One night in 1989, during a heavy downpour, I was walking home along Jalan Batu Caves after night class when a motorcycle whisked past me. To my horror, the pillion rider whom I suspected to be an Indonesian construction worker nearby, snatched my handbag and in the process, I was dragged a few meters away before slipping down into a monsoon drain almost four feet deep. Despite being in a state of shock, I frantically yelled for help. Two Malay youths manning a Ramly Burger stall not far from where I fell saw what had happened to me. In split seconds, they came running towards me and one of them had a wooden pole in his hand. He quickly lowered it down and helped me out from the drain. By the time I was out of the drain, I was completely covered in mud and rainwater. I also suffered some cuts and bruises on my limbs.
“Kakak, you okay ke?” they asked me in a voice filled with concern. I could only nod my head weakly. After thanking them profusely, I walked home in the rain which thankfully, helped concealed my tears.
In 1999, when my mother was warded in the Ipoh General Hospital for kidney failure, she shared a ward with female patients from other races, all sick and weak themselves. Like my mother, they could not afford the expensive private hospitals but made do with whatever facilities that were given to them. On many occasions when my mother was suddenly hit by a pang of hunger in the middle of the night, these Makciks who slept on the next bed would not hesitate to share a few coconut buns or some cream crackers which they hid under their pillows, with my mother. They even insisted she drink the warm Milo so preciously held inside their thermos flasks. Their kindness and sincerity still warmed my heart long after my mother was discharged from the hospital.
Finally, one night in 2007, after visiting my father who was also warded in the same hospital for heart failure, an old Malay couple offered me a ride home after seeing me waiting alone at the taxi stand outside the hospital.
“Amoi, nak pulang rumah ke? Tinggal mana? Mari ikut sama, kami pun tinggal dekat Bercham. Dah lewat dah, teksi tak banyak, lagi pun bahaya seorang perempuan naik teksi. Mari Amoi, kita angkat sekali.”
So I went home that night in their rickety car. They happened to stay near my father’s house. Needless to say, I thanked them profusely when the car paused in front of father’s house. They both gave me a toothless grin before driving off.
They are some of the best Malaysians I have ever met. Simple folks, just like you and me. Ordinary people leading an ordinary life. No hatred, no discrimination, no hidden agenda. Just pure kindness and sincerity.
To the two Malay youths who helped me out from the drain, the Makciks who shared their coconut buns and warm Milo with my mother and the elderly Malay couple who gave me a ride home one late night and to all my Muslim friends and readers, Selamat Hari Raya.