Today I want to be a harbinger of joyful news. This is about a wonderful man whose magic touch is healing as well as inspiring.
Prof. Wu was the Acupuncture Specialist at Tung Shin (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. I think we spent more time with him than with any other individual during our 5-month stay in Kuala Lumpur. Twice a week, every week - on Mondays and Thursdays - Prof. Wu would work his 'magic' on repairing and rehabilitating these ageing frames of ours.
On average, he would deftly insert 5-7 needles on top of my head, 1 on each side of the temple, one on the forehead just above the nose (which felt more than just a pinprick), about 5 or more on the stomach, 2-4 on each arm and 5 on each leg depending on whether the rickety knees have been misbehaving. I became a hedgehog, albeit a happy one during these sessions. This Sifu, this Master of his art knew what he was doing and knew it well. We had absolute confidence in him. He cured my sinus, improved my circulation, treated my colds and coughs and infection without me having to resort to drugs or antibiotics. He did a wonderful maintenance job on this pensioner. At the end of each session with Prof. Wu, we always felt relieved, relaxed and walked with an easier spring in our steps.
But there's more to Prof. Wu than meets the eye.
I had mentioned to him about my high cholestorol level. He listened attentively, as usual, and with a twinkle in his eyes he said, ".....must not makan nasi lemak." I gasped and said, "You can speak Malay?" He told us he had been learning Bahasa and from then on, we often had words like "tunggu sekejap", "sakit?" and so on, 'injected' in between the needle-punctures.
Why am I so astonished? Prof Wu was an expatriate Specialist from Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and had been in KL for just five years. I was touched that he took the trouble to learn and use what he described as 'Bahasa'. That speaks volumes for this National from the Republic of China.
But that was not all. Our niece Maria and her son Ariff suffer terribly from sinusitis. Ariff, bless his cotton socks, was brave enough to give acupuncture a go despite his fear of needles. He had about 12 needles on various parts of him but the worst were the ones on the face. Prof. Wu could see the pained grimaces and the near-tears and soothed this brave but frightened little boy with "....aaah, macam Hang Tuah". Ariff survived and was able to boast about the scars made by the needles. (They were just little pinpricks which disappeared after a couple of hours, but you know what men are like - big babies!)
And Prof. Wu managed to leave me speechless, again.
There was to be another revelation which made me place this extraordinary man high up on my list of Honourable People. We love walking and on one of our walking trips we bumped into Prof Wu. He was observing a couple of frogs at the water's edge of this large pond. Upon our enquiry he confessed that a week before he had bought up 14kgs of frogs at Selayang Market and released them into this pond!! He was just checking to see if they're still fine! We did ask him later if he was a vegetarian or a Buddhist. He shook his head to indicate 'no'. He was just a very good man, and we had to tell him so despite his embarrassment.
Many many years ago, in the 1970s, there was this Prime Minister of the island Republic of Singapore, a Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who extolled the importance of the 300 top-of-the-heap Singaporeans, the Mandarins so to speak, on whom the island's success and survival depended on. And we all nodded respectfully.
Soon after that he went on to say that the Chinese (75% of Singaporeans are Chinese) should be proud of their 3,000 years of culture. Well, that left us - the 13% Malays, 9% Indians and 2.4% of Eurasians and 'Others' - a wee bit intimidated.
After all, it's not the total GDP, the per capita income, the size and prowess of the Armed Forces, the academic quality of the population and the high exchange rate of the national currency that justify "3000 years of culture".
No. True culture is to be found in this broad-minded man, with a huge heart and soul, a Sifu, a Master who extended his healing and caring to humans as well as other living things.
Prof. Wu returned to China in early December 2009. We will miss him but we will never forget this giant of a man.
Kalau lah hidup tidak berbudi,
Umpama pokok tidak berbuah.
A life that's lived without kindness,
Is like a tree that bears no fruit.