When will we learn?

MAY 31 — We all make mistakes in life. It’s part of being human.

Some small, some big. Some are cheaper and less catastrophic than others.

Depending on who you are, mistakes could make you famous or infamous, the pride or the shame of the society.

Those who learn from their mistakes become wiser. More mature. They tend to become more successful in life. Those who don’t, well, they form a big part of the colourful tapestry we call “human nature”.

But to only learn from the mistakes we make would take more than a lifetime. Two perhaps. No, let’s make that three.

That is why logic dictates that we need to learn from other’s mistakes. Other’s sufferings. Other’s pain. Life is just too short to experiment with.

Too precious.

But humans being humans we forget. We have this belief that we are superhuman and often take the “it will not happen to me approach” when dealing with bad situations.

As a doctor I sometimes wonder why. Especially with the advance in science and keener understanding of how similar we are anatomically, physiologically.

Yes, folks, no matter what “they” want you to believe, we are almost the same inside.

If only we take stock of the sufferings, pain and sorrows around us, we would be wiser living our lives.

We will not see as many orphans and widows in the country.

We will not see friends succumbing to cancer, whose life — if you can call it one — is very much dependent on every laboured, painful, slow and agonising breath especially towards the end.

So severe is the pain, that many hoped, wished and prayed for death. Imagine the pain that they must go through to want to die.

I cannot imagine that. As a doctor, as a human being, I really can’t. But I suppose those who puff their cigarettes year in and out can, and believe they will beat the odds of getting a terrible disease one day and manage the pain that awaits most of them.

But until that day comes, hey, isn’t ignorance bliss?

So the next time you inhale a stick filled with toxins meant to embalm the dead, or chemicals meant to make roads and poison enemies of the state, remember that you are asking for pain and suffering, no matter how “cool” you might think you look.

Six million people die from smoking each year. That is about 10,000 Malaysians annually. And for every person who dies because of smoking, another three are left with health complications attributed to second-hand smoke.

Today is World No Tobacco Day, so we shouldn’t take smoking so lightly.

Every breath you take is poison. Poison to you, and those around you.

Learn from the past mistakes of those who have suffered, and died from diseases related to smoking.

You could make a difference. If it’s not for you, then do it for your loved ones. They need more time with you.

Say no to cigarettes today.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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