How prepared are we?

Yesterday morning was spent at my wife's cousin's house attending her daughter's funeral. She passed away the night before due to lungs failure. She was not even 40 yet and she left three young daughers, the youngest barely 7 years old and the eldest in Primary 5. Her husband told me the lungs failure occurred because of complication in her diabetes.

I keep on seeing the television health adverts on what things to look out for when you are suffering from diabetes - all in the line of look after your feet etc, because the feet is always the first part affected by cuts etc and untended can cause other complications later on. What struck me is not so much the advert but the existence of the advert itself. To have an advert which keeps on airing repeatedly (to those who watched RTB) means that there is a serious problem. According to the MOH website, the third leading cause of death (2001) in Brunei is Diabetes Mellitus. I am not a health or medical expert to say whether this includes all complications due to diabetes but even on its own is already the third leading causes of death.

In the afternoon, I visited my wife's brother-in-law (biras) at Gleneagles-JPMC Hospital in Jerudong. He has just undergone a heart bypass operation as a couple of his arteries are blocked. I was quite surprised that he had to undergo the operations. I had always seen him as a very active man, he is not the one that sits down doing nothing but he goes fishing, he tends to his kebun, in fact he is so active that he is always busy doing something. But I guess when you are in your 60s, body parts do tend to fail. Alhamdulillah, he is making a very quick recovery, now being able to walk about and maybe in one or two days will be released. So at least I guess that's something to be thankful for leading an active life. Heart diseases is the number one leading cause of death in this country and related to that is the Cerebrovascular Diseases which is at number four.

In this month, most of us will be visiting the graves of our loved ones. Some of us will be visiting the graves of someone close to us who died young and some who died at the 'right' age. The young ones who died young include those who died due to cancer (2nd leading cause of death in this country) and even road accidents (6th).

You know it's scary when you realise just how mortal you are? I am always reminded of this whenever I take my hypertension tablets, check my blood pressure monitor and read my glucose meter. Two things we can take from today's entry is firstly, how much lifestyle diseases are affecting us, yes including road accidents and secondly, how prepared are we, both emotionally and financially?

The morbidity rate of Diabetes Mellitus was barely 5% before the 1990s and by the turn of the 21st century is now close to 30%. It shows just how much the Brunei lifestyle has changed over the last 10 years. Are we becoming too affluent or just leading the wrong lifestyle? Too much junkfood? Too busy lifestyle?

In terms of financial planning too, we sometimes forget. A retired senior officer came to see me very recently inquiring whether his future pensions could be paid now to help him pay for his house. Apparently he only built the house after he retired and now he does not have enough funds to complete the house. Being retired and suffering seriously from a couple of diseases above, he said he might not make it beyond 60. He is worried his family will have nowhere to stay.

It is not just houses but also emotional support. When a young woman or man passed away, it is always the children that we worry about. People always say those who have gone are now at peace. It is those left behind that have to worry. We can help the orphans with the financial assistance, just watch how many donations are given in this holy month. Monthly financial assistance is also given through the Community Development Department. But who gives out the emotional donations? The young children brought up without their mother or father or both?

Perhaps today, we might start thinking of whether we should go for that sungkai buffet and use the savings to add that to our bank account for future use. Even if we do go, maybe we ought to reach out less for that roasted lamb and go for the salad instead and go easy on that thousand island dressing. We should not spend too much time at that restaurant and go to the mosque soon after sungkai to do the terawih prayers, perhaps those 20 rakaats will perhaps help us lose a few calories. And drive carefully back.
Photo credit: "Learning About Metaphors" at


Anonymous said…
Thanks again Mr BR for bringing up very interesting topic this morning! To me being healthy is agenda No. 1 in my life and there is no second thought abt it. No matter how old you are in terms of age BUT if you have a healthy heart, thats a bonus to you. So, I think when it comes to all these buffet ramadan here and there, just be in moderation. We dont want to face a situation where we have all the money to buy anything BUT due to your health problems, you cannot eat this or that! Enjoy life and spend sensibly and we don't live to eat only. Just remember we have a family that we love and they love you too!
Zul-Fadly said…
I 'was' a smoker. I rarely 'exercised'. I have asthma. I 'loved' fast food.

After a doctor told me I have HBP. It took me a long time to realise that I needed to change.

I agree with Anonymous 110%. Health is numbe one priority. Wasn't it Mr BR who did a blog about the expenses the MOH has to buy the free medication. If we work towards a better and healthy lifestyle we could help slowly reduce this burden.

I made a new year's resolution early this year to shed some weight. I believe I have gone in the right direction.

I have quit smoking. I have devised my own exercise regime. I look after what I eat.

You are what you eat is true. It doesn't mean one has to stop eating 'fast food' but once in a while is alright.

Death is something that will eventually happen. When it happens, no one knows. Be it healthy or unhealthy. But that is not an excuse for us to look after ourselves.
Anonymous said…
My mother and my sister are diabetics, but Alhamdulillah they'r not at serious levels..and i hope they are gettin better!

This is actually a big SNAP to me, as i was told members of the family have big chances of getting it. I always thought that we are of healthy healthy people, and since my sister got it first, i thought that its because of her lifestyle (eating more,excersise zero!), after few years, my mom got it. so i figured that we are more prone to diabetes and its just a matter of whether or not my pancreas functions scary is dat!!?

Br is rite, we need to review our lifestyle..

and its really an eye-opener when BR relates this topic with financial planning..planning for retirement is one thing..but planning for your loved ones when u r gone is another thing..i, for one, would want my retired parents to continue receiving money if something bad (touch wood!)happen to bayar bayar rumah..kerita..mkn minum durang..ubat-ubatan..etc..etc..

Health n wealth wishes for everybody!
Anonymous said…
Health is Wealth my friends, Health is Wealth.
Anonymous said…
health is wealth,olrite..but wealth is not health..thats for sure!
Anonymous said…
hahaha..yesss!!we need to reconsider those sungkai buffets!I went to this particular wellknown restaurants which offers over 100 different dished just for sungkai, it was overwhelming the moment i reached there, looking around the food..the appetisers..the main course..disserts..oo..i was gonna have em all!!but eventually i only had maybe around 15 of those dishes..hehe..liur saja basar..moral of the story : be considerate!eat some and give some! =)
The prevalance of such diesease back home is reflected on our lifestyle....high calorie foods, smoking e.t.c. One may argue that it has become part of our culture. On the same token....where will our "culture" say when we face God on the last day when He asks of what we did in terms of keeping our health.
Anonymous said…
i am glad to be one of those people who are free from major diseases, same goes to my family members, maybe bcoz i dont eat much meat/beef and all those fatty stuffs, am happy to stick with veggie or even soup and little rice for my lunch n dinner... somehow i do worry if i eat outside, bcoz it's quite hard actually to avoid those oily foods...
FlyBoy said…
Every self will taste death. We test you with both good and evil as a trial. And you will be returned to Us.
-Holy Quran (21:35)

Apart from the emotional and financial worries, we should also worry about the amount of good deeds we have collected in this life.

Invest not only for this life but also the HereAfter.
Anonymous said…
i would also like to add on this topic where another important view of how prepared are we in terms of our amal ibadah that we have done. are we really prepared to face the next life???? people tend to forget that this life is just temporary and there is alot more that us muslims should be worried about. Life after death!!!!
are your deeds sufficient enough to guarantee oneself paradise???? can you actually be certain that you can answer the questions that would be asked. Are our souls been fed with enough good deeds which make up our iman????
insyllh in this holy month we should be asking for forgiveness from our sins and the sins off those who hav recently passed away and insylh we will get the full berkat of ramadhan!!!! amin!!!!!!!
selamat berpuasa everyone!!! hope all your amal ibadah be accepted and may we all enter the garden of paradise....amin!!!!!!!! :)
Anonymous said…
pity....there was no mention about preparation for akhirat vis-a-vis amalan on the ed...but good to see two comments on amalan. it shows masih ada kesedaran kitani cuma HAMBA ALLAH di muka bumi ani, yang dicipta untuk menyembah dan beribadat kepada-NYA.

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