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Life’s Meaning
01 January 2020

HCA Day Hospice patient Eep Ping exemplifies what it means to live life to the fullest, despite facing death.

By Toh Wei Shi, HCA Community Relations

At first glance, HCA Day Hospice patient Eep Ping, 76, seems like the perfect representation of active ageing. Speaking freely about an exciting career as a seaman for over two decades and happy times spent volunteering, Eep Ping has no regrets in life.

“I started working as a seaman in 1971 and visited over 30 countries before I called it a day in 1995,” Eep Ping shares. “There were many dangers at sea – I encountered gas leaks, explosions and ship malfunctions – but the experiences taught me a lot about overcoming life’s difficulties.”

After leaving his job as a seaman, Eep Ping shifted his focus to his loved ones, a close-knit family that now spans three generations. Inspired to spend his time meaningfully, he also started volunteering regularly at old folks’ homes, organising outings and bringing food rations to stay alone elderly.

The Turning Point

“My wife and I went on vacations together,” Eep Ping shares. Choked by emotion, he pauses briefly before saying, “Life could have been wonderful.”

Life had been smooth and uneventful up until six months ago, when devastating news hit. Diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, the news was a crushing blow to Eep Ping, who was an avid runner, clocking 5km several times a week.

When Eep Ping was referred to HCA Day Hospice a few weeks ago, he had expected to be surrounded by suffering and pain. Instead, he found a haven of warmth, enlivened by supportive staff and friendly volunteers.

 

Bustling with warmth and camaraderie, the Day Hospice has become a second home that Eep Ping (centre) looks forward to.

Eep Ping quickly opened up again, enjoying the diverse lineup of daily activities at the Day Hospice. “I enjoy yoga, physiotherapy and mahjong,” he says. “The staff and volunteers are very sincere – the Day Hospice has become a home to me.”

Looking into the Future

Love life, dream big – that sums up Eep Ping’s outlook on life. While Eep Ping is still coming to terms with his condition, there’s no stopping the go-getter from fighting on and making the most of his time.

He reminisces proudly about a show he participated in several years ago, under a local television production company. “It was a dragon boating race and I was up against a bunch of young university students,” Eep Ping shares. “I came in second!”

The ongoing support Eep Ping has received from his loved ones and friends at the Day Hospice keeps him going. “I feel even more inspired to be strong, because of all the support that has been given to me,” he says.

Eep Ping (right) works on Christmas decorations with a fellow Day Hospice patient.

“I hope to go back to volunteering again, if I get better, mentally and physically,” he shares. “It seems like a distant dream for now.”

While Eep Ping hopes for more time with his loved ones and to engage in the hobbies he enjoys, he acknowledges that he has lived life to the fullest. “I think the value of our existence has less to do with the number of years we’ve lived, than the quality and meaning of life,” he says.