Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Second Chance

I don't believe that anybody could see the future, not even the best fortune tellers in the world. In some special cases, it is possible to guess fairly accurately what's going to happen in the future, but it's still a guess, not a certainty.

We are bound to come to many road junctions in life, and on many occasions we are bound to choose the wrong ones to take. But then in most cases, we can find our way back to the starting point so that we can then choose the other option(s) and end up with a better result. These are the kind of choices and decisions that we make on a daily basis, and we are constantly making wrong choices, but having practically limitless opportunities to correct those mistakes. In the process, we hope to learn something from the experience, and who knows, maybe we can avoid making those same mistakes again in the future.

That is well and fine, but apart from road junctions in life, there will be times when we would come to dilapidated bridges, of which they will collapse immediately after we have crossed, and there is no option to go back. If crossing that bridge was a wrong move, then there is no hope to correct that mistake! 

Things like taking a train, and then losing one's life when the train is derailed; taking a flight, and then the plane crashes, killing everybody onboard; or being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and then there's a suicidal maniac out on a killing spree with his machine gun. Y'know, things that are beyond our control, and there is little that we can do about the end result? Now imagine what would it be like if despite the "collapsed bridges", you are somehow transported back to your starting point before crossing that bridge, so that you have the chance to make a different choice? Not just another chance, but truly a precious second chance?

Well, my second chance came about 15 years ago. I was inspecting a timber concession area very deep in the jungle, and I was driving a twin-cabin pickup truck. My brother, Harry, was with me in the car. As you probably know, logging roads are not like the urban asphalt roads at all. These are mainly dirt roads, very narrow, hilly and winding. When it's raining, these roads would become muddy and slippery.

Fate would have it that just as I was coming down a steep hill, the brakes failed, and the vehicle started building up speed down that winding road. It felt a lot like riding a roller coaster, and very soon, as I was negotiating the twists and turns, I could feel the rear tyres of the vehicle skidding off the road. From the corner of my eye, I could see the deep ravine down below—a very long way down. I thought that was the end for me. Yet during that split second, I suddenly thought of my wife and daughter—the latter was just a few months old then.

I made the quick decision to steer the vehicle into a huge boulder, and the impact caused the vehicle to come to a complete stop. I survived the ordeal to live another day. We were rescued by the other vehicles in the convoy, made our way back to Keningau, and then later from Keningau back to KK that night.

By the time I reached home, it was around midnight. I tip-toed into the bedroom and saw my wife fast asleep. Then I saw my baby girl in her crib. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by emotions—I started crying like a baby. Not wanting to wake them up, I rushed into the bathroom and spent ages under the shower crying and crying. It was an eye-opening experience.

Because we are so used to getting so many opportunities to remedy our mistakes in life, there is the tendency to take those opportunities for granted. But second chances—I mean really "second chances"—are not always readily available. Yet they can very easily be mistaken with just any other opportunities, and therefore, there is a tendency to take second chances for granted too. You really have to experience that second chance to be able to really appreciate its true worth...

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