A tale of interdependence

By Goh Keat Peng | September 20, 2012

We spend a lot of time on independence, for example, the independence of a nation. But perhaps not enough time on interdependence of the people within an independent nation. These two processes are of dire importance to all human beings.

Here in Malaysia, three days ago, a nineteen year old girl died; on the very day she was to have reported for work for the first time as a kindergarten teacher. The fact that she had come to this point when she could be considered for such a job was in itself a testimony of her courage, discipline, persistence and determination. For her heart (as a bodily organ) was faulty and in 2007, a donor heart was found but upon transplantation was rejected by her system. A second donor heart became available to her and she underwent the arduous process of heart transplant a second time. This one served her for almost five years till her sudden death. She is heart-achingly mourned by her parents and the organ donor’s parents and many others throughout the land.

There are many stories within this one story. In fact, an entire ecology of human relationships was involved. The story transcends many generations, many taboos and prejudices, bringing many souls/lives together. This was a story involving an intricate web of human relationships that demonstrated the best of human courage, kindness, generosity, goodwill and good conduct. As well as the realities of human interdependence which lifts the human spirit through its heart-warming and inspirational qualities.

When all these pieces, these number of human lives came together, something truly beautiful was born; a magnificent practical glimpse of human interdependence.

There was of course the nineteen year old herself. There were her parents. There was her seventeen year old best friend. There was her twenty-two year old boyfriend, all surviving her sudden departure.

Not to forget those who took the trouble to arrange for the donor organ; and her surgeons, physicians, nurses and administrators of IJN (the national heart institute).

And the one other very critical piece in this intricate web of human relationships: the fifteen year old youth who died in a road accident, and the parents and other family members of his who braved traditional mindsets to agree to and to effect the donation of their departed son’s organ so that another life could be sustained.

And according to The Star newspaper report, the father of the youth was smitten by news of the nineteen year old girl, saying:
“I treated her like my own child because part of my son was living inside her. Her death comes just a week before the fifth death anniversary of my son…”

These youngsters’ deaths will not, must not be in vain. One gave a new lease of life to another. The death of the recipient in turn shall and must surely raise consciousness among us all regarding human organ donation that must result in the marked increase of the number of us learning about, making considered decisions and registering ourselves as organ donors.

Let us please take time to consult the following websites to learn more:


Let us in fitting memory of Tee Hui Yi and Chin Yoon Kiong not let their deaths be in vain. They have each respectively done their part. Now it is time to do our own.

  1. #1 by Taikohtai on Saturday, 22 September 2012 - 9:24 am

    In Queensland Australia, organ donors can be identified with a Y under Donor in their Driving Licence.

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