In Conversation With Flying Dutchman: His Personal Story

The Flying Dutchman

His voice is one that holds a familiar place in our hearts. Who can forget the witty repartees or friendly banter on local airwaves that have ushered in our mornings to work for almost decade? Did you know that morning drive-time almost lost its favourite DJ?
In 2012, radio personality and celebrity The Flying Dutchman suffered a heart attack which almost cost him his life and our hearts.

The Flying Dutchman is also one of my favourite radio personalities whom I often met at events.  So when I heard the news that he suffered a heart attack last year, I was shocked and worried for my dear friend and it only reminded me that this could happen to anyone, myself included.

Watch a riveting blow-by-blow account of The Flying Dutchman’s unexpected ordeal here.

In the adversities of life, there is solace in coming prepared. You cannot change the challenges life throws at you but you can get make the best out of the situation. Luckily for The Flying Dutchman, he did. In doing so, he allowed himself the financial independence he enjoys today.

We had a chat with The Flying Dutchman on his personal story and his comeback and enriched zest for life.  And we are happy that Flying Dutchman is back to his good bubbly and entertaining self in the mornings with Glen Ong during the Morning Drive Time on Class 95FM.

Life Insurance Association - Flying Dutchman Campaign FD campaign

Question 1: How did you get your name, The Flying Dutchman?
FD: It was back when I was with Rediffusion, in the early 70s. It has alot to do with my Dutch heritage, and it really is a lot easier to pronounce than Mark van Cuylenburg.

Question 2: In a nutshell, describe your ordeal and tell us what you have been up to since?
FD: To say it was scary would be an understatement. The pain mixed with panic and confusion was very hard to deal with. I kept asking myself “why was this happening to me?” I was truly afraid that I was at the end and I felt that my work here was not complete. It is a very scary place to be. Since the attack, I have learnt to slow down and smell the roses. I lead a life with more control – the diet has changed, exercise has been included and I spend a lot more time with my family now. You discover what is really important in your life.

Question 3: Being a celebrity, most people assume you are well taken care of financially. How would the heart attack impact you financially had you not been covered for critical illness and hospitalisation?
FD: Parting with a large sum of money is always difficult. It would have meant cutting back on some of life luxuries, at least for awhile. No one wants that at 57, having worked so hard to afford a certain lifestyle. I am so glad that my insurance agent worked so hard to make sure I was covered properly.

Question 4: Which of life’s luxuries would you have had to do without if you were not financially covered by your insurance policy?
FD: It not so much having to cut back on any particular luxuries as cutting back in general. That would have been hard for me as I do enjoy the finer things in life. I think if anything were to be cut, it would have been the spur-of-the-moment thing, and that would be a shame.

Question 5: When did you buy your first insurance policy and what motivated you to do so?
FD: I bought my first policy about 30 years ago. That’s really late. My insurance agent was talking to me about my retirement and I realised I was nowhere near ready and it scared me. Imagine suddenly having the knowledge that you would struggle in your retirement. You really have no choice but to do something about it.

Question 6: What are some of your best investments in life?
FD: I know that I should say something financially wise but really my best investments have been my family and my career. These were both possible because I was building a financial portfolio with the help of a really savvy insurance agent – a man I also knew had my back.

Question 7: Why did you decide to champion life insurance? Was it strictly a commercial decision?
FD: I decided to champion life insurance because the more I looked around the more I saw so many people who are not covered properly. I started late and I hope that by lending my face and voice to life insurance, more people will sit up and realise they must be properly protected. It not just about you, it is about everyone that means something to you.

Question 8: What are the top three things on your bucket list for this year?
FD: 1. Get down to my target weight of 79kg
2. Take my daughter Chloe to London – it is a dream of hers
3. To make more people realise how important life insurance is
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author avatar
Middle aged curious individual trying to find a balance in keeping healthy and finding joy keeping fit. Because trying new food and drink is part of the work.

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