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ONCE in a while, an event happens that pulls us away from our daily
busy nothingness and urges us to think. And re-think.
The event was the opening of a training and education centre in memory
of Bonny Hicks, set up by her friends at the Singapore Council of
By a strange twist of fate, I was present.
It was surreal meeting the personalities in Bonny's book, Excuse Me,
Are You a Model?
It suddenly struck home that the names were not merely characters
in a story book, but real people with real feelings. Watching her
mother, Betty, cry was heartbreaking.
I have, fortunately, never experienced the loss of a loved one. Neither
did I meet Bonny (although I now wish I had).
Hence, I cannot reach their depth of emotions. But it stirs something
No, this is not another article grieving the late model/writer who
died in the SilkAir MI 185 crash; there have been so many of them
This article intends, in part, to celebrate her life after death.
Not the reincarnation variety, but in the form of a living legacy.
I glimpsed Bonny's personal life through her friends. What a great
woman she was. She could inspire donations of $200,000 to help others
even in her death.
I am awed.
Pavilion of Women, a novel by Pearl S Buck, is being made into a movie
in Hollywood. The closing words remind me of Bonny's immortality:
" ... When her body died, her soul would go on. Gods she did
not worship, and faith she has none, but love she had and forever.
Love alone had awakened her sleeping soul and had made it deathless."
I wondered morbidly about my own funeral, of people who would weep
for me and miss me. Sadly, I can count them on one hand.
Frankly, I am that inconsequential.
Even if someone had wanted to carry on my mission, he would be stumped,
for I have none.
I belong to the mass of people who lead lives with no higher purpose
than "I am not dead because I am still breathing".
Friends say I am too hard on myself. I wish.
Sometimes, usually during moments of drunken passion, I believe that
I can make a difference in this world. The next day, selfishness and
laziness get the better of me. I despise indifference, yet I revel
in the comforts it brings.
Perhaps I am just being realistic about my abilities.
They have always been particularly acutely felt.
I know I can never match the charismatic qualities of public heroines
the likes of Helen Keller and Princess Diana.
So - as there is very little we can do - shouldn't it be that we should
not refuse to do the very little we can do?
Bonny's friends demonstrated this.
Maybe that's why I am writing this - to placate my conscience that
I did the least I could, by drawing attention to Bonny's legacy.