KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The phrase "life's too short" has rung true for a teenager who died after he staved off an attack outside a pub to protect a friend.
"I remember one of your favourite lines used to be 'relax guys, life's too short'. It certainly was for you, baby brother," said Nadiah Nasran Leng, the elder sister of 18-year-old Yacoob Nasran.
In a Facebook posting, Nadiah described Yacoob as a selfless soul, but said his often repeated quote had become a reality for him.
"You are a hero; continue to look out for everyone from above," said the London-based para legal who flew home to join the family in mourning for Yacoob, whose funeral will be held today.
Yacoob, a college student in Kuala Lumpur and his brother Nabil, 19, who is studying in Singapore, were home for the holidays.
On Thursday, they went out for a gathering with friends.
The youths had stepped out of a pub at around 4.15am and were about to head home when Yacoob and Nabil spotted a couple fighting.
They tried to intervene, but the man took out a samurai sword and swung it towards the teenagers.
Yacoob attempted to block the blow that could have hit one of his friends. He was struck on the neck and forehead.
Nabil and another friend suffered light injuries.
Yacoob's devastated parents Nigel Leng and Kee Faridah Kothman are at home in Tanjung Aru, surrounded by relatives and friends as they come to terms with the death of their youngest son.
"The family is finding it difficult to accept what had happened," said a family friend who declined to be named.
Yacoob's death stunned his friends, who called him a hero for saving a friend from harm.
His schoolmate Keith Lee of SMK La Salle said Yacoob had always been a friendly and jovial person.
Yacoob, he said, never hesitated to help his friends in need.
"When it came to defending his friends, he would always be there in the frontline," he said.
His friends and others also called for justice to be served.
Police have arrested two suspects, aged 26 and 24, just hours after the attack and recovered two samurai swords.
A 23-year-old waitress at the pub, who is the former wife of the key suspect, two pub bouncers aged 28 and 30, and a 23-year-old woman, who is the pub manager, have also being detained to help in the investigation.