Positivity matters

Positivity matters
Datuk Halimah (second from left) with Muhammad Zuhri (left), Dr Asma Abdullah (second from right) and Tong Chua Wah (right). - Photo by Datuk Halimah Mohd Said
POSITIVITY is a driving force which can be channeled to achieve much goodness and great success in human endeavour.

It can stimulate and inspire, and spread quickly when applied in appropriate doses. It can dispel negative feelings when used by people with the right attitudes.

Lately, I have been inspired by two young facilitators Zuhri and Lawrence at a health centre. For 30 to 40 minutes, they have kept groups of twenty to thirty people completely absorbed in the health care programme they are promoting from 10am to 7pm every day except Sunday.

To see the enthusiasm on the smiling faces of these two young men is indeed inspiring. They are literally on their toes, prancing up and down the room for eight to nine hours, explaining the treatment principles and processes.

The health 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 amount, not too much or too little.

Audience participation is a key element in their business strategy. Participants are connected as they are invited to cheer one another on when a positive response is given. They are encouraged to share their health problems on their journey towards wellness.

What could be more heartening for senior citizens seeking a cure for their aches and pains? 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 numerous drugs, medicines, treatments, alternative therapies and healing practices out there which people are taking or experiencing.
Social interactions among Malaysians are personal and intimate and people freely share the success or failure of 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 in order to identify real effects rather than the short-term placebo effect of feeling good because others in the group report improvement.

To them the prolonged use of unchartered health treatments has the potential of inducing unsuspecting connections with our body parts, growing cancer cells in some and toxins in others. Fair warning to be seriously heeded!

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.

A cautionary advice is “Use supplements if natural foods are insufficient and use complementary treatments if they are helpful”. Point taken doctors.

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 specific ethical standards and principles including confidentiality and non-maleficence, practising 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 human anatomy and internal organs is never arbitrary but definite. Asking questions about where your patient’s aches and pains are located is a skill to be learned as listening to them carefully is.

Like the lawyer in court, if you do not speak your client’s or witness’s language, make sure your interpreter conveys it accurately.

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 inter-ethnic 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 is the President of Association of Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason (PCORE).

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.