July 21, 2016

Before I die …

OK, the title looks like it is going to be one of those peculiar writings on the taboo subject of death … nope, rest assured this one is not … so no worries here.

And here it goes.

Everyone … errrrrr well, almost everyone have a bucket list. A list of things one must do before one leaves this world … kick the bucket, so to say.

I have seen many so called bucket lists … list of “must do” things and many of course are famous places to visit around the world, exclusive sports and recreational activities to engage in, exotic cuisines to savor and some common challenges in life like run a triathlon or climb some famous mountains.

And some strange ones too … one guy told me he wants to experience death. What? He wants to be (in his exact words) “put in a state of death” and be revived! Really, I am not joking ... so I told him he should put that as the last item on his bucket list … just in case, you know.

For me, it was never on my mind to say that I must do this or do that before I die. Famous places to visit? Visited a couple of the world wonders and many other popular places in various countries but they were not the places that I must go to before I die … it is just that I chanced upon the opportunity to go there and so I went.

Exciting sports? Not that I really wanted to do it … just happened to be there at the time. Like diving … I was told I must try diving before I die … it is an out of this world experience, they said. And I dove … one time at Sipadan and when I was just several meters down, I said to myself … I am F**KED! I was scared and I was not breathing properly. And the words came back to haunt me … “out of this world experience” they told me … of course, I was going to die! So, I got back onto the boat in no time. Look, diving is not something I must do before I die … more like something I should do if I want to die.

How about exotic cuisines? Kobe beef, Beluga caviar or Fugu sushi to name a few … nope, cannot afford any of those. Then a friend told me about foie gras … absolutely delicious and very expensive from what I was told. Again, must try before you die he said … I found out that foie gras is actually goose (or duck) liver. I consumed chicken livers many times before ... so, goose (or duck) liver should taste more or less the same I guess. 

Then at a dinner on a trip to France, foie gras was on the menu. Expensive dinner on company’s expense … the menu was about E$200 per head. Wow, almost RM1000 (then) … that was the most expensive meal I ever had in my life. And when the foie gras was served, (remembering what my friend told me) I took a good look at it … at first I wasn’t convinced but when I took a bite … I was sure, I must be participating in a Fear Factor reality show. One bite was all I had … errrrr, I will stick to chicken livers with chili sauce. Foie gras … must try before I die? Actually, I rather die than eating what looks like an enlarged diseased liver. OK OK, to be fair to all foie gras fans out there … it is just an exaggerated personal opinion ya.

Really, I don’t have a list of “must do” things before I kick the bucket … in my younger days I was busy doing things to help my parents, (when I got my own family) I have to put a roof over our heads, schooling for the kids and gather enough for my wife and I to live decently in our later years. Nor do I have a list of “must try” exotic food and cuisines … the “must eat” for us are mainly simple food on the table … maybe better varieties on celebrative days and festive seasons.

After I retired, I don’t have any “must do” challenges … I try staying active and doing just a bit of everything to keep me busy for as long as I am still able. And no, I don’t have a “must visit” list of places … only occasionally short breaks with my family to where the budget allows.

Many people have a bucket list but I don’t.

However, I do have a few things that I would like to see happened before I die. A few things that people are working on now which I hope will be realized in the near future.

So before I die, I hope to see astronauts on the moon again … that will certainly be new steps for further space exploration … like sending man to Mars. Before I die, I hope deep space scientists searching for extraterrestrial intelligence will be able to detect other intelligent life form(s) … that is to tell people not to be so arrogant to think that we are the only intelligent ones in the whole universe. Before I die, I hope physicists will be able to solve the mystery of Higgs Boson … that will bring new discoveries of how everything works in the universe. Before I die, I hope archaeologists will open and study the tomb of Shi Huang Ti, the first emperor of China … that will be a great opportunity for historians and the world to learn about one of the greatest early civilizations. Before I die, I hope medical researchers will find a cure for cancer … that will end the suffering of millions of people in the world. Before I die, I hope to see people having greater understanding and tolerance of various beliefs (whether religious or not) … then there will be real peace to all in the world.

And why do I want to see all these happened before I die?

Because then I will know when I leave … the world will be a better place for the generations to come.