Malaysia election: Candidates take their medicine

GEORGE TOWN - Election candidates are turning to time-tested, traditional medicine to keep them going during the intense campaigning, made even more challenging by the sweltering heat and humid weather.

Barisan Nasional candidate for Pulau Tikus state seat Rowena Yam said she kept herself hydrated by drinking lots of water.

"My water bottle is refilled constantly. My doctor has also advised me to drink 100 Plus to retain the salt level in my body. To keep myself going, I take whatever I can throughout the day such as chicken essence and cod liver oil," said Gerakan's Yam.

Yam's rival from the DAP, Yap Soo Huey, was spotted sipping herbal tea after greeting shoppers and traders at the Mount Erskine market here yesterday.

"Besides consuming fresh fruits and yogurt, which helps me keep a balanced diet, I take orange juice and health supplements every morning," said Yap, who also swears by chicken essence.

Yap's mother, Goh Saw Kee, 56, said she boils herbal tea for her daughter, campaign team members and supporters.

Kebun Bunga independent candidate K. Jayaraman depends on traditional Indian herbs to keep himself cool.

"Sometimes, the humid weather tires me easily so the herbs help to give me the extra energy," said Jayaraman, adding that he was also eating food with less oil and sugar at this time.

The 46-year-old businessman also drinks milk to "release body heat".

The Barisan candidate for Bukit Bendera, Teh Leong Meng, said he made it a point to regularly stop by coffee shops for a glass of refreshing barley brew during his walkabouts.

"I also take fresh coconut water to prevent my throat from getting sore," said Teh, who is from Gerakan.

Padang Kota candidate Oh Tong Keong, who was spotted drinking Chinese medicinal tea at a stall in Rangoon Road with his team, said he wanted to make sure that nobody falls sick during this crucial period.

"The heat is unbearable. This period is vital for us to meet as many people as possible. We have to walk and talk a lot and are sleep-deprived," said the Barisan candidate.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioner Liew Joon Leong said demand for yok choy (herbal plant), leong cha (herbal tea) and chrysanthemum tea had increased since the campaign period started.

He recommended drinking a brew of ginseng, rock sugar and red dates for anyone who wanted a boost of energy and stamina.

"Chrysanthemum tea may be useful in combatting fever while ginseng is an effective remedy for fatigue," said Liew.