When Class 95FM deejay Mark van Cuylenburg suffered a heart attack on 13 May last year and had to undergo a surgery to insert a coronary stent in his arteries, he knew it was time to take action. A busy father of four children as well as a favourite on the daily Morning Express radio programme, van Cuylenburg, or more affectionately known as the Flying Dutchman, was changed by his near-death experience.
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Embracing life everyday
Besides his job at the popular radio station, the Flying Dutchman also manages his own businesses — a wedding planner company, The Wedding Entourage, as well as entertainment company The Flying Dutchman. The episode has taught him the importance of letting go of his busy schedule at times to “smell the roses” and rejuvenate occasionally.
After a year of recuperation and recharge, the Flying Dutchman is back in the pink of health with some lifestyle changes made. These include a healthier diet and more exercise, in addition to taking a step back to relieve stress more often.
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Planning for the future
In an online interview earlier this month, the Flying Dutchman shared with theAsianparent how he now realises the importance of having plans to secure one’s future and ensure that one’s family is well-covered in the event of any unfortunate happenings. We give you the latest below.
theAsianparent (TAP): When did your reach your point of realisation that something was actually wrong?
Flying Dutchman (FD): The heart attack symptoms actually began on Friday afternoon but being the stubborn person that I am, I thought they would leave with enough rest. It was probably late Saturday night that I really began to worry and by early Sunday morning I could not take the pain anymore and went to the hospital.
TAP: What was the first thing that came to mind during the life-threatening moment and how did it feel knowing that if anything did happen, you’d be leaving your family behind?
FD: I remember saying to myself – I’m not ready, I have too many things left to do. My children aren’t settled yet. How will my wife manage? It is a very frightening feeling. You begin to wonder if you have done enough or not. I had insurance so it was more of an emotional thing rather than a financial worry.
TAP: How has your life changed since?
FD: There have been quite a few changes. My diet for one, I eat more carefully now although I do have cheat days but they are few and far between. I also exercise much more and the need to keep myself active and exercise has become quite addictive.
I make sure I don’t get stressed. If I feel stressed, I back off and take a break – nothing is worth going through all that again. I have also learnt the most important lesson – to stop, and smell the roses.
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TAP: Which are some key benefits of a good policy apart from being able to afford medical care?
FD: A good policy will mean different things to different people. It all depends on what you want out of it. Are you looking for medical benefits? Do you want to make sure your family is taken care of? You need to know yourself and what you need and want. Then work with a good financial advisor, and work out a plan that would be befitting.
TAP: What’s your advice to those not sold on the concept of insurance and how does one start the process?
FD: I never saw the importance of life insurance initially. When you are young, you tend to have other priorities in life. It was only when someone asked me if I was prepared for my future one day, which spurred me to think about my future and my family’s.
I sat down with my insurance advisor and I realised how unprepared I was for life’s unexpected situations. Taking one step at a time, he helped me to develop a plan to provide me and my family a peace of mind. You also pay a lower premium if you take up an insurance policy at a younger age.
Ultimately, there is no definition to a good policy as it all boils down to your financial needs and goals. There are different types of life insurance plans in the market and the best way to find out is to speak to an insurance adviser.
Watch the Flying Dutchman’s account of his near-death experience in the video commercial below: