Saturday, September 11, 2021

Patience is virtue

Being patient is definitely a thing that I unlearnt and relearnt in my involvement with emergency response and humanitarian response. The level of patience is totally of a different level and I would never have thought I would be able to cope the way I've done so far. Things that is planned can really go haywire and you are left with the option of plan and wait. Wait. and wait. hahaha Gila lama nak tunggu for things to work or what was planned to receive any confirmation. 

Its totally chaotic in the ways of managing expectations. Never easy though and it can be really frustrating at times where it challenges your mental health to the maximum. I guess partly I am doing it not as my full time career but juggling my life with the normality that should go on. More so in this pandemic era. There are so many things to consider and I am in a way risking and exposing myself to possible simple issues that can affect my future. But i guess its carpe diem isn't it? Asking if I regret doing all this? Hell NO!! Haha I would do it all over again because it is definitely once in a lifetime experience! 

I was aware of this risk before coming. Though there was a miscalculation of how fast the situation grew and I was stuck in the middle of it! Its world history happening and still ongoing. Though my contribution when I was there may not be as significant as the ones where the bigger authorities are doing negotiations, fights etc but What i learnt most was what normal people really hope and want. They want the same thing as what we others want in our lives! Nothing different! Its just being the pawns and insignificants, hence it is just going to be their life story and livelihood of their future generation.

Despite out of the country, it is not easy to catch the first plane out due to what has happened to the world since 2020, the pandemic. Again, another period of waiting to be endevoured despite my mind already fixed to home at the moment. It can be a different future for me back home to but I guess its time to crawl back into my reality.  

The real last day

8 September was my last day in the land of the Afghans. After multiple cancellations of movement, this was the day that we were told the evening before of our possible movement. Having gone through few disappointments, I tried not to be to optimistic and did not really inform anybody about the possible movement.
And yes, we were to be moved by 1pm and it became surreal. My heart was pounding both on the still uncertainty as well as the sadness of leaving this setup I have been in the past 2 months. Our movement to the airport was smooth and still I was pessimistic that the plane may not arrive!

When the time came, it was such a relief but we knew that unless we were off from the next airport, then only can we feel we are safely out. Things that came about internationally in that past 24 hours certainly did not offer much hope for the smooth movement!
Alhamdulillah, we arrived in Dushanbe circa 730pm (airport ni pun satu hal, buka malam je! hahaha )

And then only, it sunk in. My mission in Afghanistan is over.. for now. 

The hope


Thursday, September 02, 2021

Kemana kita anak-anak Pashtun


** 90% of Afghans live below the poverty line. 

Last Day yang tak jadi

Sharing few of the pictures when I thought it was my last official day in this project. I really do appreciate the brotherhood and friendship that was offered. Certainly an eye opener and made me feeling more humble and being thankful to god for what he has given me so far.
My boyz :)
Pharmacist & PMR
The amazing cooks
FieldCo office

31 August with a different meaning in 2021

Malaysia celebrated Merdeka last Tuesday on 31st of August. Coincidentally, it was another significant date in where I am at the moment. They have had a number of significant dates being free from oppressors over the years and 31 August 2021 was the latest of their struggles and tragic history. Malaysia is indeed very lucky in her 64 years of independence that we never really had a dampering crisis that tore the country apart literally. What had happened since 2018 is too miniscule compared to Afghanistan. They have been fighting all their might in the last 40 years. The unfortunate effect is very catastrophic to their mental well being for their proud tradition and civilization.
I was supposed to leave Afghanistan too on 31st of August as planned. Though things were uncertain since the 15th (the collapse of the Afghanistan government) but the expectations of how things would be bloody and messy did not happen. This was certainly a surprise to all especially the Afghans themselves. Being on the ground with functioning working people, it has been very eye opening experience to have an insight of what common Afghans want. I can tell you that its just the same like any other individual in the world. Nobody wants war and dysregulation of the society. Nobody wants unclear future for the next generation. Nobody wants to be isolated from the world. Its about family, national pride and overall wellness. We are all humans. We are all the same with the basic tank that needs to be filled. 
So when will i be leaving this land of the Pashtuns? At the moment nobody can give me the timeline nor answers. Its a very complicated situation at the moment. Taliban 2.0 is certainly doing the steps "by the book" to make themselves legitimate and recognized by the world. A feature perhaps surprised the present global powers who are definitely suspicious of their proven past. The world then must show their compassion and maturity to uphold the principles of "real" human rights and impartiality. It is definitely interesting times ahead. But this no government situation is Afghan for the last 2 weeks is not good too! It is for this reason that I am not able to exit as planned. 
I guess the next time we say "Merdeka" in Malaysia, we really have to dive deep to ponder, do we really appreciate what "Merdeka" means. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2021

We should be thankful how peaceful Malaysia is

It was not just Afghanistan news making the headlines in international news. Malaysia had her own share with the immediate news after the Afghan Taliban takeover. Our political turmoil is legendary. Since we voted in 2018, we have had 3 governments! 1 vote equals to 3 governments they say! Certainly worth it ! haha The famous Langkah Sheraton 2020 has now been takeover by deceit and treachery politics ( the way i see it) when all sides are trying to play out each other. At the end of the day I must symphatize PM tepi as again, with the downfall of TSMY - he is still not the PM.
Who would have thought, Pak Long Mail - the ever loving character that tells us about all sorts of SOP and the PKs is no the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I reckon nobody would have predicted this in a thousand years. Names like Anwar Ibrahim, Hishamuddin or KJ would be in everybody's mind but I guess its Ismail Sabri's rezeki to be the PM of Malaysia.
I guess opportunity goes to those who knocks it, right time right place. Of course it looks stupid, when after all the ruckus and political manouvers; at the end of the day the Deputy Prime Minister of the previous government ousted is now the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Macam tu je. haha
In contrast with what is happening in Afghanistan, there's no life loss or bloody tragedies. But our economy now is bleeding hence we definitely need a miracle strategy to rise from the effects of Covid pandemic which is nearing to its second year soon. 
At the end of the day, politicians are politicians. It is about power. Never about the country or idealism that they claim to uphold. It is proven so much in this power tussle from both the government and the opposition side. Sama je. I'm sure a lot of Malaysians dah menyampah and getting sick of the fiasco. However, we tend to be very forgivable too hence I do not see any possible "rakyat" revolution that will come about because of what had just happened. we are different from our neighbours. I always believe this results from the creation of majoritily middle class in our society.
Welcome DS Ismail Sabri, the 9th Prime Minister of Malaysia... but how long will he be one? 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Winds of change

Its 18 of August today. Its a different country of what it was a few days back. You know that the Taliban were going to takeover the country but nobody predicted the pace that it went. There are many factors that may contribute to this but I will not really comment on it. There are many opinions in the cyberspace on why it has happened the way it is now. 
The only thing that I can share at the moment is, in my place everything is going back to normal. Normal in the sense of the livelihood, shops are open, markets are as usual noisy, schools and universities resumed their sessions. However you can sense the caution as people are waiting what will be in store for them. The previous government of 1996-2001 comes back into mind with the restrictions and things that they did. Most Afghans had bitter memories of such. 
Perhaps what is giving hope at the moment is how the changeover of the government went. MAybe for the first time since many many years that it went peaceful. Of course there were casualties in the battles of the big cities before 15th but it is not as bloody as how it was with the latest takeovers in the past few decade. 
We had our scare 1 day after the country takeover in Kabul. The Taliban who took over the city announced in a panic mode urging everybody to go home and close the shops. The Talibs left their post and assembled in the main government offices occupied the previous day preparing to defend it. It was rumoured that maybe the city would be under attack by the special forces. There was panic in the air. People were crying and scared especially of the loved ones they left at home. It was very nervy with the continuous sound of rifle shot in the air for alarming purposes. We were into our contingency plan of worst case scenario and getting ready to occupy our saferoom.
There was more sense of all parties on the risk and benefits of such action. Multiple elders went to negotiate and brokered a peaceful outcome of this. The convoy never reached town and we were all very relieved. Me? Yup probably the first time I felt a bit tachycardic and worried. 
But What am I really worried about? Dunno really and it is interesting when I start exploring what I felt the other day. To say that I am afraid of death? not really honestly. To me its god's will and up to him of where and when it can be. Anytime really anywhere. Even in the best of securities and situation.
The press conference yesterday gave a glimpse of how Taliban reckon they would want to be perceived as. It was all about reassurance of all questions that come into mind. We can only hope for the best in this country. They have suffered enough, it is time to rebuild it properly and it needs a lot of willpower from all to unite together in this fascinating magical land. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Another goodbye as time is due

The week before it was our HR, this week it was our PC. Caroline! She has been here for almost a year and it is time to continue life and time for her to go home. This is my first mission and I must say that she had certainly brought a lot of encouragement to ease me into this project. Of course we started off with Covid issues but all seemed to fall into place.
The current period is certainly a trying times for the country as things continue to be volatile. But the setup is very ready for any possibilities. 
We had our customary BBQ 2 weeks in a row and i suppose will be some sort of tradition to celebrate in this isolated compound in between the uncertainties. Thank you Caroline for all your hardwork and we wish you the best in the coming future :) We will definitely miss your energy!

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

An enlightening BBQ to remember

It was Franci's farewell after 9 months on this project and I must say it was a lot of fun from planning, to preparing to executing and we ended it with a wonderful movie.
All that with no disruption from the OT over the weekend ! It was the day that i really ate up well haha


500 days of MCO

It has been more than 500 days now and the numbers are just creeping up. Its overwhelming all the hospitals and honestly I dont think the authorities really know what to do except just bracing for the impact.
My Covid19 story so far...

The education initiative: Intensive care for non intensivist in Covid ICU

It was supposed to be a small affair. Perhaps only a virtual talk to the new HPKK MOs who are coming in droves to open up more critical beds in HPKK. SOmehow, it became a viral thingy where it was up in even my mum's Whatsapp group? (Like what?? )
I must congratulate this lot for their initiative and perhaps the most congested zoom session we ever had. The youtube live viewers were consistently more than 1.5k in the 8 hours of streaming? Bayangkan.
I had to wake up early as 5 am  here is 830am in Malaysia. Keranamu Malaysia and luckily there were no cases during that time.
Alhamdulillah, Glad that I was involved in this sharing session and hopefully it would bring benefit and some guidance to the newbies (yang terpaksa) on the job.

A month since I've been away

Its almost a month that I am out of the country. Surprisingly it did not feel that long. Surprisingly I am fairly comfortable with where I am. Away from the typical hustle bustle of normal life but in a fairly demanding job to ensure that the medical services go well and without hiccups.
Surviving the first month without severe reprecussion is good enough I reckon but it is something to be expected. There were few dodgy ones but Alhamdulillah it was managed accordingly and patient was well.
After one month my relationship with the guys here has been well. It is fun to have them as colleagues and they do really look up to me for guidance. They are good enough to run the centre and I am sure they will continue to excel and flourish. Its interesting to see how they have progressed based on the progress report that I have been briefed from previous expats in a space of 4 years. 
The overall condition in the country can be a bit dodgy looking at daily updates on FB, twitter and mainstream news. Somehow whatever happens, this area that I am at maybe the last to be fought over and I am waiting patiently what will be the outcome.
How about myself? I believe it is such a rebreather for me to reset and reflecting back on my life. I have certainly not spoken Malay for a month now (maybe short ones on the phone) but otherwise it is interesting how English becomes the bridging language between the European expats, local Nationals and myself. Such a unifying language in the current context.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Aidiladha far away from home

Yes, here I am in a land faraway from home.
Celebrating Eid Ul Adha in a very modest way. This 
is mainly due to the security and Covid19 restriction reasons.
I am thankful that I have been granted this chance to be here, in 
the midst of chaos and confusion globally.
Taqabbalallahu minna waminkum