Roy Lee

Heather was warm and energetic, fun and funny, compasionate but pragmatic. She was organised and spontaneous. She was the ultimate global person - she loved to travel.

Her first overseas trip was with me at age 21, to Fiji about 6 months after we met. I had initially bought her tickets to China in the first fortnight after we had met but she was advised that i might sell her to the white slave trade. I had convinced her that her feet were too big to get a good price so we did eventually go to Fiji.

She was so excited to find out that I had booked her on an ocean cruise and was even more impressed when we walked onto the docks and saw a large glistening ocean liner. She was somewhat disappointed when we boarded the dirty cargo boat moored beside the liner. Her vengeance was complete when i became so seasick on the voyage that we had to  get off on the first island Matuka and live off the food given or sold to us in a Fijian Village. We finally did get onto a large liner this year for her 50th birthday - an outside cabin instead of a deck chair, ensuite instead of a bucket, dining at the captains table with a Malaysian cabinet minister instead of dried fish head and rice and there was not any bit of nausea.

In between these trips she has trekked in Nepal - one night keeping warm by draping herself over my feverish body while a woollen hat was half eatened off her head by the morning. She has climbed Mt Kinabalu and numerous rafting. She has comforted Dylan when he has been bitten by huge bull ants in Jamaica and stung by wasp in Borneo when were in the jungle looking for Orangutans. She has fallen through a toilet on a boat which was dragged by me, Humphrey Bogart like through crocodile infested swamp. Her christmases have been in a tent in Noosa, to being in 5 star luxury at the Eastern and Oriental in subtropical Penang where they sing "frosty the snowman"; christmas barbeques on the foreshore at Tennyson in the summer to dining in imperial spendour in a snow covered Beijing. We had our wedding spread out over a few weeks - on the Jetty in Adelaide, in a restaurant in George Street, Sydney and in Jiong San, China.

She learnt Bahasa by her numerous trips to Indonesia - trying to blend in as a blond local in Kuta - "Beemo?, transport?, watch? - taunt the tourist. She loved Singapore as she could grab all these bargain airfares and with only a small bag hop onto a flight traveling uncounted times to Bangkok, Phuket, Penang, Kuala Lumpar, Saigon, Hoi Yan, Hannoi - or a bus up to Malaysia.  Sometimes Dylan and/or Serena and /or I could tag along. Her last quick trip was to explore on her own the ruins at Ankhor Wat.

Her clothes were never designer labels but inexpensive unlabelled designs from tailors in the back streets of Asian cities. She would have visited most shoe shops in Rome and Amsterdam looking for sensible footwear for her unbelievable oversized feet.

The last weekend we traveled only a few kilometers from our unit at Serangoon Gardens to check in at a boutique chinese hotel in Chinatown trying to get us more of the Singaporean experience apart from work. We wandered the streets, visited the museum and bought bargain undies. We had dinner at a hawker restaurant in Smith Street with friends and then went back to the hotel to sleep. On Sunday morning Heather suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage and a cardiac arrest. Although resusitation was immediate, her heart took about 80 minutes before responding and she developed anoxic brain damage and multiple organ failure.

In 30 years Heather and my memories have become intertwined. Sometimes Heather accuses me of stealing her stories. This time, however the story is hers. Today, a bright warm warm Singapore Wednesday morning, Heather has continued her journey and leaving us behind.

Roy
7th June 2006