Heart wrenching note from retired Train Captain Che Mat aka Ahmad Awang

To all my friends on Facebook/WhatsApp and other media of communication, I am now lying on a hospital bed celebrating my 70th birthday due to blockages in my three arteries. It’s so sad that I had to reach out to all of you under such unfortunate circumstances. I hope you all lend me your ears and hear me out possibly could be my final message unless inshallah I manage to pull through after tomorrow.

Ballooning is not possible because of the severity of the blockages and a triple bypass is the only best option, as strongly recommended by my heart surgeon.

I was under close medical supervision for the last sixteen years until I got discharged four years ago with a clean bill of health. I don’t know what went wrong now?

l didn’t take a grain of rice for the last 14 years as most of friends are well aware. Ironically, l am strict on my food intake regime and yet, this dreaded ailment could happen to my well being. I am not asking for sympathy but, this is a lesson for everyone to know and share. That no matter how much precaution you undertake, something along the way could possibly go wrong without you even realising it.

Apparently, you could appear healthy leading an active lifestyle in sports or other activities  etc but without you even knowing it, unconsciously right down inside your body blood vessels, plagues start building up slowly until it reaches to a critical level, then suddenly you realise something is wrong with your life hanging precariously. By then it’s already too late.

The damage has been done and it’s irreversible. Blame it on yourself for being complacent or lackadaisical mindset on your food diet. That is what exactly happened to me now. I’ve inadvertently joined more than 20 of my ex-colleagues who also suffered the same fate as me. What a sorrow! At the final lap of my life towards the finishing line, I’ll have to suffer this unfortunate painful traumatic heart bypass operation.

Anyway, l shall take this oppurtunity to inform you all that l will undergo bypass surgery on 20/11/17(Mon) @0800 hrs at Ops Theatre Level 2, NUH by Heart Surgeon Dr Kang and his team of Doctors. Dr Kang is an experienced skilful heart specialist having done bypass surgery for the past 8 years.

Barring any unforeseen circumstance such as complications arising from kidney failure, stroke or diabetic interference which only account between 3% to 5% of past cases, I’m in good hands. Furthermore, heart bypass cost is so much cheaper and reliable than ballooning or stent insertion.

Immediately after the heart bypass surgery, I will be transfered to ICU Ward 20 level 2 to recuperate from this critical devastating operation lasting 4 hours, assuming there’s no complication.

In view of above circumstances, should I not survive this major operation despite all your sincere prayers and well wishes, I take this final opportunity to seek your forgiveness from the bottom of my heart.

To all my buddies / colleagues / friends / brothers in the SAF, JTC, SMRT, Mendaki Sense, Cleaning Express Pte Ltd at Scotts Square and Dulwich College, I seek your forbearance for any misgivings, rudeness in speech, negative in body language or anything that may offend you physically, mentally or spiritually with or without any ill intent. As we’ve known each other since young till now at this senior age, we should clear all our misgivings by now and renew our bonds and friendships on a fresh leaf!

Should I owe you any money, please claim from my children and siblings. But as far as I know I do not owe anybody any single cent till this very moment. Most likely it’s the other way round!

Anyway, I Halalkan Hutang Puitang Itu, but in Allah Swt Mahkamah di Akhirat, l cannot say anything. It’s between you and your Creator.

That’s all I have to say in my this final farewell note. Everyone has to face death in whatever circumstances – be it sickness, accident, disaster or old age etc . For the latter, it’s a bonus and a life well lived.

Your fate or death is already written the day you came to this world. When, where or how are all pre destined by the almighty Allah. I came into this world with nothing and I will return also with nothing.

Good bye my friends. You will remember my name now. But with the passing of time, I’ll just be a passing memory. You will go along with your daily routine as though nothing matters. Sure, my family will miss me for some time and after that, my photo will be archived in the family album.

When there’s life, there will be death! When there’s birth, there will also be rebirth. That’s the story that goes on and on in every endless cycle of life and death!

Last but not least, I sincerely thank you all for taking your precious time to read this short note. I apologise for the bad English. Do pray for me. It costs nothing. Your good deed shall be rewarded!

By God’s Will. I love you all.

Allahuma Sali Ala Mohammed Wa Ali Mohammed.


Throughout my 18 years in SMRT, I’d known Che Mat. Even after I left the company, I still remain in constant touch with my ex-colleagues including Che Mat. He retired at 62 years after 22 years as a Train Captain – the mandatory retirement age then.

Even though we were at different crew stations on different lines, we managed to catch up and berbual-bual whenever we met during breaks at Jurong crew stn. Che Mat reported to Jurong crew stn whilst I to Tanah Merah. He was on the NS line whereas I was on the EW line.

Che Mat may be 15 years my senior but we share a common interest in gadgets. In the late 80s and early 90s especially during the pre Android and IOS days, when Palm OS ruled the earth, Che Mat, late Ahmad Mon Link and myself would discuss about Palm OS software and its latest developments. We were always comparing notes, exchanging information via “beaming” to each other’s Palm the latest software or hacks acquired!

Che Mat is one of the few orang tua in syn with the latest mobile apps and gadgets in the market. Just like us, he also spent a fortune on the latest gadgets. I still remember Che Mat proudly demonstrating to us his latest acquisition, the Nokia Communicator costing a bomb – more than his pay daa! Yet, he still owned another highly prized Handspring Prism (with color which was a novelty then) running on the latest Palm OS. Ah, those were the days lah! Only ancients like us in that age group will understand what I’m taking about.

CCL Train Controller Rahim with Retired Train Captain Che Mat in NUH

☝️CCL Train Controller Norman with Retired Train Captain Che Mat at NUH

Maybe, due to my unexpected visit to Che Mat when he warded at NUH for some intestinal and stomach ailments during the early days when I came to know him that cemented our strong friendship bond. Obviously, he was touched when I visited him unexpectedly by riding my motorcycle all the way from Pasir Ris to NUH to pay him a surprise visit!

My impression of Che Mat is an irascible old man, capable of deep and warm friendship with a down to earth practical attitude. Incidentally, some of my best friends in my previous company are Malays ie Che Mat, late Ahmad Mon, Basri, Norman, Anwarruddin, late Dr Dos  Link etc etc. We got along well as colleagues and friends.

The other special characteristic about Che Mat is that he is a walking Wikipedia of all the past, present Train Captains. He keeps track of their careers (promotions) and also their expiry dates : whether resignation, termination or CFF (Complete For Filing) – euphemism for departure to the netherworld!

Two days ago, Che Mat suddenly messaged me that he is warded in NUH and going for his triple heart bypass. Naturally, I got worried and pray for him. I told him that I will pray to Lord Buddha to bless and protect him ensuring that the major operation will be a success. I also told him that I’ve known at least 4 or 5 of my friends in Elias Mall neighbourhood who have gone thru the same operation with resounding success leading a normal life.

I believe all of us will agree that our medical healthcare is the best in the region albeit costly. But then what is the use of cheap medical facilities if they are not world class able to save lives? In my previous life as a taxi driver, I know that lots of rich from neighbouring countries even from as far as Dubai in the Middle East come to our tiny country to seek medical treatment.

That fact clearly highlights our cutting edge in healthcare which I must say have not gone down in the direction of our train network! Hopefully, it shall remain so and not follow the rolling downhill stock making us a laughing stock as butts of joke for the whole world.

I appeal to all the friends of Che Mat to take this opportunity using the power of prayers to wish him a successful operation tomorrow. I have faith in our impeccable medical institutions and I believe Che Mat will survive and pull through with many more rewarding years to live till a ripe old age! All the best to you Che Mat. May all the gods bless and protect him.

Updated on 22/11/17 @2030 hrs. 

Che Mat’s operation is successful! Well done Medical Team of NUH! Thank you all for your prayers.

About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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4 Responses to Heart wrenching note from retired Train Captain Che Mat aka Ahmad Awang

  1. Assalamualaikum Che Mat, wishing you a speedy recovery from surgery later. May the Almighty blessing be upon your family and you always. In Shaa ALLAH you will pull through from the surgery, be up and running from the surgery. In Shaa ALLAH Aamiin. 😀 🙏 😀 🙏 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bessebjoseph says:

    Good luck will pray for your speedy recovery. It is all God’s Will may Allah protect you .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sridevi says:

    Captain Che Mat aka Ahmad Awang
    He mention about his career it was a GREAT Captain his message was very touched my heart. Everyone who knows him as a Friends they must be very lucky. I believe he was a Best son, Best Husband, Best Father, Best son-inlaw, and Best Collage, Best Friend, Best Captain. Now he is a Greatest man 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹


  4. Alfred says:

    Get well soon and god bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

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