Just over a week ago I was getting my varicose vein removed. A procedure that would have meant days off work and 6 weeks of wearing compression stockings in Canada was done here by laser and four days later I was running. The doctor used local anesthetic, talked to me the whole time about skiing and running and allowed me to see my veins at the end, but he wouldn’t let me take them home as a souvenir. For the record, they looked tiny, a bit slimy and pink. Not at all like something that contained a potentially dangerous blood clot. A few hours later and a hefty bill for insurance and I was out the door.
No wait times, a fancy hospital, and state of the art treatment- private health care certainly has its advantages. Being from Saskatchewan (home of Tommy Douglas , the founder of MediCare) that statement feels blasphemous. Is it fair that “the rich” should have better access to healthcare? Not really. But when you’re insurance is paying and you’re in Malaysia, it’s easy to go to the dark side.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. A day somehow synonymous with the love and the center of the same circulatory system can include bulbous varicose veins. The day of overpriced chocolates and cards. Like all holidays, the celebrations and customs make perfect sense – right?
It wasn’t until the lady who cleans our house sent me a text “Happy Heart Day Ma’am Trina And Sir! Thnks For The Love” that I even realised what day it was.
This led me to wonder if “heart day” is even a thing in Malaysia. So I googled it of course and this is what I found courtesy of Wikipedia.
Islamic officials in Malaysia warned Muslims against celebrating Valentine’s Day, linking it with vice activities. . . . . Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, head of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which oversees the country’s Islamic policies said that a fatwa (ruling) issued by the country’s top clerics in 2005 noted that the day ‘is associated with elements of Christianity,’ and ‘we just cannot get involved with other religions’ worshipping rituals.’ Jakim officials planned to carry out a nationwide campaign called “Awas Jerat Valentine’s Day” (“Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap”), aimed at preventing Muslims from celebrating the day on February 14, 2011. Activities include conducting raids in hotels to stop young couples from having unlawful sex and distributing leaflets to Muslim university students warning them against the day.
On Valentine’s Day 2011, Malaysian religious authorities arrested more than 100 Muslim couples concerning the celebration ban.
I also found out that while the Muslim population does not celebrate the day many other Malaysians do. The Malaysian Star reports that the MasterCard Love Index Survey (there is really such a thing) found an average of RM730 (US$201) were spent on buying a gift (http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/02/13/malaysian-men-spend-more-on-valentine-than-women/).
Tonight the KL tower is lit up red (maybe for Valentine’s Day or for Chinese New Year) and I have my foot propped up with a compression stocking no longer required. Life might not always have straight forward answers, but it’s the twists and turns of seeming hypocrisy that keeps it interesting.