Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stories for Abdullah Badawi and Khairy (2006 Merdeka Article)

Stories for Pak Lah and Khairy - Selamat Hari Kebangsaan!

For Khairy:
A 46-year-old Dewan Bandaraya worker was admitted for progressive, generalized weakness associated with a disfiguring rash. Unable even to swallow her own saliva, nasogastric feeding was started on complete nutrition formula milk. As investigations were carried out and a diagnosis was clinched, she developed severe hospital-acquired pneumonia which scarred her lungs extensively. Due to a severe shortage of beds, the patient was discharged prematurely though still unable to swallow, walk or brush her teeth. Her husband was told that the family would have to buy the milk on their own, estimated to cost RM 60 per tin, which should last about a week. A low-ranked civil servant, 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 process of application of which would take some time. In the meantime however, they would have to go home empty handed. Bed-ridden and disfigured, too weak to enter their humble, rented shophouse home, she was discharged 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. The doctor-in-charge started antibiotics but immediately pronounced DNR– do not resuscitate. It simply means that artificial ventilation was not to be undertaken should her condition deteriorate. One reason behind this rationale was due to the severe shortage of ventilators in the hospital. The family was advised to purchase an oxygen tank of their own and to buy 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 uttered, “Biar saya mati” which in a sense, we are – because of a supposed lack of funds in an oil-rich nation.

I can’t imagine what goes through the minds of faceless Malaysians when Abdullah Badawi declares prosperity and justice for Malaysians great and small. We have families too poor to take a bus ride from back to their kampong and politicians who throw tantrums in public because they were only offered “some useless cars” from the Customs Department. Our special schools for special children are miserably pathetic yet the ruling feudal lords 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 spend on the great Malaysian summer camp a.k.a National Service. Even as the monkeys in UMNO 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. Our cops arrest couples for holding hands in public and raid the premises of sincere, dissenting voices but “close one eye” when BN warlords ignore their traffic summonses or flame racial and religious sentiments in mainstream media.

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 would do anything just to breathe on her own, even if the air is hazy.

Selamat Hari Kebangsaan ke-49, saudara Pak Lah dan Khairy.

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