We’ve completed 6 days of fasting now. How time flies…
On the very first day of Ramadhan, I went to visit Zainab at her home. After texting her to ensure she wasn’t working that Saturday, off I went to visit after loading some groceries into my car. I’ve been getting quite a lot of cash contributions from my friends to be distributed to the poor families. Some of the cash I use to buy groceries, and so far I’ve delivered groceries to Fuzi, Aini and this time, Zainab. The rest who stays quite far from Ipoh, I’d transfer some of the cash contributions into their respective bank accounts.
Anyway, for the moment both Zainab and her husband Zaki cannot fast, as advised by the doctor. Their 2 young daughters however, were fasting and so they all still had to get up for sahur.
After an absence of 3 weeks from clinic duty, on 25th July I was back on duty. When I arrived at the clinic and checked with the nurses if there were any new cases that day, I was told there were supposed to be 3 new cases but none of them were there yet. Nearing 11 am, as I was about to give up waiting, finally the nurse came to refer one case. A young chap came in with his father, who didn’t speak much Malay, so I ended up speaking only to the son. He didn’t seem interested at all to have a buddy, all he wanted to know was his blood test results.
The next case referred was a 60 year old guy. He came in with a young lady, who looked more like his daughter. Just to be safe, I just asked him who the lady was, and was told that the lady was his wife. She didn’t speak at all… the only language she speaks other than Thai is Cantonese. Apparently they got married about 10 years ago but only got it officially registered about a month ago. After a while, when I showed him our brochure and told him to call us if need be, he said, “Ya, ya, ya… itu hari saya punya kakak talipon sama you. Dia cakap sama saya, jangan takut sama you. You banyak baik punya orang.”
Ah, so this was the brother of the lady who called me a few weeks ago, seeking help and advice for her brother (at first she said “friend”, but after getting a bit more comfortable talking to me, she finally admitted she was talking about her brother, not friend). All I did was just give her some hope that it’s not too late for her brother to seek treatment, and I also taught her how to go about getting an appointment. This guy seemed to be getting family support, so he should be doing okay as long as he is compliant.
The third and final case, a 56 year old lady. She was infected by her 2nd husband who died about 1 1/2 years ago. After 4 children with her first husband, the husband died and this lady, Mimah, remarried a young chap, an ex-IVDU. She was already 40 then, and he, 25. He was diagnosed HIV+ just a few weeks before his death. What I couldn’t understand was, despite knowing that the guy had HIV, why it took more than a year to set an appointment for Mimah herself. She should have done her blood tests immediately, and get treatment immediately. Ah well, at least she is seeking treatment now.
Never having any working experience before, things weren’t easy for Mimah after her husband died. With a house rental of RM300, and the only fixed sources of income coming only from the Welfare Dept and Socso (her late husband’s socso), Mizah now resorts to selling kuih by the road side for some extra income for her family. While 3 of her children from her first husband are already working and staying elsewhere, Mizah still has to support 3 other schooling children, the youngest son with her first husband, and her 2 children with her second husband.
Looks like we need to consider this family for our Children Education Fund.
Azman, Sofie’s son who’s studying at a culinary school, called me yesterday, saying his college was organising something and he needed some money to buy the required stuff. His Tabung Kemahiran loan had just been released about 2 weeks ago. Since I was holding his ATM card for the bank where the loan is credited to, I immediately transferred an amount into his other bank account for this month’s allowances. Less than 2 weeks and he finished his allowance??
When I asked him what he did with the money, he said he bought some “necessities” – shoes and slacks. When I asked him how much he paid for the shoes, he didn’t dare answer. He only said that the shoes were a bit expensive. Until the end he never mentioned how much he paid. Must have been so expensive.
So this morning I went to see him at his hostel. He was smiling when he walked over to my car. He was still smiling when I told him that at the rate he had been spending, whatever amount that had been credited into his bank account, would only last a maximum of 2 months.
Then he looked confused when I handed him his ATM card. He must be thinking, why on earth would I hand over the card to him after he bought all the expensive stuff. I told him that now he has to take responsibility for his actions, and that includes managing his own money.
He was about to ask me what if he ran out of money, when I just told him straight in the face that he now has to pay for his hostel fees, food/drinks etc. I told him he could spend as he liked, but at the same time I also told him not to come looking for me. I told him there are so many unfortunate children out there needing my attention and so I wouldn’t be entertaining any more of his calls.
The boy was stunned. He didn’t expect that coming from me I suppose. He just looked down, trying to control his tears. He didn’t even take the card from me, I had to put the card into the bag of stuff that I had brought along for him. There was total silence. He only moved from the car after I told him I was in a hurry and needed to go elsewhere. He apologised to me. I didn’t say a thing after that. I just drove off.
Let’s see if I managed to knock some sense into him…