Bob Bergstrom

Email From Iowa

I am posting this blog to thank Berg Bergstrom for his amazing email and a celebration of his recovery. I believe the last email I recieved from Bob was almost 4 years ago (according to the email's date). Its also an encouragement for me to be able to communicate across the vast Ocean divide with my Dad's friend who is in the States though I was not born yet then. So Bob I hope you do not mind I get this email up my blog. It will be easier for my Daddy to read. We pray for your full recovery and I believe the people of Sarawak are grateful for what your team of Volunteers have done in the early years of our becoming a State within Malaysia. Bob and his team were amongst Sarawak's first volunteer teachers during the early Merdeka (Independence Years) in Kanowit and he is back in Iowa after all these years. He managed to come across my blog while surfing the Internet four years back. There is no other form of way I can say thank you except via my blog Bob (as you thanked me enough in your email). This year Sarawak celebrates its 45th Anniversary in Malaysia and we try our best to say thank you to those who helped us stand on our own feet. The email reads as below with some photos Bob sent me in 2004:

From left: Bob with his sons (left with stripe shirt) Jeff, Jon (in blue) and Brett (1973 - 1993)

Douglas, Catherine, & Desmond & Family,

Three long years have passed since we last exchanged e-mails. Therefore I wonder whether or not your e-mail addresses have remained the same.
I hope so....I hope you can still be reached at these Yahoo addresses. Anyway, here goes. I'm giving it a try.....

Bob Bergstrom, Joe Liem, Ken Shuey (his own website at KenShuey.Com), Suti, Michael on ramp / school jetty

Sometime in late 2005 you created the flickr album using some old photos of Kanowit Secondary School -- students and teachers. I really enjoyed watching how you did such a swell job of creating that Flickr web page.

During this same period of time I went out of circulation and ended my on-line Internet experience because my life had been interrupted by illness. In 2006 I had a mechanical heart valve implant, a heart pacemaker implant, and heart bypass surgery performed, all at the same time. Recovery was very slow and I found many other things to do besides setting at the computer.

Bob gets carried away

Well, for the last several months I have been getting back to surfing the WEB again, and I've really really enjoyed seeing your blog pages and the Nadai Nama Nama pages. These have really been fun and enjoyable for me. I've often thought of writing to you again Desmond to compliment you on the really top first rate job of composing these pages.

A few months ago I saw the story of the Jerukan wedding. I have also reminisced and felt sadness at seeing the passing of Peter Tingum that was reported in your pages. ( I was privileged to know him and spent time at table having dinner with him in December 1962, in Kapit, just before my move to Kanowit.)

Then -- just this week -- I observed the story that you composed on the Bridge of Life. There, especially, I enjoyed seeing your Mum and Dad showing you the DANCE of life. That's great! Super nice photo of the two of them. Thank you for putting that great picture of them into this piece of writing.

Now, on the subject of my health. I've had to go through rehabilitation from heart surgery, and I've had a bad shoulder. But my legs and feet are still fine. So when I saw the piece you did showing kids practicing the shuffle, I decided to take this up and become an expert myself. So I've begun to dedicate my legs and my feet to making all the right moves. I'm doing the "running man" and the "shuffle" now. And I'm mixing it in with my merengue, my rumba and my cha cha.

(I believe Bob is talking about my Notes From Sri Aman post).

All of this progress is thanks to you. Now when I go slipping and shuffling across a dance floor I can tell everyone that it is something I brought home from the streets of Sarawak where I learned it from the littlest shufflers. Again, thanks to you Desmond.

I do hope that all is going smoothly for you, and I hope very much that all of you are well and in the very best of health.

Do you happen to know of any Sarawakians living anywhere near Iowa? It would be nice if I could meet them if there are some nearby.

My very best wishes to all,

Bob Bergstrom

Bob with friends in Alaska before his surgery

I am glad you enjoy the blog - but I am glad for your email as it is a sign of your celebration of life - we pray for your speedy recovery (but please do not try the shuffle!) and God Bless!



This is the most touching write up from ur blog. I almost cried (really, no joke). I read this entry word by word.

All these while Bob has been reading your blog silently and he finally wrote e-mail to you (that's touching) The fact that he is ill, probably encourage him to keep in touch with all of his long lost friends, including your dad.

I am thankful that he was in Sarawak to help us out. He's surely a great man, who were willing to leave his comfort zone in US just to help us here. Geee... I'm so touched by this entry.
Nimi Momo said…
It's very touching and lovely email. such a thoughtful person and a wonderful friendship.. We pray that Bob will get much better than ever..
Willie - thanks :) its the wonders of the Internet my friend. Friends and people whom you would not have been able to meet are now within the click of a mouse. During our school days who would have heard or believe this was possible. Sarawakians would not have heard of Bob or other past volunteers if not for it.Thanks again.
Coffee Girl said…
Priceless photos! Suti is totally an interesting contrast.

Very sweet and warm email.
cyrildason said…
my, you looked dashing when you were young. No wonder Matt said the girls always had a hots for you :P