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!



16 comments:

Adele said...

Hey Daph! Good to hear from you... I would ask you how you found my humble abode but I just realised that apparently I am linked by various people... which I don't exactly mind, I guess. :)

How are you? Stop blogging at blogspot and join us happy folks at LiveJournal!!! (Well I'd like to call us happy... but I daresay some do call us an angsty lot). Anyway, it was good hearing from you. Get a Livejournal account!!!

Adele

Anonymous said...

yo, good update. good to know the donations are steady. i hope moe people will donate. i broke.
-zoook-

Anonymous said...

Came here from Screen Shots. Good to know that someone so young is doing something worthwhile; Keep it up.
-Pooja-

zorro said...

Hi Daphne,had mee rubus with Noraina of 3540 Jalan Sudin and she alerted me to your blog. I am alerting Bloggers United about little Aisya.

Anonymous said...

Daphne,
You know how they say that it only takes one person to effect change? It's true. All it took was for you to stand up and highlight Aisya's plight to the community and to take the extra effort to contact prominent bloggers to do the same. Truly commendable. Proud of you for taking the extra step. Im posting this on PiBani's blog too.

Anonymous said...

I heard this BRATS program is good. Is it really?
Zac

Daphne Ling said...

Dear Zac,

No, the BRATs program isn't good...

That's cos it's great! Ok, lame, but it is what...

If not great, you think can last soooo long meh (Muahaha, we're going to be 14 years old!!! I think...)

If you below 19 and above 16, join lar...go to http://thestar.com.my/brats/

Kin Loong said...

Problem here is not many poepel have brains. No heart too or soul. Otehrwise Aisya's family will be getting the rm 200. Any way, why is it so little? I don't have a blog, will pass it through email.

Kin Loong
(Taylor's)

Anonymous said...

Woww. When you said update, I expected three lines. Not a whole long page. But I liked it. Very personal and heart wamrin and informative.
Sze Whey (also no blog)

Anonymous said...

I like the fact that you and PiBani both took the initiative to deal with the issue instead of just talking as there are alot of people who just say we must do this and that but never do anything and that the two of you are putting your mouth where it matters the most and that is to walk the talk. We need proactive Malaysians instead of those who just talk and talk and talk and give talks and give talks like politicians and newspapers.

kak maria said...

Dear Daphne,

I got to know of your blog from my sister, Nuraina.

I would like to know if there is already a fund set up to help little Aisya?

If there is, I would like to contribute.

kak maria said...

Daphne,

Sorry I asked. I missed the thread in which you wrote donations could be sent direct to Aisya’s father, SHAHIDAN BIN YANG GHAZALI.

Silly me.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Maria,

Thanks for visiting...If you need further details like what they need specifically, you could try contacting them directly.

En Shahidan's number is 017-5586069
and Kak Yatie's number is 017-5746317...

I wanted to reply on your blog, but erm, I can't seem to access it or the web page...

Cheerio,
Daphne

June said...

Unfortunately Daphne, there are not many people in this country with a heart unless for their own pocket. Very very very sad. And agreed when you says that RM 200 a mnth is not enough.
-june

kak maria said...

Daphne

Thanx. Got it.

About my blog, not ready yetlah, that's the reason you were not able to access it. Still working on it.

Lol!

Anonymous said...

I agree when you say that Aisya's parents are special people who never gave up hope. Truly it's not easy to bring up a special child as the challenges are many and daunting.