Saturday, 14 April 2012

Visit to General Hospital Penang (Hospital Pulau Pinang)

I returned to Penang today, 13 April 2012. My husband and I pushed off from our house in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan and we reached Penang (island) at 3.30 pm. I went home to perform Zohor prayer and to fill up my water bottle straight from the kitchen tap. Penang has chlorinated domestic water supply and my sister says it is safe for drinking from her kitchen filter.

I then left my late mother's (now my sister's) Penang home and headed for General Hospital Penang (GH Penang). When we arrived at the traffic lights in front of my late grandfather's old clinic, Glugor Clinic - now Teh Dental Surgery, I called Mr Tan Hock Chuan from my handphone (h/p). I informed him I was in Penang and was heading towards GH Penang. I told told him I knew half the route to get there. He said to go around the racecourse and take a right turn to GH Penang. I had no idea of the roads and names so we decided to try our instincts.

From Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah we went down Jalan Masjid Negeri (old street name was Green Lane) and took the flyover to Jalan Air Itam. We went past my old school, Methodist Boys School, and stopped at the first traffic lights and the 4-junction. We didn't know where to go from there. But there was an ambulance just in front of us and it turned into Jalan York on the left at the traffic lights and we jumped at the idea to follow the ambulance. Where else would the ambulance go if not to GH Penang? When the traffic lights turned green, we turned left into Jalan York and saw the ambulance again. There was one car between the ambulance and our car. We waited for the traffic lights to turn green and the ambulance sped into the road after it turned right. It was lost from our sight. I noticed familiar surroundings. We were already by GH Penang by chance!

Main entrance and Block A, Hospital Pulau Pinang.

'But where could the main entrance be', I wondered. My husband said we'll go down this way and he swerved the car left into a small entrance (main gate) of GH Penang. I didn't know whether it was public entrance or not as I didn't have time to read the notices, if any. I had thought we came in the wrong way. We went straight down the road in front of Block A trying to find an empty parking lot. We went right to the back and side of Block A to the pink block next to it. I called Mr Tan Hock Chuan to inform I had arrived in the parking lot and asked him where should I park my car. He was already waiting for me in the parking lot at the end of the Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC) and asked for my car details. I said my car is a silver-pink Toyota Altis DBJ 7113. He said he was in the carpark too. I noticed him in light green shirt - he was on the phone and I quickly got down from the car to meet him. I waved at him and he knew it was me. He found a parking lot for my car and that relieved our problem instantly. It was hot out in the parking lot. Mr Tan and my husband exchanged greetings and we quickly went inside the pink building where Mr Tan works.

Mr Tan brought us to the 4th floor to show us some old photo frames in the hallway. I took a close look at all the photos on the wall and guess what I found? There was a group photo that had Dr Ahmad Ezanee Merican! Can you believe that?! A photo of a young Dr Ahmad Ezanee Merican, smiling among his friends. he appeared so healthy that I find it hard to believe that he had passed away of three cancers.

Mr H. C. Tan
Affandi and Mr Tan
Dr Ahmad Ezanee Merican (27) is standing at 2nd right. Photo from GH Penang, circa 1956-57. Reproduced with permission of GH Penang, 13 April 2012.
Biodata of Dr Ahmad Ezanee Merican: He was born on 17 April 1929, in Penang to Dr AO Merican and Che Pok bt Abdullah. Dr Ahmad Ezanee Merican graduated from the University of Malaya, Singapore, with MBBS in 1956. He was popularly known as Dr Ezanee Merican. Following graduation, Dr Ezanee Merican served at the Penang General Hospital for his housemanship (1956-57). He married in Johor on 12 December 1957. He quit government service to practise privately at his late father's dispensary in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Mr Tan then brought us to the 3rd floor. He introduced me to the guard at the entrance to the directors' offices. We went to see the director but she was busy with a meeting. We talked to the girls at the director's office. Then we sat down to wait. Another man in blue shirt came to ask about my work (writing) so I told him about my work. I told him I had collected information about 43 early Malay doctors and prepared their biographies, and that I researched them for 9 years. 

At the entrance to the directors' offices. Mr Tan is at right.
Juliana Mat Lazim and Mr H. C. Tan
We then sat down to wait to see Dr Yasmin. In the meantime, I called and spoke to En Mohd Hashim. Juliana had asked for my business card and I gave her my last card to give to the director. Then I was called in to see the director. Both my husband (Affandi) and I went in with Mr Tan. We were pleasantly received by the director. We sat to talk about my work and she was very excited indeed to meet me. After we had discussed a phone call came for the director. In the meantime, Mr Tan and I got ourselves ready for a photoshoot with the director. When she was done with answering the phone I requested a photo with her and Mr Tan. She agreed.

With Dr Yasmin bt Sulaiman, Director, Hospital Pulau Pinang. I'm standing with Mr H. C. Tan. Photographed by Haji Affandi bin Haji Hussien.

We had to quickly exit because the director was 10 minutes late for her tender board meeting that evening. We thanked her for her courtesy and kindness in accepting a rather awkward visit without an appointment. We also thanked her courteous staff and we left. 

Mr Tan walked us down to the car park and made sure we were safe inside the car. We thanked him for his courtesy for accepting our surprise visit, for his kindness in accompanying us on this once in a lifetime visit, for providing a lot of information about GH Penang, and for helping us meet everyone including the director.

I enjoyed the pleasant trip to your hospital and meeting everyone. You are special and wonderful people. Thank you everyone. I hope to get to come and visit you again.

Prof Faridah Abdul Rashid
Flamingo Hotel by the Beach, Penang
Room 717
1:37 a.m.