Simple ceremony planned for end of month to mourn 'Ah Bun'

Funeral set for end of month for quadriplegic who sparked debate on morality of suicide

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2012, 4:02am

A simple funeral will take place at the end of this month in Hung Hom to mourn quadriplegic Tang Siu-pun, who died suddenly at the weekend, a friend said yesterday.

The funeral will be followed by a memorial service organised by friends of Tang.

A doctor who had treated Tang said he had been showing a positive attitude in recent years, not wishing to die, despite his high-profile plea in 2003 to have euthanasia legalised.

"I believe he was fighting for the rights of quadriplegic patients. He did not mean to end his life," private doctor Poon Tak-lun said.

Tang, more popularly known by the nickname Ah Bun, died of septicaemia, a condition in which disease-causing bacteria enter the bloodstream, on Sunday in Caritas Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po.

The funeral service would be held on December 29 on the first floor of the Universal Funeral Parlour, said the friend. She requested anonymity, saying she was passing on the message from Tang's family.

It will be a simple ceremony and most likely non-religious, as Tang had no religion. His former schoolmates and fellow patients, and medical workers who cared for him, are expected to attended.

Mourners may pay their respects and share their memories of Tang at a memorial service after the funeral, but the venue has yet to be decided.

His body would be cremated the following day, the friend said.

It is understood that the family will donate his wheelchair and electronic bed to a patients' group, the Direction Association for the Handicapped.

Tang was rehearsing for a gymnastics event in 1991 when he fell. The accident left his spine badly damaged, paralysing him from the neck down.

In 2003, he composed a letter to chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, asking for euthanasia to be legalised so he could end his life. Tung rejected the request, but Tang's predicament stirred sympathy in many, and led to a public debate about the morality of allowing someone to die.