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Late Jimmy

Date : August 1, 2010

Re: Late Jimmy


Dear kasih friends,

Jimmy was finally laid to rest this morning, attended by family members, friends from Kasih Hospice, Pink Triangle Foundation, past colleagues and friends.

He had always favoured a very low key approach to many of this actions. With our monthly visits to hospital, never once did he mention about his involvement with Pink Triangle Foundation. The last time we met was when our group had a gathering at his house, just before his treatments at the SJMC had begun. Fui Fui and Sumana bought a cake for the occassion.

"Compassion is not true compassion unless it is active" - that sums up Jimmy's life in ways he approached the patients at both the KLGH oncology ward and Sg Buloh Aids and leprosy wards. Compassion in action need not be "loud" as exemplified by Jimmy's way . All the same , it had touched many lives , many of whom we were not even aware of.

In the eulogy, Dr Goh quoted a passage from the interview and write up on Jimmy in the Star newspaper on why he volunteered for the hospice work- We learned more from the patients than they ever learned from them. Caring for the dying makes us poignantly aware not only of their mortality , but more importantly also our own.

To Tresa- you had shown what true friends mean. You were at his side at moments when his world was crumbling. Absolutely wonderful.

To kc - your spiritual arrangement for the last lap of his life ; the chanting by the three monks before the final dissolution into the five elements at the crematorium was an appropriate send off tribute .

To Dr Goh - your medical assistance and connections in putting the appropriate responses must be very comforting to him.

Perhaps, these are the little things volunteers can take a leaf from Jimmy’s tree of generosity when they visit patients either at the hospital or at the patients’ homes. These are the leaves that a close friend of Jimmy shared with me about him. Although I have been given the liberty to change , rephrase , rewrite these little wisdoms, I have decided to keep all in its originality for the benefits of the volunteers.

Unconditional giving

You know how some of these foreign women dressed in white like buddhist  nuns come by begging at the food stalls? Well,  Jimmy  will give them money. When I reminded him once that they are fakes he said that
  We should not pause to look at the beggar to see if he is  genuine or not before we give. We just give ......and let the rest  take care of itself. We don't worry about it.

No big deal

Some 2 months before his passing he told me to always remember these 3 words of his. 

"No big deal"

That tribulations   are part of life's journey and that nothing stays forever. Everything is anicca - impermanent, so why make a big deal. His Cancer  too,  like everything else will pass.

Kind and considerate

My birthday was on July 4. Jimmy was in hospital.That morning at 7.30am when I switched on my phone there was a voice mail from Jimmy - he had sung the entire Happy Birthday song and the wish that I will always be happy. With all his pain and sadness he remembered my birthday.

I visited him that  afternoon at about 3pm when he shared with me the sad news that  the doctor had confirmed that morning that the CT scan results showed that that the cancer had spread.  When I asked him why didn't  he call me  immediately  he said he knew I was going to have lunch with my mother and he didn't want to spoil it for me.

Intention and Service

Jimmy often said that we must question our intention when we serve. Do we do it out of guilt?? Do we do it to accrue merits??  Because we must  do it simply out of compassion.


He said that it was his years of  mind training - meditation that has helped him cope with his cancer suffering. Whenever pain or a sad thought arises he is able to in a large part, deflect it.