Saturday, 16 February 2008

Mak Tak Guna...


Ah, the very fair baby, protesting to the cam-whoring...




I remember when I first started volunteering in the hospital...My mum has always maintained that dressing properly (I don't mean expensive) does a lot of wonders on the way people treat you...

I guess it is because people generally take you more seriously if you bother to take the time to dress...



So, I always went to 'work' dressed immaculately...Hey! Any excuse to go shopping is fine by me...;)

I was dressed simple, often pairing pant-suits, jeans, slacks with matching tee's, shirts and tops, complete with matching earrings...



But then as I started working with Chee Keong more and more (and later with the neonate ward), I found it was not very practical...



First of all, working with Chee Keong and the babies often got messy...I often found these little tykes throwing up all over me, or leaving dirty palm prints all over my clothes (especially when I'm wearing white!)...In Pediatric Rehab, on the other hand, it was often saliva that found it's way to my clothes...

I wasn't allowed any wrist/hand jewellery when working with the neonates (possible passing of germs, infection, or I could harm their delicate skin), so after having to remove them every morning, I decided not to wear any to begin with...



And so, I found that I began to dress more and more 'sloppily', in baggy tee's, and just plain ear-studs (Chee Keong likes to grab, and pull!)...I also stopped wearing my hospital tag (which I used to wear, almost every day) prior to this, because he kept grabbing it...



And then the 'problem' started...





Chee Keong, protesting over his new clothes...




One day, after bathing Chee Keong (and half wet), I came back to his bed with him in my arms to find that there was this elderly Malay lady who was standing there...I gave her a small smile, and didn't say anything...


Imagine my surprise when I suddenly heard her saying: "Tu lah, muda-muda nak naik miang, patutlah anak keluar cacat macam ni"...




Oh, I was angry...



First of all, she assumed I was the mother of this child, second of all, in assuming I was the mother, she assumed Chee Keong was the result of some hanky-panky (out of wedlock), and thirdly, even if she was right in her first two assumptions, does that mean I (anyone, for that matter) deserves to be 'punished' with a handicapped child?




A few weeks later, this time, a Chinese lady in her fifties decided to come and tell me off...She said (in Malay!): "Mak sepatutnya tinggal dengan anak di hospital tahu? Anak sakit, macam mana kamu boleh balik rumah? Duduk dengan anak lar. Kenapa buang sini? Siapa mau jaga? Tak ada hati ga? Mak tak guna"


*Smack head*


It was about 7 am in the morning, and already I was hearing this...




Yet a few weeks later, an Indian lady, a grandmother of 4, came and gave me a piece of her mind...She told me: "Tahu kenapa lu punya anak cacat dan kurus ka? Sebab, kamu tarak bagi dia minum susu ibu! Kenapa tarak bagi dia minum? Mak tarak ajar ka? Dengar saya cakap. Bagi dia minum lu punya susu".



She didn't listen when I kept telling her this wasn't my child, and seriously, even if I wanted to breastfeed him, I'm pretty sure I'm dry...



"Smash head against wall*




There were a few others who muttered when they passed me (loud enough for me to hear), some others who kept walking pass Chee Keong's bed stealing glances, and others yet who would whisper and discuss 'my child' loudly with one another...But I always ignored them, unless they addressed me directly...




Muhibbah, no, all those who came and made noise? Why can't people just ask if they're curious?




But on a lighter, more positive note, it shows that the general public have strong opinions about what is right and wrong, and what they deem acceptable behaviour...They still have in them a sense of duty to tell people off if they think that person is out-of-line...


I wonder, would it have made a difference if I had been of the same age as them? Would they still tell me off? And how come I don't get all this when I was dressed properly (with no tag)?
But regardless of all this, I would not trade the time I had with Chee Keong for all the money in the world...



I believe he has made me a slightly better person, and there were sweet moments with respect to the public too, like this sweet Malay+Chinese+Italian+Dunno-What-Else lady who quipped: "Comelnya your baby, and sooo putih! Hubby Mat Salleh yeah?"



"Yes, Sir Sean Connery", I said, and she and me burst into giggles...




44 comments:

Akmal said...

To punish without investigating, at least to me, is very much unacceptable! Work the same with putting the blame on innocent child.
Judgemental has becoming more of a culture, and I'm telling you; No good!
Glad you are not hot-headed kind of lady. Certain people simply go mad with all this.

Bitta said...

Some people are like that... they passed judgment whimsically and righteously as if they never do anything wrong or sin should I say, in their lifetime.

I sincerely admire you, not only for the work you do but also for the dedication and compassion you put into it.

I love reading your blog and I have to say, looking at it from your perspective, indeed it's a learning experience for readers as well. Cheers to you!

Daily Nibbler said...

You got a big heart girl. It takes guts not to mention compassion to undergo what you went through and you did. I am sure you have gained heaps from the experience. Looking after Chee Keong whom you are very fond of, I gather, was never easy. Never mind the comments - everyone loves to judge and preach righteousness. Its what is in the heart that matters.

J.T. said...

Isn't it terrible when people judge without finding out the real story? When my mom was ill and had to be in a nursing home for a while (upon advice from her doctor due to her extreme diarrheal condition), some people were too quick to say that we were being ungrateful and cruel children for putting her ther. These were her so called friends who never paid her a visit. sigh...

"Some people are like that", as Bitta said. They rather see the speck in other people's eyes than a log in their own.

I too wonder if those women's reactions would have been different if you were dressed "up" or was of the same age group as them. I suppose their approach would have been different.

Pi Bani said...

Yep, that's the kind of mentality many of our people still have. Without even bothering to ask, they simply come up with their own conclusions. They could have asked nicely, but instead they simply shot you.

I guess dressing does play a role in people's judgment. I remember visiting a client at the hospital once. Just as I was looking around trying to find my client, I overheard a nurse asking her colleague, "Ustazah ni cari siapa?"

If only she knew how separuh tiang I was... ;)

Nightwing said...

Not bad u kept ur cool...if it was me....'hell to pay' for making ignorant comments.

Well, what goes round comes around.

U keep on doing what u r doing...:)

straycat's strut said...

I would definitely refrain myself from uttering that kind of careless remarks after this... yup, must throw away that tendency. Dont want to be that mak cik "kepoh."

Thanks for that lesson for today.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes people make a assumption without thinking...

They don't care about others feeling atau orang yang diandaikannya...

Mungkin inilah yang dikatakan asam garam kehidupan & ketidakadilan yang berlaku dalam dunia ni....

Sabo jerr la....

Mat Salo said...

Yo sis,

There's all kinds of people in the world and I don't know these people you mentioned deserve to be forgiven on judgment day.

I think you got a real strength of character to take all those unnecessary abuse in stride. In the course of SERVICE to mankind and doing GOOD WORKS, I might add.

Keep on fighting the good fight, sis.

P.S. Re: your previous post on keeping notes, mementos, etc. I used to be like that --just accumulate so much stuff over the years that I don't know where to put them. Maybe compress and zip into a flash disk? Ha-ha. Aiyoo, tiket bas pi tengok wayang from my first date oso still ada, what more the two 1st class ticket for the 3.15 pm show. And that was in 1978!And the show? Night Fever, Night Fever . . . (shy lah!)

Anonymous said...

you are such a wonderful gal. if i were you, i wld have called them 'busy body' for their comments. keep cool & be patient. Never in my life met a kind hearted gal like you who's willing to spend time doing charity tasks. keep up the good work.

sharlydia said...

u know wat? I always admire ur strength volunteering to take care of handicapped child like chee keong, but after reading this post, I fell in love with u!

U've really done a great job! Dont worry about those nonsense or negative remarks pple made, coz these good deeds & your love for chee keong will be paid off in Heaven one day...

God bless u...n chee keong ofcoz!

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Akmal,

Oh, I was angry, really angry...And I can be very hot-headed, but I think I was too shocked to eveb be hot-headed...

I was shocked that people can put 2 and 2, and come out with 56739! Too shocked to even give her a retort!

The main reason I was angry was because it was absurd that a child should pay for the 'sins and wrongdoings' of his/her parents...You're telling me Chee Keong deserves to be born the way he is?

Oh geram...*Grrr*

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Bitta,

Hey! I went over to your profile the last time you left your tracks, but you have so many blogs! Which exactly is your main one (Bitta's Den)?

I think this judgement thing is very much part of our society...This is where gossip comes in, isn't it (I'm guilty too here)?

Thanks for coming by Bitta, and hope you have a nice day!

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Daily Nibbler,

Hello, and welcome back! Long time no see you here...=)

Oh yes, I am very, very fond of Chee Keong...Too fond, in fact...Which was why letting go was very, very difficult...=(

You're right, about the heart...But sometimes the mouth says things the heart means not, so people with lazer mouths can have beautiful hearts too!

tokasid said...

Dear Daphne:

Ouch! That muhibbah judgemental comments from the grandmas of 3 major races in Malaysia is grossly unfair( even to Chee Keong's mum).But thats what you see everyday. People(not only elderly)most likely will have their own assumptions as their first impression on situations they see.
Like Akmal said, it has become a culture.Malaysian culture.

If someone is very ill and bedridden and losing weight..what will be peoples first reaction? Oh...that so and so have AIDS.

The list goes on.

I'm hoping I will not fall into that category in a few years time.Pray for me meh!

ps-Are you a registered voter?

Daphne Ling said...

Hi JT,

Yes, I know what you mean...People don't realise that sometimes our actions are 'forced', and they sure don't realise the anguish that comes from having no choice...I know how fond you are of your mum, so having to put her in a home must have been terrible...

I remember my own grandfather, and when he went into a coma...We did think of putting him into a specialised home (if he drags on, which he didn't), because we knew we couldn't care for him on our own, and we needed help...

So better to put him in a home, and we go there, then to keep him at home with us and we can't even clean him properly...

As for the dressing and age, I think if I had been more 'classy and old', they wouldn't have dared to address me at all? Cos same age means I can yell back at you!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi JT,

Yes, I know what you mean...People don't realise that sometimes our actions are 'forced', and they sure don't realise the anguish that comes from having no choice...I know how fond you are of your mum, so having to put her in a home must have been terrible...

I remember my own grandfather, and when he went into a coma...We did think of putting him into a specialised home (if he drags on, which he didn't), because we knew we couldn't care for him on our own, and we needed help...

So better to put him in a home, and we go there, then to keep him at home with us and we can't even clean him properly...

As for the dressing and age, I think if I had been more 'classy and old', they wouldn't have dared to address me at all? Cos same age means I can yell back at you!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Pi,

Hehe! "Separuh tiang" ah? Hahaha! Maybe she called you Ustazah because of your tudung labuh aka flying nun ;)?

I guess asking is rude in our culture? Like if you ask you become busy-body? I don't think we're taught to ask as children...We're taught (collectively) to just 'watch quietly', you know...

But when you grow older, it's like you have a right to correct the younger generation or something (which you do, but you don't have to be mean)...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi NightWing,

"Hell to pay" huh? Cannot lar for me...Firstly, they're all old...Secondly, I was under the hospital lar...How would it look if I kept blowing my head off at the visitors?

I would have been happier if they just keep quiet lar...My life would have been easier...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Straycat's Strut,

I think it's not wrong to be kaypoh lor...Aren't we all busybody's in different ways?

I think the problem is when people assume the worst and start condeming others...

I am very kaypoh by nature, you know...Some people call it inquisitive...=) We can be 'inquisitive' together!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Anon 14.11,

I guess the 'asam garam hidup' is like the 'banyak orang, banyak ragam' thing huh? Yeah, the karenah all banyak-banyak one, until semua pening...

But it adds flavour to life!

At least the small number of readers here now know that not all volunteer experiences are 'heart warming'! =)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Abang Mat,

Nah, I think they should be forgiven...Otherwise, die lar...All those with more serious crimes than lazer mouth will all be in serious trouble =)

Anyway, let's leave that to Big Guy up there...

But yeah, like my mum always said: It comes with the 'job'...Sure will kena marah one, she told me when I started...

It's ok...I have thick skin...

And a big mouth too...Those 3 old ladies just didn't get to see it in action only...;)

PS: Re the momentoes, hey-hey! You still have a ticket stub from 1978 (My brother will say "Put it on E-Bay!"?!?! Nothing shy about Saturday Night Fever ler...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Abang Mat,

Nah, I think they should be forgiven...Otherwise, die lar...All those with more serious crimes than lazer mouth will all be in serious trouble =)

Anyway, I'll leave that to Big Guy up there...

But yeah, like my mum always said: It comes with the 'job'...Sure will kena marah one, she told me when I started...

It's ok...I have thick skin...

And a big mouth too...Those 3 old ladies just didn't get to see it in action only...;)

PS: Re the momentoes, hey-hey! You still have a ticket stub from 1978 (My brother will say "Put it on E-Bay!"?!?! Nothing shy about Saturday Night Fever ler...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Anon 15.35,

Thanks for coming by...

Got lar...Got a lot of people who volunteer and all...Many just don't blog about it only...

A gal whose blog you must read is Kak Pi's blog if you're looking for charity-work related blogs...=)

Thanks for the words of encouragement anyhow...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Sharlydia,

I love you too! =)

I really don't care whether there will be payoff in Heaven or whatever to be honest...That's not why I do all these anyway...

The lessons and experiences I get in return far outweigh the help I give...It keeps my life in perspective, firstly...

I am very grateful for the time spent with Chee Keong...Ada blessing later ke, takda, doesn't matter...The blessing for me already came with the time spent with him...=)

*Bliss*

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Tokasid,

Lama tak jumpa Doc!

Yeah, you're right, the comments are darn unfair, to Chee Keong's biological mum or whoever...

The doctors say he had a genetic problem, because his parents had another child with similar problems (although Chee Keong also had CP)...

And his 'official' diagnosis included " chromosomal abnormalities of unknown origin"...

But I guess the elderly don't believe or don't know the existence of genetics? So they blame it on 'karma'?

I'm just guessing though...

See you round!

PS: Nope...This elections, only plan to watch...Baru lepas 21 ma...And anyhows, I'd rather vote in my own area than in Penang, and I won't be going home for elections...=)

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

for being late, i shall reserve from saying anything as everybody has said their piece. i'm with all.

you enjoyed your time with the 'old Man' and thats what mattered. cant tell the old ladies to screw off, can i?

sure i can.

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kerp,

How you doing? Been missing for a while huh? Football ke? =)

Anyway, good to have you back, and no point cursing at the 3 women ler...Old ma...They would probably scold you also, anyway...

winniethepooh said...

we cant control what others do/say/think but we can control what we ourselves do/say/think..
As long as u know ure doing the right things, thats what is more important :) keep doing all the things u do daphne, ure one special angel that the 'big guy above' send down to teach us some valuable lessons :)

cheers

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Winnie,

"We cant control what others do/say/think but we can control what we ourselves do/say/think.."

Bravo! Another gem from you, and you're very right..

Thanks Winnie, for the lovely words of encouragement and for being so special yourself...=)

Bitta said...

Hi Daphne, yep that's right, my main blog is Bitta's Den.

Sorry about that, goodness me, didn't realized all my blog title showed in there. Wonder how to make it invisible, it's just stuff for my indulgence.

By the way izit ok if I add you to my favourite bloggers? Pliiz.

Thanks
~Bitta~

Farina said...

Daphne, some ppl memang have the habit of cakap ikut sedap mulut without even care to find out the truth or help. Im sure theyd all be singing a diff tune if it happens to them. sigh.. Well, wht goes around comes around.

mott said...

Hi Daphne!!!

NO NO! Haven't popped yet!

Just been too tired to blog hop! I think dear Chee Keong has made you a much much much much better person..a lot more than you think! If anything, you're definitely a much stronger person!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Bitta,

Oh, you can choose which blog you want displayed! It's under your profile (Select Blogs to Display)...

I will be honoured for you to add me to your blogroll (Thanks!)...Likewise, I will do the same...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Farina,

Haih...You're right...Mulut lazer lar itu dipanggil...But when it happens to you, sure different tune will be sung...Sure got justification one...But that's human nature...We're all like that ma =)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Mott,

Nice to have you back! Ingat you sudah hilang...;)

Thanks for the vote of confidence Mott...And you're right...The time spent with Chee Keong has made me a stronger person...Most definitely!

Bitta said...

Hi Daphne, Hahaha.. thanks, I figured that out somehow, tau lah ni old school bloggers bah.

Oh goodie.. I'll go and add you right away.

suannling said...

i found you.finally..remember mamak? hmmm...

justme said...

As for me tak sampai hati nak kata macam tu. Never came across my mind in using such hateful words.

Anak being cacat is no one fault. I have down syndrome baby boy well he is no baby anymore he will be 2 in a few days. I am telling you he is the most wonderful thing that happen to my life besides my husband and my other two beautiful children, friends and families. Everyday is a fresh day with him around. To be honest I never blame anyone or myself or even God in that matter for him being Down Syndrome. I take is as a anugerah from God almighty. Never a day without a smile on my face and everyone's face everytime my husband and I bring him out to the restaurant, playground and Church. He has this some kind of magnet of love in him. Everyday is a new fresh day with him. He is full of joy not just for us but also for others.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Bitta,

Looks like adding you to my blogroll failed...I will get to it now...Thanks for replying my email ya...Will reply you later...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Su Ann,

Oi! Your phone number doesn't work anymore, does it? I messaged you to wish you Happy Birthday the other day, but no reply...

And yes, I do remember mamak...And teh tarik also!

If you read this, my number is still the same, so message me...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi JustMe,

Thank you for coming to my blog and leaving a comment...

I wanted to tell you that I think you and husband are very special to be given such a special baby...That's what I think: That special babies are only given to special people...=)

And yeah, they change your life huh? They help you see things from their point of view, and that is a blessing...

I would like to get in touch with you, if you read this...I tried your profile, but it isn't accesible, so please email me if you read this...

Thanks!

Everyone is Equal In The Eyes Of God said...

Hey Daphne got your reply message. Try to email you but failed but anyway thank you so much for taking your time in replying my comment on sweet Chua Chee Keong. I look at him I see my son.

I could not help myself from crying after reading about sweet little angel Chee Keong. I look at him I think of my son not sure what would I do if something happen to my son. You are his earth angel, you have done super super job in taking care of him and share your love with him. He knows it. He knows his mummy. He is up in heaven now with God and I do believe he is watching over you and the rest of the unfortunate children. God loves him so much and he is in a good place and in a good hand.

Thank you for the wonderful uplifting words. To be honest I do feel special. And yeah, they change your life in a very good and positive way. Definitely help us to see things from their point of view and you are right that is a blessing...and it is a blessing to you too to have had Chee Keong in your life though only for a short while and the love and the caring you gave him means a lot truly shows your true self. You are a good person and you have a big heart. Hang on to it and continue to be strong.

Thank you once again for replying back.

Visit me anytime you want.
and till then many blessings to you.

A Big Hug to you.

Nan

Anonymous said...

Hi Daphne...or may be I should call you little sis:)
Just stumbled upon your blog as I was googling for some materials for my work. Very interesting! Keep writing and keep doing what you're doing now. The love that you've showered to Chee Keong was beyond words. Many of these special people were part of my life many years ago and I cherish the time I spent with them...ST