Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

Foremost, forgive me. The title does not reflect the gravity of the situation nor the sadness I feel inside; it is something that just popped inside my head after reading - this time not a squatter colony - but a leprosy centre, one that has become an icon for Sungai Buloh, now being destroyed. It seems the news came out in NST. But since I only buy papers periodically, missed out on that and only found out at achmedrauff, kindly visit him for the whole story.

For those who have never been to the leper colony, allow me to update you:

The Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre and Colony was founded more than a century ago to assist those who have contracted the disease. Sometime around the 1970's it was opened to the public as
1) The Medical Board there had ascertained the threat of the disease spreading had been eliminated, and
2) To allow remaining former patients who had nurtured and cultivated orchids and flower nurseries to mingle with the public and earn an income.

On my first visit to the colony, being the kaypochee that I am, I tried to strike conversation with some of the former patients. They were friendly but still kept their distance. That was in the early 1980's. Now, after numerous visits at the insistence of emak who love flowers, orchids and what not, I have managed to make friends with several, and we even talk about how they contracted the disease. Sadly, several of the familiar faces are no longer around.

The question I ask you is this: Have we, Malaysia, run out of space - land - that we now evict Malaysians - squatters and leper colony alike - to make way for development? Who's development then will it be for? And if so we are running out of space, why the bloody **** are we selling land to Singapore?

No matter how you view or make of Sungai Buloh, it is what it is today partly due to the leper colony. Taking it away is like taking part of your identity out of you.


tokasid said...

Salam bro Cakapaje:

I was suprised too. Sg Buloh Leprosy Centre is a place close to me( and others from Medical Faculty MU).

In 1983, my group had a 1 month posting there( thats compulsory to all 3rd year Med student(MS). Its included in the Dermatology posting. Out of that 1 month, if I remember well , we were supposed to go to Sg Buloh for a week( twice a week for 4 weeks).

Back then you really see the Lepers, and there are still many of them. Most had some sort of deformities in their extremities or faces. Since they are used to Med students come and go, they are no shy to us. Some will come to us after our classes and clinic or lab stint, offering us Roses! Yes, where else can you get abundance of roses at a cheap rate?

We'll go to the orchards, hanging our lab overall and ties at their pondok and start to walk around to choose the roses. Any color!
For RM3/= you can get about 30 stalks of roses!( My girldfriend(now wife) sampai tak larat tengok bunga ros..aku asyik bagi saja bila posting Sg Buloh).

Friends of other faculty will ask us to buy roses for them esp when GF's birthday approaching or before Valentine's Day.

Most who stayed in the colony, are nice ppl and hard working.During those years, middle men will come in to buy flowers from them. We've never seen public coming in freely like now.
Most of the patients were given titles to the lot they were staying by the govt, and to these day, I was informed, most of the present bussiness in the colony are owned by children of former patients.

Why do they want to take the colony?

Everyone of us knows the answer. That is PRIME land. That is BIG money in it. Its near the PLUS highway. Its neighbour is the Sg Buloh Hospital.

GREED had overcome SENSES. Or should iI put it this way: CENTS had overcome SENSES!

Its sad. No, its actually a tragedy. Nothing is sparred nowadays for the sake of "development".

Only ALLAH knows, maybe tomorrow it will be my house or yours that they will demolish!!

cakapaje said...

Salam Doc,

Itulah yang menyedihkan...dalam keghairahan mengejar pembangunan fizikal, semakin hari manusia lupa erti perkataan 'eshan' dan seangkatan dengan nya. Ramai yang menjadi hamba pada wang hingga tiada keperimanusiaan dalam diri mereka. Kemana arahtuju Malaysia?

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

i have not read NST for the longest of time so yes, this is news to me too.

i was invited to attend a talk on disability which was held there at the leprosy centre earlier this year but for transport reason, i didnt make it. from what my wheelbuddy had related his 2-hour experience at the centre, all the negative perception said abt it was just a myth. discrimination is described best.

and so now the authority has acted without much consideration. seriously, whats new about them supposedly 'high-ups'? kg berembang is a fine case and sadly, they're only one of many other victims.

cakapaje said...

Well said kerp! But what I fear is this: the people of Malaysia - the majority who seek justice, i.e. - may find their anger and frustration pent too long and seek a form, any form of release, which may not be good for the country.

As it is, neglect and unjust acts have produced young people such as mat rempits and more petty criminals. Further left unchecked, I fear the worst, suffice to say. And the ruling party would only use such explosion of pent-up emotion to their advantage. I may be wrong, but I see signs of it on the streets already.

Rauff said...

True true but still even when there is an outlet it is pretty much restricted to what can be said. What could we people do? Fly it to the government controlled media? If the emotions turn out violent in the end we have our selves to blame since we the people voted them other people to the top. Go figure.

cakapaje said...

Salam Rauf,

Nice of you to drop by. But for the record, I have never voted for the present government.

One Q: You have what, 4-5 blogs? How on earth do you manage them?

I am not a heavyweight writer - don't think I'll ever be. I write what I fancy, some of which - were you to browse previous postings - can be quite silly. Its just that in the current mood, it so happen I touch on politics. Just thought you'd like to know. You bro, was what I wanted to be at your age.

Nak Tak Nak said...

I haven't been there but a long long time ago I had a friend, a chinese shopkeeper, a very pleasant human being who contracted leprosy and was sent there. A few months after that I heard from his brother that he committed suicide by jumping from the roof or something. They gave in to pigs but treated humans worst than swine.

cakapaje said...

Cikgu, your last statement, sad but tragically true. How apt the video about the leopard is on the subject; how ironic.

kaki.ayam said...

Please spread the message -

There will be a carnival going on at the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Center…

Face book invitation -