A close friend died today.

It was unexpected and, for a Chinese family, it was particularly hard as it was a day before Chinese New Year.

You too have lost a close friend, a relative or even a parent.

The feeling of grief and loss, I think, is the same for all of us. Some of us will, of course, take it harder than others. But that’s just a matter of degree. The essential feeling remains unchanged.

Grief. Loss. An inexplicable numbness.

Similarly, I’m sure you too may have experienced great joy and happiness at some point in your life.

That feeling too, I’m sure, is the same for all of us.

What about desire, excitement or loneliness?

These feelings too are the same. Perhaps just a difference of degree.

So, you see. We are not so different. You and I.

In fact, we’re the same. It doesn’t matter what our skin colour may be or what religion we follow, if at all.

So let’s not look to the differences but rather our similarities.

My friend, who is now gone, had friends of every colour and creed, and you couldn’t find a kinder and friendlier guy.

He always had a smile on his face. I can see it now, reflected in yours.

So goodbye … but he’s not really gone. His spirit of generosity and kindness lives in all of us.