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Book Review – Subhas Anandan – It’s Easy To Cry
Subhas Anandan is my personal mentor some time back in 2009 when I was working together with him in KhattarWong. Oh dear, look at this photo I dug out, I totally looked like crap back then!
What I can share about this Singapore’s best-known Criminal Law Lawyer is that he is an extremely friendly, humble and generous man. We would meet up every morning at the bar room in court, head for hearings, and then for a good buffet lunch either at Furama Hotel or Cricket Club. One of my most memorable work moments definitely.
Today, I’m honoured to share with you about his book, “It’s Easy to Cry.”
In this book, Subhas Anandan (1947 – 2015) wrote about cases where deep and complex emotions are displayed and his thoughts on the many people who have affected him in one way or the other. It is also a searing and honest account of his life, career, and friendships – dictated to his wife in 2014 while undergoing kidney dialysis. Subhas went back to office for two to three hours on non-dialysis days. It’s heartwarming that he encouraged his son to be a good person and do whatever he wants and be passionate about work to have a happy life. Subhas loved his father so much that he planned to switch off his ventilator in the hospital at night instead of seeing him suffering being kept alive with machines. Thankfully, his father saved him from committing that mistake as he passed away in the morning before Subhas could switch off that ventilator. Subhas mother passed away peacefully and he took comfort in the good memories especially the tight hug his mum gave him before she passed on. I’m so happy for Uncle Subhas to have a close knitted family.
Uncle Subhas has inspired me to be brave and think of positive things and just know that your glass is half full and not half empty. When Uncle Subhas thought he was going to die, he romantically said to his wife, Vimi, that “Your face is in every rose and your smile is in every cloud.” Vimi stood by Uncle Subhas and eased him to sleep every night. The lyrics of “If tomorrow never comes” by Ronan Keating spoke his sentiment.
I agree with him that it is in the times of crisis that you know who your friends truly are. This great man spent the time and effort to visit his dear friends in hospitals even though he himself was unwell. One of his friends, Karpal, taught him that “Look, you call, I will come and if I call, you must come.” The bond will never be broken. Sometimes, friends call you only when in need but they never appear when you needed them most. Subhas never blamed them as different people react differently when their friends are sick. Francis was Subhas good friend in university days and thankfully, they had a good catch up time with drinks at a nightclub before Francis passed away due to cancer. Ah Soo, another dear old friend, had dementia but thankfully was still able to reminisce some childhood memories with Subhas when the latter invited him for a gathering of old friends in Deepavali 2010.
He shared a story where a mentally ill caring teacher was sentenced to two months in prison for amending some of her students answers in the PSLE examinations and that sometimes people do things without realizing the consequences of their actions and willingly accept blame so their loved one will not get into trouble. In another story, repentance and promises from Sadayan to reform and turn over a new leaf and take care of his loving father made Subhas felt his work was so meaningful. Every criminal deserves a defence as Subhas did the appeal for a taxi driver pro bono because the taxi driver’s family was unable to pay fees. Subhas lost the appeal but was still touched by their gratitude.
Over the years, Subhas has learnt to be careful with one’s language as one does not know how the other party is going to react. Subhas tried pleasing his mother by going to Loyola college to study but returned to Singapore shortly after because he was homesick and didn’t like the “fine” system there. In another instance, he noticed that the system in Somalian seemed like everyone is always usually late. However, he had an interesting experience in Somalian pulling out pieces if camel, goat, chicken, potato and rice during one dinner.
The most interesting insights I gained is that people could lose more instead of making more money while gambling yet they still want to gamble. Another ridiculous one goes to people who spend thousands of dollars in costs to prove a point and save their faces. It is also an irony that even though there is a clause in the contract with Sunshine Empire that states the return of investment was at the discretion of the company, many investors went ahead due to human greed and wanted quick money. Needless to say, jealousy can lead to violence as Wu, the China bride, stabbed his sister-in-law, Huang due to the absence of love and understanding.
Some last take away points I learnt is that you have to take risks and have faith sometimes. Man should be helpful, not arrogant. People have short memories and very easily you can become yesterday’s hero.
In loving memory of Subhas Anandan (1974 – 2015).