For Benjamin

We met in 2004 at the Southeast Asian Cinema Conference. With Alexis et al. We met almost every year since. We should have met again in Ho Chi Minh this month. We did not. I was bogged down with work. You too. And now,  we will meet again, at a better place.

There are many things I will remember you by:

You, thanking Gaik for organising the first conference that brings scholars and practitioners of Southeast Asian Cinema together.

You, delivering your paper on the complexity of  archiving when I invited you to Singapore in 2005 for the Forum on Asian Cinema, AFA’s first public event that launched the organisation.

You, taking the lead to bring everyone to Kuala Lumpur in 2006. As usual, not everything went as planned but it was fabulous already. You delivered the best closing address, thanking everyone, the guests who came, every student who helped. Everyone. Except yourself.

You, coming to Singapore again for the Symposium on Southeast Asian Digital Cinema in 2007, joining Khavn, Mui, Mirabelle on the panel about film communities. You also helped to judge the student competition and again, helped to give the closing address to the symposium.

You, remembering Yasmin in your love letter for her.

You, sharing the same birthday as me but of course you live a much more charming life than I do, first as an actor, and later an inspiring teacher and writer.

Thank you for always thanking us and making us feel appreciated.

I was looking forward to Independent Cinemas in Contemporary Southeast Asia that you co-edited with May. I was looking forward to your essay too.