S’poreans remained best friends for 60 years into their 80s — until one of them passed away

Friendship level 💯

Ashley Tan | April 26, 2022, 03:35 PM

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Friends come and go. It's a fact of life, and oftentimes, we appreciate the time they've spent in our lives, in spite of how long or short that is.

A friend who sticks around is therefore a rare gem.

Two Singaporeans were lucky enough to have found each other at a young age, and weathered thick and thin for the better part of 60-odd years.

Photo courtesy of Heerea Rikhraj

"Troublemakers" in school

Their story was shared by one Heerea Rikhraj on the subtle asian traits Facebook group. Heerea is the granddaughter of Bibi Mohinder Kaur Dalamnangal, who is one half of the pair of best friends.

Bibi met Oh Swee Kim in school when they were both teenagers. Heerea told Mothership that the family is unable to recall the name of the school they attended, but that it was located near Queen Street and Middle Road.

Heerea described the duo as "troublemakers" during their adolescence, sharing that they often failed classes together.

She recounted some of the shenanigans they got into.

"One time, my grandma was helping another friend write a love letter and in a series of comedic and unfortunate events, her friend Oh got in trouble for it instead, as they were not supposed to be doing these things at school.

As the pair weren't the best students, the one time they passed exams, Oh's dad bought her a car and she would pick up my grandma and drive around the Kampong. However, they would always make sure to park a distance from school as they didn't want other students judging them for having a car yet being bad students."

Lost touch briefly

Bibi was also Oh's bridesmaid at her wedding.

While having bridesmaids was not a tradition in Oh's family, Oh wanted Bibi to be part of this important milestone in her life.

Photo courtesy of Heerea Rikhraj

As they settled down and started families, Bibi and Oh momentarily lost touch.

Rather serendipitously, both had children at around the same time, and their daughters were actually classmates in school, although neither child knew of their respective mothers' histories with each other.

Reconnected 15 years ago

15 years ago, Oh's husband passed away. Perhaps spurred by loneliness and a need for companionship, Oh went in search of Bibi.

Knowing that Bibi still lived in the same neighbourhood the pair grew up in, Oh managed to track down her friend's address.

Unfortunately upon appearing at Bibi's doorstep, she found out that Bibi had left for Canada to visit Heerea and her other grandchildren.

Once Bibi returned though, the pair reconnected and have been "joined at the hip since", Heerea shared.

Photo courtesy of Heerea Rikhraj

Bibi and Oh called each other everyday "first thing in the morning", and Oh would pick up Bibi in her car whenever they went out.

At this point, the two were so close that Oh was practically part of Bibi's family. Speaking to Mothership, Heerea shared that Oh was "basically like a grandma to us".

"They tracked down the rest of their high school friends and used to go to Malaysia to get foot massages and cheap food. They even tried gambling at casino once but failed lol. Every time my siblings and I visited home, our daily routine consisted of us being picked up by them and spending the day eating, laughing and buying fruit."

Friendship was an inspiration

Sadly, Bibi passed away in November 2021 at the age of 88.

"...One of the most difficult things was to watch Oh come to the realisation her best friend wasn't around anymore," Heerea said.

Bibi's family still keeps in close contact with Oh, who is now 84, and Heerea shared that she is doing "okay" as she has other friends in her clique.

Reflecting on their strong friendship, Heerea shared that "one of the best parts of my life was watching their friendship as I grew".

Heerea shared that the pair's friendship was an inspiration to her.

"Their friendship was so precious -- they supported each other constantly through everything and were like an old married couple that bickered over the tiniest things. They respected and loved each other's cultures, and always had a blast together. It was so nice to see a positive representation of inter-racial friendship growing up."

She added that she hopes Bibi and Oh "will be able to connect again one day, in some shape or form".

Photo courtesy of Heerea Rikhraj

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