Friday, September 12, 2008

Former DJ to host his funeral via DVD

Former DJ to host his funeral via DVD
Thu, Sep 11, 2008
The New Paper

HE has planned his own funeral, down to what he will wear and who is going to host the event.

He wants to be dressed in the army uniform he wore to his father's funeral.

And he is in the process of choosing the best picture he has - one that will capture his essence for his funeral photo.

Former radio DJ Billy Wang, also known as Dongfang Billy, also plans to host his own funeral here.

He will address family and friends in a DVD he has been making with the help of an assistant.

It is a documentary of his life as well as a record of things he wants to say individually to the people in his life.

The DVD, which is almost completed, will help to set the mood at his funeral.

It starts off in Mandarin with: 'Hi, how are you? I'm Billy. Are you surprised I'm your host?'

The DVD will also have 10 hymns sung by Billy.

Funeral all planned

The former DJ, who now heads a cancer charity, wants his funeral to be held at his home first and then at his church.

He hopes no one will cry.

And he wants everyone to celebrate.

The 45-year-old said in an interview with Lianhe Wanbao: 'I don't want people to be sad. I want them to throw a party.'

The reason for all his preparation? The fact that his cancer has returned.

Billy was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1993, but he battled it into remission. He later became an advocate for cancer prevention and cure.

In 2006, he left MediaCorp Radio to concentrate on his work as the president of CareCancer Society, a charity he founded in 2003. Earlier this year, he became easily tired and his bones ached.

His hair fell out and he would also become thirsty after saying only a few words.

Doctors confirmed that his cancer has returned, but would not say how long more he has to live.

He told Wanbao that he now takes 24 pills a day and the side-effects include giddiness, blurred vision and nausea.

He said: 'Even though I find it hard to face death, I have accepted it. How long can I live if I have cancer? Death is but a station in life... I'm prepared to get off at that station any time.'

No regrets

Billy said he has no regrets in life.

And for friends he quarrelled with and never met again, he will address them and say goodbye in the DVD.

He also does not regret not getting married, he said, adding that his parents had spent their entire marriage fighting and marriage requires a certain personality which he does not have.

He has discussed his funeral plans with one of his older brothers and a few close friends.

But he cannot bear to tell his mother that his cancer has returned because she would be frightened.

He told Wanbao that when his cancer was first diagnosed 15 years ago, she found out about it only two years later.

After she found out, she prayed and cried every day and when he spoke to her previously about making his will, she became red-eyed.

Taiwan-born Billy came to Singapore in the late '80s.

After stints on TV variety shows here, he got a DJ job in MediaCorp Radio, where he won the hearts of heartland housewives with his no-holds-barred chats during his phone-in shows.

He was named one of the 10 most popular male artistes in the 2002 Star Awards.

Billy has come a long way from his unhappy childhood.

In earlier media interviews, he revealed that he had wanted to grow up fast and be independent to spite his family.

His late father was an army general under Taiwanese president Chiang Kai-shek and he spent little time with his family.

His mother was addicted to mahjong, Billy said.

He added: 'We had no freedom, we had to follow our father's wishes and (we) led a regimented life.

'I was the youngest among the five sons. I was often beaten by my elder brother as a form of discipline.'

So he turned rebellious and experimented with drugs.

He graduated from college after studying advertising design.

When he was in his early 20s, he travelled, singing in various nightclubs in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

'When my mother and elder brother volunteered to donate their bone marrow to save me, I realised that my family loves me after all.

'I apologised to my family and forgave them,' he said.

Dance studio dream

Billy has set up a dance studio here called Billy House.

He hopes that people will donate generously at his funeral, especially those whose weddings he had attended and given hongbaos to.

Some of the money will go towards running the dance studio after his death.

He told Wanbao that setting up a dance studio had been his dream for many years.

On the Billy House website, the studio's address is given as Thye Shan Mansion, New Bridge Road.

He said the place is undergoing renovation and will be open next month.

He has also made handover arrangements for his cancer charity.

This article was first published in The New Paper on Sep 10, 2008

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