Why Go?

I received terrible news from one of my closest buddies in Singapore. He lost his father in a road accident. Needless to say, he was distraught. My immediate reaction was to return to Singapore to be with my buddy but I had a very hard time convincing the boss to let me go, with work piling up sky high lately. Most of my friends who knew my plans to return advised me against it. In fact, probably 90% of those who I conversed with told me it was more practical to send a lot more money back (that I would have saved for an expensive last-minute air ticket) than to be there because my presence would be nothing much of use in such a situation. Many of these overseas Singaporeans would have experienced similar situations and told me that if I were to be overly emotional about this kind of things, I will have a rough time in future to fly back and forth. The general feedback was that most friends and relatives would understand our situation and forgive us if we only send financial help instead of being physically there like we would if we did not migrate.

With the boss' reluctance and several seemingly logical reasoning such as "Friend's dad is not even your relative, by right no need to return. If family or friend then return,' it was easy to just choose the easy option to stay put. After all, a sudden move back without plans or the mental preparation to be apart from my wife and daughter was a very uncomfortable thought. However to me, it was a no-brainer. I believed I talked about death and funerals before here. I used to be someone who wondered if anyone would attend my funeral when I die, since I have always been somewhat an asshole that most people would rather stay away from. It can be sad to know if I don't even get 10 people to attend my funeral, no? Does that mean I am a failure in life? In the later years, I ditched such a mentally because the logic was terribly flawed. Where funerals are being concerned, some turn up for the dead, some turn up for the living, some turn up because they love, some turn up because they hate. The actual figure has no bearing on the success of the man when he was living.

In my case, I chose to turn up for the living because that is what really matters. He would have asked me to stay put for sure if I were to tell him about my intentions. He might even chide me of stupidly failing to put money to better use. So, I gave him no chance but not telling him. No, I wasn't noble or 讲义气 like a friend told me I was. I wish I am such a great person. A part of this is down to the fact I knew I would live with even more regrets if I chose to succumb to convenience. The rest was down to my perverted perspective of sharing woes. Since my move to Perth, I have missed the weddings of six couples that I would very much love to attend if I had been in Singapore. These are the regrets that I have to live with. However, I honestly think I wasn't missed. When it comes to self valuation, my ego isn't big enough for me to think I am actually significant enough to any of my friends' lives to the level my absence in their wedding will cause a wee bit of grieve. Besides, when it comes to the sharing of the weals, it isn't really difficult to find people. A wedding is a classic example, the same goes for a birthday celebration or a feast to celebrate a career promotion. I can miss weddings with the warm feeling of knowing my friends are happy and that's all I want them to be.

The sharing of woes, however. 

I choose to do that, just in case there isn't enough people around to take their rightful share. The overseas folks were right. My presence was of little use during the funeral. I couldn't chant sutras and I knew nuts about funeral proceeds. Neither did I help to serve visitors or do anything to make my grieving buddy feel better. I served as a reasonable source of distraction at best, a liability that needed to be entertained at worst. Besides, the other close friends were there to give moral support, as expected. Still, I just wanted to be with my friend in times like this, because he'll never walk alone as far as I can help it.

1 comment:

  1. My deepest sympathies to your friend on the passing of his dad.

    You've done right, brother. This is the time one's presence is felt and welcome the most, not weddings, birthdays or other fun things. I have been on the receiving and giving end of funeral attendances, and I can attest the fact, that your presence and on-site support alone, is worth more than the money you can send for 10 air tickets.

    When my dad passed on, all the people who came and stuck with us through the difficult bereavement earned mine, and my family's heartfelt gratitude. Similarly, when I also took a plane flight from Singapore to attend my Uncle's funeral (Dad's brother), it reaffirmed the close bonds between me and my cousins. You cannot discount the value of your presence and support at a funeral, morbid as it may sound. Whether friend, relative, or family member.