“Bro, who you calling an Indian? I’m a Jamaican la!”
That’s my brother, DJ Cva Quma a.k.a Blackbear’s trademark reply to anyone associating him with being an Indian. Don’t get me wrong, he was proud to be Indian, but was first and foremost proud being a Malaysian.
Cva, Iszarizal, Zaide, Ajisan, self and Amin on Sipadan Island, November 2007
My first encounter with Cva was back in November 2007 when we attended the Celebes Safari 2007 at Borneo Divers Mabul Resort. He never spoke to me on the first day he was there and seemed apprehensive. He later wrote in the divers’ forum:
“I meet the legendary Sea Demon and tell myself “Buddha himself is here” Sorry SD couldn’t resist”
He had just return from Vietnam and had to quickly grab his stuff, party CD collection, catch the flight out to Tawau because he was required to DJ at the Celebes Safari. I could still remember the look of horror on his face when he realised much later that he had grabbed his entire collection of Siti Nurhaliza CDs. He frantically downloaded club songs and mixed them. Later that night, Cva burnt the house down with his music, and for those who don’t believe it, we saw the other side of Clement Lee, co-owner of Borneo Divers.
Cva deejaying at Borneo Divers, Mabul Resort
Soon after coming back to KL, we met up quite often. He bought a red Ferrari underwater camera and brought it to Kanna Curry House at Section 19 in Petaling Jaya, and asked me to teach him how to use it. Soon, we realised we had something in common: we were both divorced, and soon the friendship developed into more than just dive buddies. We would chat on Yahoo! Messenger exchanging notes, confiding in each other, and became brothers. One thing about him though, he would always see the lighter side of things, and made sure nothing would drag him down.
Cva enjoyed life (taken from Ravi Ravi Ravi’s FB album)
I got married, while he was still searching for the right person. I know that he fancied an Instructor whom I shall not identify here. He would make trips to where she was just to try and win her, but in the end failed. As he put it,
“Don’t worry, Bang. Bunga bukan sekuntum, and we Jamaicans are not losers.”
Then, one day, he met Helen who worked at a dive shop of a friend of mine. There was not a hint of attraction between them, not that I noticed, but a few months down the road, he called me up,
“Bro, I just want to let you know, I’ve finally found the person who loves me for who I am.”
I was elated, so very happy for him, and I went,
“You lucky Indian boy!”
To which he retorted,
“Hey, what Indian la bro? You think Helen would go out with an Indian? Jamaican la!”
Self, Nizar and Cva at a MIDE party in KL
Then one day, he asked me for advice, on wanting to open a dive shop. He said he had quit deejaying and wanted to become a full-time diver. I gave him the pros and cons of having a dive shop and so on, but he decided to carry on with the idea; and with some friends, he opened up Gila Divers located on the 2nd floor of the Endah Parade near Seri Petaling. Once in a while, he would lament to me about how slow business is, so on and so forth, and I would tell him the same situation cuts across the board, but he would have to hang in there. And he would say,
“Bro, when are you and Kakak (my wife) going to come to my shop?”
And I’d tell him once I was free I’d do so. But work and personal stuff would always get the best of me; I never got to see him alive in his shop…ever.
My last meet with him was when we went to Tioman in July 2010. I needed a break so I went diving. He, upon hearing that I was going there, quickly organised a trip to the same place. We never got to dive together much during that trip because he was always doing shore dives, but I remember during the last shore dive, I saw him going around the jetty collecting rubbish…and snapped a photo of him.
Cva collecting rubbish near Salang jetty – July 2010
After that trip, I became too busy and never saw him again.
He would YM me from time to time, and whenever possible, I would chat with him. He would tell me of his trips to Anilao in the Philippines, and of his other dive trips. His last YM to me was about a month ago, sent to me when I was in a meeting. It just went:
By the time I saw the message, he had gone offline.
During my previous trip to Sipadan, I thought of the good times he and I and the others had had there, and I thought to myself, I should call him up to see how’s he doing once I get back from offshore.
I never did.
Then this morning, I saw a Facebook message from Clement Lee asking me if it was true what he had heard: THAT CVA BLACKBEAR HAD PASSED AWAY LAST NIGHT.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then my phone rang. It was Amin. And soon it dawned upon me that Cva is truly gone, passed away in the ambulance on the way to the Serdang Hospital, accompanied by the love of his life, Helen.
For one whole day today, I felt devastated, wrecked. And after lunch today while lying down in bed, I finally cried when the fact finally sank in.
Gone is my brother Cva. No more Jamaican jokes, no more banters, no more taking the mickey out of each other.
And no more brotherly hugs.
I am going to miss you, my brother Cva Quma. You were among the kindest and honest people I have ever known. Rest in peace and enjoy diving in God’s beautiful ocean. God bless you for accepting me as your brother.
Jamaica will never be the same again – from Andrew Arokiaraj’s FB album
Cva Quma 22 May 1968 – 7 April 2011
I found this chat with him on Facebook two years ago:
Cva Quma dei bro!!! forgot all about this !!
30 April 2009 at 11:47 · LikeUnlike
John F Seademon I never forget bro…had all my good brothers to dive with me. Good fun, good tanni, good pomble…eh, pomble irruka illaiya? Wah, I can speak Jamaican now!
30 April 2009 at 12:03 · LikeUnlike
Cva Quma oonahku pomble irruku maan!! bro dates for december dive?
30 April 2009 at 19:35 · LikeUnlike
John F Seademon December 16th we depart for TWU/Semporna…come back 20th December…venumma vendama?
30 April 2009 at 19:47 · LikeUnlike
Cva Quma on bro!!! damage? flight schedule to book?
30 April 2009 at 19:49 · LikeUnlike
John F Seademon
RM1070 if room (twin sharing), RM1030 if dorm. All with air-con, free wifi, English breakfast (goes well with Jamaicans)…but staying in Semporna la bro. 9 dives in total, with 3 dives at Sipadan. Sipadan permit fees included. Excluding fl…ight and meals only.
I haven’t booked any flight yet. I’ll let you know once booking has been done.See more
30 April 2009 at 19:53 · LikeUnlike
Cva Quma AA 340.00 / Mas 336.00… yethu?
30 April 2009 at 19:56 · LikeUnlike
Cva Quma bro it aint about where we staying…. its about diving with u… cheers
30 April 2009 at 19:59 · Like