It’s the person you can talk to about anything under the sun, who has seen your warts and all, who urges you to spread your wings in areas you might have never considered, who always just happens to ring or send a text message just when you were thinking of them, and who celebrates your triumphs and downfalls like their own.
VIPs or Very Important Pals play an integral role in our lives as we navigate ups and downs, and milestones such as a new job, marriage or parenthood. They also form an important part of any wedding entourage, whether as bridesmaid or groomsman, musician or an escort to elders or the very young during the processional march.
With friendship being at the very heart of Singapore Tatler, International Friendship Day on July 30 is a special occasion for us, so we’d like to raise a toast to the wonderful friends we’ve come to know and to the bonds that have strengthened over the years through intimate gatherings and the championing of meaningful causes.
Two groups of friends in society share how they’ve journeyed together, their fondest memories of each other and what it takes to be a friend for life. In part one of this series, we speak to best friends Nada Jumabhoy and Meaghan See.
So frequently seen together at events, it’s easy to think that this live music-and food-loving pair have been friends since they were in diapers, but they’re not. In fact, Meaghan’s brother Johannes and Nada were actually friends first, having met at an enrichment class when she was 12. They only met formally in junior college, but shortly after, Nada left to further her studies in London. They reconnected at Singapore Management University (SMU), where they both studied, when she returned. Besties they may be, but that’s not to say this pair of lawyers are joined at the hip. Meaghan says, “We don't get to see each other very often but when we do, it's so comfortable, familiar and like we just saw each other the day before.”
How did you become so close?
Nada Jumabhoy (NJ) We’ve known each other for over 10 years. Although we went to junior college together and were in the same extended friendship group, we were never close. When I returned to Singapore after studying in London, I decided to read law at SMU (Meg was reading law, too). I was stuck one night on an essay and decided to reach out to Meg for help. She responded and I got an “A” on that paper. We became close friends from that day and have remained so since.
Meaghan See (MS) My friendship with Nada is very low maintenance, which is a great thing with our busy schedules. We don't get to see each other very often but we're always on WhatsApp so we know we're only a text or call away.
In what ways has she been your gem?
NJ From that first moment of helping me out in my time of need, Meg has always been there for me. Whether to be a shoulder to cry on, or someone to share in a happy moment, she has always provided me wise counsel and a listening ear. She is a diamond; strong, resilient and always sparkling.
MS Like how a diamond sustains all harsh conditions, she has been with me through my toughest times, heartbreaks and dilemmas, and knows the exact words to say to make me feel better. We’ve also shared many brilliant moments. Yes, we both love getting down on the dancefloor when we can—she rocks and I roll!
What are some of the special times you’ve shared?
MS Nada organised a surprise farewell party for me before I left for the US to further my studies. The secret was kept so well, until my father acted suspicious as we were driving to Nada's home. She had invited all my closest friends and collected pictures of my friends and I to make a huge collage. I definitely shed a tear or two that evening.
NJ One of the most fun times we had was in Napa. After wine tasting in several vineyards, we sang Backstreet Boys songs all the way back to San Francisco!
Beyond just a close friend, what do you see in her?
MS A confidante, someone I can trust my life with. And a great dessert chef (she makes the best banoffee), the most gracious hostess, the best conversationalist, a filial and dutiful daughter, a loving sister and most of all, the most loyal friend.
NJ Meg is someone I admire so much! She’s a dedicated daughter and always puts family first. She’s also super disciplined with her barre, spinning and other fitness activities. She wakes up before work to exercise—something I’ve tried to do for years but have never managed to. She is a great friend to everyone around her and always has time to help her friends out.
Where do you see your friendship in 20 years?
MS Exactly like it is now, save for maybe the presence of children and partners. We will continue to be the girls we were 10 years back, confiding in each other, laughing and crying with each other, and making special moments together. Is she someone I’d want to have close by on my wedding day? For sure! Nada is a part of my life and she is one of the few who knows everything I would have been through to get to that special day. It's without a doubt that she will play a big role on that day!
NJ I look forward to our families vacationing together, spending birthdays and special occasions together… just like we do. I really missed her while she was away for her Masters in San Francisco and even went up to visit! Without doubt, I’d want her close by on my wedding day. And if she were to ask me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding, it would be a great honour; it would mean the world to me.
The White Book