Haji Lane cafe co-owner Sarong dies after battle with cancer
A familiar face around Arab Street, I Am... cafe co-owner dies of cancer
For some, Haji Lane will never be the same again.
Mr Jaffar Sariban, better known as Sarong, died early yesterday morning after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 51 years old.
A familiar face in the Arab Street area, Mr Jaffar was one of the co-owners of the popular Dutch-theme cafe, I Am... He was also a key member of percussion group Wicked Aura.
"He was a generous man and we will miss his presence," said Mr Jamuri Busori, 44, one of the cafe's co-owners.
He described Mr Jaffar as a well-loved character who spread a lot of positive vibes in the lane.
"He just wanted people to be happy."
Mr Jamuri said that Mr Jaffar bravely battled cancer for the past year.
"He was first hospitalised on the first day of Hari Raya last year," said Mr Jamuri.
An operation to remove a part of his liver in August last year helped improve his condition, but the improvement was short-lived.
Mr Jamuri said: "By about May this year, he was too weak to go out of the house. Around the third week of August, he was hospitalised at Singapore General Hospital (SGH)."
Despite growing weaker by the day, Mr Jaffar remained bubbly and jovial. And even when he was sick, he ensured that people who visited him in the hospital were fed.
"He got one of the boys from his band to buy food from the SGH cafeteria for whoever visited him," said Mr Jamuri.
Mr Famie Suliman, 36, lead singer of local band The Pinholes, said Mr Jaffar was "still happy and managed a few laughs" when he visited him in hospital last Thursday.
"He asked me about my band members and I jokingly told him that they were on MC. He laughed at that," he said.
"The music scene has lost a very good man."
For Wicked Aura's frontman, Mr Idham Budiman, Mr Jaffar's death meant he had lost not just a band member but a brother as well.
"I've known him since the start of Wicked Aura in 2003, and we all have so much love for him and each other," said the 42-year-old.
"Sarong had no prejudice, he loved all and served all. Maybe that's why he was so good as a cafe operator.
"I'm very thankful to have been able to live in the time of Jaffar Sariban."
He just wanted people to be happy.
- Mr Jamuri Busori, one of I Am... cafe's co-owners, on Mr Jaffar Sariban