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)

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Could it be her?

Last Thursday when I went to my NGO centre to send my reports for our coming AGM in March, my colleague told me about a story he heard from one of his friends.

The story was about an elderly Malay lady who died recently in a particular kampong in a small town. The 74 year old grandmother, who was staying alone, was said to have a “terrible disease” and her kampong folks did not bother to help her out. It was said that only her Indian neighbor helped her out.

Now, why did my colleague relay this story to me?

Because when he heard the story from his friend, after putting two and two together, one name came to his mind. And the same name came to my mind too when the story was relayed to me.

Remember Makcik Minah - the 74 year old grandmother to whom I was assigned as the buddy? Well, I never had the opportunity to meet her or even talk to her as all my calls to her house were not answered. I couldn’t follow up at the HIV clinic either as SN said she never came for her appointments after the first one.

The age is just right, and we knew for a fact that Makcik Minah stayed alone in a kampong in the same town as the elderly lady in the above story. In addition to that, during the one and only time Makcik Minah came for her appointment at the HIV clinic, she came with an Indian man who was her neighbor. The “terrible disease” mentioned in the story must have been HIV.

I can’t be too sure if the lady in the story was indeed Makcik Minah but based on the above circumstances, chances are she was. My gut feeling says so too.

Assuming the lady was indeed Makcik Minah, I wonder why her kampong folks didn’t bother to help her at all. Was it because they knew she had HIV and they didn’t want to come anywhere near her? Was it because they never liked her in the first place? Why weren’t any of my calls answered? Was she too weak to get up to answer the phone?

I don’t know if I’ll ever know the answer. Maybe I never will. If her kampong is nearby I would probably go there to find out. She must have been a very lonely woman. What a way for her life to end.

I wish I had the opportunity to meet her and talk to her. I wish I knew more about her background. I wish I could have helped her during the last few months of her life. But I guess that was never meant to be. God knows best.

May Allah bless her soul. Alfatihah.

24 comments:

J.T. said...

Whoever it was, may she rest in peace. Assuming it was Makcik Minah, maybe you were not meant to be with her in the last days of her life. Sometimes things happen the way it is because it is supposed to.
For all we know, the Indian neighbour was the one who was fated to be with her and probably made her last days on earth easier. Things happen for a reason.

One 'lost' buddy is still an important one but you have many more buddies that need and do respond to you.

Nightwing said...

May she rest in peace....hopefully the Indian neighbours did the best they could during her last days....:(

Raden Galoh said...

AlFatihah...

Kesian Makcik Minah. Stigma begitu mmg kuat di kalangan masyarakat kampong yang masih perlu byk pendedahan dan pendidikan tentang pesakit HIV...Rata2 dengar je HIV terus mencemik muka...

Mat Salo said...

Al-fatihah to Allahyarham Makcik Minah.

So sad to have died alone, with all your loved ones abandoning you. Somehow Pi, I have the urge to know more about the arwah. Can you do a follow-up down the road?

I think there's a compelling tale somewhere...

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

every single person on earth has a little tale somehow or another, remember? i always believe in that and arwah makcik Minah sure had a thousand and one story behind her. maybe you could dig it from her indian neighbour? KPC here as usual...hehe...

Pi Bani said...

JT:
Yes you're right JT, I still have other clients who need my attention. But knowing more of Makcik Minah's background can help in identifying their problems. To me when I was first assigned to Makcik Minah I was kinda excited to know her more as all my other clients are younger than me. It would be interesting to learn more about the problems faced by elderly PLWHAs.

Pi Bani said...

Nightwing:
I'm sure the Indian neighbour did the best he could for her. I just wonder how Makcik Minah felt when nobody else seemed to care.

Pi Bani said...

Raden Galoh:
Betul tu, masyarakat kampong kurang sangat pendedahan pasal HIV. Rata-rata memang pandang rendah pada pesakit HIV. Tapi masalahnya kadang-kadang kita nak bagi pendedahan pun diorang tak nak dengar. Sampaikan ada sekali tu I pergi attend kursus jenazah ada yang bertanya if they can refuse to handle jenazah pesakit HIV.

Pi Bani said...

Mat Salo:
Follow up? For the time being belum nampak jalan lagilah. Kampong dia jauh. If, by any chance, one day I get assigned to another client staying in the same town, then I may pusing-pusing ronda-ronda to try and find out more. Time tu kena Pi kena jadi P.I. lah... ;)

Pi Bani said...

Kerp:
Kerp-o-chee betul lah engko ni!

Trust me, I am just as curious as you are but I do have to prioritise. Those still living need my service more, don't you think?

As mentioned to Mat Salo, if one fine day I get assigned to a client staying in that town, I may (but not necessarily) just try to get more info.

winniethepooh said...

its ok pi bani, what past is past, keep looking forward and its more important to keep helping those who needs u now...

waterlily said...

Salam kak PI,

Firstly, Al Fatihah untuk Makcik itu. Stigma begitu ada di mana-mana selagi manusia tidak mahu mengubah minda. Mereka jadi manusia tak peduli kecuali dah terkena batang hidung sendiri.

marianie

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

of cos kak Pi, you have many other priority to attend to but mana lah tau, arwah Makcik Minah's story could serve as teladan to us here who are mostly fortunate enough.

the more mysterious a person is, the more interesting his/her story we ought do dig.

Pi Bani said...

Winnie:
Oh yes, we must look forward and use the past to guide us for the future.

Pi Bani said...

Waterlily:
Biasanya manusia macam ni, bila terkena batang hidung sendiri lagi susah nak terima kenyataan.

Nak mengubah bentuk fizikal seseorang tu lebih mudah dari nak mengubah minda.

Pi Bani said...

Kerp:
As I mentioned earlier, I am just as curious.

Whether or not I'd be able to get more info on her background, time will tell...

Hazel said...

so pity hah, may she rest in peace. first time here..

Zawi said...

Pi Bani,
It is sad to be left to die alone not just by your own family but also by your own race as well.
Semoga Allah ampunkan segala dosanya dan cucuri rahmat keatas rohnya.

Pi Bani said...

Hazel:
Welcome to my blog.

Sad isn't it what Makcik Minah had to go through...

Pi Bani said...

Zawi:
Actually since I don't have the complete story, I don't really know what the situation was with her own family. I do know that during the only time she came for appointment at the HIV clinic, she did mention to my colleagues that her one and only son did not know about her HIV. She did say she may tell him.

Now I wonder what happened after that...

ruby ahmad said...

Hello Pi,

I find this very heart wrenching story hold many lessons.

It is never about race or religion when it comes to the crunch isn't it?!!! That's one lesson.

Makcik Minah with the supposedly terrible disease was left all by herself in cold blood by supposedly enlightened people! But her caring Indian neighbour did not abandon her.

I am going to lepas geram here...(and I stand corrected. In the whole family and in the whole village who knew Makcik Minah, don't you think that wonderful and kind Indian lady deserves to go to heaven...but yes God knows best! I am just pondering here. So what's the fate of the other supposedly enlightened ones? They abandoned Makcik. Care to think? Is this another lesson? I myself don't know.

IBU said...

Salam Kak Pi,

Sad indeed. If it's true the old lady was MakCik Minah and the kampong folks or relatives abandoned her just like that; sadder even. Often times we human pre-judge another by his or her past doings. Sedangkan nabi ampunkan umat kan?

And the lesson for us readers? Let's be aware not to become like the kampong folks ourselves, easily dismissing someone only because of their past misdeeds. And in this particular instance, don't get trapped into dismissing the kampong folks for their misdeeds towards MakCik Minah.

Easier said than done of course. Sigh!!!

Pi Bani said...

K.Ruby:
Hard for us to conclude what happened. There may be many reasons for the kampong folks to react that way. HIV is one. Another thing was that the Indian neighbour helping her out was a guy - which could also cause the kampong folks to sok sek sok sek about her... if you know what I mean.

I don't know, sometimes we tend to pay more attention to what people say instead of what should be done. Kutuk orang pandai tapi tak take action to betulkan keadaan.

Pi Bani said...

Ibu:
Generally people do tend to pre-judge a person based on his/her past. Macamlah kita ni bagus sangat. Entah-entah orang yang kita kutuk tu masuk syurga dulu dari kita...

And yes, let's not pre-judge the kampong folks without knowing the whole story.