Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What do you guys think?

 A few days ago I had a swimming lesson in one of the condominiums in the city.  It was indeed a very hot day but the hour went unnoticed as the kid I taught swimming was making a pretty good progress, I couldn’t help but feeling a bit proud of him. As I was getting dress after a shower, I saw a man sweeping the floor nearby. I just smiled at him when he saw me looking, sweeping the pool area in this hot afternoon, I couldn’t help but feeling a bit sorry for him. He continued sweeping and finally he got to the place where I stood. 

I was just about to pack my stuff when he started talking. Turned out he was pretty chatty himself. Telling me that he came from Pakistan, got a job here and has been in this country for almost 3 years now. I just nodded and asked how did he find this country so far and he said it was okay. He continued on telling me about his misfortune of having his arm broken at work a few months back. He went to one of the government hospital and was put on a cast with follow-up appointment in orthopaedic clinic. Sounded like a standard orthopaedic practice for a simple fracture management.

I just nodded trying not to encourage him going on in the conversation but I was wrong, he kept on talking. He wasn’t happy with the service there and subsequently he met a Pakistani doctor in a private hospital. Apparently according to this Pakistani doctor, who he failed to tell me which specialty he practicing in but presumably an orthopaedic surgeon, that Malaysian healthcare is substandard.
I was like substandard compared to which country? Pakistan? He said that doctors here are not as good as those in Pakistan, coming from someone who sweeping floor in a condominium.

Are Malaysian doctors and healthcare that bad that a minimum wage foreign worker could pass that type of judgment on them?
I started to get a bit more interested on the direction of this rambling were heading. I kept quiet and this time I paid attention.
He complained about our discriminatory healthcare policy where non-citizens have to pay more than the locals and he really dislikes the fact that Malaysians have to pay only RM1 for a registration in emergency room and outpatient clinics. He on the other hand had to pay RM50.

Finally when he was done talking, it was time for my response, I said,
“You came to this country looking for a job, and you are not even a professional of extraordinary skills or expertise, nevertheless you are given a job. In Malaysia the healthcare is subsidized for the citizens as it should be, most countries have those benefits to their own people. Not a single country in the world would provide healthcare to foreign nationals for free. You should be lucky that Malaysian healthcare system are sometimes too altruistic for its good, that some foreign workers from Indonesia and Bangladesh who were treated in the government hospitals in fact simply just left without paying a cent. The ward charges, the medications, the ICU care charges, labs and radiology investigations, those don’t come cheap regardless our hospitals continue to provide the care out of humanity. It is not our fault that your own country charged its own citizens such expensive rates, and don’t envy us just because our government somehow managed to deliver subsidized care to its citizens, it is the flaw of your own government. If you don’t think that this country is good enough for you, why did you come here in the first place? Why didn’t you go to UK instead lots of Pakistani there already, or other countries for that matter? I know why, because this country has soft spot for other muslim’s countries and sometimes this policy is too much for its own good. People abuse it. We have the intention to help but you have the nerve to criticize our systems. If you think we are not good enough for your standard, nobody forces you to stay here”. With that I just grabbed my bag and left him.

            I was so annoyed with what happened it is bad enough that many Malaysians these days are openly and blatantly bashing our own country, nothing seems to be good enough or right enough for some of us despite everything good that has been done these past half century, to hear this from a minimum wage foreign worker, that really crosses the line. I really hope that all Malaysians, especially me, would think of the way to move forward together rather criticize everything out of being self-righteous or politically driven. We never know what we got till it slips off our hands and gone forever. 

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