What a tragedy that poverty frequently creates a vicious cycle!

Yayasan Suria JB (YSJB) – What a tragedy that poverty frequently creates a vicious cycle!
Many of us reading this will not know what poverty entails but for volunteers like us, we get to experience our clients’ lives as we step into their shoes (lives). On the outside, our clients (the Poor & Needy) look ‘normal’ as their pride and ego will not allow their neighbours, friends or relatives to know they are in such dire straits.

Many have contemplated suicide with no one to turn to, not even brothers and sisters or relatives. When all is well and good, all (friends/relatives) are good to you but when help is needed in terms of money, all hell will break loose. The saying ” blood is thicker than water” rarely applies in such situations. Indeed, this saying “money is thicker than blood” holds more truth when you are desperate!

This is so true in this ‘dog-eat-dog’ world and I can testify personally as I had experienced such ‘treatment’ before when it comes to money!

Here, I would like to highlight 3 cases which we are handling now:

Case 1: 

Rohingya lady, 38 yo, whom we helped to deliver her baby girl 2 years ago, paid RM4,800 in HSIJB. She has another son, 15-years- old in Yangon, Myanmar being looked after by her sister. She and her husband have been in Malaysia for 13 years. 2 months ago, her husband absconded, disappearing into thin air, and leaving her alone to fend for herself and baby.

She was sick recently, desperate for help (listen to the voice messages:
https://soundcloud.com/user-95871419/project-1…), with no job, and a 2 yo baby to look after. We immediately dropped all our plans/schedules and went to fetch her to a clinic in Johor Jaya.

The Dr diagnosed her as “full of stress” causing her to be in such a condition – headache, short of breath (couldn’t breath properly), body ache, etc. How not to be in that condition when you have no money to do anything – take a Grab to clinic, medical fees, etc.!

While at the clinic, Dr told me to bring the baby away so that he can examine her properly, undisturbed. You see, volunteers are trained to do anything – even taking care of crying babies. Thanks to my volunteer of the day, Joe, who calmly and cleverly put the baby at ease in our Toyota Hilux while I ran back to the Dr to attend to the lady as a translator. The accompanying videos shows how the baby was so relaxed after the ‘therapy’! Kudos to you, Bro Joe, for a job well done!

The Dr didn’t charge us any fee and told us to come back in 2 weeks’ time. We took mother/baby to our office in Johor Jaya, gave them lunch, ice creams, sweets, biscuits and lots of ‘goodies’ to take home – baby pampers, baby shampoo, diapers, baby milk powder, Promac milk powder, baby clothing, baby shoes, soap, Milo, rice, cooking oil, frozen roti canai & frozen prawn dumplings (sponsored by Tee Yih Jia), biscuits, frozen asam ikan pari (sponsored by Fish Club), frozen chicken, wet wipes, masks, sardines, baked beans, tin mushrooms, ‘Panadol’ (sponsored by AM PM Pharmacy) and whatever we have at our office/store.

This lady is ‘squatting’ in a friend’s rented flat in Desa Cemerlang and the ‘goodies’ we gave her will be shared as her friend is equally poor.

Case 2:

Lady, 37 yo, in Puteri Wangsa, 5 kids, husband under remand in Pekan Nenas for possession of parang, no money to pay for electricity/water bills (on the verge of services being terminated), landlord requested her to vacate her rented house by the end of July 2022 due to her inability to pay rent.

Gave her our standard food bank costing about RM150, RM 600 cash to pay for water/electricity bills, told her to look for a house nearby, will help her to shift by providing lorry and labour to load her belongings and told her that we will help to pay for 2 months rental.

Case 3:

Lady, 34 yo, 6 children, staying at PPR flats Kempas, husband in Kajang jail due to arms-related offence, recently her husband ‘talaq 3’ her for divorce, this type of divorce is permanent, her flat was without electricity for 2 to 3 months (everything is not working), toilet stinks due to leakages and not in working condition. I visited her flat with the IWA (International Women Association) group and they agreed to take care of the outstanding water/electricity bills (services about to be terminated due to non-payment).
We supplied this family with a monthly food bank, tended to the children’s medical fees when required and supplied her with diapers for her 9-month-old youngest boy. Her eldest is 14 yo old and has since dropped out of school.

We repaired/replaced all electrical fittings and fixed up all the plumbing works costing us RM1,800.00 – she was so thankful that she called up, started crying non-stop and told us that she couldn’t have imagined enjoying the ‘luxury’ of having water/electricity and everything working perfectly again!

Such are the circumstances/situations faced by these poor families. When you don’t even have enough food on the table, don’t talk about rental, water/electricity bills, maintenance of houses and other things. One thing leads to another and suddenly, you find yourself in a deep pit without any chance of getting out, UNLESS A KIND SOUL EXTENDS A HELPING HAND TO PULL YOU OUT!

Being volunteers, we ‘fished’ out these cases, we have many more of these, we go quietly and help out, without much fanfare/publicity, to protect their ego/pride/dignity so as not to ‘lose face’ (Asian culture).

Anyone reading this and wishing to help us to help our clients are welcomed to be our partners. Together, we can make this world a better place for go everyone “if only the haves (rich) share a little of what they have with the have-nots (poor).”

Being volunteers, we are unpaid but *_we are paid in a higher form – seeing the happiness and joy in the faces of our clients is enough to make us feel rewarded, something that money just couldn’t buy!

Enjoy this poem written by my fellow volunteer, Joe, who “tamed the crying baby” in the videos:

Round and round we go,
Richer the Rich, Poorer the Poor,
The vicious cycle keeps spinning,
The Poor loses, the Rich keeps winning!
Round and round we go,
It does not need to be so,
If you be true to a friend,
And hold out a helping hand.
Then round and round again we go,
In a merry-go-round sans high or low,
Yes!, The Rich really do have a choice,
To hoard their coins & make a sad, lonely noise,
Or to share & sing a cheerful song of rejoice!
“A candle does not lose any of its light by lighting up another candle”.