‘Every day I’m alive is a bonus’

The good news is that he has been discharged from hospital.

But although he is better, he is still suffering from a serious illness.

But the ups and downs of life is not something new for hawker Chua Mui Mui and her husband, Mr Tay Guan Yeow.

The New Paper on Sunday featured them last month, after they took wedding photographs even as the 44-year-old Mr Tay lay gravely ill with kidney failure in the intensive care unit.

They had registered their marriage 13 years ago, but never had the chance to have a traditional wedding. He was diagnosed two years after they got married and has been on dialysis.

Madam Chua had sent an SMS to Radio 1003, Singapore Press Holding's Chinese language station, in April, to wish her husband a happy wedding anniversary.

News of her husband's condition then became public, and offers to help the couple have their wedding pictures taken poured in, but they hesitated.

Then, his condition worsened and he was rushed to the National University Hospital last month.

That prompted her to send another SMS to the radio station asking if it was too late to take wedding photos.

The radio deejays swung into action and fulfilled their wish on the same day she sent the SMS. Their bittersweet love story continues after his discharge two weeks ago.

Mr Tay, who had his left leg and right toes amputated earlier this year, wants his wife to find someone new after he's gone.

He told The New Paper in Mandarin: "I just hope she can continue to live well. Find a good man who will treat her well. It's better than being alone. It's better to have a man to look after her." To which she replied in Mandarin, with her eyes reddening: "Is it possible?"

Mr Tay, a Singaporean, said: "It's fated, it's very hard to say. If it's fated, you can't run from it."

Her future is something the 37-year-old Madam Chua, who sells roast meat at a canteen in an industrial area in the western part of Singapore, has not thought much about.

Latest emergency scare

The Malaysian, who is a Singapore permanent resident, said: "I've never thought of the day without him around."

What matters is now, they said, although they have started preparing for the worst.

"As long as she's beside me right now, that's bliss," he said. "I live one day at a time. Every day I'm alive is a bonus."

Mr Tay even quit smoking, a habit he picked up 10 years ago.

Latest emergency scare

He stopped breathing when he was rushed to the hospital in the latest emergency scare.

She said: "His lips had turned black and he was biting his own tongue. He was also giving me a confused look and his hands kept pulling the maid's hand, as though he was about to go."

Madam Chua said: "The doctors told me not to hope for him to live until he's 60 or 70. If he can live up to 50 years old, that alone is already a bonus. His heart wouldn't be able to continue for so long.

"He's a very nice guy who loves his wife very much.

"Even though we seldom talked to each other when we were working together, in our hearts, we've always wanted the best for each other."

The couple met through her aunt and started off as friends before finally becoming an item.

Madam Chua is willing to make sacrifices, including not having children.

She said: "Just looking after him is already a handful.

"I hope he is happy. Whatever I can give to him, I will."

This article was first published in   The New Paper .

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