Revitalised Ah Bun reflects on letter that changed his life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 October, 2007, 12:00am

After his book, I Want Euthanasia, became one of the best-sellers this summer, quadriplegic Tang Siu-pun is looking for a new challenge - ruling out another book for the time being.

Nearly 9,000 copies of the 300-page book, which chronicles his life as a young sportsman, the somersault accident that put him in a hospital bed for 13 years and his 2003 plea to former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa to be allowed to die, have been sold since its launch in July.

It was among the 20 most popular books sold by bookstore Joint Publishing in August.

'I don't know how much I've earned, though I don't think it would be much. Anyway, I've given all the royalties to my mother. Money is not important to me,' Mr Tang, better known as Ah Bun, said in an interview.

'I am happy that I can contribute something to my parents. They have taken care of me for so many years.'

He is now pondering projects suggested by the Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk and Chinese University medicine professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, but he refused to say what they were before making a decision.

'The letter [in 2003] has changed my life dramatically. In the past, I did not have many expectations. Now I make demands on myself to better use my time,' he said.

Ah Bun said his life had improved since the letter aroused concern about his plight.

The doctors have arranged for him to sit in a wheelchair instead of staying in bed all day.

And many people, including celebrities such as pop singer Jacky Cheung Hok-yau and Education Secretary Michael Suen Ming-yeung, have visited him.

'Several years ago, I could never have imagined that I would become a household name,' he said.

Ah Bun did not clearly say whether he had given up the plea to be allowed to die.

'Euthanasia is still impossible in Hong Kong,' he said. 'I don't want to waste much time on thinking whether I can die or not.

'However, I still support the legalisation of euthanasia because allowing patients to have one more choice will always be better than having no choice at all.'