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Paddy Chew
(1960 - August 21, 1999) Singapore

Paddy Chew

AIDS activist


Paddy Chew, the first Singaporean to go public about his HIV infection, has been filling his life with project after project.

He wants people to understand Aids and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) better. But at times, his spirit is more willing than his flesh.

Paddy ChewIn May 1999, he was to appear in a play, go for the candlelight memorial vigil, and then on to a nightclub to collect a cheque on behalf of Action for Aids (AFA). A pain in his side made it more of a struggle than usual and he decided to pack it in after the vigil.

His one-man play, Completely With/Out Character, which ran from 3.30 to 5 pm, was an exhausting exercise where he peeled away layers of emotions and clothes on stage, to reveal what it's like living with HIV.

By then the pain was bugging him. But there was no way he could skip the memorial which started at 7 pm. He has been helping to organise it for the past few years and is usually its spokesman.

He was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 and doctors then gave him at most three years to live. He had contracted the Aids virus through casual sex. If given the chance to live life again, he would be more careful. That not being possible, he was determined to make it his legacy that HIV-positive people don't have to live in society's shadows, always keeping their infection a secret.

Paddy passed away peacefully, just three months later, from complications of HIV infection.


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