Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Bloody health scams

The Star reported this on its front page yesterday. (Important news must have been a bit slow coming in on a Sunday.) It's about a scam perpetrated by Chinese sinsehs, alternative medicine practitioners and yes, even unscrupulous doctors. What they'll do is to take a droplet of your blood, put it under a microscope and then tell you that you are susceptible to a host of impending health problems. The newspaper identified this scam as the Live Blood Analysis (LBA), a discredited test method in the United States but which has sprung up as a scam in the country.

Well, I don't know about it. At least, none of the doctors I've visited lately in Penang has offered to do this test for me. So, I would like to believe that my doctors are ordinary, honest-to-goodness folks. The only time that I'll ever have my finger tip pricked is to test for my sweetness level...and even then, my doctors would caution me that this test is not totally reliable.

But bloody hell, health scams in Malaysia are nothing compared to that carried out by the greedy mainland Chinese. I'm sure that if you have visited the Old Country as a tourist, you would have been taken by their tour guides to visit all sorts of places including factories that produce the so-called traditional Chinese medicine.

I would admit that I've fallen victim to this scam in China. The moment you step into the premises, someone would pounce on you and bring you to one of their resident Sinsehs who would take your pulse and then claim that you are either (a) already suffering, or (b) will potentially be suffering from ailments affecting your heart, lungs, kidneys, digestion, etc etc etc. And then, as your defences drop, they would push you to buy their magic pills. Yes yes, I've been a victim of their hard sell and persuasion. I'm sure many more people have been conned by those greedy, money-faced, unscrupulous, irresponsible, no-repeat-business scammers from China. The best way to avoid them? Stay in the bus. Don't be curious if the guide brings you to a shop selling traditional or alternative medicine. And don't be so gullible. There's nothing miraculous about their pills, I assure you, because they are just playing and praying on our natural human weaknesses. Who doesn't want good health? Who doesn't want to avoid bad health? In our moment of weakness, we'll be agreeing with them that we already have this or that ailment. But if we think properly, these ailments are nothing special. They will affect us sooner or later as a natural progression of growing old. If we are lucky, we'll suffer from just one ailment and if we are less lucky, well, there'll be more. If the ailments don't hit us now, they will hit us later and no amount of unidentified, unknown pills will make them go away.

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