Saturday, 12 January 2013

Aunty Chom

Sg Pinang

According to my late mother, Sg Pinang was diverted and a big drain made to contain the river tributary. If I'm not mistaken, Sg Pinang runs under my late mother's house (my sister's house today). Since the earth beneath is not original solid earth, my grandfather only build 2 wooden homes on top of the buried Sg Pinang. The land now contains my late grandfather's house and my late mother's house. The 2 houses are side by side on Jalan 7, Cangkat Minden.

Kg Sg Gelugor

In an old photo of Dr Che Lah, it says Kg Sg Gelugor. As far as I know, there is no such village by that name today. We went to visit Aunty Chom in the Malay village by the sea at Gelugor. I'm unsure whether this is Kg Sg Gelugor or some other name today. On my return leg to Kelantan, we exit Minden Heights and I saw 3 old signboards in this village which were very close to the main road Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah that indicated this is Kg Sg Gelugor. I didn't take any photos of the signboards as Affandi drove too fast and I didn't have time to pull out my camera as I least expected to see the 3 signboards.

Dr Che Lah (up on the verandah), his eldest sister (second left) and his children at Kg Sg Gelugor 1953
4-Junction of Minden Heights and Kg Sg Gelugor, viewed from Minden Jalan 1. 12 January 2013. The Malay village is beyond the traffic lights, closer to the sea and land reclamation for constructing the peripheral expressway. The Malay village is now land-locked by 2 modern expressways, and the villagers no longer have free access to the sea. The main delicacy of this Malay village used to be chutney (acar buah).
A brick community hall of Kg Sg Gelugor is its landmark. Most old houses here are wooden. Modern houses have a brick base and a wooden upper floor. 12 January 2013

Habib Noh's Descendants

Aunty Chom
Aunty Chom is Kalsom bt Shaik Emam. Aunty Chom is the elder sister of Aunty Intan, Kamaruddin's wife.

There are 3 sisters - Aunty Latifah, Aunty Chom and Aunty Intan. The 3 sisters are related to Azeeza Begam Habib Noohu, and all are descendants of the Muslim saint Habib Noh Alhabshi who is buried at Makam Habib Noh in Singapore.

Aunty Chom, a very good storyteller of practices of traditional Malay medicine. She related the treatment of diabetic foot in Penang dialect, which was captivating to listen to.
Aunty Chom was cleaning rice grains when we visited her last evening. Here, the spoiled rice grains and foreign matter are separated from the unspoiled rice grains. The spoiled rice grains are called "padi-padi" and are fed to birds in the garden. 

Sadly, Aunty Chom passed away on 4 January 2016. She is interred at Masjid Jamek Gelugor.


Kamaruddin bin Dr Che Lah

Aunty Chom updated us about Dr Che Lah's only son, Kamaruddin (my Uncle Din). According to her, Kamaruddin is still the head of public works in Seberang Prai, the same department that sees to the recent development of Bertam, where USM had intended to build its Advanced Medical and Dental Institute. According to Kamaruddin, Bertam is an oil palm plantation land.

Aunty Intan informed that Uncle Din (Kamaruddin bin Che Lah) retired in early 2015.

Kamaruddin is a chronic diabetic and depends on traditional healing methods despite his father was an early Malay doctor and had owned Glugor Klinik, and his Chinese mother was a long time matron at the maternity hospital in Penang. He's scared to go to hospital. His son has a more modern outlook and calls the ambulance for his father's sake. Both Kamaruddin and his son Faisal were trained in Australia. However, Kamaruddin has fear of hospitals. His son understands his father's fear of going to hospital.

Diabetes Education

Fears of Going to Hospital

Many Malay men today still have fears about going to hospital. These fears have never been properly documented nor understood by modern doctors, nor are they studied by medical students. It is very difficult to make a Malay father believe in hospitals or go to hospital. They would rather take to traditional Malay preps which are "more earthly".

In Malay traditional medicine there are no quick cures but most herbs used in Malay traditional medicine are for protective purposes and health maintenance. There are many herbs used by the Malays to slow down diabetic complications. Traditional Malay medicine is of limited use as supplements but it cannot deal with diabetic complications such as diabetic foot or gangrene where limb amputation becomes necessary.

The IMR in Kuala Lumpur

There are however, other means of overcoming diabetic foot problems done by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) in Kuala Lumpur, but these researched methods are limited to certain places as there are no nationwide plans to extend the services from research to the community. One of interest to me is the use of specially breed maggots to consume debris from diabetic foot. The maggots are applied under sterile conditions and then the injured foot bandaged. These maggots grow to enormous size and are then removed. Usually the diabetic foot heals; after some time, new tissue grows in place and the diabetic foot then heals well. I've seen a lot of progress of such therapy but it is still not available to many diabetic foot sufferers and I don't know what the problem is. Why can't they train the patients or supply the maggots to the sufferers and ask them to look after their own foot? I think there is a lot to be done for the diabetic foot sufferers.

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