RECENT events in Lahad Datu have garnered much media attention. The perceived lack of security in our land and along our shores have prompted certain individuals to mock and politicise the efforts of our security forces.
I have been in Lahad Datu since the events unfolded and I have much to say regarding the heroes in our police and armed forces.
Most of our security forces arrived immediately after the percieved invasion of our shores.
They were made to stay in schools and community halls in Lahad Datu where basic amenities were lacking.
I have seen a soldier admitted with a painful skin condition but he neither complained nor moaned. He was more than eager to get back to his camp.
His loyalty and responsibility to his country and its people humbled me.
It’s always painful for me to lose my patients. It’s worse to lose a comrade and a friend.
Our security forces have suffered gruesome losses during these past weeks.
Have we stopped to think how they would have felt to lose someone who woke up next to them, fought alongside them and then never returned to his bed at night? It takes divine patience and strength to go through life after that.
We have treated our wounded men in hospital. None has so far complained regarding the dangers and perils of their jobs.
They have a sense of acceptance that their job demands such sacrifices.
Most are taken care of in the wards by their fellow comrades.
I have yet to meet a group of less demanding patients when they should be the ones to demand the most from us.
A good meal thrice a day is something we take for granted. Have you ever stopped and wondered if these men have had theirs?
I have seen a soldier guarding the entrance of my hospital from the early hours of the morning till late in the evening as I go back after work.
He had not had his breakfast or lunch as his friends were all spread out and positioned in different places that day due to some security reasons and refused my offer to buy him food as he was still on duty.
I don’t think I went without a meal a single day even as a house officer.
My friends and I feel safe in Lahad Datu. We are comforted by the fact that such dedicated souls have laid their lives on the line to protect ours.
We are humbled by their sincerity. We stand in awe of their courage and resilience.
I have heard that doctors have one of the most demanding professions but I don’t think I would last a day in their shoes.
DR DHARMARAJ KARTHIKESAN
Hospital Lahad Datu, Sabah