Saturday, August 1, 2009
Its a sad story afterall...
KUALA LUMPUR: Uncle Chen (not his real name) was brought to Ampang Hospital after suffering a fall. He has never seen home since then and is now living at the Kim Loo Ting Hong Ying Old Folks Home in Setapak here.
Chen, 74, recalls seeing a man whom he recognised as his son while he was in the hospital. He had happily thought that he was going to be taken home to his son’s house, only to watch helplessly as the man disappeared from sight.
When a social welfare volunteer confronted the man after Chen had pointed him out, the man denied knowing him or having any family ties to him.
That was five months ago, and even though he knows he has been abandoned by his children – he also has a daughter – Chen refused to be angry with them.
“As a parent, we never bear grudges against our children,” he said, wiping away tears.
Attempts to locate Chen’s son and his next of kin by the welfare home and the hospital staff failed as the home where Chen’s family members lived is no longer there.
He is one of several parents who were abandoned in public hospitals at a time when they should be spending their “golden years” with their family.
Children who could or would no longer bear the cost of taking care of their aged and infirm parents are treating hospitals like a “dumping ground” because food, shelter and medication are provided by the Government.
And it saves them the hassle of applying for places for their parents in government-run welfare homes.
Another senior citizen, Ng Ah Kow, who was left at the Penang Hospital, kept saying “Wa ai tui chu, tapi bor lui” (Hokkien for “I want to go home but I have no money”) during an interview.
According to the hospital’s medical social services department head Lim Bee Ean, Ng, 68, was ready to go home after being discharged on May 13 but no one has come to pick him up.
Ng said only his older sister Kam Looi had visited him once in the hospital, about a week after he was warded for fainting during a routine check-up on April 14.
“She said she wanted to take me home but did not have money for the bus fare and to settle my medical bills. I have not seen her since then,” recalled Ng.
In Kajang, Mahmud Rahmad, 58, cuts a lone figure as he tends the garden in the compound of the Nur Hasanah Welfare Centre.
“I am sad about being left alone but I understand that my children have their own lives to lead,” said Mahmud, a former security guard who has been living on his own. He was sent to the hospital by a taxi driver after he collapsed.
Mahmud, a diabetic with a heart ailment, was sent to the welfare home last June after hospital authorities failed to contact his two children.
It is the same sad story for Ramu, 72, who has been stranded at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban for months now following the authorities’ failure to contact his family members.
The address given by his relatives when they admitted him at the hospital does not exist and Ramu is now waiting to be placed in an old folks home.
Hospital director Dr Jaafar Che Mat said most of the senior citizens abandoned at the facility were either cancer, stroke or mentally ill patients.
In Malacca, wheelchair-bound widow Asmah Hassan, 80, has given up hope of living with any of her seven daughters after her husband passed away.
“Three years ago, I was kicked out from the house of one of my daughters in Kuala Lumpur after staying there for a month.
“When I sought shelter in another daughter’s house in Johor Baru, she did not allow me,” confided Asmah, who said she tapped rubber to bring up her children.
It was only after her neighbours reported her case to the hospital that she was finally placed in a home.
ellymustafa: Long time ago, I had a conversation with an ex-colleague, who told me, in her culture, children are not responsible for their parents, in other words, its not their responsibility in taking care of their parents. I told her, but they took care of you since you were born. They made sure you have enough to eat, saw to your education needs, worked their ass off to put a decent roof above your head and on top of that, they never stop praying for your happiness and all. And she said to me, thats their responsibilities!!! And they can never ask for us to return it.
Hmmm..I never known any parent who would ask their children to repay them. But as a child, on your goddam conscience, how could you not feel responsible for them?
Long time ago, a took cab back from my work place. We had a little chat. He asked me, why work so late? So many work haa? I told him, do a little bit over time la uncle. Can have more money to give mommy. Owh..u give your mommy money haa? Good daughter la you. I got two sons. Both working and married now. I sent them school in America and one in Australia. Never give me money. Thats why la I drive taxi until now so old also drive taxi. But its ok la..As long as they are happy with their families, I'm also happy...
You see, they never asked anything from us..Only to see us happy, healthy, etc..But can we do the same for them? Tepuk dada, tanya selera...