Hi, Prof. Szeto.
It still hurts after these few long days. You were sending me Whatsapp messages about some Indian food just last month and shared about the coronavirus situation. Sometimes I saw the back of a big guy with long hairs and still thought it would be you. We had lunch together couple of weeks ago and you seemed so relaxed and not at all sensitive talking about your situation, still so optimistic as you always were and making jokes about our lives.
We’ve known each other since 2007 when I was still a very young student and knew nothing rather than textbooks. You have been a very influencing role model for me since then. You lived a very simple material life, in fact one of your hobbies was checking out the discounted food coupons from newspapers (and some of them you kindly shared with me). But meanwhile you were so rich in experiencing life. You always talked about how many countries you had travelled to, and what were on your next to-do-list. I remember I bought a vest jacket with many pockets and backpacked to Thailand and Tibet and showed pictures to our research team, just to imitate you.
You cared a lot about your students like me, our study and research, our daily lives and relationships, our travel plans, our career moves and so on. You brought us for mountain hiking, for drinks during Halloween, for short trips to visit the poor students you sponsored, and even for watching belly dance once. You inspired us for new ideas in research and life and being always curious about the world and courageous to explore it.
It still hurts, Prof. Szeto, but I’m smiling while I’m typing this message as some part of you will live on with people like me, and you will always be the smart, wise, naughty and laughing friend that I know, just that, I guess no more jokes from you for a while now.