Friday, October 1, 2010

Love is a great thing, an altogether good gift, ...

Farewell to Dr Balaji
Balaji's son draws moving portrait of a romantic family man

'My dad was my hero'

Hundreds of grassroots leaders and residents from Dr Balaji's Cheng San-Seletar ward lined the road outside Cheng San Community Club yesterday afternoon as the cortege left the CC for Mandai Crematorium. Some came in wheelchairs, while some others came pushing prams.

TEARS gave way to smiles on many faces at the funeral of Dr Balaji Sadasivan yesterday, when his son provided a little-known picture of a man who lived life with love and gusto.

But above all, he loved his family, said his son Dharma, 28, in a moving eulogy punctuated with stories that showed his father as a romantic at heart and a big fan of rock 'n' roll music.

He would play songs by Michael Jackson, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Bee Gees when Mr Dharma visited his Gleneagles clinic as a boy.

'My uncle... told me that when they were younger, my dad wanted to be like Jimi Hendrix,' he added with a smile, referring to the iconic guitarist of the 1960s.

His eulogy, coming after three sombre tributes, gave a lift to the solemn hush at Funeral Halls 1 and 2 in Mandai Crematorium.

The halls were filled to the brim with friends, colleagues, grassroots leaders, doctors and family members bidding farewell to the Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who had died of colon cancer on Monday,27Sept2010, at age 55.

Love is a great thing, an altogether good gift, the only thing that makes burdens light and bears all that is hard with ease. Love carries a weight without feeling it, and makes all that is bitter sweet and pleasant to the taste in life. Lead on...with the mother of all principles of leadership.


Its ME said...

'My dad was my hero'
An edited extract of Mr Dharma Sadasivan's eulogy to his father
“He never let anything get in the way of his love for his family - not even his work.
My parents were travelling on a diplomatic trip to Bangkok and it was their wedding
anniversary. On the way back to their hotel, my father told my mother to change and get
ready to head out for a nice anniversary dinner.
My father secretly conspired with their host, Ambassador Chan Heng Wing, and the hotel
staff to prepare dinner in their room. Needless to say, she was completely surprised. But
that was my dad, a romantic at heart. With regard to the latter, it suffices to say that in his
final breaths, his last words to the family were 'I love you too'.
My father had a tremendous intellect, and it was a privilege to learn from him every day.
He had the unique ability to take information from a myriad of sources and integrate it
seamlessly. This gave him a unique perspective on the world. He would often go on to
explain such complex scenarios in a disarmingly accessible way.
My father loved music. I used to go to his clinic to study, when he was still practising
neurosurgery at Gleneagles Hospital. He would play Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and
Creedence Clearwater Revival.
My uncle, Dr Ramesh Sadasivan, told me that when they were younger, my dad wanted
to be like Jimi Hendrix. My dad, being the sensible father he was, never told me this, lest
I grow up with rock star ambitions. I ended up learning how to play the violin and guitar
anyway - perhaps it's in the blood.
My father loved movies. He was a big fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, the first two
Godfather movies, the Indiana Jones series, and the Lord Of The Rings adaptations.
He would give nuggets of advice based on these films, such as the importance of making
someone an offer they can't refuse; that even the smallest person can make a difference.

Its ME said...

'My dad was my hero'
An edited extract of Mr Dharma Sadasivan's eulogy to his father

My father also nicknamed my mum 'Indiana Ma', for her adventurous spirit whenever we
went on holiday. She would be the first one trying to climb steep temple steps and
jumping on boats, and he thought that Harrison Ford couldn't hold a candle to her as an
My father enjoyed the comedy Harold And Kumar - he thought the stereotypes were as
profound as they were hilarious. His favourite scene was where Harold and Kumar are
breaking out of a prison. As soon as the alarm went off, the police barged into the cell
and attacked the peaceful African-American man reading a book, allowing Harold and
Kumar - the Korean and the Indian - to walk out. He thought that, as funny as it was, it
shed light on the way the world works.
And he often cautioned my sister and I to be aware that innocent and unconscious
stereotyping is inevitable, even when it is undeserved.
He was a great believer in education. Education brought my grandfather out of poverty,
so he could be an accountant and not a farmer. This in turn allowed my dad and his
siblings to study medicine and engineering, and gave my sister and I the opportunity to
study philosophy, law and psychology.
My father was supportive of whatever subjects my sister and I chose, believing that it is
less relevant what you do, so long as you are useful to society by excelling at it. He
always believed the key to changing lives and the cornerstone of the future of our nation
lay in education.
My father was so committed to education, that even in his last few days he consistently
told me to focus on my schoolwork and not to let his illness be a distraction. He flew to
Michigan in May this year to attend my sister's graduation, and it was one of the proudest
moments of his life. He has left me and my sister with gifts of learning which time cannot
diminish, and whose value can only grow.
As I met visitors who had come to pay their respects over the past three days, I came to
understand more fully the extent of how he had touched those around him.
Even in death, he teaches me to be a better person... My dad was my hero. My family and
I love and miss him dearly, and we will hold him in our hearts until we are able to join
him again.”