Dr Leslie Tay

Famed food blogger Dr Leslie Tay (foreground) isn't just interested in hawker food, he cares even more about those making it. Celebrating his birthday with his men's group – former wonton seller, Raymond Tan, is in black. Photo from ieatishootipost.sg.

I’m a family physician as well as a food blogger on ieatishootipost.sg.

People don’t like to talk about death, but as a doctor, every week I encounter people to whom I have to break bad news.

If you’ve actually lost any hope that life will get better … you’re not living life to the fullest.

One of the most certain things about life is death.

At your deathbed, you will know what your life really was – whether you lived a meaningful life, or whether you wasted your life away.

If you live life just going through the motions – every day you wake up, you go to work, and then you come back home and you’re so tired, you go to sleep.

And every day is the same thing. It’s the same sort of pattern. You’re sort of on a journey but you don’t really know where you’re heading.

In a sense, if you’ve lost the meaning and the purpose in your life, if you’ve lost hope that life will get better … you’re not living life to the fullest.

And it’s almost like a form of death.

That’s not life. Life is more than that.

More than food

As a food blogger, I go around reviewing food. But I do a bit more than that.

Rather than just going to a certain store and criticising them when they are not good, I try to help.

So I sat down with this young man, I analysed his wonton mee and then I said to him: “Oh, you know, you have to change this, you have to change that.”

And so we were having this conversation, and that’s when I found out about his real situation, and why he’s selling wonton mee.

So he told me that a few years back, he owned a big company, and he was renting out cars. But he became suicidal because he lost all his money at the casino. So he was trying to build his life again by selling wonton mee.

I felt that he was at a point in his life where he was trying to find a way out.

So I said, why don’t you come to church with me?

So the next day, he was in church with me. During the church service, he started to tear, he started to cry, and he told God that his old life was not going well and he wanted a new start. So he accepted Jesus into his life.

When there is hope, there is life. When there is no hope, it’s death.

That night, he told God: “I don’t know what happened to me today. But I’ve been a chain smoker for many, many years since I was a teenager. If You are real, stop my smoking. But don’t take three weeks. Or else I will think it’s me and not You.”

The next day, when he picked up his cigarette, he couldn’t smoke anymore. Because he said that the smoke just tasted horrible. And that was the start of a new life for him.

Now he’s really found hope, because his family is fixed. He’s now got a job, they managed to buy a house, and life is starting to have a lot of meaning and a lot of purpose.

And in fact, he goes back to the prison to talk to other young men, telling them: “Hey, if you’re in a rut, there’s hope for you.”

When there is hope, there is life. When there is no hope, it’s death.

So if you want to find out about the hope that we all have, can I invite you to the Celebration of Hope which is happening on May 17 to 19 at the Singapore National Stadium. I hope to see you there and I’m really hoping that you’ll find life and life in abundance.

This article was adapted from Dr Leslie Tay’s sharing, which was first published on the Celebration of Hope’s Facebook page. Have you been searching for hope? Find out more at Celebration of Hope.

About the author

Dr Leslie Tay

Dr Leslie Tay, better known by his moniker “ieat”, has spent almost a decade roaming Singapore in search of the best hawker food and then publishing his mouth watering pictures and stories on his award winning food blog, ieatishootipost.sg. Dr Tay is a family doctor who practises at Karri Family Clinic in Tampines. He is happily married with two children who often accompany him on his food expeditions. They have learnt to be patient, waiting for him to finish taking photographs before they start eating.