Saw Lay Doh Wah (not his real name) died last year in Malaysia from TB. He was 55. He died in a small wooden hut that he lived with together with his wife and baby daughter. Here is Saw Lay, in his wife’s words.

I met Saw Lay at the water festival. I was singing there and he wrote some songs. I knew the moment I saw him. He wasn’t as handsome as the other guys but I saw his heart. But he was too shy to say that he loved me. So I asked him straight, “Do you love me? If you do then you’d better tell my parents before it’s too late!” So he did!”

He likes spicy food. And he loved to go see the movies. Back in Myanmar, we would go to the theater to see movies every weekend. It didn’t matter if the movies were Chinese or Indian. He loved them all. My husband is a very artistic man. He used to write songs back in Myanmar.”

I never had any quarrels with my husband in my life. He would never complain, no matter if he had no penny. He always tried to make life happy. He wanted to live life with his family no matter where. When I worry about our future, my husband would calm me down. He would tell me to survive, whether rich or poor.”

Even when he was sick, he would always try to help. He would go into the jungle to pick vegetables and cook for the family. He would wash clothes. He would take care of our baby daughter. Once I had a job carrying water and I accidently hit him in the head with the yoke one day. I really didn’t mean to hit him, but he just said ouch and didn’t complain!

Later, when he got sicker, he couldn’t go out. But still he would sing and make jokes and tell stories to my baby daughter. I would come back from work and I would hear singing and talking from the house.”

Even though we had no job and no money, we cooked together, and we enjoyed being together as a family. That was the happiest time of my life in Malaysia.”

Saw Lay, you are sorely missed by your family.