Jan 25, 2007

Mr Wang Will Help These Poor People

    ST Jan 25, 2007
    Pay up or we keep baby, Indon clinic tells poor parents

    JAKARTA - An Indonesian clinic is keeping a baby until her impoverished parents pay the escalating bill for her delivery and care, according to reports on Thursday.

    Her father Sutrisno, who pedals a bicycle-taxi, is 2.2 million rupiah (S$384) short of the 3.5 million rupiah owed to the clinic, The Jakarta Post reported.

    The 33-year-old has so far paid 1.3 million rupiah to the Murni Asih clinic near Jakarta after borrowing from friends to cover the birth of his baby girl, earlier reported as a boy.

    'I don't know where I'll get another 2.2 million rupiah from,' said Mr Sutrisno, who earns between 10,000 rupiah (about S$1.50) and 15,000 rupiah a day.

    The clinic in Bojong Nangka allowed his wife Sumarni, 30, to leave on Jan 2 but is keeping the baby until the bill is paid, said the Kompas daily.

    It said the bill has been mounting day by day as the clinic adds the costs of looking after Alfiah, who was born near midnight on Dec 21.

    'We'll take care of the baby and will return...(her to her) parents as soon as they've paid the 3.5 million rupiah in full,' clinic spokesman Fendi Sihombing told the Post.

    He said the parents had initially agreed to the arrangement, adding, 'We didn't take the baby hostage.' Holding a baby until its parents pay is not uncommon in Indonesia.

    The ministry of health runs a health insurance programme for the poor but the couple did not have the relevant card.

    Mr Sutrisno had failed in his efforts to obtain one as he did not have valid proof that he was a registered resident of the neighbourhood, the Kompas said. -- AFP
If someone will tell me how to contact this clinic or the baby's parents, I will pay for this medical bill. But I want to be sure that the money reaches the right person.

Maybe I can do this through the Jakarta Post. I'll send them an email.

A baby is God's gift to its parents. Clinics should not confiscate babies - it makes me quite angry to read such a story.

25 comments:

the online cynic said...

It is good to hear that you will be making an effort to donate to this unfortunate Indonesian family.

Will any of our own homeless Singaporeans be recipients of your charity as well?

Mr Wang Says So said...

No, currently in Singapore, I'm only donating to support families with chronically sick children.

moomooman said...

Actually those rich indonesian chineses in Jarkarta just need to donate $1 each, and the problem will be solved, plus a construction of a new hospital with the loose change.

Anonymous said...

online cynic,

By your last sentence, your cynicism to whom is clear but I feel it is wrongly placed! The plight of our homeless fellow countrymen would not be helped at all by such directed cynicism that displace the proper attention. The cynicism will serve a better purpose when it is directed at the right party,i.e. corporate body, who has a hand to perpetrate such plights.

No purpose served in your cynicism.

Saleh said...

Sometimes I get this feeling that, outside of your legal expertise, you are quite naive in the ways of the world. Sob stories are a dime a dozen in third world countries, and what the Indonesian hospital is doing may be the best for the baby. If the "parents" can't afforf to pay for the delivery, how will they feed the newborn? And who's to stop them from selling it for cash to a childless couple? Even in a "first world country" like Singapore, babies can be bought openly. My colleague's brother paid $20,000 for a 3 month old last year after fruitless attempts at fertility treatments. You might as well send a check to NKF or Youth Challenge. BTW, when it's time find a place for your child in a "good school", the current market rate is $5,000.

Luna said...

Adding on to anonymous 11:3, I do not think it's right to measure charity, especially if you are not the one doing it. If you think certain areas of our society deserves more attention than others you are right. However, we all have the right to choose and target particular groups that we want to donate to in our own personal capacity and preference. I can go on and on to say that - Will any of Ethiopia's children be recipients of your charity since they are literally dying off on the streets of hunger and etc etc the list continues... It all comes down to the fact that doing charity itself is an act of kindness no matter who the recipients are, and I find it ridiculously rude for the online cynic to be cynical about it.

saleh,
I think Mr Wang is arguing on the grounds of principle that a clinic should not confiscate babies while you are arguing on the grounds of pragmaticism. The world runs somewhere between both areas, and if I were to follow your words, you are also naive to think that we should decide or the state should decide what's best for the baby and dismiss the child's parents absolutely. Not all of such parents would sell of their babies like you said, and most of them do so with the intention of their babies getting a better life if a better-off family adopts them.

The fundamental problem here lies in the fact that the state tries to take control and interfere with the rights of their citizens, but the problem such poor citizens are facing is ultimately stemmmed from the corruption, the poor standards of living, ridiculous policies from the state itself. So either ways it is the parents and the child that are victims.

Mr Wang Says So said...

So far I have not received any email reply from the Jakarta Post.

Anonymous said...

Where is the moral dagger thrower? I've got a judgemental online cynic for him.

moomooman said...

Saleh,

I read with interest about "buying" a place in good school. Could you please elaborate on this. This has a implication on the integrity on our education system.

But I don't mind insulting the integrity if it only cost me 5k.

moomooman said...

Saleh,

I read with interest about "buying" a place in good school. Could you please elaborate on this. This has a implication on the integrity on our education system.

But I don't mind insulting the integrity if it only cost me 5k.

Harvey said...

"We'll take care of the baby and will return...(her to her) parents as soon as they've paid the 3.5 million rupiah in full."
The keywords in the sentence is "take care of the baby". So how did the intention of the clinic change to "confiscate"? is this an expression of cynicism on the judgement of our neighboring countries? You-know-who is "taking care" of our national reserves, and paying himself $2.6 million ++ "guarding it", how come not a single Singaporean even raised the "c" word?

Lau Min-tsek said...

Dear Mr Wang,

you may wish to contact the Indonesian Embassy.

Do note that I have dealt with the Embassy staff before and you do need to be..... persistant..... in your request.

Maybe a better idea is to contact the Singapore Embassy in Jarkarta and ask if they can help. I think this way is the safest in ensuring that all the money actually reaches there instead of a percentage ending up in some official(s)' pocket.

Ugly said...

Come on, Mr wang is prepared to do a decent thing. Sure, there are many sob stories in third world countries but I cannot believe that Saleh is ok with the hospital's actions "the Indonesian hospital is doing may be the best for the baby".
Go ahead, Mr Wang. U may have just helped one family.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Saleh probably thinks that the clinic is looking after the baby because the doctors and nurses love him so much that they cannot bear to return him to his parents LOL

Anonymous said...

Great to hear u're going to help the baby in Indonesia. Greater still if I can hear that u're going to help S'pore's poor, right at your doorstep. But then, it's much more romantic to help ppleon distant shores isn't it, just like Mrs Jellyby in Dicken's Bleak House who was forever helping poor natives in Africa while her own brood was starving and neglected right in front of her eyes.

Meanwhile, here is something I've picked up from one of the Internet websites going on ad nauseam abt the poor in S'pore. The most interesting thing in the comment I've snitched lies in the last sentence:

Even 5 years ago, when I started work in the Chinatown area, there were already the signs of the very poor appearing on our streets.

What really shocked me was once, I was walking back from a night out, at about 3am, by Maxwell Road, when I saw an entire family, two parents and 3 young kids - say 7 to 10 years old, working on the streets, sorting through papers and cardboards for resale.

While they were not homeless, they must have been in dire straits, for all of them to work.

I have to say, I was stunned, because I was in lala land, coming back from the UK, with its much more severe homeless problem, and having spent 2 years back thinking that there was not such a problem in Singapore.

A few thoughts crossed my mind:

1 How would the kids be able to do well in school to break out of the poverty cycle?

2 Why was there no reporting of this segment of society?

3 How is it that they have not chosen to look for Public Assistance?

4 Was it a good thing that they have chosen to work, rather than to beg like what we see in so many other countries? Is the work-ethic really so ingrained into our people?

5 Was there an invisible city that exists behind our shiny buildings and modern malls - that you would only see if you took the less trodden path, or wandered around at ungodly hours when *respectable* people with *regular jobs* were safely in bed dreaming their middle class dreams?

My experience in the past years was that (5) is quite the case. It all depends if you want to see it or not.

I do not think that many of these would be willing to take handouts from us, for whatever reason, and I would not discount that they have a sense of pride and dignity that prevents them from begging.

Thus, I WOULD buy things that I do not really need, and pay more than what is asked - is this silly? Not for me.

Do what you feel is right, but do something, however small.

As for those who do beg, let your conscience guide you - my guess is that if they are local, it is quite an extreme situation that would have forced them into doing this. We are such a small city, with such judgemental citizens, what would it take to drive someone to beg? There is almost no way of knowing if the person is genuinely in need or not, but do think of your relative situation - is that $1 dollar or so, as important to you as to the person asking? If s/he is a cheat, well, let his/her consience be troubled, and not your own, for you have GIVEN.

There are those who helped to build our shiny city, and still have no means to have one hot meal a day because they cannot afford the 2 dollars or so.

All of us need to open our eyes... its the first step.

KA.

20 January

Mr Wang Says So said...

There is almost no way of knowing if the person is genuinely in need or not, but do think of your relative situation - is that $1 dollar or so, as important to you as to the person asking? If s/he is a cheat, well, let his/her consience be troubled, and not your own, for you have GIVEN.

While we are still on the topic, I would like to remind readers that I offer a free publicity service for charitable causes (see my sidebar for details). Feel free to email me if you are organising something, need publicity and think that I can help.


My encounter with a somewhat suspicious beggar is related here. Yes, agree with KA.

I was in fact planning to write a certain post about donating (or not donating) to charitable causes recently. But never got around to it. The post would have been about the circumstances in which I would feel inclined to help; and the circumstances in which I would not. I was planning to use a recent NUS upcoming charitable drive as an example of a charitable effort I would NOT support.

Anonymous said...

On this topic on personal cho, a recent blog-piece by a young sweet soul is worth reading. (http://sparklette.net/archives/my-2-pledge). It's about a $2.00 pledge and no matter how long she can sustain and maintain her pledge, everday that she does it is worth commending!

Mr. Wang, incidentally this afternoon during lunch at Plaza Singapura, I bought a $5 pin from, I suppose, the same white gentleman you blogged earlier on.

Anonymous said...

i'm from jakarta but frankly i didn't know where bojong nangka is. After some googling, i found that bojong nangka is near Bogor (Jakarta's satellite city). Hence, logistic wise is not easy.

However, if the news is already in newspaper, *usually* many kind souls would have helped them. So you can put ur mind at ease for the family.

On the bigger picture, there are so many "Sutrisnos" in Indonesia but I don't know what I can do to help them.

niko

Anonymous said...

I have read in the news that the hospital has "released" the child to the family.

Mr. Wang, i salute you for your kindness. It is always easy to want to help others, but to actually taking the action is not something that is easily done by all, including me.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, I got an email from a friend and this is what I call real charity for people who want to help the afflicted in foreign lands -- go eat yr heart out..
By the way, I will be going to East Timor tomorrow to look at the situation personally. There are 6 of us including 3 from our parish and 3 from Jesuit Refugee Services. Beside meeting the internally displaced people, we will be meeting up people from Unicef and World Vision to look at how we can help on longer term with education etc.

Please don’t worry about my safety, we will be staying with the Cannosian Sisters in the Convent and most violence are confined to the Timorese fighting among themselves.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Hey, this is indeed a commendable effort! If your friend ever needs some publicity to raise funds etc and thinks that my blog could help, please ask him to drop an email.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Does he have a blog, by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your offer. My fren doesn't have time to blog. She just goes and delivers the help that's needed, rather than gas abt it all the time, blaming this, that and the other.

However, should you or your visitors be so moved, u/they can make a check out to the Church of the Holy Family and mark on the reverse side "Timor Leste" and the funds should get to where they are needed. Better still, CALL the church and find out more.

Alternatively, visit the web site www.migrants.org.sg -- the site of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Workers (ACMI).

My fren helps run courses for maids and such, to give them more skills when they go home and hopefully those skills will last them longer than the pay they earn here. That is when she isn't helping out at regional poverty spots.

U see, Mr Wang, when people r so busy delivering actual help, they just don't have time to navel gaze or whinge. Like Nike, they JUST do it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous February 3, 2007 11:42 AM

I can't help but feel sorry that you are so sceptical. Yes, I applaud your friend for her altruistic acts. But to me, Mr Wang or any other who does help in other ways are also as worthy of commendation.

To me, it is not what you do to help that matters most but the motive behind and the heart that counts.

Anonymous said...

"I was planning to use a recent NUS upcoming charitable drive as an example of a charitable effort I would NOT support."

--> So which is it?