Monday, July 14, 2008

Getting life's priorities right

From My Paper, Wed, Jul 09, 2008

Getting Life's Priorities Right

A PATIENT once told me: "You know what, doctor, when I was told that I have cancer, suddenly all my shares, my properties and my brand-new car have no more meaning."

Yet, the attachment that some Singaporeans have to their cars never fails to amaze me.

When they notice scratches on their vehicles after shooing off a cat resting on them, for example, they would complain to their condominium management or the town council.

These motorists get so angry with the destruction of their "happiness" that they will not rest their case until the cats in the carparks are removed.

In the Housing & Development Board carpark where I park my car, there is a cat which would occasionally rest on car bonnets, including mine.

I have found its paw marks on my windscreen several times, but there are no scratches on my car, just a few small dents that are definitely not caused by a cat.

Whenever I see the cat resting on other cars, I would shoo it off and brush its hair off the vehicles so that the motorists would not complain about the cat's presence.

To me, what is important about a car is that it is functioning well enough to be safe on the road.

So what if it has scratches or dents? Cars are bound to get such marks.

The car does not feel the scratches. Rather, it is our attachment to the car that makes us feel the pain.

The patient who spoke to me became depressed after he was diagnosed with cancer, but his condition improved after he took stock of what was truly important in his life.

When he was near his life's end, I asked him if he was afraid. He said no.

He had done no harm to others, he said, and he remembered the good things that he had done. He also relished the happiness he had brought to others.

He died peacefully.

Dr Tan Chek Wee

1 comment:

Chinky said...

一位病人曾经告诉我:“你知道吗,医生,当我知道患上了癌症时,刹那间所有的股票,资产和名贵的汽车都没有意义了。”

与这相关的有些新加坡人对汽车的反应,令我感到非常的惊讶。

每当他们赶走在汽车上休息的猫后,发现到有抓痕,便向公寓管理层或市镇理事会投诉。

这些驾驶汽车者非常生气,他们绝不就此罢休,直到把停车场的猫都移走为止。

我的汽车所停泊的建屋局停车场,那里的猫偶尔会在汽车引擎盖子上休息。

我数次在挡风玻璃上发现爪印,但是车上没有抓花的痕迹,只是数处有小凹陷,可确定这不是猫所造成的。

每逢看到猫儿在其他的汽车上歇息,我将会把它从车上赶走和扫掉留下的毛发,为了不让车主投诉那里的猫。

对我来说,汽车最重要是什麽?是能够安全的在路上行驶。

汽车上有抓痕或凹陷,那又怎麽样呢?车子在装配时也会有一些痕迹。

汽车是不会感觉到抓痕的存在。事实上,是汽车的拥有者令人感觉到心痛。

病人被诊断患上癌症后变得很沮丧,在他了解他的人生中什麽是最重要时,他的病情有了好转。

於他接近生命的终点时,我问他会不会害怕,他说不会。

他说他没有伤害任何人,并记得曾经做过些好事,同时也很享受助人的快乐。

最后,他很安祥的离世。

(Thanks for Lee Choo for the translation)