Facing up to mortality
On 30 May 2007, I learned that an ex-colleague had passed away the day before. I was shocked to receive this bad news.
I always remember him as a humourous and professional person in the HR field. Indeed I had received a few tips from him on handling difficult employees during my short employment with the establishment in 2006. His death is untimely and I felt sorry for his family. I reckon many of his students will also miss an articulated lecturer cum trainer.
I pondered over the cause of his sudden death and felt disturbed - did he manage to settle his unfinished business?
Life is so unpredictable. I am also concerned over the fate of a like-minded friend who is a keen supporter of Cancerstory.com. Will he survive cancer?
A cancer patient posed the following question to me when I visited my friend in a hospital ward on 29 May 2007.
"I am full of admiration for your friend's cheerfulness and calm disposition while coping with fourth stage cancer. How did he manage to stay so 'cool and calm'?"
My reply to the patient : He is a philosophical person and his favourite quotation is : 'When you reach your stop, you have to get down'.
I made a farewell remark to the patient : "You have witnessed a real case of resilience and I hope that you can also learn from him to take your illness in your own stride."
Indeed my friend lives up to his own belief and remains undaunted in his battle against cancer. It will be a great loss to many of his students if he failed to beat the odds. He is among the few artists who teach art - imparting his knowledge and skills, and has nurtured many outstanding artists. He is a veteran artist with outstanding works published in the prestigious International Art Magazine that has a worldwide circulation. Sadly the media failed to take notice of his good works and achievements despite the fact that I had written to them about him in 2005.
Well, we are living in an imperfect world. The ordinary people will only get the attention from the media when something tragic happens to them - value of newsworthiness, a cruel fact of life endorsed by the media. When I made such similar remarks to two reporters in 2003, they agreed with me.
To my friend, the value of art is the sense of achievement and satisfaction that an artist receives ultimately; its success is not measured in terms of the level of publicity and fame that an artist can receive.
Hopefully, he will conquer the battle against cancer and live to fulfill his life-time wish to hold a solo art exhibition, and print an art catalogue, leaving behind a legacy for others to learn his skills and also to learn the moral values depicted in his unique art pieces.
Posted on 31 May 2007, Sharing on Vesak Day