Was talking to Lya last week and she told me about an incident tht happened to her a few weeks ago..an incident which I consider to be most appaling. Here’s what happened:

Location: Tanjung Malim, Perak.

Lya’s mum has asthma, and sometimes she gets very severe attacks, not often but it happens. A few weeks ago, she had an attack. Lya was at home at the time with her mum, and quickly did what any daughter would do upon seeing your mum frantically gasping to breathe, dialled 999 for help.

  1. The customer service like 999 operator – you would expect the operator to have some sense of urgency since she’s handling an emergency, but NO she was taking her own sweet time asking Lya for her address [shouldnt there be a database for addresses, like the one Mc’d, Celcom, Pizza Hut has? so that people who are in the state of panic dont have to give their home address? what if it was Lya’s mum who was making the call cos no one else was at home, she’s gasping for air and she needs to give her add??insane!] Then once done with the address part, the operator in her customer service like tone said “Sebentar ye, saya sambungkan ke balai Polis” [Hang on, I’ll transfer your call to the Police station] Huh??
  2. The “Takut Sesat” Policeman– Once the call got transferred, Lya had to give her add, AGAIN! then the policeman asked her to do the most utterly ridiculous, unreasonable thing “Boleh tak tunggu kat luar taman, takut ambulance tak dapat cari rumah?” Hello??? Ridiculous or what. Lya of course gave him a piece of her mind. And then for double dose of ridiculousness.. the policeman asked her “Hospital mana yang paling dekat?” Say what?? Shouldnt they have all this info at a click of a mouse?? At this point, its already minutes since Lya made that desperate call for help thru 999, and she still wasnt getting the help she needed.
  3. The “Super Hero” &  driver– The ambulance showed up after 30 minutes! Appallling! And there was only a hospital assistant and the driver. Lya’s mum was on the first floor of the house, extremely weak and the assistant asked Lya to “tolong pimpin mak bawah” Pimpin? Where’s the stretcher??? I wasnt there, but just listening to Lya telling me about all this nonsense, got me so pissed.

It was just awful. Lya was in tears, anyone would be, seeing your mum getting weaker by the minute and help wasn’t there. Lya told me when she was staying in the States, her mum had a similar attack, she called 911,and didnt have to give the operator her address [good], the operator even gave her instructions to calm her mum [good] then the ambulance with more than one paramedic arrived at her house in less than 3 minutes [excellent]. that’s how it should be.

I would want to be assured that whereever  my family, friends and I are at in this country, we can count on getting timely and proper medical assistance when we need it. I hate to imagine what would be the outcome if Lya’ s situation happened in rural areas. Having a top notch education system, where children are educated, characters are mould, and a healthcare system that is close to flawless are the amongst the most basic needs of every citizen and these needs should be catered to. Must get the basics right.

Ask any Malaysian if they cared more about having a Malaysian in space or getting assurance that their parents can get medical help at the push of 3 numbers? Don’t think it’s gonna take a rocket scientist to figure out the answer to that.

I doubt that anyone would be thinking bout Malaysia’s participation in space exploration while watching his or her mother fighting for her life and getting measly help after a painful 3o minutes.