KUALA LUMPUR: Many may have noticed the presence of paramedics at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017), ready to assist athletes in need of medical attention.
There are more than 2,000 medical and health officials, as well as volunteers, working behind the scenes to ensure KL2017 goes off without a hitch.
This story is about some 1,700 officials and 500 volunteers, the unsung heroes who are a lifeline to the games that Malaysia is hosting from Aug 19 to 31.
To ensure that game venues and accommodation facilities were safe for athletes, officials and visitors, the groundwork of the health and medical officials for KL2017 had started last year, where they looked for vector threats, inspected the water quality and checked on venue safety.
Health and Surveillance Committee deputy director Dr Thaherah Nor Mohd Kassim said they also carried out fogging and larviciding at areas with risk of mosquito-breeding.
She said samples had been taken from the water supply of all facilities for analysis to prevent waterborne diseases.
Baharudin Baharom, who oversees the Food Quality and Safety Committee, said the committee had conducted checks on food and beverage operators not only inside the sporting venues, but also at the areas surrounding them, as well as hotels three months before KL2017 opened.
He said their 431-strong personnel worked closely with local authorities to ensure that food providers adhered to the cleanliness and health guidelines.
Nooraisyah Ali, from the Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur Health Office, said all food handlers and food truck operators at the venues had to undergo a strict vetting process.
She said hotels and caterers providing food for the games’ contingents and organising committees were also monitored throughout the food preparation processes.
She said the first shift would start at 4am, adding that officers would ensure expired food was thrown away immediately.
During big events like KL2017, there is a high chance of incidents that will require medical attention.
To face such incidents, the hosting committee has prepared state-of-the-art facilities at two Games Medical Centres (GMC). One is located at the National Sports Institute in Bukit Jalil and the other at Kuala Lumpur Health Clinic in Jalan Fletcher here.
GMC Committee head Dr Rozaiman Ebrahim said both clinics offered services ranging from emergency to outpatient cases, and even had sports medicine specialists.
He said both GMCs had 13 sports medicine specialists, 24 medical officers and 200 para-medics, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, radiologists, lab technicians and support staff.
He said GMCs were equipped with laboratories to handle cases involving KL2017 athletes and officials. For example, the result of a blood test for an emergency case would be available in 45 minutes.
Dr Rozaiman, a sports medi-cine specialist, said the clinics were also equipped with X-ray and diagnostic ultrasound machines.
In any major sporting event, the most sought-after medical personnel are physiotherapists.
Ismail Damit, from the KL2017 Physio Team, said the Medical and Health Committee had roped in 76 Health Ministry physiotherapists for the event.
He said they were divided into two teams, with 52 personnel divided into teams to cover competitions and 24 stationed at the GMCs.
He said the certified professionals were equipped with state-of-the-art machines to provide cryotherapy, shockwave, deep heat, electrostimulation and ultrasound therapies.
If you come to watch the games and find yourself in need of medical assistance, fret not as the committee has doctors and first-aiders to look out for you.
Spectator Committee head Dr S. Vengkata Prathap said there were 12 teams comprising doctors, medical assistants, first-aiders and some 200 volunteers under the supervision of three emergency medical specialists.
He said these first-aiders, including Red Crescent Society and Civil Defence Force personnel, had basic life support (BLS) equipment and Automated-External Defibrillator (AED).
Expect the unexpected: This should suffice to describe the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), also known as the Special Events Medical Team, led by Sungai Buloh Hospital Emergency Specialist Dr Sarah Shaikh Abdul Karim.
The Health and Medical Committee thought ahead by setting up the team comprising emergency medical experts tasked to conduct surveillance and plan responses in case of major medical emergencies.
Dr Sarah said the team would perform medical tactical surveillance and risk assessments for every game during KL2017.
She said this included the possibility of riots, structural collapse and even terror attacks, in which case DMAT would coordinate the medical response.
Behind the whole operation lies the Games Medical Operations Centre (GMOC), which serves as the nerve centre to coordinate all the medical work and responses for the event.
KL2017 chief medical officer Dr Ridzuan Mohd Isa said GMOC, located at the Kuala Lumpur Health Clinic, comprised several main components to command daily operations, including the Games Despatch, Communications and Transport units.
Under the supervision of GMOC manager Dr Mohammad Fadhly Yahya, these units are manned by hundreds of personnel tasked to track down all key medical personnel, 97 ambulances attached to the medical committee and movement of logistical support, as well as ensuring food and beverages for their personnel and volunteers.
Dr Ridzuan said GMOC would hold a meeting with all committee heads each morning to decide on the daily number of para-medics teams needed and the requirement for each game.
Dr Fadhly said GMOC also provided a special emergency line and mobile application for Android users, which was available to athletes, delegations and officials, for quick incident reporting and response.
Jimmy Boyle (Top Left), Stanley D'Almeida & Larry Rodriguez
This little essay puts on record and pays tribute to some unsung Malaysian musicians whom I had watched, knew or remember. They performed with much passion and brought cheer into the lives of many. I have even performed with a couple of them. Yet we as a nation have forgotten these musical heroes of yesteryears. This is not the way of a civil society.
In the world of music making, universally speaking, there are many musicians who had left inedible marks in the history of music, especially in the West. There were other lesser compatriots who played music at the same time but did not shine or exhibit similar musical prowess. The second category mentioned were at best 2nd class musicians in their times. The Americans term such people as “also rans”. Such lesser musicians contributed very little yet managed to get accolades and raves from the ruling elites at the expense of the true music masters of their times. However many great musicians were posthumously remembered for their music. In Malaysia we have done the same for a few - Sudirman, Loga of Alleycats and of course the P. Ramlee.
Those of us who saw “Amadeus” the movie can understand this universal phenomenon. In the Amadeus movie the antagonistic and jealous adversary in sheep’s clothing of the young maestro Mozart was Antonio Salieri who managed to get many court positions and titles that were rightfully Mozart's through the "ampu bodek" technique. There are many such Salieris everywhere in the world and Malaysia is no exception in this matter both now and in the past where professional jealousy is equally rife in music as in all other high profiled occupations. When musicians congregate or meet there is much hugging and similar other body-language gestures and signs of brotherhood like we are “soul brothers” but this sort of fellowship can also be hypocrisy in its purest form.
Mozart died a pauper but his music and forward-looking musical styles were only recognized long after his death. In Malaysia our own example is Tan Sri P. Ramli and Saloma who suffered the same fate and were left quite penniless when they passed on. We are lucky though because their legacy lives on as both also acted in the films. In this way their greatness was recorded on vinyl records as well as on the silver screen and thereby remain a part of public viewing and listening till today as a heritage.
Mass communication like what we see today is but a current phenomenon especially in Malaysia. But even today our TV programs do not do justice to musicians of other types of musics - traditional, jazz, aboriginal and of course totally forgetting the Malaysian Indian and Chinese musicians. This was not so rife in the past. Instead today, the commercially driven media stick purely to the pop variety of musicians particularly singers and that that too only if they remain popular. For example, we do not hear much of Mawi these days. He was branded as a phenomenon not so long ago.
RTM for example could produce a musical program dedicated to educating Malaysians about our great Malaysians of the past. Its our history worth knowing apart from which Malay princ killed which ruler and in what year and for what reason. To add to this general public apathy, the utter lack of writings by our academics or historians of our great Malaysian musicians of times gone by and their contributions further add to this problem and general apathy. Can we blame our children if they do not know their history? They can forget the Pythagoras Theorem or Archimede's Principle or what is the capital of Argentina but can they forget who the first PM of Malaysia was? We must never forget our roots and our legacies.
Even the few avenues for the formal study of music in Malaysia are silent in this area preferring instead to study the works of the classical masters of Europe only. I say we should also concentrate in this area and our music academics in the universities should get their students to write researched essays on Malaysian musicians of the past....of all races and at the same time not get carried away or overdo P. Ramli or Sudirman only.
Many Malaysian greats, both living and dead, have been mostly forgotten let alone remembered for their contributions simply because we in Malaysia do not have an archiving mentality. Even the video recordings done by RTM in its early years are all gone in a fire at RTM, I was told. Sadly, there were also no back ups. That is why we do not see music programmes of the early 1960’s and 1970’s recorded by RTM. I myself was desperately trying to get the video of my performances at national band contests of 1969 (Muzik Muzik Muzik) and 1977 (Pertandingan Pancaragam) and much to my dismay got no where in even places like Filem Negara.
Perhaps there are only a very few audio-visual records or written scores or compositions from musicians of yesteryears especially if they were for governmental propaganda reasons at the National Archives for us to analyze and credit. There probably are also no visuals of and other popular musical programmes of the yesteryears like Serbanika, Anekarama and Dendang Rakyat. Is Arkib Negara working on this? Probably not.
There have been many other great Malaysian musicians after this initial Merdeka group listed above. Many are still with us and still very active but are sadly mostly unrecognized for their great talent in Malaysia but are receiving better recognition elsewhere such as in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and and even in Europe and USA. I list a few of them below.
Michael Veerapen – Jazz pianist – regionally acclaimed
Lewis Pragasam – Drums and percussions
Andy Peterson - Bassist
Josie Thomas - Guitarist
Paul Ponnudurai - Guitarist
Jenny Chin - Pianist
Mac Chew - Pianist
Aubrey Suwito - Pianist
Jerry Felix - Drummer
I must also mention here the growing practice of recognizing musicians and singers these days which has manifested itself in the form of awarding of datukships to mostly singers from the Malay pop music industry. I can live with this. No problem. But why mostly singers? Currently practicing and proven musicians and composers like Mac Chew, Aubrey Suwito, Michael Veerapen, Adnan Abu Hassan, Fauzi Marzuki etc. have not even been shortlisted for any such recognition. Loga of The Alleycats received his Datukship posthumously. I do not think that people have to die (pun intended) to get such datukships. Let's appreciate them while they are still alive.
In this matter I volunteer my opinion that almost all those I have listed in this essay have not got any official recognition simply perhaps because they were from the wrong race or gender. I hope that the authorities can see this sort of discrimination of Malaysian musicians and singers by race and gender. Lewis Pragasam for example has lectured in Yale and Harvard about Asian Rhythms, indeed a great feat and definitely deserves national recognition and awards. Let us not wait till our all our sifu musicians are dead and only then start raving and ranting about their music and abilities..