A Day At The Hospital

If you think that my ex-mother-in-law is going to start a fan club in my honour anytime soon, you probably also believe that there is a Tooth Fairy, and that the BN government is a clean government. On the other hand, if you think that I am going to form the same club in honour of my ex-mother-in-law, you’ll probably believe that I am Humphrey Bogart, and that if PKR ever came to power, it will conduct its affairs differently than BN. Fact is, my ex-mother-in-law never liked me, and I was never exactly in love with her in the first place: She never forgave me for marrying her daughter, and I never forgave her for letting me do it. But that’s another story.

Our differences aside, her request for assistance in getting her some medical attention isn’t something to be trifled with. Besides, compliance might even win me some brownie points which, in turn, might even earn me some favours from her daughter. Of course, this was in the days when I was still married to her daughter and I when actually gave a damn. So, I duly took her to GHKL where the doctors could take a good look at her.

At her request, I went into the examining room with her (I was much braver in my younger days). The reason why my presence in the examining room was needed was, if the doctors began speaking in English, I would be there to interpret. A reasonable request, I thought. So, in I went with her – like any dutiful son-in-law would.

As it turned out, my presence wasn’t really necessary after all. Within seconds, she got both doctors conversing with her in Malay, and generally got them doing whatever she wanted them to do. I shall never get over the fact how women from Negeri Sembilan always manage to do this; not if I live to be a hundred. Since my translation skills were not needed, I sat there quietly and relished the sight of somebody else bearing the brunt of her bullying tactics – for a change.

After a lot of history taking, testing, and prodding, the doctors were discussing possible provisional diagnoses. Though the medical terms were alien to me, I managed to figure out that the doctors were in disagreement. Much to my disappointment, it wasn’t over who was to administer the lethal injection. They just disagreed as to what was wrong with her.

“None of the above, Dr Karim! She is simply obese. Just look at the fat slob!” boomed the older doctor to the younger one.

The younger doctor, concerned about the remark, gently cautioned the older one. “Shhh! The son is there, sir. He might understand…”

“Don’t worry, Dr Karim. He looks too dumb to understand English!”


I was ready to blow my top when I caught my reflection in the mirror above the sink. Hey, I did look as if I was too dumb to understand English; there were no two ways about it. So, I took a few deep breaths and let it go. After they made out the prescriptions, I shook hands with both doctors and said, “Thank you, gentlemen. You’ve been very kind to my mother-in-law. We shall eternally be in your debt.” I led my ex-mother-in-law out of the examining room and didn’t bother to look back to see their expressions.

As we waited at the pharmacy for the prescription to be filled, she asked me, “What did the doctors say, Bangkai?”

“Oh, nothing much; there’s nothing that’s seriously wrong with you. And, Mak, they also said that you were the sweetest little old lady they have ever met.”

“See, Bangkai? I am not an evil person.”

“No, Mak, you’re not”

I should have been a diplomat.


14 thoughts on “A Day At The Hospital

  1. Thank you for starting my day with a smile. Btw, you did right, MILs (Xes included) should always be humoured. I was fortunate enough to have had a gem of a MIL. Today she is an ex-MIL, and still a gem (it’s her son who isn’t).

    Puteri Kamaliah

    You’re most welcome, ma’am. MILs are so important that sometimes I think that pleasing them does the job better than pleasing their daughters πŸ™‚

  2. Brader? People are gonna think I’m camping here for good… πŸ™‚

    I think you’re finding your ‘voice’, man. That trademark ending, leaving the reading hanging by a thread; quenched, wanting that extra sip but finding the glass to be already empty.

    The humor really works, bro’ but here I can’t help my vain and envious self trying to exert itself. So here’s a very minor critique and I would add the following to increase the impact of ‘whacking’ the two quacks. The reason is I was wondering if you had spoken in Malay at first but I found that out at the end of the following sentence AFTER the dialog.

    “… I shook hands with both doctors and said, in heavily accented Queen’s English (or clipped Bri’sh accent- ha ha), ‘Thank you, gentlemen. You’ve been very kind …'” πŸ™‚

    In any event I love the the humor and wit, bro. And to do it so wonderfully in so many words. The essence of humor is its brevity; too long and it falls flat. And here you have clearly succeeded and perhaps well on your way of mastering the form…

    I hope it’s fictitious bro, or are you filing it under ‘ autobiography’? πŸ˜‰


    How right you are (again)! There was no telling whether I spoke to the doctors in Malay or English. What would I do without you, bro! You must be one of those that Richard Bach calls ‘Teaching Angels’.

    No, bro. This is going to be filed under ‘autobiography’; like most things in ‘Tea & Scones’

  3. I admit to not having come by in a quite a while, but have managed to read your last few postings. And like what Mat Salo said, your writing was wonderful before, but it’s nothing short of superbly classy now! Sighs, looks like I’m going to have to somehow find the time to pop here, lest I miss out on excellent writing. Keep it up!


    Always good to have you come around, ma’am

  4. What – is this a writing club? Why is everyone editing you? πŸ™‚


    Why is everyone editing me? Er… maybe because I suck?

  5. No Mat, actually you should not be a diplomat, you should be a POLITICIAN. πŸ™‚

    p/s: Psssst, Mat Salo tu suka betul kat you ya? Heh.


    OK, I’m off to the nearest UMNO/PKR/PAS/MIC(?) office to jump-start my career as a politician:I’ll sign-up with the first one I see.

    I hope that when I become a politician, I will not have to engage in sodomy or handle C4 explosives in any way.

    Cheerio! πŸ™‚

  6. Blogreader..was thinking the same here.. πŸ™‚

    psst sir – is it a must to leave web&mail add ? how can i do without that?


    You can leave a fake email address and leave the URL field blank. Try it. It should be OK.

  7. Bangkai-san,

    Very sorry…that earlier comment should not have left my keyboard. Err…whatI meant was, and where was wifey all these time?But that`s vintage you all right.What`s unspoken adds to the greater mystery,and therein lies the rub.Time to stimulate those little grey cells, so says Hercule Poirot.


    Oh, you noticed, eh? The Eagles put it quite aptly in their latest song; she was “… just too busy being fabulous, too busy to think about us…”

    Kinda sad at the time. But not anymore…

  8. ex-mother-in-law? Does that mean you are available now?


    Flattering that you should ask.

    I am way past available, dear: I have long ago exceeded my ‘Best Used Before’ date πŸ™‚

  9. hahaha hello there! nice writing! i enjoy it! 3 month from know, u can publish a book!


    I am glad you you enjoyed your visit here. Masinlah mulut awak, hendaknya!

  10. Mamak,forgive her mamak.In this bless month all past sorrow are roads leading to heaven.
    Link of our past.Happy fasting bro.

    Pak Tuo

    How right yo are, bro. And you have put it very well: “… all past sorrows are roads leading to heaven”.

    I have long forgiven. This post is just me being dramatic; purely entertainment.

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