Friday, 15 January 2010

soy bean cake

Tronoh is kind of hot as usual, i do sweat profusely when i am here,what more with the fact that i don't go out much. I just enjoy the laid back life i lead here, instead of the immaculate image that i keep on going way back there. Today was no different than any other, I am taking care of Daddy as he just recovered from an operation on monday. The Doctor told him, no driving, no farming and no hardwork. Dad, being dad disregarded most of the doctor's orders. He unwittingly ate his antibiotics 2 at a time even though the prescription specifically saidmakan satu dua kali sehari. i even had to tell him of yesterday as i saw him picking up a pot in the garden in broad daylight.

And today, was worst of all. He was told not to drive for at least a month, so i was dispatched as the family driver this holiday. I did not mind at all, and told dad he could tell me to get ready and i would drive him straight away where he wanted to go. At 3 pm, mom went of to work, so i was left alone with dad. 3.15 pm, i asked 'daddy, just call me when you are ready to go to the bank'. 3.30pm, i saw him change into his favourite brown pants from his previous kain pelikat and asked whether or not he wanted to go out already. He said he wanted to wait until later. At 4pm, i fell asleep, and dad sneakily took out the 4-wheel drive and turbo-ed down to town triumphant that he could drive around once more without my knowledge! I woke up to find the house empty, the car not in the drive way and called Dad straight away. He picked up the phone with the most guilty voice ever, and winced that he would be back in just a few minutes. Well, at least he got his few minutes of freedom. (ps:my dad is very degil, so is his daughter)

When my dad came back from his euphoric trip, at the same time, my sister arrived from johor,and my mother came back from work. We were laughing about daddy sneaking out from the house when suddenly, we heard a soft distinct Assalamualaikum, asaalamualaikum...Mom got up to peek through the glass-panel door and saw a small timid boy amidst the cars on the lawn. She beckoned him to come through the gates and asked what he wanted. The dark tanned boy, wearing an oversized songkok looked up at my mother with tired eyes, his voice low, parched from the hot sun. saya jual cd agama, ni untuk sumbangan ikhlas, rm10 satu.

Mom looked at the boy's soiled clothes, his filthy nails and worn out face. "Adik ni dari mana", asked my mother. "Dari Sekolah agama Seremban", he ansered "seremban!?", asked my mother in surprise, "Macam mana boleh jauh sampai sini, mak ayah mana, tahu tak adik kat mana ni, siapa yang hantar adik sini", my mother voiced out a train of questions. The boy looked unwilling to answer my mother, he faltered in his answers. "Ada Ustad hantar saya ke sini, kami ada 8 orang kena jual cd ni, nanti dah habis jumpa dekat Shell " (theres a shell petrol station near my place). It was so sad...can't you all see, this is child labour, and in what, in the name of God! This is wrong!

"Adik lapar x, nak minum x?", asked a corncerned mom. The little boy answered no, but mom directed me to get something for him to drink from the fridge. The orange juice was very sour, even i did not like it, so i decided to give him cold soy bean drink instead. As i handed him the glass, the little boy, with a glass of drink in his hands and a handful of cds in the other, stopped for a moment to think of how to drink. (they teach in religious schools to drink while sitting). In the end, he squated on the orange tiled floor, drinking deeply, his small fragile body quivering with every single drop of the creamy fluid. I held back tears. Mom told me to take out the rattan chair in the hall, and gave it to the boy so that he could drink in comfort, without needing to squat. The small boy smiled gratefully. I really cant describe with words the emotions i felt at that time, I seriously cant. I wish i could show you...

The boy left after mom gave him the rm10 he needed to sell a cd.
The boy's image never left my heart.

I saw him go...
I saw him walk away...

What should i do? What can we do? People everywhere are using these children, whether they realise it or not. Some go from table to table at a restaurant, asking for money, for a so-called charitable organization. Some, like that boy just now go around asking people to buy religious products.
Is this right Muslims?
Aren't you ashamed of using children to do this for you?
These children are supposed to be at school, at home, watching tv, reading books, and not going around asking for compassion from strangers.
What if they were kidnapped, human trafficked half way across the globe? No one would notice, and they would always remain anonymous, just another statistic.

I wish i could do something more.

While my mother gave this boy a simple gesture of this soybean drink, i remembered something. Everytime when i watch a movie with really bad subtitles in Indonesia, I notice that they translate love as soy bean cake. Lots of movies, not only one on their pirated vcds. This child may not have his mothers love, may not have the love he needs from the people responsible towards him, but at least today, he received some love from a complete stranger, my mother..she gave him a piece of soy bean cake today.

One day, i want to give my soybean cake to the children who need it. Spread the love~

aduan rakyat

I drove my mother yesterday to the small town of Batu Gajah to pay her bills on a hot sunny day. It was like any other usual day when anyone would pay the bills except for today, i was with my mother who would usually do the chores on her own. While she paid for the taxes,she was complaining about how much we had to pay for the house in Batu Gajah, the yearly assesment of the house was, shockingly very expensive, amounting to RM1000 per year! My parents have been paying that amount for years since we did not live in Perak before, and thought it was how much we were supposed to pay. But as the years went on, and we asked around more, it was impossible that such a place could amount to that much. A house in Kuala Lumpur had a yearly assesment of only RM400, and another house in the outskirts of Selangor reached up only to RM200. This was absurd!

After a few moments thinking about whether or not we should deal with this problem, we decided that we should just face the music. Besides, Majlis Daerah Batu Gajah was just around the corner. My mother told me, don't be shocked when you see the building, it looks like a hotel. In my mind, i did not picture it to be like what i actually saw. The building was huge, every single detail was given to its architecture and landscaping, spacious parking lots were strewn everywhere. I could not believe my eyes! Batu Gajah town was a far cry from the Majlis Daerah building, there is a lot of rubbish, the buildings look dilapidated and the roads are not as magnificent as the ones leading to their office. To make things worse, the Majlis Daerah building is situated right beside the Batu Gajah library, the library was another distant cry from that majestic building. It is a small wooden kampung house, converted into a library.

When we walked into the vast offices, the very cold air conditioning system greeted us. There was no one at the counter, even after we buzzed the bells a dozen times. Some officers saw us, but went on going as if we were not there. Finally, someone came to our assistance, after a long wait, and said, there is a meeting going on. But if there is a meeting, why does everyone have to go, even the people who are supposed to be at the counter. On a good note, when we filed our complaint, they were effective in finding out the problem. It turns our, our yearly assesment was only RM200, but somewhere along the way, someone had charged our bills amounting to RM1000. Isn't that a big difference, and my parents have been paying that amount for more than 5 years, (we were told that Majlis Daerah does not keep any archives for more than 5 years, all the previous records were deleted)

When I asked about the library, they said, it was not under their jurisdiction. Then who does the library belong too? The people. Who should be in charge of the peoples welfare? I think you know the answer to that.

I am in the medical field, and to tell you the truth, i am aghast at the situation i faced that day. Have you ever walked down the halls of a government hospital, and compared it to the majestic halls of Majlis Daerah, then you would know the difference. In a government hospital, the doctors do not even have enough space for their own desk, some have to share the same cubicle, meeting hundreds of patients a day. When i walked in the Majlis Daerah, it was so huge, you could hold tea parties there, and no one would notice it. It has been happening everywhere and everyone is turning a blind eye. The lament about the mistake of our assesment is just a small complaint. For me, the most important thing i see is the unfairness and injustice that we, the rakyat has been done. The people of Malaysia has been paying high taxes, hoping in turn to get a beautiful country, no rubbish, lush green parks and well planned towns. But what i see here, is that all the money is sent to Majlis Daerah to beautify its buildings, landscape its horizons and only partially give back its responsibility towards the people.

I walked out from Majlis Daerah Batu Gajah with a very sad heart. If this is what is happening to our country, where libraries are not important and the people are not well taken care of, and that things would turn for the better one day. I still have high hopes in Malaysia still being a thriving country, lets pray my hopes are not dashed.