Law Society president Adrian Tan says he is battling cancer, will fight 'until the clock runs out'
Law Society of Singapore president Adrian Tan, 56, is battling cancer.
The TSMP Law Corporation partner went public with his condition in a LinkedIn post on Thursday afternoon (July 28).
He said in his post he will "fight cancer, fight my cases in court and fight for lawyers as their President, until the clock runs out".
He did not reveal the type of cancer in the post but told The Straits Times that he feels well and energetic. Mr Tan, whose wife works in the Ministry of Defence, has no children.
ST has approached him for further comment.
In his post, Mr Tan said he began to feel ill in February.
"At first, I brushed it off. I carried on with speeches, interviews, meetings, and working into the night," he said.
But the lawyer began to feel worse in March and went to see a doctor.
"He told me I had cancer. I was stunned," said Mr Tan.
The lawyer said he was immediately put on an aggressive treatment regime involving chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone therapy.
As his immune system was compromised, he had to avoid stress and also stay away from people.
But Mr Tan chose to continue working as a lawyer and as president of the Law Society.
He said he had initially planned to tell only the Law Society Council, his colleagues at TSMP Law Corporation and his closest friends.
But many people had asked about him, with some hearing inaccurate accounts of his condition, after he turned down numerous invitations to give speeches, attend events or meet in person.
"Under such circumstances, and given my position, it's best for me to be open," said Mr Tan.
"I realised then that, no matter how complex and busy our lives may be, when we are visited by cancer, we are given the gift of clarity."
His life has simplified after he was diagnosed with cancer, with many things he had been concerned about now trivial, said Mr Tan.
He is making only three plans: to spend time with people he values, to spend his energy doing something that gives meaning, and for tomorrow.
"Because a belief in the future is the best medicine for any ailment that life throws at us," he said.
Former Law Society presidents Gregory Vijayendran and Peter Low had words of encouragement for Mr Tan.
Mr Vijayendran said Mr Tan's cheerfulness and courage have been an encouragement not just for him, but also for those who know of his battle with cancer.
"By being, not always doing, he has proven to be a great human being and an exemplar of resilience for our Law Society and society at large," he said.
"Our warm wishes and prayers continue to go out to him for a speedy healing and full recovery."
Mr Low said it is important for Mr Tan to stay positive, recounting his own battle with prostrate cancer 5½ years ago.
He had been told at the time that he might live a maximum of five years.
"I have been on the front line of litigation in the last 4½ years, having survived chemotherapy," added Mr Low.
In a comment linked to the post, Rajah & Tann partner Nicholas Lauw said Mr Tan has always been inspirational, both as Law Society president and as an occasional mentor in his first year of legal practice.
He said: "Don't lose hope, fight this off and write another witty post about it."