Saturday, 31 March 2007

The 7 Deadly Sins...

The Seven Deadly Sins...It's pretty interesting actually, religion aside...If we were to strictly abide by the 'code', all of us will be inevitably guilty...Let's examine the sins shall we?

1) PRIDE

I think everyone is guilty of this in one way or another. If we did not have any pride, why do you think every household has got a mirror? Lie all you want and insist it is for Feng Shui, but we all know that deep down, it is this insatiable desire to look at onself and do something about it...If there was no such thing as pride, then the cosmetic industry will not be as prosperous as it is today, neither would fashion labels...Pride is important in a way, as it keeps us on our toes, and makes us presentable...

2) GREED/AVARICE

Huh! Another vice which we are all guilty off...We don't have to go far...Just look at the number of people who collect stuff avidly...Like Hello Kitty toys from McDonalds (one is never enough...they just have to have the whole set!)...What about people who go to 'All You Can Eat' buffets? If we were not even a little bit greedy, we would just buy one plate of whatever, eat that, and be done with it, instead of going for something in which you can eat limitlessly!

3) ENVY

Hor! If we were to seriously punish everyone for this, cosmetic labels are again to be blamed...So are televisions, the internet, the radio, commercial companies and the list will go on and on...How many times do you hear of people wanting to look like Jennifer Lopez or Nicole Kidman? How many times do you hear of people wishing their home looked more like it came from the Ikea booklet? Or what about that promotion you've been eyeing?

4) WRATH/ANGER

Aiyo! Anyone who has been on a Malaysian road is guilty of this. Try not getting angry on a Malaysian road and you'll deserve a medal just for really trying...Let's not even go to road rage..Let's just take the simplest of all: Cursing...Telling the other driver to get off the road, asking the other driver if the grandfather owned the road, calling the other driver four-letter words and their equivalents in all languages (physically and verbally), or even just glaring at the other driver who just had to cut your line!

5) LUST

Ok...Maybe this is not so easy to fall into...Unless you're a hot-blooded male or female, I guess you might not be so guilty of this...But then again everyone lusts after something, whether in reality or through fantasies...But then again (again), people in this country are very prone to blaming lust for just about everything...

6) GLUTTONY

Hmm...This is another one where the 'All You Can Eat' buffets are a major culprit...after all, how many of us when visiting a buffet, we tend to skip the meal before or after so we can ahem, store more? If we were to all merely eat just enough, all grocery stores will close down, so will all the mamak stalls who operate at night...

7) SLOTH

Haha! This is one thing I know 99% of teenagers will be guilty off...How many teens spend their weekends and post-exam days sleeping till the sun is way above the head? In fact, many of my friends and acquaintances should be persecuted if we take this seriously...Even by my standards, most are real lazy bums, and should not be allowed to live...And this is coming from one lazy bum's mouth...

* * *

I guess ultimately, it is to do things in moderation...every single thing, when not practised in moderation becomes a sin...I guess it is about remembering that the world does not revolve around us, although I think God'll forgive you if you just had to pig out once in a while...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Aisya: Syazwan, The Little Boy We All Forgot...


There is one person we have all forgotten in Aisya's story, and that is her little brother Mohd Syazwan, a 7 year-old, who thankfully, is 'normal' in all aspects...

As we all know, sibling rivalry is something which happens in all families, whether friendly rivalry or something which is deeper than that...

But imagine what life must be like for little Syazwan...He was the only child for a good 3 years of his life, and if we were to judge by the way both Kak Yatie and En Shahidan dote on Aisya, (and despite it being very frustrating emotionally, they don't lose their temper) I can almost bet that he was a pampered child who was showered with all the love, care and attention a child could ask for...

So, can you imagine what it must have been like for Syazwan? He was the king of the house for a good 3-years or so, and suddenly little Aisya comes into the Shahidan family's life...Little Aisya who suddenly became the centre of everyone's universe...Little Aisya who his mother spends 24 hours with...

It would be all the worse if Syazwan did not 'ask' for a sibling in the first place, because it would feel as if darling Aisya was 'forced' into his life...

Now, what would any child have done, normally? Probably withdraw into his little shell, be 'rebellious' in little ways (like refusing to eat his dinner), believe he himself was sick so he too would get the same attention, have an uncontrollable temper...The list of possibilities is endless...

Many children (I'm not saying all) might even start exhibiting outward symptoms of illness, that has no origin, reason or cause...Like chronic tummy ache/upset stomach, headaches and a host of other symptoms...

Of course these children are not intentionally faking it...It's psychological; an outward manifestation because the mind has subconsciously associated illness with love, care and attention...

*Sheesh...I'm a Psychology-Major student lar...*

But little Syazwan did no such thing...

All he did was ask his mum one thing: "Kalau saya sakit, mak jaga tak macam mak jaga adik? (If I were sick, would you (mum) take care of me like you take care of Aisya?)"...

To which Kak Yatie replied: "Macam tu lah mak jaga adik, macam tu lah mak jaga Syazwan(The way I care for Aisya is the way I would care for you)."

Kak Yatie concedes she was stunned by Syazwan's question, because in caring for Aisya round-the-clock, she inadvertently forgot that Syazwan was watching and feeling isolated...

I want to draw your attention to Syazwan's question. This little boy didn't say 'Why do you love Aisya more?' or the classic child's 'I hate you!' (children don't understand the word 'hate') or keep pestering his parents for things to justify that they still cared...

His question showed that he was merely seeking reassurance that they (his parents) would be there for him like they are for Aisya if he ever needed them like that too...I guess he was saying in his own way: 'Mum, Dad, I know Aisya needs you. But promise me that if I need you, you'll be there'...

So profound, isn't it?

Syazwan is just a little child, and yet he sees things with more maturity than most people see their entire life...*If you're momentarily stumped for examples, think of the guy who asked ladies to wear chastity belts because it's their fault they are raped*...

It's true what people say. Everyone has to sacrifice when there is calamity in a family...Everyone has to grow up...In little Syazwan's case, it's a pity he had to grow up a lot faster than what is expected of him...A lot faster...

So people, if you ever pay a visit to the Shahidan home, remember Syazwan, won't you?

It doesn't have to be much...A simple toy, a box-drink, a small bag of sweets or chocolate, or even just slipping a few ringgit in his hand for him to buy anything he wishes...

You should have seen how his face lit up when my mother gave him a bag of Kentucky complete with ice-cream+jelly and Chicky-Meal toy...

It was a simple gesture...Nothing expensive, nothing out-of-the-ordinary, nothing which took a few hours to obtain...

And yet, it made his day...

Like they say:-

The smile on a child's face: Priceless...

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Aisya: Hope and Faith Never Left...



Above: Picture by Zabidi Tusin (The Star)

Sigh...

I am supposed to be away, but due to quite a few emails and sms's which came in asking about Aisya after my visit with Kak Pi Bani to see Aisya, I thought I'd better clear this first...

As promised, Kak Pi and I met up (the world is soo small, because we stay in neighbouring neighbourhoods...literally) and went to Aisya's home, along with my parents...

I carried with me a cheque from Inti International College Penang, while Kak Pi, bless her soul, had within the short period of time, collected some cash from her group of friends to be handed over...

Little Syazwan, Aisya's 6++-year-old brother was washing the car (and himself, I might add!) when we arrived. En Shahidan, Aisya's dad himself was waiting for us outside the home.

I felt a sense of nostalgia walking into Aisya's home. And seeing her mother Kak Hayati sitting in the exact same position I saw her in when I was last there, it momentarily felt as if time had stood still for this family...

But for me, it was bittersweet...The first time I had set foot into Aisya's home, she had yet to go for her surgery: There was hope lingering in the air. I could feel the intense hope in Kak Yatie's voice as she talked about the upcoming surgery to create eyelids for Aisya, and having seen Aisya for nearly a year, I shared in the hope...

The last time I set foot in the home, Aisya had returned from surgery, and there was still hope...At that time, the eyepatch was still over her eye, and there was still no news about the existence of her eye, or the lack thereof...I was trembling with anticipation, eagerly awaiting the day when we would know for sure...But there was so much hope in the air...Hope that Aisya would finally see light in her life...

I went for The Star's BRATs Year-End Journey shortly after, and the first day of our journey was the day when Aisya's eye-patch would finally be removed...During a short-in-between break, I finally had the chance to give Kak Yatie a call...Her voice was forlorn when she answered the phone, the first time I had heard her so down...When she told me the verdict (Aisya has only the whites of her eyes), it was all I could do to keep the tears from spilling down...

How anyone could not cry is beyond me...Here was a mother (and family) who had harboured so much hope that their child would finally be able to see...While Aisya's eyelids were still fused, there was so much hope that maybe, just maybe, Aisya can see; but seeing for themselves that she had no eyes, so to speak, it was a terrible blow to all the months and years of hopeful yearning...

When I hung up, I burst into tears...

That was the end of last year...

When I stepped into Aisya's home last Saturday, I wondered momentarily if the hope I had become so accustomed to would be gone...

But when Kak Yatie said "Masuklah! (Come in!)" with a broad smile on her face, I knew I stood corrected...

After a round of introductions, we sat down and chatted...En Shahidan, has been hunting for a job ever since he lost his previous one, and we found it very admirable that the family, despite their difficulties, have tried their best to stand on their two feet...Despite knowing that there were on-going efforts to raise money for them, I admired that that did not stop them from trying on their own.

Right in front of their home was a small gerai, which the Shahidan family are trying to maintain by selling burgers, pizzas and dadih...En Shahidan himself will be going for a MARA-course to help him kick-start his business, and I sincerely hope it comes through...

What pissed me off is, despite Aisya holding an OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya) card, her family does not get the monthly RM 200. The reason: Because they have a car and home!

But can't anyone in the right mind see that those are basic neccesities?!? Anyway, those were bought when En Shahidan was still working...

Guess what the-powers-that-be said when approached for aid: "Kalau susah, jual aje la kereta atau rumah! (If in difficulty, sell the car or the house!)"...Tell me, which person with a heart (and conscience!) can say that and sleep well at night? I know there are rules which dictate who gets help and who doesn't, but I also know there is such a thing as "budi bicara" (A.k.a using your brain) to gauge the situation...

How can these people know it is them and their signature standing between a family and the funds?!?


How do you expect the Shahidan family to survive without a home or car? Little Aisya is terrified of strangers, and she has a permanent tracheostomy opening in her trachea, which has a hole to help her breathe. How do you expect her parents to take her for treatment in a bus or motorcycle? How can you subject a child who is terrified even of foreign footsteps to survive sitting in a crowded bus, or be cradled on a motorcycle, what with all the dust and pollutants in the air which might make her breathing even more laboured?

While all this was going on, En Shahidan was busy preparing a meal for us, made of homemade pizza (Yes, Kak Pi, I had two helpings!) and this homely-man was soon laying a table cloth on the floor with food, dadih and drinks...

We brought some Kentucky for Syazwan, along with a Chicky Meal toy, and he sure lit up when he saw the toy and ice cream. Good to know the little boy had a good time too...

Donations in the Shahidan family's hand have reached about RM 4000, and I believe (and hope!) that more will be coming in judging by the number of enquiries about Aisya and ways to donate, some as far as the United States!

En Shahidan and Kak Yatie sincerely would like to thank all bloggers and their readers who have rallied to their cause, and donated generously....

*Come on, people! We can do better!*

You know what? When I left the home, I realised (a little too late) that hope has always been there...It is because it never left their hearts even when circumstances allowed for it; it is the hope and faith a father and mother has for their child, which can never be extinguished no matter what...

As for me, I always leave the home more humbled than when I stepped in...

PS: Kak Pi, it was a pleasure to meet you!



Thursday, 22 March 2007

When Society Fails to Listen...


Sigh...

I was reading Pi's TWIST about AIDS and HIV just last night, and I went to sleep haunted by the cries of five babies I once saw and held...

These five babies were the children of drug-user mothers, two of which are HIV+...

Having spent 8 months (five days a week) carrying and feeding newborns, I instantly could tell something was wrong. While other children slept peacefully, with an occasional grunt, these babies were trembling...

I was at first oblivious to the reason behind their trembles, before one nurse whispered to me the real reason why...

I was momentarily stunned...These babies were kept slightly separated from the rest of the other babies, to alert hospital staff and caregivers to be more careful when dealing with them. Not because we were afraid, but so that we would be more careful (when dealing with needles) and also more gentle when dealing with their even frailer bodies, and immune systems...

But I felt bad...It was as if the discrimination against them had started even when they were infants...I knew it was all done for 'their good', but it didn't stop me from feeling devastated...I couldn't help but wonder what kind of future these little darlings would have, especially if their mothers happen to be weak and frail...

The nurses however, showed no difference in their treatment towards these babies...They cuddled them, coo'ed at them and fed them just like any other baby, only slightly gentler...

The hospital kept them slightly separated to keep them safe-r, but would society be that accommodating? The 'slight separation' from the rest of the babies felt symbolic of the kind of future they would have: shunned, despised, misunderstood and discriminated against...

But I digress...

The babies were trembling as a result of the drugs they were passively 'using' while in their mother's tummy...These precious babies were experiencing withdrawal symptoms, some worse than others...

I was angry at the mothers...initially; I mean, even when you're carrying these little humans inside you, you can't stop injecting yourself and butchering your body?

But then I thought, could it be society's fault? What if we had listened more, and judged less? If we had listened more, perhaps we might have heard the cry for help these mothers were sending out...

And then maybe, just maybe, we would have stopped this vicious cycle of drug using being passed on to the children, and we might have just stopped another person from being infected by HIV, and subsequently getting AIDS...One less person in the world to suffer from this devastating illness might mean one less family beign destroyed, one less future child to suffer, and one less generation being tormented...Ultimately, one step closer to a world with no HIV or AIDS...

I wish there was an easy way to stemming this vicious cycle...But reality is such that it's not possible...People like Pi Bani and MarinaM (and many others) are doing a lot in their crusade against HIV and AIDS, but what are we doing?

More importantly, what am I doing?

I spent quite a few days with these babies, and I was humbled before their presence...Everytime I carried them, I was fuming at the injustice in today's world...I was silently crying for the bleak future that they might have to face...And everytime I cradled them in my arms, I silently prayed that the disease would somehow miraculously not infect them, and that they could escape the fault of their parents...

I sincerely pray that God will look upon them in His own special way, and I hope you will join me in praying for them too...

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Pah! Masyarakat Penyayang, My Foot!!!...


Sigh...

I read with dismay the report about stray-dog shootings in
The Star Today and Yesterday...

This is really ridiculous and speaks very badly about our society and Malaysia in general. We keep talking about cultivating a "masyarakat penyayang dan berbudi bahasa"...

My foot! Some kind of penyayang and berbudi bahasa...

Masyarakat Penyayang's who have budi bahasa would never treat animals like that.

Tell me, which human being out there (whether you like animals or not) who has a heart can look into the eyes of a darling dog/cat/etc and just intentionally cause harm to it? Which person who has a heart can "pick a puppy up by the leg, throw him/her across the floor to someone waiting with a shotgun"?

Puppies are merely 'kids'...And anyone who is a mother/father will know what it is like for your children to be mistreated...

Animals are helpless, and innocent; they cannot voice out their pain verbally, they cannot speak up against the unfair treatment they get, and they cannot defend their young...

If a mother animal defends her young, we shoot them, because they are violent...We never stopped and asked if we forced her to attack (of course there are those who are naturally violent and vicious and need to be stopped and put down, but humanely)...

We don't shoot people if they defend their child, do we? It's the same principle at work: The Maternal Instinct, Motherhood...

We're human beings, supposedly with a brain, a heart (most specimens also come with a soul) and the ability to tell right from wrong...With these blessings, we should be the custodians of the animals and all who have no voice of their own...

Everyone keeps saying that "we need more rules", but seriously, what's the point in having "more rules" when nobody gives a damn anyway? What's the point when the 'little fishes under the big fishes' (Those who makan the nama of their superiors la) insist on displaying their ridiculous ideologies and promoting their even more ludicrous idiosyncrasies in such cruel means and ways?

What's the point of having the world's tallest building, third-longest bridge, longest kebab, biggest bunga raya, cutest orang utan, most expensive toilet, friendliest people if we cannot even pretend to be humane, and to be human?

It's that bad now...Not only are people blatantly cruel, they also have stopped pretending to be nice...

I know people who pretend to be nice are merely hypocrites who unite under the same banner, but they at least had the ahem, dignity, to pretend to be bashful…

But society has now become so apathetic tolerant that these people can now say “Pah! Why should I waste time pretending to be nice? I can be super-cruel and get away with it, what!

I wish to reiterate: The mark of a civilised and great society is the one that remembers the forgotten and forsaken, who remembers and cares for those who are less fortunate; who remembers the ones who are helpless and who cannot speak up for themselves...

Come on people: Speak up!

Today, I speak in the name of those who have no voice of their own: The animals.

And I hope many of you will use your voice to speak for them and the many others who are marginalised too...


Monday, 19 March 2007

My Darling Chee Keong...



Sigh...

I had a dream last night...It was about darling Chee Keong, and it was definitely very deja-vu like in many ways...

I don't often remember my dreams, but something about this dream (yes, yes, somebody out there is going to link this to REM-Dreaming and Non-REM-Dreaming...) made me remember...Maybe it was because it was sort-of like a flashback into the past...My past...

I remember, for example, how Chee Keong's hair smelled, something which I've not thought about at all for a long time...I could feel his hair in my dream, and for a while, I remembered how his hair stood up on end when he was near a fan...

I remembered how he used to be drenched in sweat after a hot, hot day...and the smell...

I remembered how his sweet face was white like the porcelain, and how his gentle greenish veins used to pop-up whenever he was in pain...And how my heart broke when he used to cry himself into syncope...

And in my dream, I saw the two of us dozing off together, all cuddled up on the hard chair...Him gently snoring and me just enjoying being in his company and smelling his freshly-washed hair...Cuddling together like there was no tomorrow...

And it was at that point that I woke up, because it was like a reality-wake-up call...Reality itself woke me up...I can't spend eternity with him, however much I want to...

Dreams are said to be a reflection of our inner self: Our desires, our fears, our hopes and aspirations; not neurologically-speaking of course...

I guess this time my always terpesong dreams hit the nail on the head...I do want to spend my time with Chee Keong...I want to share my life with him...

It's just so sad that it took a dream to tell me how much I have forgotten...It's so sad that it was a dream who showed me that as humans, we can never really remember everything, no matter how hard we try...

Because ultimately, absence over a long period of time not only makes the heart grow fonder; it also inevitably makes the heart forget...

Time helps you move on...But it makes you forget...

Dear Chee Keong, may I never forget how u sound, smell, look like, and most importantly, how I feel about you...

All you people out there, treasure the people that you love and care about...It's worth it...

Sunday, 18 March 2007

That Which We Call GUI...


Sigh...

Nowadays, computers adopt the GUI concept, often pronounced as Gooey”, said my lecturer.

My jaw must have dropped, because he quickly added “GUI stands for Graphics User Interface”...

Oh God, I am in trouble, because this is beginning to sound more and more alien to me, and this was only the second lesson of the semester. It frightens me to know that I need to read and understand three completely alien books in 15 weeks.

I wrote that (see above lar) about a couple of months ago...Guess what? I still feel that way...Barely surviving in my computer class...

Reading was no problem (Hey, I read everything from signboards to milk tins!), but understanding it was going to prove tricky.

If that is not bad enough, I actually have to study it well enough to re-produce the facts I stomach, in a way that the lecturer would understand and agree with.

I still remember that fateful day a few months ago when my programme advisor told me and my group of friends that we would have to sit for a subject known as ‘Introduction to Computer Studies and Information Processing’.

I could only blink, and nod stupidly.

Now that I am actually sitting for the classes, I seem to be doing a lot of nothing but blinking, and having my jaw drop involuntarily. Anyone who has actually seen my, ahem, Japanese (no offence guys, many people believe I hail from the Land of the Rising Sun, all thanks to my slits!) eyes going blink, blink, is sure to laugh.

For as long as I can remember, I have been hopeless at the computer, and all its paraphernalia never fail to amaze my not-capable-of-many-wired-equipment brain. When my dad first introduced the scanner to me a few years back, I looked for the ‘On’ button, and starred helplessly when I could not find it.

My younger brother, after a bout of laughter thinking of how useless his sister was with the computer, finally recovered enough to tell me you need not turn it ‘On’; you just plugged it in and click ‘Scan’.

Which brings us to another thing: I did not realize that computers were not able to tell fact from reality. As embarrassing as this might be, I only realised about two years ago that you could sign up for email using a fake name.

Do you know that up till today, if I want to burn a DVD, I have to bribe my brother? If I need to connect the external modem to my laptop, again, I look for my taller-than-me-by-one-head brother. The F1 in my books go “Nick, Help!”.

But for some weird reason, I work Power Point pretty well, when compared to all the other Microsoft applications. I sure hope that comes in handy one day!

I’m sure you can appreciate why this class is completely lost on me. Not that my lecturer is not good; he is, but it can’t be his fault if his student’s brains just cannot seem to absorb or comprehend anything, right?

I just found out my 'gang' in class might be dropping the subject this semester because, they like me, understand peanuts about this subject. They are going to retake it another time...

But I don't want to see his face again...Sigh...

Er, Gooey anyone?

Thursday, 15 March 2007

It Was Never About the A's to Begin With...


Sigh...

It is only me, or is the Malaysian student population absolutely obsessed with the number of A's? I mean, what's the point, might I ask? What's the point of taking Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and then also take General Science? Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't General Science a combination of the basics of Chemistry, Physics, and Biology?

Hmmm...

So, does that mean that if you get an 1A for your General Science, it makes you a better student?

Weird...

This predilection for A's...A bit scary that all people nowadays think about is getting a string of A's, and forget entirely to be human, and to forget what it is like to really live...

Imagine going out into the working world, and then insisting on surviving based on your A-getting skills...You'd fall flat, make a spectacle of yourself and end up in TR...

You know, it's absolutely true. Nobody asks for your SPM results the year after. Nobody even remembers what SPM stands for, in some cases.

And then to think that people take 19 subjects? Which stream does that put you in, then? An Artsy-Sciencey stream? What good does that do you? I know we are looking for all-rounders and all, but this is seriously too much. We're not asking you to be insane, or travel down that road! What are you trying to prove? That you're above the system? That you're a computer? That you don't have a life, and probably will never have one, given this obsession at such an age for being good on paper? Because A's on paper is not going to make you remembered in History as someone great...

The string of A's actually shows that you really don't have a life (given, you're smart), because getting those A's is not easy. While many will reminisce that school-life was the best time ever, can you actually say that? What kind of memories will you have when all you did was study (yes, I know you're smart)?

Seriously speaking, I pity you. I was upset when my results came out initially (I missed by 3), but when I look back, I can honestly say I had a good time in school, and I learned alot more outside my classroom than I ever did inside...And that, I believe, is more precious than any amount of A's anyone can get. Because ultimately, it was never the number of A's that mattered: It's the kind of person you will one day become which counts!

Education comes in many forms. Learning how to cook rice from your mother is education too, you know. And it actually will carry you for life...Being able to recite the 20 properties of the Alkane series by-hard and being able to rattle the 20 formulaes needed in solving Additional Mathematics does not! Come to think of it, learning how to use the bus will probably get you further (did I say probably? Shoot me, please) than knowing how to solve Mathematics at the speed of light...

Think about it: You are going for an interview for your first job. You go to the bus-stop and find yourself facing another person who is going to apply for the same job and he/she scored half of what you did. Then the bus comes, and your smug-face realises you don't know how to catch a bus, and because you spent all your life starring at books, you don't know how to approach that other person to ask for help. He/She gamely hops on, and you with your wonderful Additional Mathematics is left in a cloud of dust, while the other person has a 50/50 chance of getting the job...

Hmmm...Go figure who will be happier in a few years? Scratch that, make it at the end of the day...Guess who will be in TR in a few years, probably still reciting the 20 properties of the Alkane series?

To all those who are upset they didn't do that well, it's ok...Cry about it for a while to 'mourn' the misses, but get on with your life...Hey, I did!

Remember, it was never about the A's to begin with...

Sunday, 11 March 2007

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step...


Sigh...

I just watched an old episode of 'In Person', with guest star, Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood, the President of Mercy Malaysia...

The show featured a simple setting; there was no pomp, no lame jokes or cheap satire, and no 'trying to be cool' behaviour on the show...Many talk shows in Malaysia seem to fall into that category, where the hosts (mostly in pairs) try so hard to be hip and happening, and end up looking like complete idiots (I'm sure many might already guess which duo's I am refering to)...

The host (I think it's former now), Nina Sharil showed that good hosting is all about having a good command of the language (not one laden with a wanna-be British accent, and slang), poise, confidence, and most of all, dignity and respect for the person/subject etc at hand...

Wow...

Anyway, Datuk Dr Jemilah was talking about volunteering in Mercy Malaysia, and she touched on issues like how volunteers come with pre-conceived notions that volunteering is a paid job, and how volunteers demand all kinds of things, to paraphrase her. I remember my own experience as a volunteer with the local hospital. Many came in asking how much was the allowance, only to walk off in a huff when told 'there was no allowance' as it is voluntary work...

Datuk Dr Jemilah also spoke on how people generally thought that volunteers must come with Bachelor Degree's and Masters and PhD's, but volunteering comes in so many aspects...Even bringing lunch for those who are too busy to buy their own lunch is a form of volunteering!

We really need to debunk these myths in our society today...After all, the mark of a truly great society is not the society with the most money, but the most caring one...The one who reaches out to the people around them, and who when reaching out with the hand, touches the heart, to semi-quote a famous line...

And with the kind of horrors we have on our streets today (forget streets, look at your backyard longkang!), we need to sow the seeds of love...

We need to if we ever want to bring society up to scratch...Our survival, and ultimately, the civilisation, depends on it...

We however, have a long, long way to go...

But like they say, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"...

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Spare Your Change: Help Aisya...



Above: Picture by Zabidi Tusin (The Star)...

*New note to all who have been directed here from all the other blogs:-

I have been getting quite a lot of calls, sms's and emails regarding little Aisya. For those who want to keep in touch with how Aisya and her family are getting on and the status of donations, please kindly leave a link to your blog/email in my blog (under comments lor-but under this post, please), and I will keep you updated as best I can.

Here's the latest on Aisya:

Little Aisya went for surgery to create eyelids for her last December, using tissue from her lips. Unfortunately, the operation has backfired, because her eyelids have fused back together. Doctors have decided (this is according to Aisya's mum) that there will be no more surgery for Aisya for another 2 years, as surgery is difficult for her young (and small) body and immune system. So it would be another two years before they re-attempt to create eyelids for her, and later, try and fit her with artificial eyeballs. That is the time when the family will need financial help the most.

At present time, donations is solely for the family to survive on a day-to-day basis as Aisya's dad has lost his job (he's the sole bread-winner), and if there is any left, they can start a small account in case of emergency, and Aisya needs surgery (let's say they suddenly get a call to say they found someone who can help her see)...

At the present moment, with present technology, it looks like little Aisya will never be able to see, because the little girl has only whites of the eyes.

Donations can always come in kind. For example, you could offer to sponsor Aisya's diapers for a year. Or if you're some boss, you could offer her dad a job. Or if you're a broke college student like me, you could help by spreading Aisya's plight on your blogs, or simply remember her in your prayers.

I did not ask Aisya's dad for his account number as I am afraid some unscrupulous people out there might somehow misuse that for their own personal gain. Thus, all cash donations will have to be in the form of a cheque under the father's name. Write the cheque to:


SHAHIDAN BIN YANG GHAZALI, and send it to Aisya’s home at:

45, Persiaran Putra 5,
Bandar Baru Putra,
31400 Ipoh, Perak

Shahidan's Phone: 017-5586069; Hayati's (Aisya's mum) Phone: 017-5746317.

I brought this case to my college's (Inti International College Penang) student body; they recently passed the tin around and we got about RM 2 K, which will be handed to Aisya's family shortly.

*Original Post*

Sigh...This blog is about little Siti Aisya Syazreen, a 3-and-a-half-year-old who has got no eyes, literally...Little Aisya suffers from a very rare syndrome called Fraser Syndrome, where children born have got no eyelids, and some even with no eyes...

Darling Aisya is one such little girl...

Her story appeared in

The Star on the 24th December, 2006:-

Special Mum for a Special Child

When I first met Aisya, I was shocked, and I was overwhelmed...Honestly, I wanted to just reach out and hug her, but I was also afraid...Afraid that if I did that, I would be hurting this little girl, who looked so fragile, her body might snap in half if I so much as touched her...I was afraid, because I had never seen someone like her before...

Aisya's dad is the only one working in the family, and he recently lost his job...You can just imagine how difficult it is. Raising children is never easy, but with an extremely special child like Aisya, a stable income is all the more neccesary...

Inti International College Penang has taken the initiative to raise some money for her within the circle of students...Final results have not been finalised yet...

I am appealing to anyone out that who has some extra to spare to think of little Aisya and her family...It doesn't have to be big; remember, as cliche as it is, it's the thought that counts...Every gesture will help...

Think people, how would you feel if you cannot see, and cannot hear well? Think how you feel if everywhere you go, people are afraid of you? Think how you would feel if even your hands look different?

Because that is what Aisya is going through everyday...She can't see, she can't hear well, and even her fingers are deformed...

And now that the boss has very unreasonably relieved En Shahidan, things will be difficult...Imagine how they are going to make ends meet without a stable income?

Let's help support this family as best we can while he looks for a permanent job...

I am appealing to the human side of all those out that: Spare your change for little Aisya...I can be contacted at *Number has been removed* for further details on how to contribute to the family...I won't be dealing with any of your money as I will put you in touch with the family directly.

Cheerio...

Calling a Cow, a Cow...


Sigh...

Attended the Perak Women for Women's Forum on "Building a Non-Discrimination Society: A Responsibility of Everyone" this morning, and it was a very enlightening experience...

What I found to be disheartening was the fact that the crowd was made up of mostly women, with the exception, of say maybe 4 guys, speakers aside (Way to go, dudes!)...The speakers were however, evenly balanced, which was a good thing, considering the theme of the talk.

Dr Sharifah Halimah (Senior Lecturer, Royal College of Medicine Perak, Consultant O & G, Ipoh Specialist Hospital) is the President of PWW, and she opened the talk, naturally.

I missed the opening speech, and most of the first speaker's speech. The whole forum was pretty good actually, although I only found the last three to be more interesting, as they were not as dry as the first two. But to be fair, the first two had very substantial facts and figures.

What struck me, I suppose is the fact that these people were all not evenly remotely afraid of saying what they really felt. There was no "I might offend the person with the tudung if I praised the one who doesn't" or "I will piss the fairer lady if I say the one who is darker is better"...You get the gist, I'm sure (Read: Read between the " " lines).

Which was way cool, and commendable.I respected the fact that the speakers, along with the audience, were all matured enough to all address facts, and things as they are, not the way we have been brought up to recite from memory. Finally, there is a talk and forum that says it as it is. Finally a forum in which people can actually say, "Yeah, let's call a cow a cow, and not a chicken"...Way cool...Nobody got offended simply because there was nothing to be offended by...We were all merely addressing the fact that despite Malaysians being a lucky lot, we still have a lot to improve...We still can do lots for women...

We can never really make any change if all we do is smile and agree that all is well, if it isn't...We have to stop being contented, because then there will be no progress...We have to learn to state facts, and I was impressed that the Representative from Sisters In Islam, address the situation as it is, and not try to justify a 'right'...

We also had a very enlightening speech about the constitution...I mean, hell, it was way better than spending God knows how many weeks studying Malaysian Studies' Constitution Component, which was like eating dry paper, with no water to wash down...I was worried it would be a wasted morning, but it wasn't after all. At least the audience was attentive, respectful and matured...I guess it makes a difference when you attend a talk with adults and when you attend them with a bunch of your peers, who go because it is cool, or as an excuse to catch up...Worth coming back to Ipoh all the way from Penang for...

Anyway, a sum-up of the speakers:-

Gender Discrimination : Impact on Health and Socio-Economy
Dr Shayesteh Jahanfar, PhD,
(Senior Lecturer, Royal College of Medicine Perak, former
Associate Professor, Iran University of Medical Science, Tehran.)

Race Relationship in Malaysia: A determinant of harmony
Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj
(Consultant Chest Physician, Social Activist)


Malaysian Federal Constitution : Our Basic Human Rights
Mr Jerald Joseph , Activist (KOMAS)

Islam and Women: The Legal and Social Perspective
Cik Zaiton Mohamed Kassim (Programme Manager, Sisters in Islam)


Violence Against Children : Malaysian Perspective
Dr Amar Singh HSS
(Consultant Community Paediatrician, Head of the Paediatric
Department, Ipoh Hospital)

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Stand Up, Ladies!


Sigh...

It's International Women's Day, and bloggers worldwide are asked to append the following logo to their blogs:-

And to provide the following link:-
http://www.internationalwomensday.com

This is a new blog...A new blog that is not private and which I can actually address some serious issues...

For those who have access to my private blog, go ahead and keep abreast there...

We just had International Women's Day, and here I am wandering if I am losing my voice...I wonder what will happen in 20 years time...Will I have a voice? Will we have a voice? Look at how the world is now...The youths are an incorrigible lot, and people are losing faith in us (Hell...I am losing faith in us)...

Do you think we are capable of taking over the future? Do you think we can be custodians of the entire future civilisation? Do we deserve it?And if the youths are deserving, will I still have a voice?I wish there was a channel which can address these concerns...

Sure, many people might argue that BRATs is a good one, but it is only good in helping to reach out to the community:-when time permits, when the powers that be give greenlight and support an endeavour with monetary backup, etc...It's a great and fantastic programme (Non-BRATsters, go ahead and join!), and I am proud to be a part of it, having learned a lot...

But seriously, I want something a little more...I am looking for something which gives me much more than that...One which I can run to if I am in trouble, and who would use their voice to help reach out for the help I need; one which I can run to and tell them my concerns, and who will in turn help me voice them out through the proper channel(s); one which I can run to and just say "hey, I need someone to talk to"...

We need a solitary voice to help empower us all...I'm not trying to shirk my responsibility as an individual, but I think we need a platform for us to share and to grow together...

As a tribute to women worldwide, this is a post to salute all the past, present and future women who will help build a better world, and who, I hope, will continue to use their voice to empower the world, and to keep it running! We've seen enough damage when the world is run by men; it's time to change that!

Stand up ladies! Use your voice!

Oh, and Mum, I love you!...