A talented designer, potential game developer, 3d modeler,
a brilliant pianist, an aspiring game composer and musician,
a team leader, a sportsman,
I couldn’t remember exactly where we met, but perhaps for a reason-music and an object-piano, we got to know each other and shared our interests.
In my faint memories, I believe I was a freshman in NYP, while Reuben was a year my senior, and we were going to perform for a graduation ceremony. He was playing solo on the piano, while I was playing in an ensemble.
“Are you nervous when you perform?”, I asked.
“I do not admit I’m nervous”, was his answer, and as time go by I understood more of that statement.
Both of us were in NYP’s Piano Ensemble, where he was the President before he graduated. We had the chance to perform in numerous occasions, and perhaps his biggest accomplishment was composing and directing a musical. Although his piano training stopped at grade 3, the skill he displayed with despite imperfect techniques at the piano always impress and win crowds. His towering figure and hammering with fast speed on the piano makes me relate him to Rachmaninoff. Surprising, despite his size, he way he speaks to me is usually soft and in fluent english. The music he played were usually his own arrangements from computer game music and anime soundtracks. His natural talent for music allowed him to play by ear, and coordinate different rhythms in both his hands with ease. At his home, he showed me works he perform and create on his Yamaha Clavinova. After Reuben’s National Service, he updated me that his career path was composing music.
Perhaps for one thing others might not remember for, but I remember he was the one who often designed beautiful posters, published them, and pinned over the notice boards in NYP, not only for piano ensemble but for the Dragon Boat club. Not only was he active in piano ensemble, and dragonboat training, he joined the cannoning activities in NYP. A reason why he enjoyed dragonboating and the training, he told me that an advantage he gain from the training was he gain much built and weight, much fitter than the skinny him when he was in secondary school. During his NS days, he continued to row in SAFSA, and he said he will continue to row.
During our NYP years, he would be training at least 3 times a week, and walking through the sports complex I usually see him training, and we would exchange greetings. Academically, we were in different schools- he was in School of Design, I was under IT, but we often pass each other at labs. Therefore, the interests we shared went beyond music and sports, and eventually much into design and technology. A little thing we shared in common, was playfulness. However, in NYP unlike usual ourselves, both of us experienced getting into trouble with the school discipline separately. In his case, perhaps he had to extend his stay in poly for a few more months.
There’s was a time, despite both our busy project days (Reu was working on a game for SAF for his final year project), we meet up and he showed me his lab and his work. I showed him how he could access his work back from home. I couldn’t remember because of that he helped me model a simple 3d teddy bear, when I was then still unfamiliar with 3d Studio Max.
It was interesting with the different paths we took, we still bump into each other in occasions during our NS days like traveling to our respective camps.
He must had his way to deal with his popularity, since he never put me aside and tell me he’s busy. His works he post online had great demand that he always faced trouble with exceeded bandwidth on his webpage. I introduced another friend (from lab4games.net now lab4solutions.com) who was able to provide the capacity in storage and bandwidth he needed and his site www.reubenkee.com stayed on until now. On his sites, are his recordings of his music, see some of his flash in action, and links to his mugen interest, and at the most recent, youtube videos. He devoted time to mugen, its a 2d vs style fighting engine (like street fighter) and he managed to create one of the best AI (artificial intelligences) for the characters (and perhaps only his reflexes could defeat his AI he created).
There could be much more to say, and much more to know by reading the papers and from others who would know him better than I do, just that this is a account of our friendship.
On the news flash the shocked many Singaporeans, was that 5 members of national dragon boat team were missing after the boat capsized. They had completed a race in Cambodia for a festival, a wave hit them, and all fell into the water. 17 members were rescued and treated for injuries. On Sunday, bodies of 5 missing members were found.
That night the bodies were found, I logged on friendster (something I do only in a blue moon) and there were 3 observations.
1. There were hundreds of farewell messages for him.
2. He posted a photo of us which I did not remember seeing it before.
3. Last login showed: “2 Days Ago”.
When thinking of Reu, I wondered how was his final moments like. Perhaps the impact was enough to give a knock out, perhaps a current were dragging them, perhaps fatigue after race render him unable to keep afloat. 12 years ago, I experienced drowning, but I was saved and it was my turning point in life. During those moments, my life flashed through my mind. I do not know however what exactly reu experienced because it wasn’t me, but now 1 thing is certain. For reu, it was his final point in life on earth.
I know not how to carry on in this post, so I would quote my friend’s post after someone she knew passed on.
It reminded us of how fragile we are even when we think we’re invincible at times. We so often assume we’ll live to a ripe old age, but in reality, our lives are not in our hands.
Life is short. Do you know where you’re headed? I sure hope you do.
For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanishes away (James 4:14).
Finally, we ought to know and remember
Salvation belongeth unto the Lord