Which is worse?

I first took notice of the name Richard Teo in the Straits Times obituary page because one of my many cousins has a son by the same name. Still, the similarity ends there. The late RT was a doctor whereas my cousin’s son makes his living as a “sourcer” for antiques and other decor bric a brac for the rich and famous.

Then the name of the late Dr RT came into view again. This time Face Book link of an ex-cousin’s husband gave me a glimpse of what the late doctor spoke about a la the last lecture of Randy Pausch.

As i was relaxing then in Kuala Lumpur, I didn’t really read thru the transcript.

But believe it or not, an email from a KL friend hit my inbox today with the full transcript and i couldn’t help but read it more closely since I am back in SG and have better access to the Internet.

Also, i can’t help noticing that the lament of the late Dr RT has gone viral, at least as reported by Yahoo.

I can understand why it’s so traumatic that someone in his prime should look askance at death. Even my mother at 87 going on 88 — with a host of health problems, sorry lah, I mean health challenges — doesn’t look on death as a welcome exit.

Indeed, I daresay no one, not even those who believe in Heaven, are wholly or even “half in love with easeful death” (as John Keats the Romantic poet once put it!) Otherwise, there would be no need for Lourdes and other miracles.

And i am familiar with the lament — now growing most common and loud in SG — that money and success don’t buy one happiness. This was the thrust of Dr RT’s lecture given near the end of his life. In fact, it’s the same message that I was raised on when as a kid in CHIJ I had chosen Scripture as one of my O level subjects.

That familiar “What doth it profit a man to own the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?” has been put into many new packagings in today’s SG, especially by the young clamouring for better life balance.

While I feel it is sad, very sad, for anyone to leave this wonderful life prematurely, I wonder whether it won’t be a lot sadder to leave it prematurely but penniless and an abject failure?

Or put another way: What doth it profit a man who owns not a grain of sand and yet suffers the loss of his own soul? 😥 😥 😥


6 thoughts on “Which is worse?

  1. Auntie Lucia

    For those who have nothing, death may seem a release from burdens.
    For those who have something no matter how measly it seems, death seems a dark and unknown door as compared to what they have.
    As to your comment, will leave it to God to decide based on the free will of those who depart

  2. Uncle Wang, if your statement is true then there won’t be so many starving millions in today’s world. Most would have embraced their end long be4 disease n penury overcome them.

    IMHO, most — if not all — human beings, rich or dirt poor and old enough to understand self preservation and hope, would avoid death like the plague and cling on for just one more day. After all, even a little ant with a small dot of a brain would avoid death. Y not humans with our developed brains?

    Warm regards!

  3. A sickly and or miserable life
    no matter how long is never
    comparable to a good life no
    longer than forty years long.
    However good life ending before
    twenty five is too short to be
    considered good.

    Anyway, in Sin, it is better to be
    dead than be diseased or impaired.

    Looking at the foods and beverages
    Auntielucia indulges in makes uncle
    patriot very envious lah. It shows that
    the alimentary, respiratory and spirituality
    systems are all in very good order.

    Good to see people enjoying living.


  4. Uncle Patriot, thanks for dropping by. yes, I do enjoy my food and drink but in moderation, both in amount and price-wise unless it’s a celebration.

    As for dying at 40 while still healthy being better than living to a ripe old age with the last 10/20/30/40 yrs in a sick bed, I’m afraid I don’t agree with you. I know of v sick people of sound mind and otherwise who just want to go on and on — even when they firmly believe in heaven n god! That must say a lot about how wonderful being alive is: it’s the only thing you and I have experienced.

    As fr yr claim that it’s better to be dead in SG if one were better sick or impaired, I think you must be joking! 😆

  5. Auntielucia:

    In my six decades of experience, me have to say that me firmly agrees with your observation that few, maybe none want to go to their dreamland, lol.
    Frankly, me thinks those who have to totally depend on others to satay alive are just simply selfish or purely afraid of death though many THINK they will go to heaven.

    Me thinks the fear of death is far stronger than the wish to be at heaven. And that is just being human.


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