Today is the last day of 2015. Auld Lang Syne never fails to get me into a pensive mood so here is an update.
Head chef of coffee shop Strangers’ Reunion, Sebastian Tan, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Strangers’ Reunion started Save-A-Stranger campaign where they open on their day off with proceeds going to his costly treatments. 12 bartenders from various establishments across Singapore also organised a fund-raising event to help cancer-stricken Chef Tan, who has no personal insurance.
It is heartening to see different people—some do not even know him—from the cut-throat F&B industry rally behind him during such a hard time. This is not a mere act of practicality but solidarity; which is why I will be writing about coffee in my book (okay, not just that).
I am working on a stroke memoir, (drum roll please) Coffee Drinkers Make Better Lovers. I had a freak cardiac arrest during a football game in March 2013. That is how I got a rare brain stem stroke at 33 years old with no serious health problems. Both sides of my body are affected and I have mobility and speech impairment now.
I decided to parlay a passion for specialty coffee and used its characteristics as a throughline by using the 3A for my narrative structure—Aroma, Acidity, Aftertaste.
Aroma is about my long-distance relationship (Singapore—Tokyo) that began on Instagram before the stroke. Acidity is everything that happened during my 4-month hospital stay. Aftertaste is how we cope with my disability after the stroke.
For someone who only reads coffee bean labels before his stroke, writing a memoir is a daunting task. Luckily a friend pulled together a Band of Backers to help me. I woke from a 5-day coma really wanting to write a book. And plus, I became a man of few words after having speech impairment so I want every one to count.
My experience at hospitals and Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) is a paean that reminds us life is to be loved, not lived. It is an experience I am obliged to share, urging others to get more out of life with love.
More updates soon, keep your eyes peeled—and that coffee hot.