Apparently, he was known as Cleo nowadays among colleagues. But back in 1988 when we first started, I simply called him Azman. But I did know he was known as Farouk too (among his personal friends). In our "gila" moments he would called me "penyapu" and he became "mop lantai" for both Azwan and me.
He came into the NST newsroom about a month after me. Dengan baju pelbagai pattern and menghelit2, he soon became very noticeable. With his lovable and contagious and vicious sense of humour, he was certainly well-liked by all. As we were both rookies, we became quite close as we attended similar assignments most of the time.
Although our friendships did not extend beyond office hours (except during several media nite outings), he was one of my closest buddies. You know, the ones that you had breakfast, lunch and tea breaks with.
We became less close when he was transferred to Kuala Terengganu (but I did visit his home there once) and even more so after I got married. After I left NST 10 years ago, we never crossed path again. (I'm really horrible at keeping in touch with friends).
But above all, I vividly remembered Azman during one of his night shifts at the first floor of the old Balai Berita. In between processing stories and all, he would stole quite moments to read and recite ayats from a muqqadam.
Farewell my friend! Rest In Peace My Friend! Semoga roh saudara dicucuri rahmat.