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May 08

Prepare To Die

Speaker: Joseph Ch’ng

 

Joseph P3“Deng…” (Sound of flight announcement)

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking…”

“I have some bad news for you. All four of our engines have stopped. We are currently doing our best to get the plane under control. Please stay calm and if you can, please pray for our safe landing.”

My heart sank. So deep… For the first time.

Suddenly I didn’t know what to do. The whole aircraft was filled with screams, people reacting, people huddled together, the children were crying, the adults were crying… “I don’t wanna die… I don’t wanna die… oh God please help us…”

The worst of our nightmare have happened… as much as we don’t want to believe it… we are all… probably…. going to die….

The Muslims sitting one row before me started saying his prayers in Arabic…

The guy next to me held a cross in his hands, saying his prayers to God…

I knew I really needed to pray… but I just couldn’t get myself to do anything. Flashes of thoughts run through my mind… I am going to miss my family, I am going to miss my dog, I am going to miss my home… there’s so many things I am going to miss…

And there’s so many things I haven’t got to doing… I haven’t been to the US… I haven’t proposed to the girl I love…  there’s many people I want to tell them that I am sorry, for how we have gotten off the wrong foot… and my parents… I haven’t tell them that I love them very much… and thank you for raising me up…

Is this the end?

Am I really gonna die today?

What will happen after this?

 

(Pause)

 

Good evening Club President, fellow Toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen…

As of now… I have paused the video… This is a movie… Because I am here today talking to you. So I couldn’t have been in that situation, right?

In light of the many airline accidents we had last year… of which, we are still mourning and praying for them now, I have chosen to talk about this today because I take flights back to Malaysia many times a year, and I thought that maybe like me, you too may have this same thought that “it could happen to anyone of us…”

Quite scary, isn’t it.

Imagine that very moment, strapped onto that seat of a crashing plane, realizing that we no longer have control over our lives… it may well be the last few minutes we have to live.

What can we do?

Really, I have given quite some thought about this. And finally, I asked myself this: What if we could prepare ourselves ahead – to die?

I know, this sounds a bit crazy. When things are going well in life, who wants to think about dying, right?

When I was young, there was a time when I heard about people dying and I kept tearing because I was so scared of the day when it’ll be my turn.

But everybody dies.

Coming to accept that this is the inevitable ending for all of us, I thought that when I am going to die, at least, I want to die a peaceful death, with a smile on my face.

And I know that this cannot happen just by thinking about it. There’s no way to know how it will end… if I were to be strapped on a crashing plane, it is going to be hard to smile.

So this is gonna take some practice – to make peace with myself, to live my life zealously, to appreciate every person, every thing and every moment that passes through my life. And to accept death as a completion of my life.

This is what I mean by preparing to die. So that we know what to do when the moment comes, so that we know how to manage ourselves and how to say a peaceful goodbye.

I guess dying doesn’t have to be dark, scary, unwilling or sad. I finally understood why the heroes in the movies sacrifice themselves with a smile on their face. It is about peace, joy and bliss at the very ending.

I am sharing these with you today because some day in the future, some of us may have to “make a move” first. And when that day comes, I want to to know that we are smiling as we leave.

I hope I’ve managed to show you a different way to see death.

And I want to leave you with this question:

How do you want to die?

Do give this a good thought, because I have a good feeling that it will change your lives, and the lives of those you love.

 

Back to you, Toastmaster of the Evening.

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