Monday, June 4, 2007

Can You Fence For Yourself In A Foreign Land?

Last few days, I was busy helping a friend, China woman (Peh Du Mama) who brought her 2 sons, one 13 years old (pri 5) and the other 2 1/2 years old. The father owns a restaurant back in Shandong. They were renting a room 2 doors away from my home about 4 months ago. Story was, one morning as I walked passed their house, she called out to me and was very anxious asking for directions to a hospital near our place, whether she could take her youngest son to see a doctor. The son was having a high fever 40degree the night before and she was very worried as this did not happen before they came here. I gave her some directions and then went to the market to buy the daily papers. When I came back, I saw her desperation and I told to wait for a while before going to that hospital so that I can talk to my husband to see if there's a better option. The hospital around our place is a convalescence home and I don't think they take in emergency illness. After talking to my husband, we decided to take them to KK Hospital, a hospital for children and woman only. All went into the car and during those few hours (6hrs) while the son was under observation, she opened up to us. The room she rented for $400 and the last few days, the landlady wanted her to increase the rental using the reason that they consumed more electricity. Well, during the negotiation of the rental, it was all spelt out that it was inclusive in the $400. Since the lady wanted more, our CF paid additional of $50. I think it's reasonable however, the landlady now wanted to increase further to $900 claiming that they (the CF husband come to S'pore whenever he's free to stay for a few weeks) are now ocuppy her whole flat. So everyday she was telling our CF to increase rental otherwise she had to move out the next week. Every morning, the landlady would tell her so before she goes out to work. Our CF, on her own was very upset and doesn't know what to do or say to the landlady. The landlady was smart, she did not say nothing when her husband was around until he left a week ago. Besides that, when she ordered the cyclinder gas tank (since she cooked everyday for the children she paid for the gas), the delivery man told her he had no change for the payment and just left. Taking extra of about $6. After hearing her news, sometimes, I think some S'poreans are heartless, bullying a foreigner especially someone like CF. Lately I found out that she lived a very peaceful, no worry life back in China. Her husband took care of very thing from buying milk powder to paying bills for the household. Her duty was to take care of the 2 kids. A very secured and secluded life! Now here, she had to fence for herself and I think it's pitifully. Should we, as a housewife, lived our life around our 4 walls with the kids and husband, not knowing some basic skills on survivor when she had to be own's one feet. There's stories from the papers on/off how some women "lost" their breadwinner and were totally lost and had to depend on some associations for help. These woman are too dependant on their spouse and not mixing around enough to see the true colors of human behavior! Can you as a housewife fix a leaking tap, fix some crews/nut, drill a hole on the wall? I can, I learned to survive long time ago. I'm a few of those who like to test the ground or as my husband said, knock the head on the wall and learn that it hurts. Yes, I always like to fix things on my own using my own ideology. Don't forget, you pay alot for calling the service of the handyman for a simple job which you could learn within a short time. So back to where we were. A sick child on one hand and another an ultimatum to move out, she lost her voice the next few days. Couldn't eat or sleep. Fortunately we had a few solutions for her (flats for rental through friends)and told her to wait for her husband arrival and then we try to resolve the issue. A week later, her husband arrived and the issue was immediately resolved. Moveout over the weekend to our friend flat. All agreement was done within a day and rental was also paid in 6 months advance. She found back her voice immediately and was smiling happily again. 2 days later they moved out. We visited them later that day and the whole family was happy and chippy. Last weekend, her son called me on the mobile and said the mother is very sick. We went over immediately and found her lying in bed, cannot sit up as she felt giddy and her heart was racing. Took her to our GP and found out that she was down with flu. Anyway, lately the papers reported that the current flu, it takes a longer time (abt 2 wks) to recover. After taking the medication she seems fine and I spoke to her daily asking how she's doing. But then on last Saturday afternoon, the son called and said the mother is feeling very very sick. We rushed over and when she saw me, she hugged me and cried. She said she felt like she was going to die. She felt her heart beating rapidly and she's feeling giddy and cannot see well. She can figure me out but couldn't see my features well. Immediately we rushed her down to TSH and being a government hospital we had to WAIT our turn and luckily after waiting for about 45mins, she was on observation. A few test was done and the result was fine and she did not have any problem but we suspected she didn't really eat for the last few days, so her immune system was down and she had no energy. Doctor also concluded the same, so gave medication on her giddiness and ensure she eats well the the next few days and she should be back on her feet. I went to her house to cook for the children the last two days and stayed till around 7pm before I left. Luckily the eldest son was able to take care of the little brother, otherwise I would be having a handful. Today, she felt hungry the moment she woke up. That was a good sign that her system is beginning to be back to normal. She eat 2 slices of bread and a sausage. Lunch she eat veggies and some meat and half a bowl of rice. We talked for a long time and she shows alertness. I think sometimes when a person is ill, talking to them, opens their mind a little to take off any worries for the time being helps them to recover sooner. Tomorrow I will go over but will not cook for them. She basically have no one to talk to during these 8 months in Singapore except me in the last 3 months that we met. Her immediate neighbour only walk passed by and acknowledge each other but no small talk. So any of you out there if you are almost in the same shoes as my CF, please open up a little to read and see the world outside of your 4 walls! The hospital called me around 9+pm after we left the around 8pm that they need to see her again as the found a small lump in the lungs but don't think is benign. Told her husband about it but we are currently not telling her that but only she needs to go for further checkup in a month's time. Let's pray for her. Thank you!