Stories for Pak Lah and Khairy - Selamat Hari Kebangsaan!
Time & Date: August 27, 2006 @ 02: 21.00
"Product of the System" has written up two these real-life tragedies
encountered as a government doctor in Sabah on the occasion of the
49th National Day, followed by reflections. It should be compulsory
reading for all politicians, national, state and local ? in fact for
all Malaysians as well ? on the cavernous divide between the fortunate
and the wretched in the country:
A 46-year-old Dewan Bandaraya worker was admitted for progressive,
generalized weakness associated with a severe inflammatory rash.
Unable even to swallow saliva, nasogastric feeding was started on
complete nutrition formula milk. As investigations were carried out to
clinch a diagnosis, she developed severe hospital-acquired pneumonia
which scarred her lungs extensively.
Due to a severe shortage of beds, the patient was discharged
prematurely although she was still bedridden and unable to swallow.
Her husband was told that he would have to buy the milk for
nasogastric feeding on their own, estimated to cost RM 60 per tin,
which should last about a week.
A low-ranked clerk in the civil service, he pleaded for goodwill to
prevail, that the milk be provided free as they were already unable to
cope with the increasing cost of living. He was told however, that he
would have to go through the social welfare, the application process
of which would take some time. In the meantime however, they would
have to go home empty handed.
Bed-ridden but without a wheel-chair, disfigured but not disprited,
too weak to even enter their humble, rented shophouse home, she was
sent packing without her only source of nutrition.
For Pak Lah:
A 39-year-old mother of six young children presents with severe
pneumonia secondary to multiple sclerosis. Paralysed from the neck
down, she had Grade III bed sores from prolonged immobilization. Her
chests were hardly expanding due to diaphragmatic fatigue but she
otherwise mentally alert and sharp.
The doctor-in-charge started antibiotics but immediately pronounced
DNR? do not resuscitate. It simply means that intubation was not to be
attempted should her condition deteriorate. One reason behind this
rationale was due to the severe shortage of ventilators in the
The family was advised to purchase an oxygen machine as well as a
special mattress to prevent further bed sores. At the mention of the
amount, the patient's husband, a lowly roadside hawker, reacted in
shock as there was no way they could ever afford to pay.
Referral to social welfare was made, but due to "limited funds", their
appeal was rejected. One month and a half later, she lies there still
in the ward ? too sick to go home, and too poor to get better. Too
tired to continue fighting an incurable illness and too weak to
express herself in full, she mustered her remaining strength and
begged to be euthanised which, in a sense, is exactly what we are
doing ? because of a supposed lack of funds in an oil-rich nation.
These reflections and sobering thoughts follow:
I can't imagine what goes through the minds of faceless Malaysians
when Abdullah Badawi declares prosperity and justice for Malaysians
great and small every 31 August.
There are families too poor to take a bus ride from the hospital back
to their kampong and politicians who throw tantrums in public because
they were only offered "some useless cars" from the Customs
Our special schools for special children are miserably pathetic yet
the ruling feudal masters feel that a RM 490 million sports academy is
of greater urgency.
Our teachers, lecturers, and healthcare workers are overworked,
understaffed and underpaid but we somehow have RM 600 million annually
to organize the great Malaysian summer camp a.k.a National Service.
Even as the monkeys in UMNO bersilat, brandish their keris and sound
the battle cry annually, snatch thieves wield their daggers and rob
the lives of innocent Malaysians on a daily basis.
We have UMNO Youth parading on the streets proclaiming support for
Hamas and Hizbollah, but no one to champion the plight of the pak cik
debilitated from stroke and cancer.
The cops arrest couples for holding hands in public and crackdown on
sincere, dissenting voices but "close one eye" when BN warlords
contemptuously ignore their traffic summonses and fan racial and
religious sentiments in mainstream media.
The BN government spends millions to "re-train" unemployed university
graduates after spending years brainwashing them with the nebulous
UMNO agenda and thereafter expects them to perform in the real world.
We have laws criminalizing hardworking family physicians while
un-taxable illegal immigrants live off the fat of the land without
fear of being apprehended and deported.
Our local citizens wait for months for an ultrasound scan while
Project M citizens have no qualms paying for a RM 20,000 angiogram.
The stupidity and ignorance of the current UMNO leadership is best
exemplified none other by the Putera UMNO chief's vain attempt to
"re-brand" daredevil Mat Rempits, even as hundreds of them are
bed-ridden in our hospitals with vertebral fractures and amputated
limbs, and countless more putrefying quietly in the graves of the soil
The dearth of sound leadership has never been more conspicuous as now.
"Di mana tiada helang, kata belalang akulah helang".
As Malaysians of all colors and creed daily face the threat of choking
haze, violent crime, drug abuse, HIV, diabetes and a disproportional
rise in living costs, it seems that the only issue that UMNO is
concerned with is a non-existent Sino threat to its obsession with
As I sit here wishing to do and earn more as a government doctor,
something tells me that a young man my age is wishing to have more
than a RM 9.1 million and to be more than the Prime Minister's
son-in-law. Somewhere else, however, I am reminded of a lady yearning
to sweep the filthy streets of Kuala Lumpur like she used to and
another who be eternally grateful just to breathe on her own, even if
the air is hazy.
Selamat Hari Kebangsaan ke-49, saudara Pak Lah dan Khairy.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006