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Sleep Easy ( The Lady with a Big Heart Teaches How)
"Saya banyak kasihan dia orang" [ I sympathize with them a great deal.] These seemingly ordinary words came from an extraordinary person. Madam Lai Lee. She said this after I told her about how Pertubuhan Hospice Seremban does its very best to help terminally-ill cancer patient, and about our endeavours in trying to acquire a building to hold our meetings and house our equipment as well as to provide therapy for our patients. ( it's been seven years since our inception and we still squatter at the palliative ward holding our meetings there, whilst our equipment squat at the homes of our volunteers.
Although her words may seem ordinary. Lai Lee's response was not. This admirable lady has eked out a living for about 50 years, and she currently works as a domestic helper in several homes. ( This is how we became friends, as she works for me too.) Yet, she thrust RM20 into my hands when she received her hard-earned wages at the end of the month and has continued to do so at the end of every single month, for about three years without fail.
Lai Lee also, gamely agreed to be a pledger at our Charity Dinner to raise funds for our Building on 2/07/05 at the Town Hall. She bravely took the stage to share her story and inspire everyone, despite shaking in every limb from stage fright. She touched our hearts by relating that although she did not earn very much, she managed to contribute RM20 every month by saving on her marketing bill; she saves money by not eating meat or fish 2 to 3 times a month.
"Tak susah" she says. "Semua orang beri sedikit-sedikit macam RM10 ke RM20, nanti jadi banyak! Saya satu orang tak boleh, semua orang mesti tolong! [It's not difficult. Each one of us contributes a little like RM10 - RM20. It will accumulate to a lot. I alone cannot do much, everyone must help too!]
Lai Lee's homegrown wisdom and philosophy culled from six decades of going through the "University of Real Life" bears much thinking, and if I may say so, emulation. Malaysians could stand the to take leaf from her book and together help build a home for Pertubuhan Hospice Seremban. No amount is too small when it comes from a big heart.
And if that's not sufficient, Lai Lee may have also discovered a cure for insomnia. She says " Malam bila saya nak tidur saya fikir orang sakit kanser yang saya tolong dan saya senyum. Saya boleh tidur dengan baik." [ At night before I go to sleep I think of the terminally ill cancer patients my contribution may have helped, a smile cracks my face and I sleep easy.]