A place called home

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 August, 2010, 12:00am

Tang Siu-pun, better known as Ah Bun, has left the hospital where he stayed for 19 years and moved into a new home, the South China Morning Post reported.

The quadriplegic 41-year-old man once pleaded with then chief executive Tung Chee-hwa to let him end his life.

Local media reported that three friends helped Tang leave Queen Mary Hospital for a flat in a Sham Shui Po estate. And with his doctor's encouragement, he has become more optimistic.

'Now I know there is a new beginning and it can be like turning the page of a new chapter. And I hope it can be a happy one,' said Tang, who has been paralysed from the neck down since injuring his spine in a somersault in 1991.

His physical condition has improved much since the day in 2003 when he wrote an open letter to the Tung, asking for euthanasia to be legalised so he could die.

The request was rejected and the publishing of his letter in newspapers sparked widespread concerns.

In 2007, Tang wrote the book I Want Euthanasia, in which he argued for the right to die in peace and with dignity. But after the book was released, he changed his mind. 'I still support euthanasia, but I do not want it for myself now. I feel that I have a lot of things to do and that there is a lot waiting for me to accomplish,' he said.

Tang has had a pacemaker inserted in his diaphragm so he can breathe without a respirator, and has a sensor-controlled wheelchair that allows him to travel outside the hospital.

Two maids, one of whom has helped Tang for three years, will tend to his needs in his new flat. Initially, nurses from Caritas Medical Centre will also check on him daily.

He will live on social security, donations and income from a column he writes for a newspaper.

Helping Tang to tidy up the flat, his father said: 'Moving to a new home was his own choice, and we support that.'

With the Mid-Autumn Festival coming on September 23, Tang has another wish. 'I hope we can have our first family gathering here. I'm looking forward to my father's cooking. In the past years in hospital, every festival was just like any other day,' he said.