Thursday, September 11, 2014


By Mansor Puteh

I donated blood for the 416th time yesterday, 19 August, and was shown a clip for the Astro Merdeka Commercial by a staff at the National Blood Center on her cell phone which features one of the regular blood donors, who was shown taking the bus to the blood center. He is someone who had just donated over 200 times over twenty years at least.
But what was not right is how the producers decided to have him take the bus to go there to donate. What were they trying to show?

The climax however is too melodramatic and worse, which makes the character to be too self-important. It is too stagey to be real.

Why would anyone who has received blood from an anonymous donor confront any particular donor despite him having done so regularly for more than two hundred times?

There is no justification for that to happen unless if the story says that the particular donor had come to the aid of the blood recipient, and who survived a risky surgery that he wanted to meet with the person who had saved his life.

No regular blood donor has ever done that as no such occasion had availed itself to any regular donor or recipient that I know of, ever. The scene can only come out from the less than fertile mind of the scriptwriter who thought it would be such an emotional experience to those who watch the clip over and over through the Merdeka Month over the Astro stations.

Maybe we should all consider the donor and recipient to be representative of all donors and recipients.

Can the producers come up with an entirely different plot for their Merdeka Commercial? They can. There are so many other ways that they can do that, if they think hard enough and come up with a more natural and convincing story that can touch the viewers even more.  

In fact, during the World Blood Donors’ Day on 16 June, none of those who had received blood from them had ever attended the function held at the blood center with so few of the regular donors attending it.

For a person who had donated blood so many times, surely, he would have been doing it since Form Six which should also mean that by now he should be a successful person and who can afford to own at least a simple compact car, so he can be shown to go to the blood center driving one.

But the producers may have other plans; which is to show how most of the regular blood donors comprise of people of all races, although I have yet to see a Punjabi man or woman doing it, and mostly those with average educational levels.

I could hardly see anyone with a university degree coming to donate blood, much less one who had studied abroad, except for me.

The National Blood Center does not care for the academic as well as professional backgrounds of the donors; they never ask the questions which can give them a better profile of the donors, so that they can target their blood donation campaigns to attract different groups of people mostly students, who would later become regular blood donors with some who can become very successful in their own chosen fields.

But the blood center does not seem to be interested to know just a bit more about the donors as does the ministry concerned which registers the disabled which does not need similar information. To the officers in this ministry, a disabled person is no different than the other.

So no wonder the ministry has not managed to attract the different groups of the disabled to get them involved in their activities. They prefer to highlight those with clear and obvious physical disabilities and deformities than those with unseen disabilities especially those with prostheses.

And from my observation having donated blood more than forty years, I noticed that there are no or almost no professionals who do that.

Worse, but not surprisingly, most of those vocal and high-profile NGO leaders and other well-meaning individuals who often called for the general public to do good to the society are also not seen to donate blood, an exercise or hobby or activity that they should have started to do since they were still in secondary school which I did when I first donated blood when I was in Form Six studying at a private school in Jalan Barat, Petaling Jaya.

There is certainly no one in politics in the government or opposition who donates blood regularly, from what I can see. And so few of those holding senior positions in the armed forces who donate blood.

I also found it amusing how a lesser-known Islamic religious leader (or preacher?) who would appear on a talk show on television to explain to the viewers the virtues for Muslims to donate blood, and recite the verses which support such effort, yet, for a person who is in the fifties, he had not yet even once donated blood to score merits.

Whereas those who come to the blood center in Kuala Lumpur and anywhere in the country does so without ever proclaiming that they were doing it to score merit points for the Hereafter; they just do it because they feel good doing it, and do not care who finally gets their blood who they do not get to see and know personally since the blood donors and receivers are mostly anonymous persons unless one donates to a specific person needing blood for surgery.

Tunku Abdul Rahman, our Bapa Kemerdekaan was proud to say and repeat how he managed to wrest Merdeka or Independence from the British 'without spilling a single drop of blood...’  

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