Saturday, 9 August 2008

A Tribute to Hee Boon

Today I had the pleasure of attending "Gifts of Life - Facing Cancer" book launch ceremony at the NIC Cancer Hospital in Nilai. The book was adaptation from the blog of the late Foo Hee Boon who passed away in 2006. Hee Boon had lung cancer but he didn't let the illness take him down. Instead, he soared above and beyond by sharing his pain, joy and fear of dealing with cancer in his blog, Hee Boon's Amazing New Adventures.

Taken from his book cover, it says

"This is inimitable Foo Hee Boon as he contemplates the shocking and cruel blow that fate has dealt him at age thirty-eight. He chose to give meaning to his new persona as a cancer patient by writing a blog, "Hee Boon's Amazing New Adventures", now transformed into this book.

In this incredibly private account, Hee Boon shared his thoughts on matter relating to cancer - both material and spiritual - and on living a good life and dying a good death so that readers may learn from his final journey. His character and courage shine in his blog through his language, alive with winks and cheeky grins. One is left in awe of his indomitable spirit in facing a crippling, painful disease. This "ordinaray Joe", as he refers to himself, is transformed in sixteen brief months into an extraordinary human beings.

Doctors, nurses, relatives, friends, and caregivers of the terminally ill will find valuable lessons in these pages. Even those fearful of this taboo subject are gently led out of the shadowlands into hope and even anticipation of what lies beyond. ....but to live is to die, and it should be one of the most exciting, ultimate milestones in this present life...."

Allow me to share some excerpts from his book:

"Why me? Why does a tree-hugging, people-friendly, dog-patting, baby-kissing nice guy like me get afflicted with such a nasty disease? I have no answers."

"History was made today as the first namecard proclaiming 'I am a cancer patient' was revealed to the world. The card he designed boldly stated:

Cancer Patient
...I have stories to tell & lessons to share..."

"There has to be a meaning in this.....
So I have DECIDED that my cancer means:
I MUST make use of this gift.
I MUST make sure others benefit.
I MUST regain my health so that I can say 'I have done it, so can you."


It was a heart-moving event today as there were sharings by Hee Boon's family, friends and doctor. There was also a video clip of Hee Boon from the Astro's TV programme called "Ku Mohon" (My Wish) where he made a wish to get help to hang up his family photos on a wall, as his legacy. The team from this TV program sent the famous Malaysian celebrity interior designer, Eric Leong, to make over the whole room, painted and furnished it and hung up all the photos, turning it into a family room with the 70s flavour. Many of us were put to tears watching the weak Hee Boon sharing a moment of joy with his mom and sister at the end of the show.


I will try to upload videos of sharings by his consulting doctor and friends to this posting tomorrow.


Video 1 - Dr. Kannanathan of NIC Hospital, Hee Boon's Consultant Physician & Oncologist when he was receiving treatment at this hospital, delivered his Welcome Speech at the Book Launch.


Bibi said...

This is a beautiful posting, one which I can relate to, having had (hope it's past tense) a form of cancer.

alicesg said...

Nice post today. It is so lovely to have a book where cancer patients can relate to too. My mom had breast cancer and she died of ovary cancer. JC, I have two awards for your wonderful blog. Go to my blog to collect it. :)

"Use your first smile, your first form of generosity, of love, of kindness—use it at home; start at home. And if there is something left over—if … your plate is just full of abundance of patience and goodness and smiles and joy, then by all means, you should go … and offer that to others. But we must begin at home." by Dr Robin Smith