Matters of Life and Death

Dr Tan Chin Yong’s erudite letter (‘The Emptiness of All Matter’) would turn up just a couple of weeks after my barrister friend passed on with an eulogy in Issue 290.

The timeless realities Dr Tan wrote about, put into perspective such intensely personal events as birth and death: and suggest that our lives, however dramatic or otherwise, are but mere blips in that miraculous, mysterious continuum we call the universe.

Strangely enough, Sivapragasam’s passing was the eleventh in this year’s list of friends who decided to have nothing more to do with me, and which happened at approximately monthly intervals beginning early January.

Some were members of the Catholic church, and at least two living ones were once upset at my oblique references to death and dying.

One exclaimed “Choy” ( a Chinese expletive) when I remarked that a poster on an online forum suggested that meditation could be a preparation for death.

Another claimed that I had upset her by sending a message in gratitude, “Thx & may you be rewarded in heaven” or words along that line.

And this in spite of the Christian message of the “resurrection” of the body into a spiritual one.

But to cut to the chase as my friend, trained screenplay writer Charmalee S might say …

I wonder if there may be some brave souls of Dr Tan’s ilk in Ipoh who might be keen to discuss, on an irregular basis and in the flesh, the mysteries of life and death at a local venue or two that have been called “Death Cafes” worldwide.

Peter Wang

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