This is a true account.
During my stint in Sibu in the early 80s, I came to know this timber tycoon quite well. He was a friendly and generous soul, well known in the community for his involvement in many voluntary and charitable organisations.
He was also a Datuk and a senator, a well-respected personality who had served the Sibu community well in his public life.
One or two years after I was transferred back to Kuching, my then Sibu colleague informed me that the Datuk had suddenly passed away. Cancer took his life at a relatively young age. He was only in his early fifties.
“With all the money I have, still no medicine could cure me and I could not be saved”, my friend related this as one of the Datuk’s final lamentations.
This is not really an extraordinary tale as we must have heard similar accounts now and again.
Those who have it so good in life will want to live forever. Why not? They deserve to enjoy life for as long as possible after all the toil and sweat they have put in to acquire their wealth and fortune.
I am relating this little story here to serve as a reminder to all of our mortality, the super affluent and wealthy in particular.
Death and time spare none. Neither a disease.
When you are stricken with a deadly disease like cancer, your millions and billions will not save you.
So do the right thing while you can. I hope the Umno politician who considers RM2 million pocket change is reading this.
Today, the whole world is fighting a mysterious disease – the novel Covid-19. It is a war which we are not winning, not yet.
Truly, a disease spares no one. Prince Charles (photo) has been infected. His 93-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth II, is under quarantine in her palace.
Movie stars Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were among the first renowned personalities to publicly make known their infection.
Back home, our Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong are also under quarantine after seven of their Istana Negara staff were found to be Covid-19 positive.
A silver lining from this pandemic has to be the spiritual awakening of many. All of a sudden, many seem to have discovered something for the very first time – a relationship with God.
I am sure that we would have noticed that of late, more and more people are turning to God for a kind of salvation, one that they suddenly realise only the Heavenly One is able to grant.
I have been receiving powerful and consoling prayers on social media, Facebook and WhatsApp in particular, from friends who have never mentioned to me about God at all in the past. Seriously, not even once.
Just after dinner last night, I received four beautiful “prayers” from four FB friends who hardly contacted me at all or only during festive occasions, much less talk about God and prayers.
Two sent me loving prayerful messages; one included a nice video of a soothing prayer in songs.
What was a big surprise to me is that one of them, as he had told me years ago, was a lapsed Christian who does not attend church services or receive the sacraments anymore.
For many, God and prayers used to be such boring subjects. They are not exciting, so monotonous and not sexy.
Suddenly, all of them want to believe there is God. Suddenly, believing in God isn’t that dumb anymore?
A few days ago, I shared this reflection with friends on my contact list:
Under the heading, “A fact of life or is it?”, I wrote: “From the many messages of prayers and exhortations of having faith in God, even from those who never ever talk about God, it must be a real blessing that Covid-19 is upon us.
“Suddenly, there is a God… for many unbelievers. Alleluia”.
Some friends responded but this one summed it up best.
“We all know from personal experiences that people (nine out of 10) only look for God when they are in despair. When the sailing is smooth, God is conveniently forgotten. Of course, it’s a fact”.
It’s also a good sign that we have also become the people who pray. Even Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recited a long prayer on national television the other day.
No one, including atheists, should underestimate the power of prayer.
Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and those of other faith consider prayer a powerful intercession. Muslims are also exhorted to pray five times a day. That is how important prayer is to those who believe there is a Heavenly One.
But to say we pray for this and that is the easy part, no matter how deep in prayer we are or how long we pray.
Yes, we pray but what other actions do we take to help ensure that our prayers will be answered. Sincere, genuine action from the heart is necessary too.
Next time we say we pray for this and that, let us ensure our prayer is accompanied by our deeds.
Not to do so will be hypocritical on our part.
To fellow Malaysians, since many of you believe there is a God who will deliver salvation to mankind, it is the time now to give, give and give. The days when you have been taking should be over. Show your faith in the One Above with sincerity, love and compassion from the heart.
Above all, remember this. All your earthly wealth and fortune will not go with you when you leave this world.
We come naked, we will go naked.