Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Sad Tragedy

Today, I read, not without much sadness, about the death of Kwang Zhen. He was a boy of 14, who fought bravely against leukemia; and survived it, only to have life so tragically snatched from him in a motor accident.

What struck me about Kwang Zhen was his demonstration of true courage and human spirit in pulling himself together to fight the odds against cancer. In his battle, he cared not so much for himself or his pain, but more importantly the pain that his condition brought upon his family. In pain and suffering, he had a thought to spare for others as well. Always with a ready smile Kwang Zhen had wanted to live life to the full and was prepared to take whatever that destiny offered.

Sadly what snuffed out the light from this inspiring candle was not the diesease itself, but the careless and irresponsible act of another person who perhaps never had to endure such pain and suffering himself. Sadly also, this other person did not have the same courage nor the honesty to own up his deed. You see, this person was the motorist whose car he was driving killed Kwang Zhen. He ran away and was arrested the day after.

I will save the debate on the nature of this motorist's conduct for another day. Kwang Zhen's story reminds us from time to time that we have much to be grateful about and that no matter what our circumstance may be in life we should be grateful for the little mercies that we have. Kwang Zhen's condition does put into perspective many of the problems that we face; for none can be as life threatening as the cancer that he faced; even if we should have cancer, we should be thankful that we are able to take things one day at a time. We should live life to the full, living each day as if it is our last; and we must learn never to take things for granted.

There yet another perspetive to this episode.

My 17 year old son, Ming Wei who was back from his studies in the UK for the summer holidays decided to dedicate three mornings of each week as a volunteer to help the intellectually disabled kids at Margaret Drive. Ming Wei in his own way must have decided that he has been sufficiently blessed in life, maybe by just being normal. Out of the abundance of blessings he must have decided that he wanted to help the less fortunate and perhaps help to make life a little better for these children. I am sure he did; and I cannot say I am not proud of what he did.

For many of us, I believe it would make much of a difference to our society if we are able to find the time to be channels of blessings to others. We who are already blessed ourselves by just being normal should be prepared to go beyond our own needs and try to make a difference in the lives of others, particularly the less fortunate.

In Kwang Zhen's case, I am sure his life was made so much more bearable by his friends who helped him with his needs and his teachers who found the patience and devotion to ensure that Kwang Zhen was able to cope with his school work. I cannot imagine how Kwang Zhen would have coped if no one was prepared to come forward to help.

Yet I somehow feel that even if no one came to help, Kwang Zhen's apparent tenacity would somehow carry him through.

Kwang Zhen, may you now rest in peace. You have indeed been an inspiration to us all. Thank you.

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