Malaysian Sikh bikers ride to Pakistan for cancer awareness

Chosen by the National Cancer Society Malaysia, 17 Sikh members of the Santana Riderz Malaysia Club will set out to cover 16,000 kilometers to raise funds for pediatric cancer. The ride coincides with the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and concludes in the city of his birth, Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. Picture taken on April 26, 2018 (Photo Courtesy: Santana Riderz Malaysia Club Instagram)
Updated 21 September 2019

Malaysian Sikh bikers ride to Pakistan for cancer awareness

  • The ride coincides with the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism and ends in his birthplace, Nankana Sahib, in Pakistan
  • Santana Riderz want to raise awareness about pediatric cancer, generate funds to combat the disease

ISLAMABAD: A Malaysian motorcycle club, Santana Riderz, has decided to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer by planning a biking expedition to Pakistan in which its members will ride through a number of countries, said the association’s top official on Friday.
The 17 riders belong to the Sikh community and hope to conclude their journey in Pakistan’s eastern town of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the founder of their religion, Guru Nanak, whose 550th birth anniversary will be celebrated in November this year.
Pakistan’s Punjab province holds tremendous historic significance for Sikhism. Not only does it have the community’s holiest religious shrine but was also part of its empire in the early half of the 19th century and was governed by one of its most illustrious rulers, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The Sikh riders have embarked on their venture in collaboration with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NSCM) and will cruise the roads of Thailand, Myanmar and India before finishing their trip in Pakistan.
According to details, six of them will kick off the run from Malaysia while others will ride into formation as the journey continues. The group will cover 16,000 kilometers in almost 40 days, and each rider will spend about Rs350,000 to meet their fuel, food and accommodation expenses.
46-year-old Jaspal Singh, who serves as president of the motorcycle club, maintains it is the largest bike ride of its kind since it aims to raise funds for children fighting cancer.
“Santana Riderz Malaysia Club is an organization that reaches out to help anyone in their means,” he told Arab News. “We are united by a common goal: To save and improve lives, especially young ones.”
“In Malaysia, the NCSM has always kept its door open to people who want to do voluntary work,” he added. “Children shouldn’t feel sick or lose their hair. They shouldn’t have to face long term effects like hearing loss or the ability to ever walk. These are some of the driving factors that compelled us to connect with the NCSM.”
Under the theme “Sarbat Da Bhala” – or “blessings for everyone” – funds raised through the ride will go to children and their families, regardless of race or creed. According to Singh, this was also one reason why the NCSM chose the club’s charitable ride.
Established in 1979, Santana Riderz has 46 members. The non-profit has been an active philanthropic force in Malaysia since it has previously organized a number of initiatives to help communities across that country by raising money on wheels.
On coming to Pakistan, Singh said a few of his group members had traveled to the country before, but “a journey to a place of such significance” was always worth repeating.
“Just like anyone who has faith in God, going to a place of sanctuary is most satisfying to the soul and mind. This sanctuary is a sacred place for us, set apart from the profane, ordinary world,” he added. “This kind of phenomenon is beyond emotional and indescribable. We have gratitude and feel most connected to God.”


Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

Updated 09 August 2020

Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

  • Islamabad’s PIMS hospital had less than 10 coronavirus patients before Eid Al-Adha but new patients coming in since
  • Pakistan announced on Thursday it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and infectious disease experts on Thursday warned of a possible surge in coronavirus cases due to a premature lifting of restrictions, as the government announced a day earlier that it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Pakistan shut schools and land borders nearly five months ago, decided to limit domestic and international flights and discouraged large gatherings to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But with infections and deaths down nearly 80 percent since their peak as per government records, the government decided on Thursday to lift the lockdowns to help the country return to normalcy.
Pakistan celebrated the Eid Al-Adha religious holiday last week. After the last major Islamic festival, of Eid Al-Fitr, in May, infections rose to their peak in Pakistan.
Dr. Nasim Akhtar, head of infectious diseases at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad, told Arab News the coronavirus ward at her hospital only had five to six patients before Eid, but new patients had once again started coming in.
“Cases registered a sharp increase after Eid Al-Fitr, and this can happen now again with the lifting of the lockdowns,” she said, adding that the government should have waited at least two more weeks to reopen restaurants and other public places.
“This is a bit early, and may worsen the situation again,” Akhtar said.
The World Health Organization has said “extreme vigilance” was needed as countries begin to exit from lockdowns, amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.
Germany earlier reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took early steps to ease its lockdown. South Korea, another country that had succeeded in limiting virus infections, saw a new outbreak.
“The next week is crucial to see if the infections soar as just one week has passed now since the Eid holidays,” Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, secretary-general of the Pakistan Medical Association, told Arab News.

 

 

Cases could also surge during the Islamic month of Muharram, which begins in late August, he said, and due to independence day celebrations on August 14. Huge crowds come out all over the world, including in Muslim-majority Pakistan, to commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
“We think that the opening of all these things in a hurry ... probably this will create problems for us,” Sajjad said.
He said infections had risen sharply in the United States and Brazil after the nations lifted restrictions when cases initially declined. Spain reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections on Aug 6, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June.
University of Health Sciences vice chancellor Javed Akram, however, called the reopening of public places a “wise decision.”
“The government cannot keep the cities and businesses under lockdown forever,” he said. “People should follow health guidelines to fight the virus.”