Mary Maguire; and Lily Fu (my ever-loving first wife and the feisty mother of my two glittering gems) - for their impeccable managing of my recent medical crisis, triggered by the unsolicited kiss of a female Anopheles mosquito which left an unprecedented amount of deadly plasmodium parasites in my bloodstream.
Yes, it was indeed a vicious Vampire Attack - if you choose to put it in such colorful terms. I am told the plasmodium count in my blood samples broke all previous records in the history of malaria in the Malayan Peninsula. The doctors soberly informed my family that the mortality rate for this particular species of malaria varies between 60-80%.
On Christmas Eve my family was unable to celebrate because it appeared that I was not going to pull through. However, the next day the plasmodium count dramatically plunged and - with the help of dialysis machines, ventilators, catheters, a tangle of tubes and drips - I began my rapid and miraculous recovery. I was later informed that thousands of friends - including my Orang Asli relatives - were praying for me. It's not every day that one can feel such unmitigated gratitude to be so widely loved and deeply cared for.
The Sungai Buloh (Bamboo River) Hospital is staffed with some of the most competent doctors and lab technicians you will find anywhere on this planet. The hospital is extremely well maintained and has as pleasant an atmosphere as any of the best private ones. For Malaysian citizens, it only costs RM3 a day to receive 5-star treatment there; and for malaria cases, it's gratis.
I'm very grateful, of course, to the professionals at Sungai Buloh Hospital who took such excellent care of me during my unplanned two-week sojourn there.
I intend to record my inner pilgrimage during the days leading up to my sudden hospitalization and much of what follows will, of necessity, be rather self-indulgent and perhaps even shocking to genteel sensibilities. I make no apologies for that. What I'm interested in is a truthful and accurate narrative - one that might illuminate for my own benefit - and possibly others' - what significance this strange pilgrimage from Magick River to Bamboo River and back will have on the rest of my life.
So stay tuned, folks!