Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thank You Again

"The greatest gift is the gift of awareness"

I would like to thank those of you who have written to encourage me. The truth is that I took up this job with the sole aim of helping Chang complete his story.  I have not made any plans yet for this blog. Though I have always enjoyed writing, his shoes may be a bit too big for me to fill.

I have to admit that it was not an easy job he entrusted onto me.  During the last few weeks of his life, I followed his physical progress as closely as I could in order to update this blog. And I watched the dying process taking place day by day.  The physical changes, the deterioration and the suffering. Watching life unfold, having to process it in my mind and coming home to write about it.  The hardest day was on the day he passed on.

At the end of life, what really matters to you? Is it the money, the job title or career achievements? Would you panic then whilst on your death bed and wish that you had more time to live life differently? Have you been true to yourself, lived up to your beliefs and at least tried to live out your dreams?

Or is life just one day of struggle after another? Work, work and work. A life so full of responsibilities and obligations that we have forgotten what really matters, our heart? What have we done with our lives and the limited time we have on earth to benefit others? Because at the end of the day, nothing really counts but the way we have treated other people.

These were also some of the questions I posed to Chang then, in 2010, not out of judgment but because I felt these were useful questions to reflect on. He said then that he would try to live differently with the extended time he had. I also encouraged him to live out any unfulfilled dreams, as did many of his friends.  Contrary to what many people may think, I believe the process of dying a good death starts now when we are healthy. And, I believe that when Chang passed on, he left with greater awareness and a richer view of life. 

Let us also live in awareness every moment of everyday..

(Updated by Chang's Friend)


  1. Hi Chang's friend,

    Sorry that I don't know your name, I can't remember it if you wrote it in a posting. I just wanted to say that I agree with the core message completely and I am trying to practice it.
    I had a cancer scare about two years ago which led me to look at my health closely. Although I am not an highly ambitious person in terms of materialistic possessions/status I work in an environment I dislike, people are unkind to each other often and it happens to be in a country where I emigrated and got fed up with up. After my cancer scare I returned to work but decided to take a year off which is starting soon. Since I told my colleaugues my plans some of them have kept reminding me the financial diffiuculties I would run into or that I will have to spend my little savings etc.Some people plain don't understand why I am doing it, some think I am selfish although I don't have any caring responsibilites towards anyone I would be neglecting. All those things make me realise how absorbed people are in a road that have been set up for them and are unwilling to change it. I am grateful that I have had an opportunity to wake up from that sleep, thanks to my past health problems. I will go back to my country when I am off, have a break long deserved and try to find ways to allow me not to go back to a job I don't enjoy.
    I hope more people get to this stage and further in terms of the meaning of life..

    1. Dear M,

      In life,when you behave differently from the "norm",you have to expect the "norm" response. I believe what they are reflecting to you is essentially their own fears about money. It has nothing to do with you. I think its a good idea to take the time off for your health's sake. You know best what your body needs, not them. You deserve the break and I am sure you would have calculated your own finances before you made that decision.

      Chang's Friend

  2. Hi Chang's Friend,
    Im very happy that you are able to continue to write on this blog to keep the interest of people in following his blog. I believe Chang must be very pleased with your contribution and that his articles over the 3 years do not go to waste. I agree fully with what you have written. Many people nowadays are too pre-occupied with the material pursuits and neglect their health and happiness. They become selfish and hardly contribute to society. Infact, from your own experience with Chang, I believe I give you a very good insight on the value of life and the time wasted in pursuing our career. We have to live simply and not to have too high a materialistic goal. Otherwise, life is spent aimlessly without any benefit for our future being.

  3. Hi Chang's friend
    Yes, plse do continue this blog, we always look forward to open this blog and read Chang's journey and life experiences. Chang will be very happy that his passionate blog is carried on and he is reminded of all the time. Thanks......
    Mrs YC Heng

    1. Dear Mrs Heng,

      Thank you.Chang's journey has come to an end already. What would you like to read about?

      Changs' Friend

  4. My dear friend of Chang,

    You don't have to fit into Chang's shoes. Just wear your new shoes, and we can walk together keeping this blog alive. I am sure Chang will be happy.

    Looking forward to your next posting, and the next and the next!

  5. We are behind you Chang's Friend.
    You are not alone.

    You are doing just fine.

    Keep it up!


  6. Hi Chang's friend,

    I share Justin Choo's thoughts too, just be yourself ...

    By the way, I took VSS at the height of my career when my mum was 72 years old hoping to share her golden years with her !

    On hindsight, it was the greatest decision I have ever make because 2 years later she was stricken with cancer and passed away after 2 years. That was when I stumbled on Chang's blog in search of alternative treatment.

    I will always look at that chapter of my life with much happiness and a tinge of sadness, happiness that I was able to be with my mum in her closing chapter and sadness that it was time for us to part ways !

    For me, I believe - in life, if there's birth there will be death - both check points are tied together, and, inescapable !

    I visit this blog everyday, whilst Chang was alive and even when he has passed on.

    Best wishes to everybody in living a fulfilled life !


  7. Hi Chang's friend,

    First of all, i wish to thank you for carrying on Chang's legacy by writing here. Chang has passed on for several weeks now, but he still lives on in our hearts. It has become almost like a habit for me over the past year, flipping to this blog site every time I go online. I am sure many other readers felt the same way. So, it's just great that there's someone like you close to Chang who carries on posting and keeping that memory of Chang alive.

    I wish to know in greater details Chang's thoughts or thought process just before his passing, if it's possible at all. Did he give much thought to where he was going / his after-life? Was it just nothingness? Was he just thinking about what he wished to leave behind without further thoughts where he was going, or was it that it didn't matter to him at all?

  8. Hi M
    I did the same as you when I learned and realize that Cancer does not choose their victims
    Your fear of what you would lose if you lose your job is something that all of us feel
    Ask yourself this however " What is worse for your dependents? Losing you or losing some of the money you bring home daily? "
    I realized that I am preparing myself and family to lower our expectation on standard of living. I am slowly finding that I feel happier with the thought of rushing and taking public transport with my kid's compared to driving them around where I am the only one learning time management. The lesson the kid's learn rushing for public transport, sitting down doing housework together is far happier than sitting and thinking we are enjoying watching all the killings on TV
    We should all love our job. I love mine yet I am preparing to leave it so I can spend more time educating my kid's the meanin of live.
    You don't like your job, you may be in higher risk of making yourself unhealthy.
    Reconsider please on what means more to your family and yourself