Joe Chua (1975 – 2050)

Someone said "Life is like Money. Spend it wisely. Don’t let someone spend it for you."  
I visited Felicia’s late daddy’s tombstone last Sunday. There were thousands of tombstones around his. Beside the photograph of the deceased, the tombstone clearly marked the name and the window of one’s life. Like a completed book, every face has a unique window. 2000-2005, 1956-1999, 1990-2005, 1904-2000 etc. Like different books, each tomb has its own unique number of pages of life story to share. If only I am able to play them and review their life.
Every one of us has a window of life – 60, 70 or just 40 years. Of couse, it is never our job to mark the closing year of our life. We are told of our genesis but never our destiny. We have the expectation to live till 70 – for that is what the scientist told us. I would imagine putting this number on my tombstone – (1975 – 2050). If I am able to live beyond 2050, those would be bonuses from Above.

Numbers can do a lot of things to our mental self. It helps us to set target and milestones. It is a communicable language between the universe and us. It define reality clearer than anyone. It shape the dimension we live in. It gives time its most basic meaning. It measures the distant of our life journey. Yet, it never tell us what is its last number. For all we know, it begins with numeric 1.

Like book covers, we can never judge one’s life by his/her looks. We took many things for granted in our life. The people we know, the things we possess, the very present life we have and the time we share. It is of no entitlement that we should be here. It is of couse a miracle that we happen to exist at this point of life in the 21st century.

It just made me realise one simple truth about life. It is not easy to be here, at this very era, meeting the people I am meeting. Be it my parents, my colleagues or my friends. For all you know, we both could have existed in different era. Yet, in this short window of 70 years, we both co-exist in the same period and met one another. It is not a coincidence, it is what they call FATE. And it is what we do in FATE which matters. Cherish Fate, Enjoy Fate.

If 70 is the final end game for me, this means I have already completed 45% of our journey. Perhaps another 37 birthday cakes to call it a day. A cruel reality call. Yet I pass each precious day on invaluable chores, which really doesn’t make any big difference to life – except a better and nicer bowl of rice down my throat. The unexpected twists of life create surprises and regrets for us. If that is only 37 cakes left for me, it will be a lesser number for my parents and friends.

What keeps me going? What have I done so far? Or am I just here to be part of the passing baton of humanity? One generation after another, we continue the legacy of the good things that were left behind by our forefathers. We continue to live to perfect ourselves – be it mentally, spiritually or naturally. 

Every era has its own challenges and rewards. I saw the wonders of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I rock with Michael Jackson and Andy Lau. I witness the best of Lee Kuan Yew and the worst of Osama Bin Laden. I remembered the pain and losses of June 4th, Sept 11th and Birth of SARS and bird flu. I am one of the lucky firsts who been touched by the internet, email and 3G video-mobile telephony. I witnessed the wonders of digital music and audio and the birth of robotics. And I am glad that I was there during the rise of Microsoft, Yahoo, Napster, YouTube and Google. If I am lucky enough, I may live long enough to experience "Minority Report" and "iRobot".
While I have taken 50% of my life just to figure out how to live as a good man. I will spend my remaining 50% teaching my son how to be one too. I may not be the one in the billion who contribute a significant piece of this era. Yet I am part of the billion who ultilise that one’s contribution.

Or should I establish a good "idea" on how to justify the fruitfulness of life. The checklist is never ending. And that is when one ponders on his/her destiny.

Time to write the remaining 37 pages of my life with colourful and meaningful content. With freedom of exploration and expression. Life may not return like what we have always hoped. And certainly not in the same era with the same group of people I love so dearly today. That is how I am going to spend it.

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