Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Men vs. Emotions

Sometimes I’m glad I’m a man. I notice that even saying the word sometimes is controversial, but, what the heck.
When I sit and think about times long ago when terrible things happened, I’m just thrown down to tears. Thoughts about my ill aunty, who means so much to me, my sister, and more over some people around me who are facing hardships in life; can really move me. Being a pretty sensitive person, I can’t blame my self for being such an emotional freak. (Mind you, I don’t cry in public). The thing is, I feel good after I cry. Somehow the tears act as a ‘tranquil factor’ that calms me from whatever I was thinking about. It makes me feel better. That’s it. As I walk down memory lane, I recall the times that I have cried: tears of victory in regard of straight A’s, when I watched this soap opera where a pregnant mother fell down and died and the son was shouting out and calling for her (yes, you got it right, it was a Tamil movie), when I was so mad with my friend that I gave him a punch and regretted doing so, and this once when I was publicly humiliated. I was so mad I cried. Not ashamed about it. Geesh. So much for being a man.
Which brings me to the question of the day.
Is it really wrong for a man to cry?
Does it really bring down the level of his machismo just because he is sensitive?
Personally, I think it’s ok for a man to cry; and I’m not saying this just because I cried. It’s terrible, I feel, that guys are set in such a scenario where they always have to be strong, brave and able do deal with everything that come their way. Which makes me wonder why the rate of committing suicide is higher in the male gender?
By this I’m not saying that guys have to turn to becoming sissies. Neither do I think that guys should cry for every single thing in their life. I just feel that men should have the liberty to be allowed to cry. They shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. I don’t know. Sigh. Maternal upbringing has thought me that it is all right to cry. Maybe that could be a reason that set me apart. Despite being brought up in such a way, I must say that my uncle played a huge influence in my forming to a ‘macho’ man. He always undermined me, pushed me to the limits, made me do what I hate to do, and made sure I dare not even shed a tear. I was known as a crybaby. Growing up with two different teaching, I guess I got the best of both. As I grew, I hardly cried (the moments I cried above were times when I was 5-12 years of age), only because I thought that MEN SHOULD NOT CRY. Actually, a little about my uncle, he was a little to the extreme. He never allowed me to carry an umbrella, wear pink, tight clothes, have long hair; etc etc the list goes on and on.
At the end of this, I’m sure the facts that I laid down about myself and what I think might raise some brows. Fuck it. Just let me know what you think, leave a comment.
"When you don't let boys cry tears, they cry bullets"
**click on Men vs. Emotions title above to a hyperlink on sensitivity & men**

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


When I heard that I was going to Pajam for the Reproductive Clinic Visit, I was excited. The joy of taking a long ride in an IMU van was something I was looking forward to. (Call me pathetic,hey, I see my glass as have full, thank you!). But when I heard that it was literally a kampung house, I dreaded going, until today, where I had no choice but to go to the ' Cow-boy's Town'.Upon reaching there, I must say, yes, It was a Clinic on stilts. The veranda was all washed this early morning and the place was pretty serene with only one female gravid. I looked at my watch, thinking to myself it is a longgggggggg wayyyyyyyy to 11am.Sigh.
After meeting the nurse in charge, my views changed. Sister Valli her name was and she is one dedicated nurse. The clinic is only runned by two nurses and she is the head of the clinic. What impressed me was the things that they do:
1) They attend to the patients who come to the clinic (obviously!)
2) She advises them on what to do, right down to informing the mother that she should stop putting moth balls into the closets, as the soon to be born child might be allergic to it.
3) She speaks to them in a very polite and friendly manner, which is something we can hardly see here in goverment clinics.
4) She then goes for her home visits later in the afternoon for antenatal care and also care for the newborns.
Now, this was the thing that interests me. In the clinic they have Pap Smear days, Child care days, family planning days,doctor days etc. Nurse Valli inspects on the growth of a child when she goes for her home visits. There is a category for malnourised children , and this is where she educates the mother on simple yet healthy recepies. If the family is too poor, there is a monthly subsidy for the family in the form of groceries. This is until the child attains perfect weight. Nurse Valli explains that sometimes, the provision just is not enough, and thus, she uses her own money to provide the basics for the stipulated families. Mind you, she said this in the most humble note. And did I mention that she goes to these home via motorbike that she had to buy on her own? This was only because she cannot cycle anymore. Yes, previously they were provided with a bicycle. Thank God she had enough money to get herself a motocycle. God....
Apart from that, Nurse Valli is so dedicated that she does her best to educate those in her town. When she notices a big crowd of ladies in the town getting vegetables, she walks up to them, makes friends and explains all about PAP Smear and how vital it is for each lady to be screened. This action is most definately not futile, as she claimed that these ladies actually do come for the PAP Smear. She also deals with orang asli and says that they are rather unhygienic and walk around without slippers. So, I'm sure by now you would have guessed what she has done. Yes, she bought them slippers (using her own money again!) and she tells the natives that the slippers makes them look nice hence, they should wear it all the time. She did not bother telling them about worm infections. Amazing. Talk about BS* in action. Nurse Valli has formed such a unique relationship with those from that town that she sometimes have patients coming there pouring out their feelings and their emotions due to family problems,etc. She takes time to listen to them. She has planned a 'Hari Masakan' for this Saturday, 16th April. The mission here is, yes, obviously to spend time cooking together and mingling, but she has a different purpose to it. She is going to take the oppurtunity to educate the people there about their health, conduct PAP Smears, teach diabetics how to make chapati, teach mothers how to cook healthy food, give some aged (warga emas) some medications and the list goes on and on and on. All in all she has really got her priorities set. She has also taken the oppurtunity to educate the 'bidan kampung' on home delivery and educated them on blood transmisable diseases.Later when questioned on her salary, she claims that despite being the only one working at times, she never gets paid for it. All the programs that she conducts, her motorcycle, travelling and working in two different clinics are all on her own expenses. But then again, with a happy note, she says that she does not mind not getting a raise and using her own money for the people. She said: " God knows me well, that's enough, and as long I can garner the patient's trust, it's all well".
So at 11 am, I was pretty reluctant to go back to IMU. Was hoping that I could go for the home visits. Tomorrow's batch will be able to do so.
I almost forgot to mention that with her 23years of experience she taught us pretty much about antenatal care i.e. using the foetoscope,measuring the fundal height, doing a PE**,taking the history, palpating the abdomen, and also explained the complications that can sometimes arise. She gave us all a chance to palpate and hear the foetus' heart beat.
At the end of the trip, I was elated to know that there are still some people out there, who are so very dedicated to their job, putting aside material importance and just being who they are, helping and aiding the community in every way they can. Their lives revolve around other people, and not themselve, and I think this is something that the world is losing on.This has inspired me much, and to Nurse Valli: SALUTE. =)
** Each clinics to where IMU sends their students are given a certain amount of money. Yes, Nurse Valli uses it solely for community purposes**
*BS- Behavioural Sciences
**PE- Physical Examination