I have written before about the tendency of some nationalities to express their distress in a highly emotional way. My Indonesian wife freely admits she is inclined to overreact in emergency situations and other moments of stress.
Such was the case when my seven-year-old son was hit by a golf club while taking lessons a week ago. It’s a regular weekly get-together with some other classmates as they try and master this sport which has brought money, misery and immense frustration to people as varied as my eldest son and Tiger Woods.
My youngest son decided he also really enjoyed the game, hence the weekly lessons. Unfortunately for reasons which are not entirely clear, the regular coach was not able to make the lesson that week and left the group of youngsters under the supervision of one of the staff at the driving range.
Cleary the individual had not had much training in supervising kids. He decided to demonstrate a swing with one of my son’s clubs which went straight into my son’s forehead just above his eye, releasing copious amounts of blood that poured down his face.
At this point the mothers started into what might be called Indonesian “panic mode” and were honest enough to tell me that it was only the calm demeanor of my son, who simply asked them if he was going to be OK, which calmed them all down.
They phoned my wife, who was picking up another of our children from school, saying they would take him into the nearest hospital. She quickly called me speaking in a language with which I was unfamiliar, at a pitch slightly below hysterical. I only understood “Mike”, “eye” and the name of the hospital and was left to guess the rest.
I promptly shot off to the hospital to discover him sitting in the emergency room relatively calmly despite all the blood. I would like to think he inherited this self control from me but I may be wrong. He did indeed have a gaping hole in his forehead down to his skull. Unfortunately when the Doctor inevitably prescribed several stitches he also went into panic mode as he has an absolute phobia of needles.
Finally after a couple of hours wait, inhaling a little gas, 45 minutes in the operating theatre, he was on his way to recovery, albeit already exploring other sporting pursuits. The only shock left was mine. I was given the bill.
To quote my friends from MasterCard:
Golf Lessons – RM400.00
Hospital treatment – RM4953.00
One fully recovered son – Priceless
On a different and closing note, our long time contributing editor, Helen Ong, is moving on so this is her last Penang Promenade. She started the column nearly five years ago and has done an excellent job keeping it readable and convincing expats in Penang we care about them. We wish her well.
She is being replaced by Michelle Grimsley who is, if anything, even more active in the Penang expat and local community so we are delighted to welcome her on board – her column starts next month and she is already busy making us even better known in Penang. Look out for news of our big event in that wonderful city a little later this year.
Have a good month.
Source: The Expat Online, August 2010
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This article has been edited for ExpatGoMalaysia.com