Rest well, Marc Ferdinand Joseph Lourdes. We love you

The phrase “He was like a brother to me” has been used so many times that it has become a cliché.

But Marc Ferdinand Joseph Lourdes was like a brother to me.

We had known each other since we were 13. We had laughed, cried, got into scraps, scrapes, and all manner of tomfoolery together. We encouraged one another, comforted each other. Marc was like a brother to me.

When I received news of his passing, every fibre, every nerve in my body cried out in pain and anguish. I couldn’t move, thoughts and memories flickered and flashed back.

As I struggled to write this at 3am, memories of my conversations with Marc kept appearing in my head – from the day I knew him 27 years ago, to our most recent conversation in our S12 WhatsApp group, composed of former classmates, on Friday.

That was the last time I heard from Marc.

We were supposed to toast turning 40 this year. He had planned to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary with his beloved wife, Darshini Kandasamy, this week.

Yet, as this article is being written, his loved ones are planning for his funeral.

Marc was involved in a road accident at Km40 Jalan Kota Bharu-Kuala Krai in Kelantan yesterday afternoon. He would have turned 40 on May 14.

There are those who know him through his professional career, having made his name with The Star, New Straits Times (NST), Yahoo!, CNN, Astro, and more recently, Tatler Asia Group. Marc and Darshini also ran their newsletter Between the Lines.

But us childhood friends know him for the love he had for all. Even our parents adored him.

Such was the love that my mum got him a teaching gig at a language institute in Bukit Bintang – way before he was known as Marc Lourdes, the journalist.

His mastery of the English language was evident, even during school days. It came as no surprise when the music and movie buff landed a job with The Star – writing for its maritime section. He didn’t know anything about the shipping industry, but that didn’t stop him from learning, and churning out good reads.

Marc was later part of the crime desk and with NST, he wrote about current affairs and politics.

That was Marc. He just kept on learning, adapting, and improving. And he just kept on climbing the ladder in his career.

In our early 20s, my other half and I used to head to the night market with Marc as we then used to hang out at his cosy flat in Segambut. We had dinners together. He was always up to hosting and his cinnamon coffee and pork vindaloo were the best!

He made it a point to attend gatherings. He valued the spirit of brotherhood.

Marc didn’t just help those within his circle. He also opened doors and created opportunities for those who he believed deserved a chance. Helping others came naturally to him.

Marc was family to all of us and he treated our children like they were his own.

Marc loved the cartoon Toy Story. Both he and Darshini had gifted my son a Woody plush toy. Know that Junior will be holding Woody tightly tonight, just as he did, last night.

Marc adored his wife, his family, and loved the great adventure on two wheels.

He had such an unquenchable thirst for life. Marc embraced it with zeal and passion, and no matter how hard it got, he knew things would get better.

His enthusiasm and positivity was infectious, his smile genuine, and full of warmth. He made friends easily.

Marc had so much more to offer, so much love to give. But God had other plans for him.

No words can comfort Marc’s loved ones. Only time will ease the pain.

As for my Methodist Boys School Sentul brothers, Marc’s untimely passing is the third within our circle – we lost Nicholas Asirvathem in 2019, and Andheer Lazuardi last July. It’s both cruel and devastating. It has left most of us numb.

 

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As Adam Levine of Maroon 5 sang in Memories:

Here’s to the ones that we got,
Cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not
‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
Of everything we’ve been through

Thank you for being our brother, Marc. Rest well. We love you and will miss you dearly.

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