Singapore – Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin wrote a post via his Facebook profile on January 26, 2019, introducing everyone to Mr. L, a Singaporean with cancer who refused to stay in the hospital and slept on a staircase landing instead.
Mr. L was not a stranger to Mr. Tan and often saw him at their events for the Lee Clan Association. He recalled how Mr. L had always been supportive and encouraging, taking videos and photos. Mr. L even handed Mr. Tan tissue whenever the latter was sweating profusely.
It was during their recent Chinese New Year celebration, however, that he found out about the recent news about Mr. L; how he was found sleeping in the staircase landing and was terminally ill with cancer. According to Mr. Tan, Mr. L checked himself out of the hospital and would rather sleep outside because it was cooler and because his house couldn’t be opened due to his hoarding. He also refused help whenever it was being offered to him.
This was when Mr. Tan asked in his post what to do when someone refuses help. He said, “Mr. L threatened to jump if we send him back to hospital. He also doesn’t want medical staff to see him. I told him to at least do me a favour, give me face and let us bring the doctors to see him. I told him that I won’t send him back to that particular hospital that he came from but can he promise to try others?”
Mr. Tan also mentioned, in case many were wondering about Mr. L’s financial capacity in relation to medical bills, that the latter had money because they knew the man and he was on financial assistance. He said that it has been hard trying to get the man who was sick to respond to any form of help. “There is a stubborn sense of pride and dignity that he maintains,” said Mr. Tan, “He prefers to spend his last days here (the staircase landing).” He also said that they will keep on trying especially since Mr. L only had a few months left. He explained that “We should just make it comfortable for him. We work with Cheng Hong Welfare in our community so arrangements have been made when he passes on. Even then, he asks for it to be low key and quiet. That’s the man that he is.”
Through a comment in his post, Mr. Tan gave an update with the sad news that Mr. L has passed away. He wrote, “RIP Mr. L. He is no longer in pain. Admitted to hospital this morning. He was worried that he won’t make it through the new year. He just passed away.”
While many sent their condolences to Mr. L, others were also sending their support to Mr. Tan and those who have helped the man that according to a netizen, “has contributed much to our society and does not burden the younger generations.”
It’s worthwhile to go back to the resounding message within Mr. Tan’s post about extending a helping hand to others, even if they reject it. This is especially true with those who are older and often sick. They become harder to help because of the toxins being released within their bodies which causes them to become stubborn or easily aggravated. But it doesn’t mean that they do not appreciate the help and effort and it shouldn’t hinder others from rolling up their sleeves and actually acting on what they have committed to do. In Mr. Tan’s words, “The more volunteers we have, the more we can outreach to. But as I’ve found in almost all my engagements, audiences go on passionately about the poor, the old, on inequality…but precious few raise their hands when I ask how many put in time to help those they so eloquently championed for just a few minutes prior. Do come forward and try? It makes a difference.”
Tan Chuan-Jin’s full post below: