Life! Precious Life!


March 8: MH 370 with 239 passengers went missing, now believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

March 17: 49 – year old L’Wren Scott, fashion & costume designer, long – time girlfriend of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, committed suicide by hanging herself in her Manhattan apartment.

April 7: Peaches Geldof, 25, daughter of Sir Bob Geldof, died, cause unknown.

April 16: Korean ferry sinks, hundreds missing and presumed dead. South Korean President Park Geun-hye said the actions of some crew of the ferry that sank with hundreds feared dead were tantamount to murder.

April 17: National Chairman DAP till 29 March 2014, Karpal Singh, 74, killed in car crash.

April 20: Malaysia Airlines Flight 192 bound for India malfunctioned on takeoff and made an emergency landing at KLIA four hours later.

Make no bones about it; I’m in a state of shock by these recent and unrelenting tales of horror. How are you feeling about all this?

Two sets of stories: The first, where two famous and troubled women suddenly lose their lives. The second set shows what happens when we get careless, negligent, and nonchalant towards precious life. All stories end in grief and loss.

Immediately two questions surface for me. [1] What can cause such a deep sense of hopelessness and worthlessness, that life becomes negotiable, and death becomes the obvious option? [2] What has to happen to a human being that he or she should be so cold as to threaten the life, or cause the death of others?

The more I think; the more questions I have. These celebrity women had access to fame and fortune. What was the state of their relationships with their loved ones? We know they didn’t think well enough of themselves to preserve their life, because they used death to avoid facing their truth?

Lest you think I’m playing the blame game, or insensitive to those grieving, let me say that my main reflection today is, “how have I been part of the problem?” What part can I play to make things better and be more responsible for my life and the wellbeing of others?

How are we as a society, as family, friends, colleagues, and caregivers, contributing to the pattern where pain and problems, become the outcome?

You don’t understand? It’s simple, really. How alert and approachable are we? How well do we listen? How emotionally present are we, to notice others in need and notice their struggle, enough to provide support? How many times have you caught yourself turning the other way?

In our culture where conflict and confrontation is seen as unmannered and undesired, and to say nice things is our way of life, how often have we “let through” sub – standard performance so that those involved could save face? Does this mean authorities will skim past safety standards and quality benchmarks only for us to suffer the consequences?

I’m upset that law enforcement on lorries, buses, and other public transport is so lax: massive carbon emission from poorly maintained vehicles that often break down, inconveniencing and endangering passengers, the bad behavior of lorry, bus, and taxi drivers that cause accidents everywhere.

It’s right that we take responsibility for our own wellbeing. How authentic are we, how truthful are we in our relationships, so that our friends and family know us enough to want to share our space – good stuff or bad? What makes us say and do things just so others admire us, even though that may just be a façade?

How many are courageous enough to ask for support when we need it, instead of faking a brave front and breaking under pressure? What must we let go of, as a society, so everyone gets to feel wanted and important?

Unkind people gossip about L’Wren’s relationship with Mick Jagger, calling it her most significant achievement. Easy to judge but who knows what goes on behind closed doors? I believe what’s important is to be a responsible human being – responsible for Self, not hurting others.

What’s the most vulnerable thing you can say now, given the lessons from these incidents? I want to say that I will stop being judgmental about material haves and have – nots. I promise to show up according to my values and commitments, not worldly desires.

Life is precious, and every moment calls for a choice. What would you do differently from now on?

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