Thursday 4 June 2015

cakap cakap...There is no going back - not when our future is so secure, comfortable and without financial worries...for after all is that not what most of us want of life?

Every day in many ways I am reminded that it is a privilege to call Australia home...a privilege I am grateful for almost every single day of my life here. Within two weeks of arriving in Melbourne my wife was diagonsed with dementia. We were told that there is no cure for dementia and that slowly but surely, there will come a time, sooner if not later, that my wife will be needing 24/7 care.

What do I do? We have just arrived in Melbourne, no jobs, no saving and an apartment costing over $430 a week to pay for. I went to the government for help and this is what the Australian government did for me and my family.

First they got me out of that apartment that I could no longer afford to live in and gave us a two bedroom apartment in a brand new housing development for the "financially challenged" - that is what I have now become. They call these kind of developments social or public housing. I call it heaven.

The rent is 30% of our income and everything that we need - groceries, banks, public transport trams are within a few minutes walk from where we live. Entry into the building is secured and one storage and parking space is provided for. It takes less than 10 minutes by tram to get into the city. You could say that we were living within the inner city suburbs!

What about transport? We have managed without a car for the first two years but now that my wife can no longer get onto the trams or the buses I decided to get a car. We saved for a few months and got ourselves an old Mercedes Elegance 200 1997 for Aud$1600 - with another Aud $800 for other on road costs. The car serves our needs and we have no problems maintaining the car financially.

What about groceries and utilities expenses?

The pension we get is enough for us to live on comfortably. All it took to get the car was to save diligently for three months. Once the car was bought we again revert back to the style of living that we were used to - eating good food and treating ourselves to what we want after taking care of our needs.

What I am trying to put across to you guys is simply this. We have a comfortable life on the pension we both get. Can you imagine what I would have to do if I am faced with the same situation in KL? In KL if I do not work I do not eat.

On top of our pension, I and my son, get a generous  allowance for taking care of my wife. Why? Because if we do not take care of my wife she will have to be hospitalised and the costs would be very high for the government - so why not pay me and my son a generous allowance to take care of her. The government saves and my son and me are given a generous allowance to do something we want to do  - taking care of my wife 24/7. 

Why am I sharing all this with you? It is just to tell you that they do things differently here in Australia. Here the needs of the individual and the care of those who are in most need of care  - the ill and the aged and the underprivileged - is the responsibility of the government and the government takes that responsibility seriously. For people like us - old and without the means to earn a decent income - it gives us the ability to live our lives with grace and dignity.

I shudder to think how life would be for my wife and me if we were living in Malaysia when she was diagnosed with dementia. But then when I decided over 30 years ago that I no longer wanted to call Malaysia home I already knew that there were better places to live in elsewhere. I already knew then what Malaysia under Umno would become for even then I could see that I would not want my children to grow up in a nation where one's race and religion had so much to do with your station in life and your ability to make something of yourself in life. Today at 67, that decision made some three decades ago, has paid dividends for me and my wife. There is no going back - not when our future is so secure, comfortable and without financial worries...for after all is that not what most of us want of life?      

comment from saudara Abu Hassan Adam:

Saudara Hussein,

 Entah macam mana dalam banyak hal kita sependapat. Cuma bezanya ialah suadara lebih 'kuat' dan bersemangat dari saya. Saudara masih terus menulis dan memberikan komen saudara untuk dibaca sedangkan saya merasakan begitu 'lemah' dan tidak bersemangat untuk teus menulis memandangkan segala apa yang saya tulis ibarat seperti 'anjing menyalak bukit'. Oleh itu saya mengambil sikap 'tidak peduli' juga seperti yang diamalkan oleh kebanyakan rakyat Malaysia pada hari ini.

Kadang-kadang terfikir juga. "Apa perlunya aku menghabiskan masa dan memerah fikiran untuk menyelematkan negara. Lebih baiklah 'bersama' dengan golongan yang terus 'relax' dan terus menerus merompak wang negara"

Terus terang saya amat setuju dengan sikap dan tindakan yang saudara lakukan itu. Saya merasakan ramai golongan yang 'sewaktu' dengan kita berpendirian seperti yang saudara rasakan itu. Kehidupan yang dilalui di negara ini (Malaysia) sudah tidak sama dengan apa yang pernah kita alami. Saudara agak bertuah kerana dapat 'melarikan' diri daripada keadaan yang amat tidak menyenangkan fikiran dan perasaan di negara kini.

Apalah erti kesenangan sekiranya walaupun tinggal di rumah besar, berkereta besar tetapi kesengsaraan berada di mana-mana. Apalah erti kebahagiaan sekiranya kezaliman, penyelewengan dilakukan secara berleluasa.Dan yang amat malangnya ialah ramai diantara rakyat Malaysia terutamanya orang Melayu (seperti kita) semacam menyetujui apa yang berlaku walaupun dalam keadaan 'tertindas'.

Mungkin agaknya latarbelakang pendidikan kita ( zaman British) yang menyebabkan kita lebih menyanjung negara orang putih. Saya tidak mahu mengulangi apa yang saudara coretkan mengenai  Melborne. Cuma saya juga merasakan keadaan sedemikian wujud di London. Walaupun saya tidak tinggal di London tetapi hampir setiap tahun saya akan berada di London dan tinggal bersama anak saya di sana.

Dengan jelas dapat dirasakan perbezaan pemerintahannya dan cara mereka mentadbirkan negara. Semacam wujud apa yang dikatakan sebagai 'civilization'. Kita merasa senang dan aman dan sentiasa berfikiran terbuka.

Mungin apa yang kita rasa dan kita perkatakan tidak disukai oleh kebanyakan rakyat Malysia. Mungkin ada yang mengatakan, 'hujan emas di negeri orang hujang batu di negara sendiri'. Mungkin peribahasa ini sudah tidak sesuai lagi agaknya. Ini tidak pula bermakna bahawa 'orang' seperti kita tidak sayangkan negara ini. Namun disebabkan kesayangan yang sedemikianlah yang menyebabkan 'kekecewaan' yang amat sangat apabila kata-kata kita tidak dipedulikan.

Salam. Hanya luahan hati seorang yang kecewa.

4 Jun 2015 

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