A mother's love knows not separation.
That rang true at Changi Airport's Terminal 1 late on Thursday night, as Muhelmy Suhaimi had a constant presence by his side as he prepared to leave for France - his mum.
Muhelmy, 19, was flying off to link up with Ligue 1 side FC Metz on a 10-day training stint from today till March 22, an opportunity he earned as part of the Singapore Pools Passport to Excellence, after he won the The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award last December.
Sarina Durimi looked on proudly as her son received words of encouragements and a steady stream of good luck wishes from family members and Football Association of Singapore officials who had gathered to send him off.
Speaking to The New Paper, 40-year-old Sarina said: "I love my son, and I cannot put into words how proud I am of him.
"I didn't expect him to win the Dollah Kassim Award and, now for him to go to Metz like Adam (Swandi) did, it is amazing for him."
R Aaravin and Hazim Faiz, award winners in 2012 and 2013, respectively, also spent 10 days at the club.
Adam Swandi, the 2011 recipient, had a much-publicised 18-month stay with Metz's U-21s after a two-week training stint with Newcastle United.
Speaking to TNP, midfielder Muhelmy said: "I spoke to Adam a while back, asking him how it's like there, the weather, the training, the food.
"Adam told me that the way the Metz players train is a world away from how we train in Singapore. They are much, much more professional.
"The two of us are similar because we are both midfielders, and Adam told me how Metz will teach me a lot about physicality and ball control.
"These are two very important things that I hope I can learn there, because they are the flaws in my game. My stint isn't for a long time, but I hope to learn as much as I can.
"It's going to get lonely for sure, so I'll be speaking to my mother all the time, telling her how I am and sharing my progress with her.
"I tell her everything."
Travelling with Muhelmy to Metz are National Football Academy (NFA) U-17 head coach Robin Chitrakar, and attacking midfielders Hami Syahin from the NFA U-17s and Benjamin James Davis of the NFA U-15s.
Singled out as youngsters with potential, the two were picked by NFA coaches to join Muhelmy and learn with him.
Said Chitrakar: "These two kids have the ability to be as good as Muhelmy, that's why we're bringing them along to groom them.
"But this trip is ultimately for Muhelmy, who is a fantastic player. I'm thrilled for him that he will be learning from top youth coaches and I'll help him out along the way."
As Muhelmy got ready to cross into the departure hall, Sarina whispered a few words to her son as she wrapped him in a warm embrace.
"I'm proud how my son carries himself. He's a good kid with a good head on such young shoulders," she said.
"Humility is a virtue and he must remember to never get carried away.
"Things like these, God can take away from him anytime."
I'm thrilled for him that he will be learning from top youth coaches and I'll help him out along the way.
This article was first published on Mar 14, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.