Saturday, September 5, 2009

Patch Adams

Recently, I was fortunate enough to revisit one of my favourite films, Patch Adams, on television. It is a film which depicts a medical student, Hunter 'Patch' Adams, who possesses the unconventional wisdom to challenge the long-held beliefs of medical care. In his struggles to convince everyone that medical care is not merely a profession but it is also having a relationship with the patients, he experienced many trials and tribulations as he questions about life, love and the ultimate fear of death. He later went on to establish Gesundheit! Institute (www.patchadams.org) that aims to put care, concern and laughter at the heart of healthcare service.

The viewing of this film came at a opportune moment as I felt uplifted from my blues as a result of the strain of the lack of sleep and the weariness of duty that national service imposes on you. I began to ponder on the questions that the films poses on top of its main message. These mind-boggling questions are: What makes you happy?, What are you passionate about?, Is death an end to everything?

What makes you happy?

This is definitely one of the most difficult question of all for the answer often changes with time. As for now, what makes me happiest is being with people I love. While it seems so simple, how many of us can actually do that in this complex day and age?

We are bogged down by so many, and rather unnecessary, responsibilities as we become breathless in trying to juggle so many things; a feat so complex that even the artistes from Cirque Du Soleil would give a standing ovation. In our midst of juggling the hats that we have to put on, how many times do we find ourselves making promises to others to keep in contact or to meet up but never ever bringing it to fruition? How many times do we promise our parents that we will be back for dinner but end up returning home so late that the cold food is eventually thrown away?

Personally, I have never appreciate my friendships and varying relationships with others as much as I have now. I have come to realise that being around the people that I love is the only real and important thing in my life for I don't have to put on any masks or prove to them anything for they know who I am. It seems that having a relationship of any kind is the most self-affirming thing for it proves that one exists because a relationship transcends time, death and space - once formed, it exists eternally even after one dies. This is unlike all other achievements that will be relegated to the archives or be forgotten as time passes and the memory fades.

What are you passionate about?

This is definitely one of the easiest questions ever asked. I am passionate about the Arts though it is unfortunate to say that I am not competent or do not have a fertile understanding in some aspects of it. The Arts (especially in the aspects of theatre, literature and dance) appeals to me because it has this quality to translate the depths and varied qualities of the human experience - something that is universal in all cultures. Such a quality goes beyond any kind of barrier as anyone at any age can relate to.

It is also a very powerful tool to question and espouse a certain condition of our lives. While it is certainly ambitious to state that Art will result in a radical revolution, one cannot deny that Art does leave the viewer/listener/audience a little change and perhaps it could be a platform that compels one to think and question and even improve what is already there. Such a powerful force certainly cannot be explained by any scientific theory.

Is death an end to everything?

No. Death cannot end memories or erode our love for someone in any capacity. As such, death can only put an end to something in the physical capacity.