SINGAPORE - The story of a cancer patient and how he wishes to fulfill his promise to marry his girlfriend this year has touched many, including Law Minister K Shanmugam.
Mr Shanmugam shared a post to a Stomp article on his Facebook account on Wednesday, commending the love story of Singaporean man Alan Yap, who was diagnosed with terminal stage liver cancer and was given only three months to live.
Mr Yap had submitted his love story as an entry to a Valentine's Day contest organised by online citizen journalism website Stomp.
In his letter, he wrote how he once promised his girlfriend, Sherry, that they would wed at the Singapore Flyer in June last year. However, he was diagnosed with cancer after Valentine's Day in 2014.
Mr Yap also described his experience with chemotherapy and how Sherry never left his side. He told Stomp that he hopes to fulfill his promise of getting married at the Singapore Flyer next month.
In his post, Mr Shanmugam mentioned that it was a "really emotional story" and praised Mr Yap's involvement within his Nee Soon GRC as well as the People's Association. He refers to Mr Yap as "an exceptional person" who is also "very committed" and goes on to wish him a speedy recovery.
Mr Yap's entry, which comes in a heartfelt letter divided into three parts, has gained at least 119, 000 views online since it was posted on Stomp yesterday.
He ends his letter with a simple question to his bride-to-be: "Dear, it may be one year overdue. But can I call you 'Mrs Yap' at the Flyer come June 2015?".
Here is Mr Alan Yap's entry to Stomp:
Part I: Serendipity
How does one tell his future wife-to-be that he will die in three months' time?
I remembered very clearly.
We met in 2011. You are this radiant and attractive lady.
Till today, I cannot fully comprehend why you decided to let me hold your hand. I am a divorcee with two young children. You are not without better suitors and I knew you always attract a horde of admirers with that captivating smile and flawless complexion. But you did and I would forever say my graces.
You like the Singapore Flyer. You said the view up there is mesmerising. I proposed. Let us get married at the Flyer in June 2014. You agreed. I am humbled.
I experienced stomach discomfort after Valentine's Day 2014. I thought it is normal gastric as I had not been eating properly those days. I did not know a routine scope check would turn our lives upside-down.
I am diagnosed with liver cancer, terminal stage. The cancer cells have spread extensively to the portal veins and lymph nodes. "You will die by June 2014" the doctor said.
"Dear, I may not be able to keep that appointment at the Flyer anymore."
Tears fell down your lovely cheeks. You hugged me tightly. I told you to leave and find someone else. You refused to let go. Again, I am humbled. Our tears converged.
Part II: Purgatory
I do not want to let go of your hand so soon. I want you to be my wife. I want to live. Hence, I opted for chemotherapy to salvage any chance of prolonging my life and prolonging my time with you.
The chemo drugs are toxic and potent. Within two weeks, my weight plunged from 90kg to 70kg. I shrivelled and there was hardly any ounce of energy left in me.
"Dear, did I ever tell you that I am aware you are crying in a corner of the room that night?" I lie in bed after another chemo session. I can feel the chemo drugs coursing through my body and killing everything in its path. I cannot even muster the strength to open my eyes. I can only whimper. You leaned closer so that you can hear what I am murmuring. You assured me everything will be alright and you will stay by my side. Although I could not see you then, it broke my heart to hear you sobbing in the corner, however much you try to conceal it.
I am not a handsome man to begin with. And I am even more conscious of my appearance after I fell sick. The person in the mirror stared back at me with those blank lifeless eyes. He is only carrying bones on his frail body frame. His body complexion has yellowed and reminds of the dirty teeth of a smoker. He has only patches of hair left on his once sprightly coiffure. His body is punctured with injection scars and it is not a beautiful sight.
"Dear, have I ever told you I am overwhelmed by your great heart to see beyond all these and even caress me tenderly?" I am certain your decision to continue holding my hand has caused immeasurable ache and pain to your parents. I am sure they have requested you to leave me. And yet, you persisted.
One day, my condition worsened and my blood platelets plunged to alarmingly low levels. I am in danger of dying due to internal haemorrhage. The doctor warded me immediately so that they can effect emergency blood platelet transfusion. It was late morning then. When I opened my eyes some time later, I saw the night sky through the window. The moon bathed the room with its luminous light. It was a serene feeling. I turned and saw you. You have kept vigil and were resting your head on the side of my bed. I gently stretched out and caressed your hair. You awoke quickly and asked how I was? "I am alright, dear. It is so good to see you again."
Part III: Devotion
It is almost a year since those dreadful words uttered by the doctor. I refused to yield because there is something I have yet to do. The odds are stacked unfavourably against you in believing I could survive this. But you believe in me and thus I believe in us. Recently, you asked why I spend so much time exercising every day despite the inherent fatigue. "Dear, it is because I never want you to worry about me no more." I need to become stronger. I do not want you to carry all the bags whenever we go out. I want to be strong enough to piggy-back you whenever you are tired. Your petite frame is carrying too much burden through this ordeal.
You are a superstitious person. You said you consulted a fortune-teller and he said I will live to 60. He said we made a commitment in our previous lives to be together. You said there is a red string binding both of us. You said that is why you can never leave me.
I am humbled one more time by your assurance and love.
On this Valentine's Day 2015, I would like to ask "Dear, it may be one year overdue. But can I call you 'Mrs Yap' at the Flyer come June 2015?"
Find out how to take part in Stomp's Valentine's Day Love Story 2015 contest here.