KUALA KUBU BARU: Lau Looi sits on his bed with a troubled look on his face.
He says he is bored from staying in the hospital ward but something deeper is causing him distress. “My heart is very restless,” he said.
This Chinese New Year will pass by uneventfully for him, as it has for the past few years since being put in welfare homes.
“There is nothing to celebrate here,” he said when asked how he felt about Chinese New Year celebrations.
Even a treat of mandarin oranges failed to cheer him up. According to the ward doctor, Lau has been feeling depressed over his stay here.
When asked what was on his mind, Lau only said: “I don’t know how to say it.”
His depression is bolstered by anxiety over his future, as news has it that his three other mates may be separated into different homes by the Welfare Department.
“Can’t we go together?” he asked when informed of the update.
Lau, 59, and Ah Meng as well as two others — P. Muniandy, 64, and Jessica have been staying at Hospital Kuala Kubu Baru for the past two weeks after they were rescued from an abandoned old folks home in Taman Wahyu.
A fifth, Leong Soo Ah, has since gone to live with her daughter after her son claimed her shortly after the rescue.
Nurses say that although he keeps mostly to himself, Lau is quite attentive and listens in on conversations and sometimes helps as a translator.
“He is quite concerned about his housemates but feels especially attached to Jessica.
“He started crying when she was taken to the Registration Department in Putrajaya to make her new MyKad,” said one nurse.
A slightly more receptive Ah Meng also found nothing much to celebrate this Chinese New Year.
Ah Meng, who said he was from Raub, Pahang, added that he remembered having reunion dinners at his family home with his mother, sister and brother.
“The house has been sold. I have been homeless and have not celebrated Chinese New Year for a few years,” said Ah Meng, who is left with only the clothes on his back when he was rescued from the home. Recently, a man has come forward claiming to be Jessica’s brother and the National Registration Department has assisted in arranging for a DNA test to establish her identity.
Hospital director Dr Jasmeet Singh Sucha Singh said there were three other patients who had been abandoned at the hospital ward for almost a month.
“The patients are free to stay here as for as long as they need to. They will only be discharged if a family member claims them or if they are placed in a welfare home.
“Our only concern is that they could contract nosocomial infections (hospital acquired infection) from other patients after staying in the hospital too long,” said Dr Jasmeet.
With the exception of Leong and Jessica, there does not seem to be a happy ending in sight for the rest especially with the festive period around the corner when families are reunited.