woman-problems at the office? Will Eliana’s heavily Americanised accent be a problem for her potential employers? Will the innocent but very capable Nizam be sabotaged at work by unscrupulous rivals? I have similar questions for everyone in that class that I ask myself almost every night before I go to sleep.

This isn’t very good. Professionally, I know I’ve done all I can for them. They should be able to fend for themselves by now. But the surrogate father in me just would not stop worrying. I tell myself I am their trainer – not their father. But this doesn’t seem to work. Maybe some day it will. But till then, I guess I’ll be doing a lot of tossing and turning.

I shouldn’t have overheard the conversation a trainee had with his one of his friends. It went something like this: “I think Mr Bangkai is teaching us more than just communication skills and English; he is teaching us about life.”

Damn it, I should have not have heard that!


17 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. G’day buddy, how’s the going? Hope u had a great New Year. You had me worried there for a moment with your long absence but I’m glad to know that u r imparting your invaluable life skills to young’uns, ya those lucky young ‘chikus’ college boys, learning from the great man himself. Good on ya, Matt!

    Hope u did NOT end the course with ‘God Saves the Queen’…..hahaha.

    Many cheers & all the very best for the rest of the year!



    Actually, they now know God Save the Queen by heart 🙂 But they are having some problems believing that she is my aunt.

    Good to be back and hear from you again, my friend.

  2. aww…so schweet..did you feel like a father who is marrying off his flock of daughters away? heeeeee..


    This is quite accurate as far as the girls go. But for the guys… Its like sending them off to war or something.

  3. Hello sir, thought you had gone on the haj, by your disappearance. But… you’ve been bonding, and you had accidentally eavesdropped on your own glowing testimonial. Congratulations Bangkai! Well done! I could do with some life’s lessons myself.

    I was looking for your e-mail addy to inquire about the course you’re running. My daughter will soon have some time on her hands in between jobs and she was in fact looking for such a course to attend in the meanwhile. She’s a not-so-fresh graduate 🙂 I would be pleased if you could e-mail me some info.



    No such luck, ma’am. While the heart is tugging me to Mekah, by creditors are tugging me the other way:-)

    OK, ma’am, I’ll send you some info soon.

  4. Salam Mat B
    Welcome back.. you’ve been sorely missed..

    Puteri Kamaliah

    Good to be back, ma’am. Been through a lot lately. I hope to put it all behind me for good.

  5. The clock’s a-ticking & its another brand new year… and age has a funny way of mellowing people & turning them into sentimental fools hehehe (thats me la) 😉


    I don’t know if I’m sentimental. But I know that the ‘fool’ bit fits me to a tee 🙂

  6. Hi Mr Mat Bangkai. I have been a silent reader of your blog for quite some time. Am interested to have some info re the course you’re conducting. May you please send those info to me? Might enroll in one if I have the time. Thanks in advance ya!


    Thanks for the visiting and your interest in my courses.

    Trouble is, Diyana, the company I am with does not run public courses (not yet, anyway).What they do is market their courses to corporations and government agencies. Thus, my participants are invariably their staff.

    However, the BioTech Entreprenuerial Skills Training programme is organised by BioTech Corp Sdn Bhd – this is run on a semi-public basis.

    I will let you know when we do run public courses, ya.

  7. hi salam sejahtera
    You sonmded like my mum.Nice reading your blog.Very inspiring indeed!l


    Salam sejahtera to you, too.

    Funny isn’t it? Old people all sound almost the same…

  8. everyday i go peek in and *pulls hair* have to go “waaaaaaaaaaaaat??!! No tea & scones update????!”

    and then today! a happy new year for moi~ and you too sir~ *salute*

    can you be my dad? *teehee*


    Happy new year to you, too.

    Be your dad? Sure. But considering my age, I’ll be more like your grand dad

  9. And now here’s your new update. Where have you been all these while?

    Anyway, it’s rather hard to see you write such emotional post.

    Sir Pok Deng

    I’ve been running around trying to get a handle back on my life – that’s the reason for the long silence.

    Yeah, I seldom get emotional. Its conditioning, you see: whenever I get emotional, I get my teeth kicked in 🙂 But I guess that’s all in the past now…

  10. mat b.

    you’re as sentimental as they come wearing your big heart on your sleeve.

    now you’re having me worried if you can survive your next training session without slobbering all over the place.

    good to have you back. don’t stay away too long for a man with a heart condition.




    Good to be back, sir! No fear of getting emotionally attached to my audience the next time around: I’ll just leave my emotions (what’s left of it) at home.

    Good to hear from you again.

  11. Happy New Year Mr B!

    It’s quite hard sometimes to ‘let go’ just like that kan? But hey… after all, you have taught them how to fish ( a bit ), haven’t you? So let’s optimistically hope they can survive for a few years instead of just 1 day in their new jobs…..


    Good to hear from you again, ma’am. I guess you’re right – I have taught them how to fish (a little). They’ll be OK

  12. Mat-san,

    Belated Season`s Greetings & New Year wishes.
    Hope life will be kinder,and more benevolent to you this year,the Lunar Year of the Tiger.

    But, sometimes, my friend, as the Tremeloes crooned,”Silence is Golden”!Absence only makes the heart grow fonder.

    Am extremely gratified to learn that you`ve been using the “missing” time to impart some street-smart sense and heart-string pulling emotions into those “students” of yours.Good for you!

    What an evolution you`ve gone through, Mat-san, and rightly so,methinks…MRSM alumni,Battler Briton wanna-be,London Tube busker, sometime student and sometime resident at the Old Malaysia Hall just off the Marble Arch in London,blue bench occupant in the hallowed grounds of Regents Park, Zen disciple, club bouncer, and (don`t blush), the subject of many a senorita`s secret nightly dreams(going by their thinly-veiled comments here, albeit in response to the varying subjects of your postings)…wow!

    You ain`t doing too bad, Mat-san…not too bad at all.Or, shall I just say, “Cor Blimey!”

    Cheers, and all the best!Take care please.


    My best wishes for the New Year to you and yours, sir.

    Cor blimey, indeed! The way you’ve described my life’s journey sounds almost as if you were talking about someone else 🙂 You make me sound like a very interesting person. I wish I saw it the way you do. Now I have a new perspective from which to look at my life. Thanks!

    Lately I’ve undertaken many changes in my life and look forward to better things for the years to come. Of course, we can only plan, eh?

    Thanks for being a friend – a good friend, at that.

  13. Mat-san,

    re your response..Man can only propose, whilst only God disposes.Live by that, and Insyallah, all will be well.

    One day at a time, my friend, live one day at a time.Our resilience and resolve are at max operating level in 24-hour spans at most.So, each day is an entirely new chapter, with renewed hopes,a time for metamorphosis, and the dawn brings with it a new promise.

    I can`t tell you how many times in the past I myself have come to what I could only perceive as a dead end, my friend, for my life`s not always as rosy as it is now.But, when ever I`m in a jam,I just let the day pass,pray with my heart to Him sincerely, and sleep it over.Believe me, the what the next day(metaphorically speaking here) delivers is oft-times simply unbelievable. Truly, He works with unseen hands, in ways I could never have fathomed.

    Believe in salvation, my friend, and believe that He will always be our Guardian.As long as our heart`s pure, with malice towards none, and charity for all,our omniscient Guardian surely knows about our predicament, and our aspirations, and He will guide us out of the problem at hand.

    Trust me!(And I`m not even trying to preach anything here, Mat-san,as all I can advise sincerely to you, Squadron Leader, is…watch out for that Zero to your starboard,Starboard!… Dive!Now!Dive! and pray hard!)



    I think I may have shaken off the metaphorical MiGs on my six. It took lot of doing (and praying, too) but I think they are gone (for now). Now its time to fix my battered airframe, re-arm and refuel, ready to fly another day.

    Thanks for watching my back, Higashi-san

  14. *laughs* And I thought that I would never see the day when the very macho Mat B would show the sentimental side of his which I’d always suspected existed.

    Hope that none of these kiddos took advantage of this and came back to hit on you for a fiver.


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