In any case, that is not really what I wanted to blog about. Rather, I would like to share my observation which I have seen many times before, but have never put in writing.
When I arrived at IJN, there were already many people of different races waiting at the laboratory for their turns. The seats were full. Most of the people waiting were elderly people. I opted to wait outside the laboratory while keeping my eyes peeled for my number to be called.
While waiting, I saw an elderly Malay pak cik exchanging his by-pass experience with an elderly Chinese uncle.
There was also a Chinese lady who was probably in her sixties giving encouragement to a Malay woman slightly younger than herself. The Malay woman looked somewhat worried, but the Chinese lady managed to calm her down.
Then there were three elderly gentlemen, one Indian and two Malays, talking and commenting about their health and the medication that they have to take.
I smiled when I saw all this. I have noticed this before whenever I am at hospitals and medical centres. When you are there, people don't look at you as a Malay or a Chinese or an Indian. People look at you as a patient who is in need of treatment. And believe me, IJN is one of the places that you can actually see this happening.
As I was observing, the elderly Chinese lady who was earlier giving encouragement to the Malay woman beside her waved at me. She pointed to an empty seat nearby. I smiled back gesturing my thanks, and walked to the empty seat.
Shortly after, it was the Malay lady's turn to give her blood sample. After the procedure was completed, she walked out and promptly shook the Chinese lady's hands saying good-bye.
Then it was the Chinese lady's turn. She went in for about five minutes. And when she got out, she walked pass me and gave a cheerful smile. I smiled back while nodding my head.
Each of the elderly men that I mentioned got in when their turns came. And each time, when they came out, they would shake the hands of their newfound friends wishing them well and saying good-bye.
To see this happening right before my very eyes, where perfect strangers of different races with nothing much in common safe for their illnesses, chatting merrily and shaking hands when bidding farewell, was somehow humbling. The people that I observed were mainly elderly people who were over 50 years of age. I sincerely wonder if the young generation has the same quality as these elderly people.
Over the past many days, I have read that sports can unite people of different background. Aside from sports - and some would argue, music - another uniting catalyst is perhaps the shared concerns on health.