'Second chance' lawyer gets second chance

'Second chance' lawyer gets second chance
Criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan, his nephew Sunil Sudheesan and colleague, lawyer, Diana Ngiam.

SINGAPORE - The man who believes in giving others a second chance now has his own.

Less than a year ago, doctors handed veteran criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan the death sentence. After he was diagnosed with heart and kidney failure, they told his family to take him home and arrange for palliative care.

But his family refused.

Now, the tenacious 66-year-old is back in action, even though he has to be hooked up to a dialysis machine thrice a week, for four hours each time.

The pain and fatigue make him grit his teeth.

But this does not stop him from narrating his musings to his wife of 27 years, Vimala, albeit in a softer tone than he uses in courtrooms.

The housewife, 56, logs down her husband's thoughts and anecdotes - all material for his second book, titled It's Easy To Cry.

It is expected to be on shelves next year, more than six years after his first book, The Best I Could, in which he explored his most famous cases and his own prison experience after being suspected of being a secret society member.

His second book delves into his fight to survive and his experience in hospital.

The road to recovery has not been easy, he admits.

"I know I've done a lot of bad things, but I think my good things outweighed the bad, and why is God doing this to me?" he asks.

"Dialysis can be quite tiring and depressing sometimes, realising that this machine is keeping you alive. But you must have the mental capacity to overcome this sort of feeling... If you let it get worse and worse, that will finish you off."

Mr Subhas, now nearly 20kg slimmer at 65kg, is no stranger to illness. He has had three heart attacks since 1978, lost one kidney to cancer in 2001, suffered diabetes and blocked intestines, no thanks to excessive drinking and smoking - at his worst, he smoked more than three packets of cigarettes a day.

He quit smoking in 1997, after his third heart attack, and seldom drinks now.

After what he has gone through, he says his only regret is not having spent enough time with his family - something he is trying to make up for now. He is also trying to reconnect with old friends he has lost touch with.

He speaks to The Sunday Times from his Raffles Place office in law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, where he is a senior partner.

Previously he was a senior consultant at KhattarWong and Harry Elias Partnership. His own law firms were MPD Nair and Company, and Subhas Anandan Advocate and Solicitor.

Work, he says, has helped him stave off depression.

And it was his wife, who initially demanded that he retire, who got him back in action.

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