Feel The Fresh Air

Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images


It’s a human trait that we tend to not take things too seriously unless and until a particular occurrence impacts us personally, or someone close to us.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected virtually everyone in the world, unless you’ve been marooned on a deserted island for the last half year or so. With the worldwide case count standing at close to three million towards the end of April, and 200,000-plus deaths, it’s safe to say that this is the worst and most far-reaching crisis in most people’s lives save those who lived through wars.

Like many others, I know a few people who contracted the dreaded disease and thankfully all of them have recovered. Two are well-known in golfing circles – Saha Kamarudin and Leslie Chong – and both are good pals of mine.

While their stories differ vastly, Saha and Leslie are now certified Covid-free and both credit a strong faith in God for helping them through. Saha’s story is documented in this issue so I won’t elaborate here … suffice to say that he’s one of the nicest chaps I know and I could not be happier for him and his family that he made a full recovery.

Leslie’s a really old mate, our friendship dating back to the late 1990s when he was general manager of Bukit Unggul Country Club. We remained close after he went into software sales but lost touch when his work took him to Thailand and Singapore.

A few years back, Leslie returned to Malaysia and we reconnected, sharing a few pints of Guinness on a number of occasions. Like me, he’s a lifelong Liverpool fan and made a ‘pilgrimage’ to England in early March to watch the Reds play at Anfield …  not once, but twice!

Leslie then spent a few days in Dublin for the St Patrick’s Day festivities before flying back to KL on the morning of March 18 – the day the Movement Control Order took effect.

In the first few days of self-quarantine, Leslie developed a fever and body aches. His condition deteriorated to such an extent that he could hardly walk and, on March 26, he somehow mustered the strength to drive himself to the nearest clinic. The doctor advised that he should get tested for Covid-19 and Leslie immediately went to the nearest hospital to do the nose and throat swabs.

To cut a long story short, the test came back positive and Leslie was whisked by ambulance to the Sungai Buloh hospital on March 31.

Amazingly, once there the symptoms vanished. On April 1, and this is no joke, Leslie underwent another swab test and, lo and behold, the results came out negative. He was subsequently discharged and was fetched home by his daughter in the early hours of the next morning.

In his own words, Leslie describes leaving the hospital: “As I walked out of the hospital compound and reached the road, I’ve never felt fresh air as good as it was then.”

Fresh air indeed. Something we all take for granted. Only when it’s taken away do we appreciate these simple things in life.

One of my resolutions when it’s OK to golf again is to get in a round with Leslie and Saha. They’ll probably kick my butt but I’m sure it will be an enriching experience.

And we’ll all really enjoy the fresh air.

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