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Visit to Sg Buloh AIDS And Leprosy Ward - 29/8/2010

Date : August 29, 2010

Re: Visit to Sg Buloh Aids ward and leprosy ward

Dear Kasih Friends,

It will be a long weekend if one takes the day off on Monday since Merdeka Day falls on the next  Tuesday. The freedom to make a choice of visiting friends , relatives, places of interest, or just lazy around the house is such simple joy that we do miss it in our rush to see and do the next "big" thing instead of seeing and doing what is now.

How we take for granted this simple joy!

Slippers, comb, tooth brush, tooth paste, soaps , spoons - things that are found around our houses that we do not pay any attention to them. We would say some unsavoury words when the tooth paste tube just refuses to eject any no matter hard we squeeze because we thought it is always there for us.

To Aids patients , these are something they need in the ward. For this, Sok Wei has brought them for the patients. Looi also brought some of these for the patients. Mr Tan, will coordinate the distributions on the need basis.

How we take for granted things that have simple utilitarian value until we dont have any !

There was this patient who is over 70 years old who have Aids and failing kidneys. I remember I wrote to one Professor in USM who was part of the Micro Lending scheme to help the poor, One statement he made has always stuck in my head. He said " the poor patient just wait to die". Being poor means being faceless in the bigger scheme of the things. For example, long queue in the government hospitals.

We broke the news of Jimmy's demise to Mr Tan ( the Aids patient who has stayed back at the ward to assist new patients ) and those in the leprosy wards since they asked about him. I believe Jimmy must have touched Mr Tan's live as he talked about the " teaching" Jimmy had given him on how things , whether good or bad , will not stay and will change . Ha, Tresa was right - it is the teaching on impermanence.

Tresa, I think Jimmy must have rubbed off a lot of Buddhist teaching on you. You have a great knack with patients. Just today, saw you fed the Aids patient who is blind! Reminds me of Mother Teresa who had her 100th birthday/remembrance celebrated world wide recently.  I have heard that, at many times,  even family members would not touch another family member who had Aids with a ten foot pole.! Much worse - not even kind words and thoughts which do not cost the family members a cent because they have no sense?

Normally, when we visited the Leprosy wards, we met only the female patients. Today, managed to speak to a male patient who was sitting at the bench outside the female ward. The patient is over 70 yeards old who walks with crutches. In the course of our conversation, one fact stood out . He has been staying here since 1946, when he was only 14 years old. What life has he been living ?

How we take our life for granted ! We always torture ourselves, our loved ones " to go out and get a life" - not just a car but a BMW , not just a house but a bungalow  with no end to the sense satisfaction.

At the end of the visit, the serene surroundings of the hospital remains. It is very soothing to the souls.

There is much to rejoice in the simple things we take for granted. For we have another day to look forward to while the patients just wait for..................................................

Bye and take care.