The next station is ...
"The next station is Causeway Bay."
Listening to this announcement on the train this morning, a question suddenly arose, after having heard it thousands of times throughout my life: The announcement contains a promise nobody ever questions. Certainly every passenger takes it for granted that they will get to the next station. But what if they didn't? What if I didn't make it because, say, I dropped dead? Highly unlikely I know, but what if it were to happen?
And if my soul still existed after I died and I still had some form of awareness, how would I feel? Would I feel ready, or would I rue something I should have done but didn't? What would those things be? Not having the amount of money I would have liked in my bank account? Not saying the things I have always wanted to tell my beloved ones? Not making the trips to the places on my "must visit" list? ....
I remember years ago reading about a successful Japanese woman who died during an avalanche at Mount Everest. Climbing the Everest had been her biggest dream in life, and died without really making it to the summit. Was it a tragedy? In my opinion, far from it. It was one of the best deaths one can ever have the luck to have - maybe apart from sacrificing one's life for others, like Mr Wong Fuk-wing in the Qinghai earthquake last month. What can be more fulfilling than losing your life while pursuing your life's biggest dream? If, as some people believe, Mount Everest is a god, he must have created the avalanche out of love of the woman, just to take her into his bosom.
Compare that glorious death to dying on a train and regretting not having lived one's life as he would have liked to. Which death is more tragic?
Maybe I should be more ready for the possibility, albeit seemingly remote, that I might never get to the 'next station'. Who knows?