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)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Anita & her baby

It had been quite a while since HIV positive mothers with babies were referred to us Buddies. The most recent cases assigned to me were more than a year ago. The youngest of the toddlers is almost 2 years old, with others already over 2 years of age. All already running around.

Recently a colleague informed me that we may be getting a new case of mother and baby soon. Initially I was made to understand that the baby too is infected. It was an out of wedlock childbirth, so when I was told the baby was positive, I thought probably the mother did not go for proper checkups for her pregnancy. Apparently my colleague had assumed the baby was positive based on what he heard from someone else - without checking the facts.

Remember Anita, the young mother I mentioned in my last posting? Well, this is about her.

Anita is 22 years of age. She had an affair with a foreign worker, got pregnant and the foreign worker left her. Anita was then staying with her sister in another state. When the sister found out about her pregnancy, she was reluctant to let Anita stay with her. Anita was passed around from one sister to another, until finally the sister closest to her agreed to take care of her. The sister, already married, took in Anita to stay with her and took care of her throughout her pregnancy.

So yes, Anita did go for proper checkups at the hospital, and that was when she found out about her HIV infection. Necessary precautions were taken to minimise the chances of infection to the baby and so, no, the baby is NOT confirmed positive. The baby, a cute little boy, now 2 1/2 months old, is however under observation and blood tests will have to be done from time to time. I truly hope and believe the baby is spared from the virus.

The problem now is not about the baby being infected, but the fact that Anita has yet to get a birth cert for the baby. I was rather confused at first as to what the problem really was. Anita has been liaising with one of the hospital welfare staff, and was told that they'd help her out with the registration. But the last time Anita went to see the guy, he gave Anita the forms and told her to check back with him later. Or at least that was Anita said. I believe she didn't really understand what the problem was.

Just by speaking to Anita and her sister, I didn't really understand what the problem was either. Yes, the baby doesn't have a father, but I've seen a few such cases before and that didn't stop the child from having a birth cert. The only problem was that at the column for father's particulars it was written "Maklumat tidak diketahui."

The JPN form has been filled and signed, the borang pengesahan kelahiran has also been signed by the maternity unit, so what's the problem in getting a birth cert for the baby?

After more digging, we found out that Anita herself doesn't own an Identity Card. All she has is her birth cert. Duh! Already 22 and her IC not done yet? OK, never mind, we thought. With her birth cert, she should still be able to get her IC done - of course she has to pay fines and all that, but that's not a major problem. Or so we thought.

You see, Anita and her siblings share the same mother, but Anita has a different father. The late father of the siblings was a Malaysian who married a Singaporean who eventually got herself a Malaysian citizenship. When their father died, their mother married an Indonesian with Malaysian PR status. Despite already having obtained citizenship by then, in Anita's birth cert, her mother's citizenship was written as Singaporean, while the father, Indonesian. Her father has since disappeared, and although Anita's siblings tried to look for him to help with Anita's IC, they could not locate him.

They were in the process of getting their mother to sign the necessary statutory declarations to correct Anita's birth cert and to confirm Anita's citizenship status when Anita's mother died.

The sister with whom Anita is currently staying is willing to help her out, but she herself is not quite sure how to go about. So for the time being, Anita still doesn't have an IC. I asked if there were any problems in school without her IC. To my surprise, I was told that Anita only went to a sekolah rakyat for a short while. Ahh! No wonder lah! My first impression of Anita was that she wasn't such a "wild" girl like the previous case of the out-of-wedlock pregnancy I had handled before (remember Zana?). She looked the innocent type. She didn't even get proper education. Anita is just the kind who can be easily duped.

I am not sure if that (of Anita not having an IC) was the problem in getting a birth cert for the baby. Anita herself was a victim of circumstances, we don't want her baby to inherit the same. We hope to help her settle the problem soonest possible, although frankly speaking, I am not too sure myself how to go about. Right now I am like going around the roundabout not knowing which junction to take. Must we settle Anita's IC problem first before getting a birth cert for the baby? Or can we get the birth cert without having to wait for Anita's IC to be done? Any readers out there care to advise?

One good thing is that Anita has at least one sister willing to take care of her and the baby. Otherwise, we'd probably have to send her to a shelter home.


Anonymous said...

Komen Pak Malim, kucing ray yg alim.

Masalah Anita memang agak rumit, kata Pak Malim sambil memeluk Kermit. Ia perlu campurtangan JPN peringkat atasan, kata Pak Malim yg hampir pengsan. Saya cadangkan pergi dulu ke JPN utk berjumpa pegawai atasan, kata Pak Malim yg masih pengsan. Jika masih tidak berhasil, kata Pak Malim yg takde hasil, saya cadangkan minta jasa baik pihak media di Ipoh utk mengenengahkan permasalahan ini, kata Pak Malim sambil berenang di Tasik Chini. Pada pengamatan saya, selalunya permasalahan orang ramai
mendapat perhatian pihak berwajib, sekiranya pihak media yg membuat urusan, kata Pak Malim yg masih pengsan. Semoga Allah mempermudahkan laluan anda, kata Pak Malim sambil memeluk panda.

Kak Teh said...

PI Bani, like puteri, I truly salute what you are doing. You are in fact picking up the pieces after something had gone wrong in the system.
Forgive my ignorance, but isnt there a proactive move - more efforts by organisations to prevent all these from happening?
Education and awareness, things like that?
It is quite worrying, reading this.

Anonymous said...

Hi PI,
I read about Anita's problem. I am a lawyer and have had to deal with similar if not identical case like this. It is important for you to get Anita's status confirmed first. I am not clear if her BC identifies her as a Malaysian. I think not if her mother is Singaporean and father Indonesian. If either of her parent is a malaysian or a PR Anita should be a Malaysian too (Art 14 read with Para 1 (a) Part II of te Second Schedule of the Constitution) If her BC does not state she is a Malaysian that is the first matter to be addressed. You should then concentrate on getting Anta's BC amended. Make sure you inform JPN that there was an error of entry and you are not amending to include a new status. Anita's mother's status must be amended to Malaysian (I am assuming she got her citizenship before Anita's birth). You will need to look through all documentation available and find the certificate of citizenship. Once Anita's mother is accepted as Malaysian Anita becomes Malaysian by virtue of being born in Malaysia to a Malaysian. Do note the application to amend will require loads of form filling and some interviews. The sisters can help with statutory declarations to suppor the application. Isuggest you make your application directly in Putrajaya because the decision can only be made there. All the states will refer such an application to Putrajaya. I find the officers in Putrajaya pretty well informed and they will be better able to assist you. Also if the lower officers cannot understand the matter you can just ask to meet a senior who will be in the same building. Once that is approved and done you can apply to get her IC and at the same time apply to get the baby's birht certificate. Both processes will require additional forms to be filled because of the delay as well as interviews. If JPN says they need the IC first, just ask them to put the baby's BC in KIV. USe this as an excuse to speed up the IC process.
If Anita is stated as Malaysian in her BC you just move on to the applciation process for the IC.
If you encounter officers that suggest it can't be done try to speak to someone above them. The seniors will know what to do. Last resort declare her an Indian and get on thh bandwagon of the thousands of Indians who dont have ICs and are now getting help from the govt. Fatima. Melaka

Queen Of The House said...

Pak Malim yang *masih pengsan* boleh berkata-kata? Tanya QOTH yang hairan ....

Pi, bunyi macam rumit. I hope you'll get Anita's problem sorted out soon. Poor Anita, but with Pi around, masalah jadi ringan sikit.

Pi Bani said...

Pak Malim:
Betul, masalah ni memang rumit, kata Pi Bani sambil menggaru tumit. Terima kasih atas cadanganmu itu, kata Pi Bani sambil mencari kutu. Sekarang ni nak gi cari air dulu untuk dicurah ke mukamu tuan, kata Pi Bani yang hampir diserang tebuan. Nak kena sedarkan Pak Malim dari pengsan, bisik Pi Bani sambil naik kereta Nissan.

Pi Bani said...

Kak Teh:
Yes, worrying isn't it? As much as we try to educate and to create awareness amongst the public, we still find these cases happening. I think main thing is kadang-kadang orang kita ni tak ambil berat hal-hal macam ni. Selagi tak kena batang hidung sendiri, tak ambil kisah. Macam budak-budak main mercun, berapa banyak kali larang, nanti putus jari, tapi depa tak peduli. Bila jari dah putus barulah nak serik.

Before I got myself involved in this kind of voluntary work, I never thought I'd come across such complicated cases. There may be many more Anitas out there who aren't getting any help.

Pi Bani said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now I have a better idea of what to do. Still an uphill task, but at least dah bolehlah bagi signal kat roundabout tu nak masuk junction yang mana satu...

Pi Bani said...

Pak Malim tu mengigau sebenarnya, kata Pi Bani sambil google map Kenya. :)

Kes Anita ni bukannya bunyi je rumit, memangnya rumit. As I mentioned to Kak Teh, I never thought I'd ever come across cases like this. Bikin ana fenin, kefala fusin...

Salt N Turmeric said...

Aduh Pi, i baca pun naik phening. To settle problem, you've got o settle the one before that and the one before that.

Mat Cendana said...

I have read only a few of your posts (had only known about this blog last week) but there is something striking here - "the details" ... small, small things that only those who are deeply involved with something would know of.

In your case here, I would also like to say that your writings here are alive - the ones that I have read managed to paint an intimate picture of people and situations. Excellent writing here! This is the type that truly educates people, with things described "as is".

Pi Bani said...

Betul tu, to settle the baby's BC, first got to settle the mother's IC, and to settle that got to correct the mother's BC. Panjang cerita.

Pi Bani said...

Mat Cendana:
In terms of beauty and flow, my writings are far pale in comparison (compared to yours). I simply write the way I see things from my involvement in this voluntary work; although sometimes when I read them again, the language doesn't sound so right - but I don't care. I write to express, not to impress. I just want people to know the trials and tribulations faced by the PLHIVs abd their families.

ArahMan7 said...

Hola Pi Bani,

Thank you for coming over and lovely comments. Really appreciate it very much.

I see that you're from Ipoh. That's great. Hopefully to see you in action at Buddies of Ipoh.

If you're following Cendana's blog, then you must know that I'm from Negeri Sembilan but now residing in Kuala Kangsar.

Many of my addict's friends in my hometown Lenggeng, died of AIDS. You can say that I'm quite familiar with this disease.

In fact, when I was in Pusat Serenti Perlop I was a prefect (Cewah! Cam beso beno jd prefect) at their sick-bay. I used to take care inmate with HIV. Even some of the officers over there would not touch them, but not me. Doesn't mean that I didn't take any precaution, but I know there are only three ways HIV can spread.

That's what I'm trying to do right now, to educate my kampung's folks about HIV and AIDS. That came about when a close friend of mine died of AIDS, but nobody came to help his parent. At last, myself and a few still addicted friends helped his parent with the burial services from the beginning until he was buried.

Sorry for the long comment. It just that we need to have knowledge so that we will not be afraid unnecessarily around those with HIV.

I salute you, my new found friend. Respect you even coz you're doing a good job. May Allah swt pay for your kindness many times over.

Do drop by again. You're always welcome.

Greetings and lots of love from Kuale Kangsor.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

aiseh, saya pon rasa panjang ceritanya ni. are you volunteering yorself to get her problem straighten out? all the best. on a more cheerful note, the baby's not infected.

Pi Bani said...

Yes, I noticed you're staying in Kuale Kangsor. I was born there (masa tu arwah abah teman keghoje sane kejap). Hopefully one of these days we do get to meet. We are planning for an HIV/AIDS exhibition in Taiping in December - together with another NGO from Penang, CASP.

Good to note that you are trying to educate your kampong folks about HIV/AIDS. If you need any help in giving talks on HIV/AIDS, please do not hesitate to contact us. We do give talks, if invited. Maybe this is an area we can work together on.

I salute you too for sharing your experiences. Not everyone is willing to do that.

Pi Bani said...

Yes we are trying to help out - because kalau depa pergi sendiri I doubt they'd be able to get things done because they don't really understand the procedures, and secondly, this matter needs the attention of higher up authorities, not just pegawai bawahan. Bila orang tak berapa reti pergi, chances are depa akan kena tendang from one place to another. Right now we're trying to arrange for an appointment with the pengarah JPN negeri first.

Mat Cendana said...

@ArahMan7 21:19
"In fact, when I was in Pusat Serenti Perlop I was a prefect (Cewah! Cam beso beno jd prefect) at their sick-bay."

My comment is out-of-topic but I'm gonna comment anyway:-)
ArahMan7, YES, it *is* beso...
Yeah, "outsiders" (I probably am still "in Pusat mode" despite almost two years of `bebas' ) would just scoff at your CV of "Pengawas Pusat". But not with people like me - being a prefect is something - I was (eventually) one too at Gambang. And it's something that I'll always remember with a lot of pride.

No, it's not "big-headedness" or "perasan" (I hope not), but I believe that I had achieved something by being a "Tok" (of the Cendana hostel; and Fish-breeding project). And I'm sure you must have too [there is this thing called "empathy" between `people like us' I know and share your pains. And joys too. And vice-versa:-) ]

I must say here that when I was a "botak" red-shirted Phase One circa Nov 2005, I had looked up in awe of the prefects, with their white, blue-collar t-shirts, cap and dark blue pants.

During my "good years"(before the tragic 1993 relapse), I had known some of the famous and the powerful. And my respect of the "pengawas pusat" is no less than that of these luminaries. Ah, one day I'll write the relevant posts...

P/S to Pi Bani: A request - Can you do away with this WORD VERIFICATION, please? Sometimes the letters are so hard to make out, and I'd be annoyed when the "!"Error message comes out. Hope you'll consider this.

ArahMan7 said...

@ Cendan - Thanks Bro for your support. Yeah, I admit. I do feel proud. Even until now, the staff at Perlop still called me Tok Man as well as on Forum AADK.

@ Pi - Sorry Pi. Tompang lalu sat.

Greetings and lots of love from Kuale Kangsor.

Pi Bani said...

Mat Cendana:
The word verification is there because I used to get those spam comments. Am too lazy to moderate comments, so the word verification stays lah. Sorrylah ek.

Lalulah berapa kali nak lalu pun. Bukannya kena tol pun, kena word verification je... ;)