THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Monday, 21 January 2008

Why so kay-poh?

I know in the comments of my previous posting, there were quite a number of kaypoh people who wanted to know the sequel of the Yah-Lin episode, but just in case any of my blog readers terasa, let me stress that the title of this posting is not meant for you… hehehe...

Have you ever had those moments when people would ask you what you’re doing when whatever that you’re doing is already obvious?

Like you’re hanging your clothes outside and a neighbour asks, “Jemur kain ke?”

Or you just came home from work and someone asks, “Baru balik kerja?”

Or you’re having lunch at a stall somewhere and someone asks, “Makan?”

Aren’t you just tempted to answer, “Taklah, tengah tidur!” :)

The above are actually just some people’s method of starting a conversation – ask the obvious. If you are ever asked as such, consider yourselves lucky. It’s nothing, really.

But when the questions asked are not just to start a conversation but more to answer the curiosity of some kay-poh people, the people who gets asked the questions may become embarrassed… and end up not knowing what to say.

A PLWHA once complained to me that quite often when he went to get his supply of HIV medication from the pharmacy, the person handing over the drugs to him would ask, “Why are you taking this medication?”

Obviously that person knew that the drugs were for HIV. So why ask?!

A fellow volunteer who is also a disabled person (he uses crutches to move around), whenever he sees any clients of ours having to wait for quite some time to get their supply of medication, sometimes offers his help. He’d take their prescriptions, go to the special counter for the disabled, and he’d be able to get the medication for them faster. OK fine, but there was once, he was asked by the person manning the counter, “Dah macam ni pun dapat HIV jugak?” Aiyo… so sarcastic! And so mean!! That was a double insult! The person was looking down on my friend whom he assumed did something “naughty” despite being disabled.

My friend, who is not a PLWHA, simply walked off without saying anything. He didn’t even bother to mention that he was not the infected person.

And when the PLWHAs are trying to hide their HIV status from families and friends, there are bound to be awkward moments. Most common amongst the HIV positive women with babies is of course the question of why they don’t breastfeed their babies. Then they get lectured about the advantages of breastfeeding. Oh, if only people knew how much these women WANT to breastfeed but simply CANNOT for the sake of their own children…

Then there are those, who, whenever these PLWHA families get visitors, like us Buddies for example, sooooo kaypoh want to know why so and so came to visit. Which is why, in our voluntary work, we always ask for permission from our clients before we visit them at home. And even when we do get permission, we’d have to find out some background first. Sometimes when neighbours ask who we are we’d just say we’re friends or relatives or sometimes when the neighbours themselves ask if we’re the children’s teachers, we’d just smile.

We also have to maintain a low profile during our visits. There was once when another charitable organization went to visit a particular PLWHA family to be considered for financial help, the organization representatives went in such a large group, the neighbours actually gathered outside the family’s house to find out what was happening! I guess in this case we can’t really blame the neighbours for being so kaypoh. The representatives of the charitable organization should have been more sensitive and not make their visit so obvious!

But sometimes no matter how hard you try to be discrete; people still tend to find out. Somehow they’d be able to put 2 and 2 together. Worse still, these kay-poh-chees put in additional herbs and spices to their stories.

Nuri for example, prefers to meet up in town instead of at home for fear the neighbours may find out about her HIV. But from what I found out from Ani (another client who stays in the same kampong as Nuri), the kampong folks were already gossiping about Nuri being HIV positive, without even having us visit her at home.

And as I’ve mentioned in my previous postings, sometimes I tend to bump into my kampong folks whenever I’m with a PLWHA at the hospital, I always get asked who the PLWHA is. My standard answer would be “kawan” but the problem is when further questions are asked. That’s when I need to apply the art of avoiding the answer by asking a question instead…

We can’t simply tell people not to jaga tepi kain orang, because some people may be in trouble and need our help. Sometimes we do need to be kaypoh a bit, but of course, in addition to being a bit kaypoh, we’d need to be caring as well…

24 comments:

JHaZKiTaRo said...

akum.. salam dari bumi dublin, ireland.. jemput2 la lawat my blog. :)

Puteri said...

What?! Gathered in front of the house to found out what was going on?! That is truly kaypoh!

That is the problem about living so close to each other! Everybody seems to know or wants to monitor everybody else's movment! Fertile ground for kaypoh-ing! :-)

ms hart said...

Betul Kak Pi, patut kay-poh in the positive way, as in ambil tahu, and bila dah tahu, bantu mana yang patut. Tapi tu lah, masing2 punya 'level' kan tak sama...Pls tell your clients, normally this type of people, tak payah explain apa2,kan. Cakap yg benar pun, diorang cerita banyak, cakap selindung2 pun diorang cerita jugak.

Anyway, off the track, semalam baru je yr cousin, Rosz @ Woih datang rumah! Ada la jugak sebut nama Kak Pi. Tapi tu bukan kay-poh tau, tu terkenang2 zaman ada head girl yang 'creative'!!! ha ha ha

Pi Bani said...

jhazkitaro:
Been blog-hopping leaving your mark, I see? :)

Thanks for visiting and will try to catch the next flight to Dublin. ;)

Pi Bani said...

Puteri:
I don't blame the neighbours, really. Here's this neighbour of theirs, known to have some medical problems, suddenly getting visitors in a large group at their home - the neighbours probably just wanted to find out if something had happened to him!

When we stay so close to each other, and yet we don't even know what goes on in the lives of our own neighbours, nanti people say hidup tak bermasyarakat pulak...

Pi Bani said...

ms hart:
The problem is sometimes we don't know how to differentiate "ambil berat" and "menyibuk". And yes, no matter what we say, no matter what we do, kalau orang nak mengata tu, depa mengata jugak!

Ros singgah rumah you? I myself jarang jumpa dia. Oii, you all ngumpat pasal I ke??!

Raden Galoh said...

Salam akak... I understand you Kak. I pun selalu kena 'hentam' dgn soklan2 kay-poh ni... Selalu something like dah berbasikal ke hulu- ke hilir tapi kau tak kurus pun? sadis betul! Rasa macam nak jawab: I gemuk ni menyusahkan you ke? Tapi sabar..sabar...kunci mulut tu..senyum jelah...paling2 pun jawab, dah tak kurus2 nak buat camne...takkan nak meraung2 kot?

Ah! Kay-poh and kay-poh chis..they all make this world full of colours!

Pi Bani said...

Raden Galoh:
Memanglah kena banyak bersabar dengan kay-poh-chee jenis yang mulut takde insurance ni...

Akmal said...

Kak Pi,
True true. Being kay-poh is OK, which shows we are concern, but we should also show that we care. One more thing, Malaysian should improve the way they are 'Kay-poh'ing, quit tongue-lashing questions and the 'sadis' ones too, sebab boleh menimbulkan amarah, dan nampak sangat main kasar. Lack of empathy, I'd say...
Have a nice day kak.

Pi Bani said...

Akmal:
Indeed, lack of empathy as you said. The kind of questions they ask sometimes just shows how judgmental they are. Payah betul!

Zawi said...

Pi,
Now the meaning of Kay Poh is as clear as daylight after reading this post.
I am a Kay Poh too in my own way hehehehe. Done it.

Pi Bani said...

Zawi:
Apasal... sebelum ni blur sikit ke on the meaning of kaypoh? Oh don't worry, I am sort of a kaypoh too... otherwise I wouldn't have so many stories to tell in this blog, would I? :)

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

mcm biasa, kena tokok nambah.

when you see a stalled car by the road side with the driver seen sweating profusely jacking his car up and you slow down your vehicle, wind down the screen with that kaypohchee look on your face, you you break the ice by asking 'rosak ke?'. the best part is, you speed off before he could answer your q.

hehehe...

Pi Bani said...

Kerp:
Frankly speaking, since I usually drive alone, I don't think I'd dare be kaypoh enough to stop and ask if I see a stalled car by the road, especially if it's a quiet road. Silap haribulan the moment I slow down dah ada one group of samsengs with parangs all around me!! Nak kaypoh pun kena jaga own safety dulu...

PrincessJournals said...

kekadang kay-poh is good but kenalah bertempat. but the sad thing is ppl usually kay-poh sbb they want to mengata instead of helping. before i got married my aunts selalu tanya bila nak kahwin. my fav answer? tengah cari old and sick milionaire who wud preferably die after the akad! lol!

yg those ppl datang w huge group, nak tolong ke nak publicity? :P

Pi Bani said...

princessjournals:
Ooohhh... bab tanya bila nak kawin ni I've had my share of it. I'd usually just buat muka selamba and act surprised, "Eh, dah hari tu! Tak dapat jemputan ke?" Eventually the kaypoh questions stopped...

As for the people who came in a large group, I dunno... maybe they wanted to make their presence felt. Maybe that's how to do their house rounds - in big groups.

J.T. said...

Hi Pi

I've had my fair share of 'kaypoh' people - from neighbours who peeped out the windows when I came back home late at night (when I was living in Malaysia) to those who asked the obvious questions at the train or bus stations. That can be excused because most of the time I think they were just genuinely curious and I appreciated the fact that someone was awake especially late hours to peep out a window. ;)

Then I got the other kind of 'kaypoh' who asks personal questions like "why you couldn't find a local man to marry?" :D
susah lah some people...

As in your story, of course, anyone would be 'kaypoh' if a large group came by to visit... even I would be too. :)
I think some people should learn to be discreet (as in cases of HIV/AIDS, for example).
I also think no matter how much education some people have about HIV/AIDS, they will always form their own opinions and attach some kind of stigma to it.

Pi Bani said...

JT:
You didn't mention auntie kaypoh, did you? :)

As for the charitable organization reps who came in a large group, I guess they did not take into account the HIV/AIDS factor. My NGO on the other hand is specifically for the support of the HIV infected/affected, so from day one of joining as volunteers, we were told to be very strict on the issue of confidentiality. So any house visits MUST be low profile.

Anonymous said...

Salam K.Pi, just wondering, if the HIV positive women has babies who are confirmed positive as well, can they bf? I mean, would there be more damages to the already positive HIV baby? SEbab apa...kesian la mothers camni yang nak bf anak dia...I pun turut terharu.....sebak...*sob*
-niasulaiman-

Pi Bani said...

niasulaiman:
Even if the babies are confirmed positive, it is still not encouraged for the positive mothers to breastfeed them as it may just worsen the baby's condition. Just because the baby is confirmed positive, doesn't mean life is over for the poor thing. We must still take whatever necessary precautions so as not to make things worse.

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kak Pi,

I won't call that (the comments at the pharmacy) kay-poh...I would call it rude...

Anyway, it doesn't mean if you queue up for medicine, it is for you what! It could be for anyone!

I remember a friend of mine telling me of how the nurses scolded this lady who was in pain while giving birth: 'Ah, jerit lagi lar, bila shiok mahu, sekarang sakit, padan muka'...

Uncalled for, don't you think? And very unkind...

Pi Bani said...

Daphne:
Some people can be very unkind and insensitive... I wonder how they themselves would feel if they were treated as such by anyone else!

U.Lee said...

Hi Pi Bani, saya nak kaypoh, you writing about HIV, ahhh? Ha ha.
I love reading your first three paragraphs of people asking the obvious.
I was asked before at a cinema, while standing waiting to go in, a friend said, "wa, you coming see pictures, ahh"? "no la, play mahjong! Sure la see pictures".
And once here, in a bathroom, for goodness sake. A friend came in recognised me, "ahhh, what you doing here"? Cannot print what I answered, ha ha.
You keep well, Pi Bani, Lee.

Pi Bani said...

Lee:
No lah, mana ada I cerita pasal HIV? ;)

Oi, what did you answer your friend in the bathroom? Just say lah mau tidur...

Anyway, I have been going to your blog, but your stories all very long lah... I tak sempat nak read thoroughly. So, haven't been able to kaypoh at your blog lah lately!

Take care and have a nice weekend!