Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Malay male perceptions of hospitals

While Malay mothers have taken to hospitals for maternal delivery, Malay fathers have not followed this new wave of going to hospital.

Why do men need to go to hospital? They don't give birth, so why should they take any interest in hospitals?

Men accompany their wives to hospital but at times they too need to  be hospitalised and need medical attention. 

Why do men need medical attention?

Today, there is a rise in prostate cancer among men. How and why have this affected men today? Is it their food habits? Is it their lifestyle? Is it in their genes? 

Men are strong and only a heart attack or stroke take them down. They survive heart problems and stroke, only to die from it later. 

Men are rich today. They eat good food at exclusive places and become overweight and obese in some cases. However, a few men have managed to successfully lose weight and have normal BMI (body mass index). Some men just don't seem to be able to effect any weight loss but continue to put on excessive pounds.

Men are drivers, some careless, and some dangerous. We have seen the rise in road traffic accidents and some of the worst have occurred in the last 20 twenty years when speed limits were as high as 120 km/hr. We get anywhere very fast nowadays but sometimes as corpses, some severely mutilated. They go straight to the morgue.

Men are less concerned about their health. Let me qualify that. They are concerned about their health but at the same time they cannot refuse nasi briyani and roti canai. This compulsive urge to eat is what put men at risk of the weird types we can think of. And as a result, men land up on hospital beds, some with food restrictions.

Does a man's occupation keep him safe and away from the hospital? Yes and no. We all have great respect for our imams and the rank. It is strange that good men end up on hospital beds. Why? By reason we would think they know the supplications and prayers to keep them well and healthy. Why then do they end up in hospital? We forget that imams and the rank are humans. As human we consume food when we are hungry. Humans also consume food when they are not hungry. In our Malay culture and tradition, we give a lot of respect to men. When we plan on a kenduri (party), we invite men and then women and kids. When we serve food, we serve the men first and then the women and kids. When we have to keep food for a function, we save them for the men first, and we forget about the women and kids. So men get first mention and attention when it comes to food. Glorious food! Men thus have a go at good food saved for them and they get prime servings. The best foods go to men. Since in the Malay community, men frequently get invited to every function and usually food is served at the end of a Malay function - men get their grubs and grabs. The can to gobble ... gobble to their fullest if possible. In the Malay community and lifestyle, there is no smorgasboard where people eat to their hearts content. But kenduri-kendara makes up of this. If Westerners binge on buffet or smorgasboard food, Malay men binge on kenduri food. So we should be able to see Malay men landing on hospital beds just like Caucasian men end up in hospitals from various ailments. There should not be differences in diseases when they are resultant form binging or "full eating".

Now even the good men suffer from cancer of the pancreas. I remember one Uztaz read the  Quran for warding off diseases of the organs, including the pancreas. Maybe we are no longer in touch with the Quran. I don't know but still I worry.

Cancer of the prostate, stage IV is about the worst I have heard this year. I don't know what else will come to my ears. Maybe we don't feel the urgency to investigate the causes for this disease. Why don't we have any urgency for grave diseases like this? Have we all lost ourselves?

If Malay men go to hospital at the late stage of their diseases and then die in our hospital, will the family blame the patient, the nurses, the doctors or the hospital management? Will Malay men refuse to come to hospital at the late stage of their diseases? Will Malay men come to hospital knowing that will come to die in the late stage of their diseases? Why don't Malay men blame their families? Why don't the families blame themselves for bringing their men to hospital but only at the late stage where a little cure at the early stage would suffice? Why are Malay men hesitant to come to hospital?

Malay men treasure their manhood and maleness (jantan). Would coming to hospital and laying in a hospital bed affect their ego? Is it this that hold back Malay men from coming to hospital? I don't know but I feel this is what is holding them back and they don't seem to seek cures at the early stage of any disease. I think they feel more manly to hold on till things get out of control. They would rather hold on and die from a disease rather than  go to hospital at the early stage of any disease and try to get a possible cure. 

Faith is a factor for an effective cure regardless of the nature of treatment. Even a placebo works when it comes to having faith. Do Malay men have faith in Western-trained doctors? No, they don't. That aptly sums my opinion. Malay men have no faith in doctors or they would have become doctors themselves. Why don't Malay men have faith in Western-trained doctors? I have no clue but I suspect they believe and have faith in other things. What could that be?

The Malay people are derived from the Indians who once dominated this region. The Borobudur and Angkor Wat are enough to remind us of our ascendants. The Indians have practised their own medicines for centuries and this had descended upon the Malay people today. The Malay people have their own set of practices which they have faith in. Why do they have to adopt the White man's medicine? So we see a clash of thoughts, preferences and egos when it comes to Malay men taking on Western medicine (allopathy), having faith in Western medicine and reluctance in coming to hospital. They would rather suffer the entire course of a disease and die at home, without any Western medicine interference. That is Malay men. They are tough!