Thursday, 19 April 2007

A joyful afternoon with grandmas and grandpas

I took a drive to Kajang Caring Old Folks Home on Tuesday and visited those grandmas and grandpas whom we met last December.

On a quiet weekday afternoon, everybody was just lazing around and chit chatting with one another. After a while, one uncle was so "in the mood" that he suddenly got up and asked one of the female mates to dance with him. Apparently, he was one of those dancers at the "BB Park" (A very famous amusement centre near Bukit Bintang Plaza/ Sungei Wang Plaza during the 1950s to 1960s) in his younger days.

We were all thrilled by the way they waltz around the porch as if it is a ballroom. The rest of the 'audience' were simply enjoying themselves by clapping hands and cheering them on.

I noticed that when there were fewer visitors at the home, I have a better chance of seeing the 'real' day to day behaviours of these old folks living with one another under one roof. Other than the elderlies, Caring Old Folks Home also houses the underprivileged with Parkinson Disease, Down Syndrome and Mild Mental Retardation.

I saw a few of the old men with mild mental retardation sitting on the sofa. Two of them particularly caught my attention as they did not let go of each other's hands through-out our conversations. They looked so 'loving' and for a moment, this awkward word came into my mind - are they mmmm (g..?). Soon, Wendy showed me to their "joint" beds; It was unlike other males who have their individual beds. It seemed that the shorter guy needed the taller one to protect him at night. To my total surprise, they jumped onto the bed and hugged each other right away. This is how they sleep every night, I was told.

I was truly amazed by Wendy's understanding towards the people under her care. She said to me, "Why fight with them? Can they understand the rules? Can they follow your dos and don'ts instructions? Moreover, we don't know how long these people will live, why don't we just focus on taking care of their needs and make them happy?"

I salute Wendy and her team. It is about trying to understand their world (although it is hard, I'm sure) and acknowledging their needs. Running a home for the needy is not only about providing them a shelter and food, it is definitely more than that; It is about "LOVE".

Wendy also took in a little young boy by the name of "Ah Boy". Since the day he was born, Ah Boy was rejected by his parents when they discovered he was an Autistic child with "cleft lip". With much counselling from Wendy, Ah Boy's mother had finally accepted him and took him to the doctor. Then came another blow, Ah Boy was diagnosed with 6 holes in his heart! All hell broke loose! Ah Boy's mother broke down and gave up hope. Finally, with the help of the generous public through Newspaper, Wendy managed to raise RM40,000 for the heart and lips surgery. Today what we see is a bubbly little boy who is like any other normal child…

On my way to my car, a lovely "cute" grandma came to bid me goodbye and sang to me her favourite song, see her in action:

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