THIS IS A true story of three people brought together by fate; a friendship forged first in Malaysia, then Macau and years later, reunited all the way in the United States. This real life experience has sealed my belief in FATE.
I was in UM when I first met Racha, a Thai national. My college had in 1990 organised “The Second Asia-Pacific Conference – Youths for Peace” (link). I was a member of the organising committee and Racha came as one of the two delegates representing Thailand (he was then a political science student of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok). As part of their visit, we took the delegation for a city tour and I was assigned as Thai delegates’ liaison officer. My friendship with Racha was cemented that day. After the week-long conference, we kept in contact through letters.
The following year in 1991, my coursemate AC went to Macau for a month-long summer course in Portugese language and culture. There he met a Thai student named Racha doing the same course. Lo and behold, they both learnt they had a mutual friend in me. 🙂
The friendships amongst the three of us continued after we graduated. While I found a career in journalism, both AC and Racha ended up in the foreign service of their respective countries. We continue to keep in touch through snail mail and subsequently emails.
When I was doing my postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom, AC got his first posting to the US capital in 1996. Fate had it that after completing my MA, I would end up with an “MRS” and join him there as his spouse in 1997.
Fate struck again in August 1998. AC (now hubby) and I went to Boston (link) to visit a mutual friend FF who had just completed her postgraduate studies. We arrived on the morning of 7th August and after parking our belongings, we tagged along FF to Boston University and sightsee after that around the neighbourhood. While sightseeing, lo and behold, we bumped into Racha on the street! The clichéd remark “It’s a small world” never rang louder and truer than that fated day!
And fate evidently struck at the right time too. Racha had just arrived in Boston and was looking for a place to stay for the duration of his doctoral studies. Incidentally, FF who was scheduled to leave Boston at the end of that month, had her old room up for rent, which Racha eventually took up!
In a 2003 email, Racha recalled that it was such a “co-incidence” that he first met me in Malaysia, and AC in Macau, and then both of us on a street in Boston, USA!
I truly think it was more than a co-incident. After all these years and of all places and of all times, the chances of us meeting up halfway around the world and on that particular day, on that particular street and at that precise moment were like NEVER! But it DID happen, and it can only be FATE!
Other than fate, Racha and us share some similarities. He too married a college-mate in 2002 and the following year, his wife gave up her banking job to join him in the US, and that both our families are now nomads-of-sort. We’ve since moved from DC to Moscow and Hong Kong; and Racha from Boston to Colombo and Melbourne.
I look forward to the day our paths with Racha to cross again. Who knows, we might be fated to serve in the same country one day!
I first befriended Racha in 1990 in UM, Kuala Lumpur; in1991, AC and Racha got acquainted in Macau.
(L) In August 1998, fate reunited us when we bumped into Racha on the street in Boston; (R) In May 2000 he came to visit us in DC with his brother Rachata.