Ashraf Sinclair’s passing reminds us importance of gratitude, love

Dear Bunga Citra Lestari,

It has been exactly seven days since the passing of your beloved husband Ashraf Sinclair.

His sudden demise, due to a heart attack, has impacted many people – yours truly included – in ways you may not have imagined.

If you and your beautiful son Noah Aidan Sinclair, had it your way, Ashraf was to be there for your 37th birthday on March 22. But it was not meant to be.

I bet you would have been secretly planning his 41st birthday on Sept 18. That too was not meant to be.

I, for one, have never met Ashraf but we have several mutual friends. When my phone started buzzing that fateful morning, my heart sank – literally.

Here was a man who was blessed with a beautiful life and a family and yet the happiness was robbed in the blink of an eye, leaving you, Noah and the Sinclairs hurt and devastated.

I feel sorry for Ashraf’s parents – Mohamed Anthony John Sinclair and Khadijah Abdul Rahman – and siblings Adam and Aishah. No parent would want to be present at their child’s funeral.

It must have been an excruciating experience for Anthony, Khadijah and Aishah to witness Ashraf laid to rest at the San Diego Hills Memorial Park in West Java and disheartening for US-based Adam who could only join the family in mourning later.

Images of you and Noah at the funeral made their rounds, which further impacted me. It was a shocking reminder of how a similar tragedy could befall me or those close to me; and how my life, or that of those around me, would drastically change.

Even friends were devastated.

It was a wake-up call for many of us, not to take others for granted.

Noah reminds me of my three-year-old son. Perhaps it’s the innocence of trying to comprehend what was going on.

I understand his pain. I too lost my papa.

Last month, we were shocked by the tragic death of former basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash that also killed seven others.

On Feb 9, popular Malaysian comedian Syed Umar Mokhtar Syed Mohd Ridzuan, better known as Abam Bocey, passed away at the age of 32.

On Feb 19, Malaysians mourned the loss of literary giant K.S. Maniam.

Many others have also lost their loved ones. So what made Ashraf special?

Your family, perhaps best described through your 2015 song Wanita Terbahagia, touched the hearts of many.

The raw beats of tabla and sitar, accompanied by the pure melody of your voice, showcased your sense of purpose and gratitude to Ashraf.

You rightfully sang that time spent with him was more valuable than world treasures.

I am sure many others were connected to your family through that song.
The song was a great reminder to cherish and be thankful to those around you.

The song injected happiness, love and hope of seeing a family grow up and old together through thick and thin.

These elements are sorely missing in today’s society. We have forgotten what gratitude is. We have forgotten how to be thankful. We have forgotten how it’s like to love and be loved.

Ignore those who questioned your final moments with Ashraf. Excuse their ignorance for they live in a cocoon of shallowness, lacking empathy and respect.

All the money in the world will not bring Ashraf back. Instead, you and Noah are only left with beautiful memories to treasure.

It will not be easy moving on, for you, Noah and the Sinclairs.

Noah would have wanted his dad to teach him how to shave, learn to ride a motorcycle or even learn a pick-up line or two to impress a girl.

You will have to play both mummy and daddy to Noah. It’s not easy, but you will learn with the support you will receive.

In times like these, it is the unexpected that will surprise you.

Through your strong family bond, Noah will in return take good care of you.

Cry freely. Don’t stop those tears from rolling.

But move forward you must – to educate, inspire and teach people the meaning of life and love through your work of art.

Sing, act, dance and let Ashraf motivate you to motivate others.

Continue doing great stuff in heaven, Ashraf.

I pledge to re-look at the priorities in my life and will strive to live with plenty of love and happiness.

Yours truly,

Haresh Deol