This obituary by CSZhou:
27 Sept 2010: I came back from a meeting to find two messages from a couple of hours ago this morning. I had just met him a few weeks ago, with his beautiful wife and went over to shake his hand and wish him well. We had not chatted in two years.
The gay community sometimes treated him as anti-gay but the little time I have had with him I learnt that he was a man of much magnanimity, a doctor to the end.
We were at lunch in Sydney where we had gone on a study trip. I made sure I sat beside him. In the middle of the lunch, I leaned over and said, “Dr Balaji, remember Jason DMarco? We are planning again to hold a concert.” He looked startled and a little dismayed. I assured him that it will be done responsibly. He replied, “Ok. Go through the regular channels. Get in touch with me if you run into any hurdles.” And that was it.
When Alf applied for the permit, it began to look like he wouldn’t get it and the MDA wanted to meet. I wrote to Dr B. He replied, “Get Alf to meet the MDA and tell them I will be the guest of honor.” The Hope Concert to pass out the message against HIV went out to 900 people that night. Jason & DMarco – the openly gay couple singing duo – who were banned when Safehaven tried to organize the Affect Concert, the last time, appeared and performed here. Safehaven delivered on its commitment to him and he to Safehaven.
In Sydney, he spoke about setting up a community centre for gay people. I don’t fully understand why – perhaps people were afraid the move would ghettoize gay people – but the team did not seem keen. I have always thought it was an opportunity lost.
In another meeting the discussions became frank. I got into my assertive self. Later as we went for a toilet break, he thanked me. A lesser man would have felt my comments and argumentation disrespectful of a Minister. But he took the comments for what they were and did not let his ego get in the way. In that and other acts, I saw the true measure of this man. It was an honor.
The last time I met him – just ta few weeks ago – he had lost a lot of weight. His pace was more measured perhaps from his tiredness from the treatment. But his message was stronger than ever. He spoke about discrimination and sensitivity in the work place – a topic he had previously carefully stayed not too close to in public – but this time his message was clear. We need to grow out of our prejudice and understand that it is okay to employ people with HIV and we need to grow to understand the needs they bring like the need for confidentiality and we learn to honor that. It occured to me that a few people had told me he was actually very sick and that the prognosis was not good. And yet you could see the in spite of the tiredness and the slightly gaunt look this man was still passionate about something for which he was often misunderstood and lampooned even because as I said at the beginning – he was a doctor to the end.
I shall miss you Dr Balaji.