One of the great privileges of my job is the chance I get to meet and befriend some of the best consumer advocates in the country. Last month, one of my favorite people in the world, Norman Lau passed away. Norman was an absolutely outstanding advocate, but an even better person. Kind, thoughtful, caring, passionate are just some of the adjectives that come to mind when I think of my friend. Instead of searching for the right words to express both my sadness for our loss, and the joy of having known, Norman, I'm simply going to reprint what our friend, Jeff Crabtree wrote when he let us know that Norman had finally lost his long fight with cancer:
Norman Lau passed away on Saturday. As many of you know, he’d been battling cancer for years. I am sitting in his old office as I write this, and I swear he’s “visiting.” There is a different kind of energy in the air here today--maybe he’s wrapping up some loose ends before he heads off.
I’ll miss Norman Lau. (And believe me, I don’t say that about all the attorneys I know.)... Norman proved you can be a great person and a great lawyer at the same time.
I had the pleasure of working with Norman on several cases. His contribution to those cases proved to me that his reputation is well-deserved. He was knowledgeable, experienced, and had great judgment. He was widely regarded as a top-notch expert in Hawaii on consumer law issues generally, and fair debt collection practice in particular. Whenever I talk with consumer rights lawyers on the mainland, invariably they ask me “Do you know Norman Lau?” ...
Norman was the kind of person who always watched out for the modern paradoxes encapsulated by George Carlin below. As a tribute to Norman, I invite everyone to take a moment and reflect:
--Don’t spend more but have less.
--Don’t have more conveniences but less time.
--Don’t have more knowledge but less judgment.
--Don’t make a living, but not a life.
--Don’t ignore your neighbors, but e-mail people in Siberia.
--Don’t have a tall profile but be short on character.
Rest in peace, Norman.
Written by Ira Rheingold, Executive Director, National Association of Consumer Advocates