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Visit to KLGH - 15/8/2010

Date:  August 15, 2010

Re: Visit to the Oncology ward, Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.

Dear Kasih Friends,

The monthly visit to the oncology ward has always been special in an ordinary way. In people who are healthy and working, would appreciate the facts that working life with its attendant stress and problems always assist to reveal the worst in us for which we try very hard to conceal.

In sickness and dying , we see so much of the human goodness - friendly smile , helping each other without the thoughts of "I" and "you". In this web of goodness, we also see the desperation of close next of kins " asking for help " . A kind words from volunteers that bring tears to the eyes of the patients / relatives bear credence to the fact that good words can change the heart of the persons.

Male Patient 1 : single from Sg Siput.End stage cancer and the hospital requested that the patient be taken back home. The sister , who stays in KL, shed silent tears when she asked how we could assist him. We could only provide him with phone numbers to relevant organisations for assistance. Sok Wei was very helpful here by going into the net to check for the numbers.

Male Patient 2 : this patient is from Gombak who is having cancerous growth in the nose, face and neck. The wife was with him at that time. The husband had worked in the construction industry. Watching him now almost tells us that he is out of job with 2 kids and wife to feed. Seow Lim suggested the welfare department as the source of assistance. Perhaps , Hospice malaysia could help here. The concern shown here also brought silent tears to the wife.

Female Patient 1 : One Muslim patient had given advice to a Hindu lady to convert to christianity for the christian organisation has shown the compassion in action by helping her while her own families had abandoned here. There is really no right and wrong answer here.

There are many  sad cases today. Perhaps, this could perk things up a little.

Today, I would like to share this story by Ajahn Santacitto - Awakening the Compassionate Heart .

" One of my fondest memories was when I was in Ethiopia hitching down to Kenya. It was night and there weren't any cars, only a man walking in the same direction along the road. he didnt speak any English and I didnt even know waht the local language was, but he was obviously concerned about me. In sign language he asked me where I was going, how I was getting there and where was I going to spend the night? i pointed out a flat piece of ground and that I had a sleeping bag, so there was no problem; but he obviously though that would be very dangerous and indicated for me to follow him.

He took me to where his wife and two young children lived, in a circular mound of earth with a grass roof; it was my first experience of such a home. Inside there was one bed, and in the middle there were a few sticks of wookd, not even a fireplace or stove. Then I saw the man take a little cloth purse from which he gave a coin or two to his small sone, who went running off and came back with a little package of tea and a bit of bread for the guest. It was extremely touching; there was I, a complete stranger, and yet he offered part of the family treasure so that I should have  something resonable to eat. That night, the family wouldnt sleep on their bed, it was for the guest; and the next morning, when the man took me back to the road, he didnt ask for anything in return.

There was such a sense of warmth and contch which made that lanuage barrier totally insignificant, and the cultural differnce toally irrelevant; the kindness of this act just went so deep. It brought out in me something that had never happened before. Previously, from feelings of self-righteousness I had never given money to beggars- poetic justice!- but I couldnt resist the urge to give him some money as an offering in return. He knew that I wasnt paying him, there was no expectation of that; he just took it as gift, and he had the same warmth in receiving as in giving.

No doubt it's easier to feel this shared humanity with people who live in a very basic , simple way, but for me it left a deep and lasitng impression,k a true expression of the generosity of the compassionate heart.