A charming lawyer


At the end of last week, another Macau persona left us: Dr. Rui Afonso, with whom I had the opportunity and the privilege to work and share experiences with in the past. Dr. Afonso was a singularly charming lawyer who gave a lot to the former territory of Macau and, after 1999, to the Macau Special Administrative Region.
The words that can define him best are integrity and freedom; real freedom to say whatever he considered convenient, even if what he said was not always convenient to some people.
Since arriving in my office, I have heard many great and funny stories about his professional and personal life.
The one that marked me significantly was about something that happened some years ago, when on a trip in Portugal, he witnessed a car accident in front of him. There were injured persons and Dr. Afonso stopped his car and went to assist the driver of the crashed car. The person was trapped in the car and with his altruistic ethos, Dr. Afonso was able to get her out of the car. Even just this might seem like an impressive act for most of us, however, when assisting the injured person, the car exploded and he was seriously burned while helping and saving the life of a fellow human being in danger.
This alone reveals how this man saw life: willing to help others even if it meant putting his own self in danger. For some years, he covered his arm due to the injuries he suffered. There are not too many people who would perform such a selfless and detached act and yet, in humility, try to hide the evidence.
Even during the last months of his fight with illness, the reports I received from close friends were that he was not resigned and was fighting, together with his family, against one of the worst mystery illnesses of our time.
A couple of days before Dr. Afonso passed away, António Lobo Antunes, a great Portuguese writer, stated at the end of a speech, something along these lines about the fatal disease that took him from us: “it is a whore!”
In the end, we all will pass away from this life to another dwelling, even if it is nowhere or non-existent. What none of us who knew him will regret, is having had the chance to meet and be inspired by Dr. Rui Afonso, just as he surely did not regret having had the opportunity to almost relinquish his own life to save the life of another. Long live his legacy.