Wednesday, 24 July 2024
Kampung Pictures Tale in Ten
Tale in Ten
BR1Mless PDF Print E-mail
Written by straits-mongrel   
Sunday, 23 February 2014 14:00

Yesterday (Sat, Feb22, 2014) RM4.6 billion was disbursed to some 7.9 Malaysians in the form of BR1M 2014. Each registered Malaysian head of household earning less than RM3,000 a month would have received RM700, while those getting RM3,000-4,000 would receive RM450. Registered single Malaysians earning less than RM2,000 a month would have received RM300 in this scheme. This, according to PM Najib Razak, is the government's way "to change the policy from bulk subsidy to targeted subsidy in stages and shift the savings to the people through BR1M. BR1M is an example of the targeted subsidy". Yes, but a top-down targeted subsidy.

See, let's first dwell on who qualifies as a Malaysian. A bearer of a MyKad.

And what if you don't have one?


This is a story of a boy who lives with his mother and father in the slums of Air Panas near Setapak, KL. He goes by the name Zahka. At least that's how he spells it. The six-year-old hasn't been to school, knows only a smattering of Malay and speaks mostly Tamil with his friends and family. He won't be going to school anytime soon if things stay the same.

His story is captured in this photo essay, the final year project by graphic design graduate Chia Hong. His work was exhibited at the recently concluded Art and Design Graduation Show at New Era College, Kajang, and caught the attention of many visitors.

Said Chia: "I wanted to document the difficulties faced by the poor. So many of us refuse to acknowledge they exist, that there isn't such a problem here. But it is around us, as I found out, and bigger than we imagine."

"Zahka is adopted. His mother found him as a new-born baby abandoned in a lorong near their squatters. Despite being poor, she decided this boy had to live. She took him in and nursed him.

"His mother, Firiza (that's how she spells it), has never been to school. She doesn't have a MyKad nor a birth cert. Zahka, too, does not have any birth documentation. I just felt hopeless hearing their story. My only way would be to create awareness through these photographs."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2018 10:21
A People's Walk PDF Print E-mail
Written by straits-mongrel   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 23:55

BACK there on the colourful streets of Sentul, an auntie extends a large plastic bag weighted with plump curry puffs. "Ambik! Ambik!" she gestures, insisting that bashful walkers load up on their carbo-fuel for the journey ahead. She's from the neighbourhood, you can tell, who's simply out greeting her guests. Back there just metres from the Chow Kit Monorail, a drinks and fruit seller guides his vehicle into the thick of the moving crowd. He stops. One hand waving to the people around him, the other grabbing packets of pre-cut fresh fruit, he offers: "Ambik! Ambik!" There is the pakcik in his jubah on Jalan TAR, a crate of mineral water before him. Same gesture, same words pretty much.


Something's different today. You feel this is one special Sunday.


This is Straw Hat culture. Unyielding in principle and unbounded in warmth.

RUEP participants experience richness in giving PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 October 2012 21:06

Tarian Sewang – a dance of welcome; our children and a facilitator sportingly joined in the fun

HEAVY rain ushered in the morning of Aug 25, 2012 but it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the young participants of SABM’s Rural-Urban Exchange Programme. They came early to the Rumah for the day trip to the Orang Asli settlement at Sungei Bil, Slim River in Perak, their first RUEP 2012 venture into a rural area.

Our hope was that the excursion would help awaken our urban children, even the few from disadvantaged homes, to the fact that glaring disparities exist in the standard of living of Anak-anak Bangsa Malaysia in current times. And perhaps they would come away from that experience recognising how much they themselves had and what those in unfortunate circumstances lacked.

Weeks earlier, four RUEP facilitators had visited the settlement to meet Cikgu Nora, an amazing lady with immense capabilities and a strong conviction that education was the key to freeing her people from the cycle of poverty.

Nora adeptly finalized a program for our RUEP children. She also drew up a budget that covered resources required for children’s activities, meals and refreshments, and also the handicrafts her team of helpers would make for our impending visit. Nora was assured that RUEP would bear all expenses incurred, including the rental of canopies needed as shield against rain.

In the days leading up to the trip, parents of RUEP participants, well-wishers, RUEP facilitators and volunteers bought, as well as sourced from contacts they had, foodstuff and other items that had been identified as necessities at the settlement.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 21:19

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