Friday, December 15, 2017

A month in Malaysia

I've been home for over a month, and haven't blogged once. How lazy of me. It's not like I've been doing nothing all day, though -- I've actually been really quite busy. It's been a great time of rest, getting reacquainted with my guitar, getting reacquainted with old friends, making new friends, and spending time with family. Reading, writing, exercising, all that good stuff.

And eating, of course. So much eating. I always come home with a mental list of Things I Must Eat When I'm Back, and my family frequently asks what I haven't yet crossed off when we're trying to decide where to eat. I spent a few days in Penang with friends on our grad trip, and came home 1.5kg heavier. It was glorious (the food, not the weight gain). Of course, all this eating has had to be offset by gymming, because graduation is fast approaching, and grad pics (as I keep reminding myself) ARE FOREVER. Do I want pictures of a chubby me adorning the walls of my parents' and grandparents' houses? No. No, I do not. So gym it is.

Another thing I've been up to is helping out at the Teddy Mobile Clinic! It's a pop-up clinic near Segi College KL that provides free healthcare for the homeless and urban poor. I'd heard about it last year, but never got around to contacting them. This year, I met someone who was interested in helping out too, so we did! The set-up is impressive, really. There are registration stations for new and returning patients, an obs/BSL station, a doctors' station, and even a pharmacy station! The pharmacy station is manned by pharmacists who dispense meds like antibiotics, antihistamines, basic analgesia, basic hypertension and diabetes meds (metformin and CCBs, from memory), scabies treatment, and a variety of others, free of charge! Wound care is also provided by members of the clinic. It really is quite impressive.

I've been for three sessions and they've all been great. It's heartwarming to see so many people gathered together, giving up their Wednesday nights to help in whatever way they can. Many volunteers are, like myself, fresh med grads waiting for jobs. There are also non-medical folk helping out, and their contribution certainly isn't worth any less than the medical folk's. That being said, what warmed my heart the most was the MOs. Medical Officers were probably the most time-poor out of all of us there, and some of them you could tell were tired after a long day of work...and yet, there they were. That'll be me in a few years, and I really don't know if I would have the heart or energy to volunteer for something medical in my limited free time, given the opportunity. I can't tell you how much I admire the doctors there. Actually, Teddy Mobile Clinic has sent out a request for more doctors to join the team. If you fit the bill and are interested, have a look at their Facebook page here!

While at the clinic, I also bumped into another volunteer group called Street Feeders. One of their team leaders told me that, despite their name, their purpose isn't actually to provide food for the homeless. Instead, they were more about reaching out, hooking them up with job opportunities, and helping them back on their feet where they could. I've seen them around twice now, and they seem to mainly consist of teenagers and young adults. For this reason, I've found Street Feeders and, to a certain extent, Teddy Mobile Clinic to be incredibly heartening (TMC has a bit of an older demographic). It's so nice to see young people working together to do good things for society, giving up their free time to reach out to and help people they don't (yet) know. It's just made me really optimistic about Malaysian youth in general. Woo, millennials in Malaysia don't all suck! Four for you, Malaysian millennials! You go, Malaysian millennials!

In a few days, I will be leaving Malaysia yet again. It is bittersweet -- I am excited to be starting work as an intern, but leaving home is never easy. I will miss the city and its bright lights and its constant supply of things to do/see. I will miss the food, so cheap and delicious and readily available at any hour of the day. I will miss my family and friends here, whom I really only get to see twice a year. This time will be a little different, though -- my family will be coming with me, to attend graduation and see the sights around Tassie. I'm thankful they're able to be there for grad. Also, I'm thankful they're coming because extra passengers means extra baggage allowance, so I get to bring back more stuff, heheh.

For now, though, I'm ticking off the last few items on my Must Eat When I'm Back list and Must Meet When I'm Back list. I've done a pretty good job with both so far, I'm happy to say. I don't know when the next time I'll be back will be, so I'm soaking up as much of Malaysia as I can before I leave. Malaysia has its faults and many a flaw, but ultimately, it has always been home and will always have a very special place in my heart.

So long, Malaysia. Thanks for all the good food and good people. I'll see you again soon!

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