Sunday, October 28, 2007

TV Interview?

I got a call from the local news channel today. They want to interview me for a current affairs program about death and dying. I was taken aback at first when the producer told me what the show was about. “Dying? I’m dying?” was my immediate thought.

The producer had found out about me from a newspaper article featuring members of my Breast Cancer Foundation Dragon Boat team. In that interview, I’d mentioned that women with metastatic breast cancer lived an average of 24 months.

The TV producer explained that the purpose of the program was to take the fear out of death and make it a less taboo topic. In most Asian cultures, certainly among the Singapore Chinese, people just don’t talk about death. They think it’s bad luck or just can’t face the idea of death at all.

The show would include two other people besides me. One is an elderly woman who isn’t sick, but is preparing for her death. The other is a woman whose father recently died.

The producer spoke to me at length about my attitude toward death and I was very comfortable telling her everything honestly and candidly. I told her I’d let her know tomorrow whether I’d agree to the interview or not.

I’m worried about two things. First, Tony. How would he feel about his wife talking on TV about dying? Second, my friends with breast cancer. I’m worried that if they see me talking about death, they’ll think I’ve given up, which is far from the truth. I’m also worried that they’ll see my fate as their own. “If Shin can’t beat it, maybe I can’t either.”

By huge coincidence, just before the producer called me, I was on the phone to a friend who has gone through breast cancer treatment and told me, “You’ll be okay, Shin. If you fail, I’ll fail.” I tried to tell her that her case was completely different from mine – she was only Stage I, which has a five-year survival rate of 100 percent.

I asked Tony how he’d feel about me doing this interview and in typical Tony fashion, he said, “You should do it. You’d look cute on TV.” Gotta love him. I haven’t had a chance to talk to any of my friends yet though, so I’ll have to decide tomorrow what I’m going to tell the producer.

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