Positivity matters

14 May 2019 / 19:50 H.

    POSITIVITY is a driving force which can be channelled to achieve much goodness and great success in human endeavour.

    Lately I have been inspired by two young facilitators at a health centre. For 30-40 minutes, they have kept groups of people absorbed in the programme they are promoting from 10am to 7pm daily except Sunday.

    Their enthusiasm is inspiring. They are literally on their toes for eight to nine hours. The talk is interspersed with a song and dance act to keep the audience attentive. The important thing is that they do this in the right amounts.

    Audience participation is a key element in their business strategy. They are encouraged to share their health problems.

    What could be more heartening for senior citizens seeking a cure? What could be more useful for people with chronic ailments than to hear first-hand accounts of a successful healing process?

    Of course there are drugs, medicines, treatments, alternative therapies and healing practices. Social interactions among Malaysians are personal and intimate and people freely share their health experiences.

    Doctors trained in traditional, conservative medicine are rightfully cautious in endorsing new discoveries. Their view is that studies must be evidence-based and long-term to identify real effects.

    On the other hand innovative western-trained doctors are not afraid to advise “You are your own best doctor because you know your own body best”. Nurse your aches and pains in ways that produce good effects on yourself.

    Which brings me to the thing about doctors’ bedside manners and interpersonal communication skills. Apart from the Hippocratic Oath by which physicians swear to uphold ethical standards and principles including confidentiality and non-maleficence, doctors are obliged to communicate with their patients in clear, caring and polite ways.

    Language and communication skills are a crucial part of medical or dental undergraduate studies as I discovered when I was teaching English for special purposes at Universiti Malaya. Describing the anatomy and internal organs is never arbitrary but definite. Asking questions about your patient’s aches and pains is a skill to be learned as listening to them carefully is.

    Positivity in a healer, motivator or leader is therefore something that can be learned. Some people have the gift of the gab and are naturally confident and persuasive. In history we learn of national leaders who held sway over their people because they were able to deliver their messages convincingly. Eloquent religious leaders leave their followers enthralled and stronger in their beliefs. Unfortunately, some of them may have bad intentions that inspire negativity and disaster.

    Among the young inspiration acts like a miracle drug as we see in the huge following of Korean pop groups. Malaysia’s young political leaders should take a leaf from their business strategy to win the hearts and minds of Malaysians. Or even the communication strategy of Zuhri and Lawrence in imparting the company’s advertising campaign. “We are giving you free treatment and rewards, so please help us to spread the goodness”.

    The positivity which these two young movers inspire is indeed contagious. The interethnic mix of their following attest to the fact that when there is a common cause which they believe in, Malaysians of all ages, ethnic and socio-cultural and educational backgrounds will come together in the pursuit of a harmonious existence. They share the dream of having a healthy, prosperous life.

    So much so that a friend remarked, “We should form an alumni of this expanding group of Malaysians”. We greet one another happily and ask after one another’s health when we meet daily. The camaraderie is genuine and sincere from the expression on our faces and the hope in our eyes.

    Memang ada harapan untuk Malaysia yang kita cinta!

    Datuk Halimah Mohd Said


    Association of Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason


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