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Ontario Hospital Association HealthAchieve Conference

Wayson Choy's Remarks at Celebrating Innovations in Health Care Expo 2010

November 10, 2010

Minister and the Ontario Hospital groups and all of you here, welcome to the 2010 Celebrating Innovations in Health Care Expo.

And as for the word 'expo', I want to expose some things about myself to you and what I have trusted.

Not being a religious person, I want you to share with me in understanding that this life is very meaningful.

Saint-Exupery wrote that in life what is essential is often invisible.

And it is true because you cannot see love and you cannot see compassion.

And you cannot know sympathy, you cannot really understand any of this if you want it to be visible.

And yet at times, the invisible is made visible.

Saint Matthew said that faith is the evidence of things unseen. But today, at this event, the things are visible.

You are the evidence.

You mean to make things better.

This reminds me of a Samurai soldier, who took the words of a Japanese poet to heart.

The poet said, a life spent searching for the perfect would not be wasted.

That is what innovation is about.

We shall not waste our life.

And if there are budget cuts, we will innovate.

And I tell you this because it's meaningful for me to be here today.

The Minister doesn't know that I intend to say this.

But Paul Quarrington, the writer, is one of my heroes, who as you know, confessed to--well, not confessed, he just simply said this is life, I have a terminal situation.

I don't have one.

Please understand.

And twice I have been cared for in near death experiences and the last time it was a quadruple bypass.

I'm very careless with Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I know better now.

Stir fry with a little water will do it.

But it seems that life is a journey and I'm caught up to that for the third time.

I'm waiting for some surgery and there will be a biopsy done and I will find out what that means.

So it reminds me that in my writing I have searched for perfect.

And in your work today, at this place, where I hope you will come with a prepared mind.

And you know, a mind cannot operate because it's like a parachute.

It won't work unless it's open.

Please come with no prejudices and appreciate what you will be seeing.

Almost a hundred innovating ideas and concepts and realities for you to challenge yourself.

And if you try to get into this exhibit and to make it, you are moving towards perfection.

Do not surrender.

And the other thing I wanted to say was, that Samurai all his life looked for something symbolic that would mean his life was meaningful.

He looked for a perfect blossom.

And it came one day that he was dying.

And they placed him beneath a cherry tree in full blossom.

And when he looked up, with his last breath he thought he saw it.

This perfect blossom.

And he reached up and then he stopped.

And he realized, which I hope I am beginning to realize and you will realize too, that all the blossoms were perfect.

And you can be at peace.

So when I'm asked to thank you for all that you have done for me, you also are doing it for yourself and for your loved ones.

Do not surrender.

I like the humanity of this room and this spirit. I am given a glimpse of heaven and I don't believe in it.

But I tell you, I believe in you and I thank you for trusting me in your care because it mattered.

This event I declare open.

Because it matters and you are perfect.

Thank you.

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