Friday, May 26, 2006

Day 4 - Visit to a Chinese Physician

After breakfast, Mr Yao brought out a huge basin of strawberries for the kids. He had gone out early to buy them. It costs only S$4! Many students wanted to buy some when they go back to Singapore.

The kids went straight to their respective classes once we arrived. Principal Chen came in to see how we were doing. Mr Yao asked for his help to recommend a Chinese physician for Jaymes. Principal Chen's wife is the head of the Chinese Medicine in a local hospital. He agreed to make an appointment for a specialist for us.

I did my work as I waited in our classroom. After lunch, Principal arranged for one of his staff, Wu to bring Jaymes & I to the hospital.

We took a taxi. I was glad that Wu came along as the road that the taxi took was so bad, full of potholes & it wasn't a tarred road. And the area looks so shabby. I would have freaked out if I was on my own.

The hospital was just as run-down. I didn't see any lifts. I went up to the second floor past small little rooms which sat one white-haired physician each. We came to the second last room.

When we walked in, Physician Chen Hongwen, a white-haired 70 year-old man was seeing a patient. I was told to sit down in the room! There were 4 other people in the room. An old couple, who I presumed to be patients (I only knew they were the doctor's friends at the end of the consultation), a man & his young son. The old man was sitting right in front of Dr Chen & smoking in this tiny, enclosed room! Dr Chen was seeing a young boy, aged three or four. We could hear everything that was spoken. OMG!

When the doctor signalled that it was Jaymes' turn, I hesitated because there was the old couple in the room, They have no intention of leaving. Dr Chen felt Jaymes' pulse. I can see the dirt in his fingernails. He was dressed in a long-sleeved shirt & tie. He had on the white doctor's robe & he looked every bit the doctor. But I thought it wasn't very professional to have others listening in. And allowing others to smoke in front of young patients. Moreover he was chit-chatting with his friend when he was taking Jaymes' pulse. I guessed that's the way of life in China.

Dr Chen is a very experienced & learned doctor. He gave us a prescription & told me where to buy the medicine. It cost 50 renminbi (S$10). That is considered very expensive in China because it costs only a few rmb (less than 2 Singapore dollars only) for a normal consultation. I had consulted a specialist.

We went back to school. The other 5 boys were resting in our classroom. I told Jaymes to take a rest but he wanted to go dance class.

Something happened when we went to dance class. Alvin was kicked out by Ms Xu. He had disrupted the class & caused the girls to lose concentration by making a fool of himself, so the enraged teacher threw him out. Mr Yao tried to intervened on behalf of Alvin. Alvin then went in to apologise to her but she told him to get out. She was really mad this round.

There was Jaymes, the only boy now in the class.

Alvin was unhappy with the teacher's decision. He was moody. He wanted to be in the dance class. He felt it was unfair of the teacher to treat him this way. He felt he was a victim because being so tall & having such big feet, he looked clumsy when he danced. That made all the girls giggled & laughed whenever he danced. The teacher thought he did it on purpose.

The other boys started condemning the dance class....blah blah blah... That was when I lose my cool & broke down. I chided them & told them the reason I was here. All of them are healthy & yet gave all sorts of excuses not to dance. Jaymes do not have to dance because of his medical problem but he chose to try it. This is an experience he would not forget & would not be able to repeat in Singapore.

Mr Yao walked in, very angry. He kept quiet, just sat & stared ahead in the classroom. The boys were scared, especially Alvin, he didn't dare sit down. Then Mr Yao walked out.

I saw Alvin wrote a note of apology & quietly placed it on the teachers' desk.......

After dance lesson, the kids had a break before commencing their daily report writing. It's back to the boisterous, head-splitting noisy environment.......... God!

We left the school at 6.30pm. We had dinner once we reached the hotel. Han Long took some food & went back to his room. He was eating cup noodles again. Ms Poh shook her head, she couldn't do anything.

I had a bath & went out with Jaymes & Alvin to the supermarket to buy some beverages. Han Long wanted to go with us but I rejected him because I couldn't handle him. We went to the internet cafe to send emails. The boys played games for a while. The streets were empty except for a few cars. We wanted to go to the supermarket but it closed at 9pm. KFC was still opened but we have only 17 minutes before it closed at 10pm. We bought Kentucky Fried Chicken for supper.

When we got to the 4th floor room, many girls were outside their rooms. A hotel staff was vacuuming one of the rooms. Swarms of small, black flying insects had flown into the hotel rooms through the open windows. They rested on walls, ceilings & occupied the bathroom. The girls were terrified.

When I got back to my room, Ms Poh was attending to some students. The girls were sitting & lying on my bed. Some of the girls came up to our room to bathe because they were frightened of the flying insects which also flew into their bathroom. There was a queue to use our bathroom.

Ms Poh was giving out Strepsils, laxative & prunes. The kids have sore-throats, cough & constipation. They had too much crispies, crackers, cold drinks & biscuits. They wouldn't listen. They don't eat vegetables, some don't drink enough water. So they are suffering for it, but the kind teacher, Ms Poh is kept busy with these minor ailments. The poor woman hadn't got a good rest since we left Singapore. She wakes up at 5 am & sleeps past twelve. sigh.....

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