Thursday, 26 April 2012

Happy Birthday

Today, 26 April 2012, is the birthday of 2 of our contributors. One is my eldest daughter, Nuraishah Bazilah bt Affandi. The other is a great contributor from Singapore, Dr Mohamed Tahir bin Ahmad Ibrahim. Let me elaborate on each contributor.


She was born at Hospital USM (HUSM) in Kelantan, where I work. I prepared myself and the needed operation utensils for my own surgery. You can imagine trying to do this at 8-9 months pregnancy. And the best thing was, HUSM lifts were improperly installed and we had lots of problems with the lifts initially. What happened was I was in one of the faulty lifts at the 8th floor and there was power failure while I was still in the lift. What happened? I went down with the lift and when I was conscious I had landed. But what went wrong was the baby inside me gave me problems and I started to bleed. Upon check-up I had 2 choices - to evacuate the womb or let things settle down. I went in for emergency surgery - one of the ugliest and most painful surgery that was never done in HUSM. I cried as I had no choice, either I live or the baby lives, or the baby dies or we both die. Because it was a life and death thing, I decided to give surgery a try and made my last prayer that I would never see the world again and let my baby live. An emergency surgery had to be called and my anaesthetist was still swimming at Club Med in Cherating. He had to fly back. My surgeon was an Indian lady whose last surgical procedure was 8 years before 1984. Her co-surgeon on the team was a young Malay doctor, possibly 2 years my senior. I sort of knew who else were on the team and the workers who would be supervising me throughout. They cut me up on a Thursday at 3.30 pm after everyone went home for the weekend. The hospital was quiet the day I was cut open. I don't recall what time I came through but people around me said when I was sub-conscious, I was reading Surah Al-Ikhlas, over and over, and when they told me to stop, I didn't stop. When I was conscious I was still reading Surah Al-Ikhlas. So my eldest daughter was born in this manner. She came in at less than 3 kg. She had bright yellow hair (blonde) which got everyone shocked! When I saw my baby for the first time, she was still sleeping and I too wondered why she had yellow hair. The nurses started coming personally and started asking me whether I had an affair with a Mat Salleh! Can you imagine that?! I said there are no Mat Salleh in Kelantan and that I didn't sleep around at the beaches. For a long time I couldn't find an answer for why my little baby was a blonde. I thought very hard and suddenly I remembered seeing many of my ascendants as blondes. So, my little baby girl carried the blonde gene in her. I decided to trim away her yellow hair because people started talking. I never told people around me that some of my ancestors were Orang Putih and that they were blonde and with blue & green eyes. That's because it is very very very rare to find a Malay with yellow hair and coloured eyes other than black or brown. After many years of hopes and also fear, my daughter became a Chinese girl with slant eyes. She became so Chinese that an Australian bus driver thought I was a nun looking after some Chinese orphans! Of course I just smiled. What is special about my eldest daughter?  She likes stars and the blue sky. She took up Aerospace Engineering and is now completing her MSc. I am supposed to do proof-reading for her this Monday. She had followed my research on The Early Malay Doctors since 2002 when she was 18. She is 28 today. She has helped me to find evidence of the first Malay doctor, Dr Latifah Bee Ghows. She sent me a newspaper clipping of Dr Latifah Bee Ghows. She also helped take photos of Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin when I interviewed him on 11 May 2007 at his home in PJ. I think at that time she was new to the digital camera or my camera was difficult for her to operate. So the photos did not come out ok except for 2 pieces which I can use for my book. I have not called her yet nor emailed her. I did not have time last year too. "Happy 28th Birthday"!


I am very lucky to have him as a contributor for this research. I found his father (Tan Sri Prof Dr Ahmad Ibrahim) in Geni, then I found a sister who was a graduate of USM in Pharmacy. She referred me to her eldest brother who responded towards the end of January 2011. I had actually closed the research on The Early Malay Doctors as I had thought I had completed the needed research and the next step was to submit my manuscript. However, he responded with information for 2 early Malay doctors in Singapore - Dr Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail and Dr HS Moonshi. I had to decide whether to postpone manuscript submission and work on the additional  2 doctors, or forget them this time around and continue with my plans for manuscript submission. I wrote to USM Publishers that I had contact for 2 additional doctors and would like to continue research and writing, which I did from Jan 2011 to Jan 2012. Towards the end of 2011, I obtained further information about 2 other doctors - Dr Abdul Aziz Omar and Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias. As I had 4 doctors to work on, I hardly had time to do anything else but research and writing on the 4 doctors. Despite his age catching up, Dr Mohamed Tahir helped a great deal as he had met both the Singaporean doctors and that was a big help for this research. The details were very hard to obtain but we finally got all that was needed for the 2 biographies of the 2 Singaporean doctors. Though busy with clinic practice, he helped me and read the draft biographies for the 2 doctors and searched for more evidences and photos. He met and interviewed a lot of people on my behalf, in order to get the info needed for the 2 chapters. He also took photos of the old College of Medicine building and the Tan Tock Seng Hospital when he had time despite his hectic schedule. So he put in a lot of effort for this research and wrote articles for the blog - Singapore Hospitals. I am very grateful that he did all that he did for this research. TQ. "Happy 68th Birthday"!