Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dr Richard Teo Keng Siang: When we learn how to die, we learn how to live

Dr. Richard Teo Keng Siang (1972 - 2012) from Singapore was a 40 years old millionaire cosmetic surgeon who was at the peak of his life. He was a very active man and for those who had chance to know him, he has personified someone who was a remarkable all-rounder, good in sports, studies, have great leadership and matured beyond his years. But on that fateful day in March 2012, he went to check a persistent backache and a a PET scan turned his world upside down: He had a stage 4B terminal lung cancer. The acceptance did not come easily but later he has made peace with it and left behind some speech. One of them was recorded in Jan 2012, talking in Class D. In this very meaningful and deeply inspiring speech, a man looking right to the face of death shares his thought of life, wealth, success and happiness.

Dr. Richard Teo passed away on Oct 18 2012. R.I.P.

I have quoted a part below. Go and watch it, it is 22 minutes and worth every second of it to watch:
So what do I do after getting a car? It's time to buy a house, to build our own bungalows. So we go around looking for a land to build our own bungalows, we went around hunting. So how do i live my life? Well, we all think we have to mix around with the rich and famous. This is one of the Miss Universe. So we hang around with the beautiful, rich and famous. This by the way is an internet founder. So this is how we spend our lives, with dining and all the restaurants and Michelin Chefs you know. 
So I reach a point in life that I got everything for my life. I was at the pinnacle of my career and all. That's me one year ago in the gym and I thought I was like, having everything under control and reaching the pinnacle. 
Well, I was wrong. I didn't have everything under control. About last year March, I started to develop backache in the middle of nowhere. I thought maybe it was all the heavy squats I was doing. So I went to SGH, saw my classmate to do an MRI, to make sure it's not a slipped disc or anything. And that evening, he called me up and said that we found bone marrow replacement in your spine. I said, sorry what does that mean? I mean I know what it means, but I couldn't accept that. I was like “Are you serious?” I was still running around going to the gym you know. But we had more scans the next day, PET scans - positrons emission scans, they found that actually I have stage 4 terminal lung cancer. I was like "Whoa where did that come from?” It has already spread to the brain, the spine, the liver and the adrenals. And you know one moment I was there, totally thinking that I have everything under control, thinking that I've reached the pinnacle of my life. But the next moment, I have just lost it.[1]
Here is the link: Dr Richard Teo - Thoughts of Life, Wealth, Success & Happiness. You can also read his story in details here: Dr Richard Teo Keng Siang.

After late surgeons video went viral on the internet, his wife of six years spoke to the media:

"Honestly, I have mixed feelings. From a selfish point of view, I didn't wish he was my husband (struck with cancer). But I'm proud of him for leaving a legacy. I wished I could be like him. He is the best teacher God has sent to me."

The message is simple and powerful: Life is to short to neglect the real sources of happiness and those people around you. Unfortunately, one's ears are completely closed to this simple truth until he faces the death himself.

[1] -  Dr Richard Teo's testimony after cancer diagnosis

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