Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas with the YWCA PJ

Christmas is coming...the goose is getting fat, please put a ringgit in the old lady's hat, if you haven't got a ringgit, 50sen will do, if you haven't got that too, then God Bless U!

Christmas came a little early for our single parents kids this year with the YWCA of Section 20 PJ hosting a party for 30 of our little ones. The Genesis United (Gen2) Cell Group members were on hand to sing some Christmas carols to inject the lively Christmas spirit followed soon after by a clown performance.

The clown who doubled up as a magician caught the rapt attention of the little ones with his slick sleight of hand tricks from turning a straight magic wand into a lifeless piece of stick to the release of a pigeon after first dousing the pan with a ring of fire! Probably the most captivating act was that of delivering a cute little bunny from his seemingly empty bag and it had all the kids clamouring to pat the little bunny!

President Kemmy (pix) and her team did a superb job with the goodie bags, the food and the spirit of camaraderie that pervaded the YWCA house where the party was held. For sure the kids had a terrific time and for many it was their first ever introduction to what joys Christmas can bring and what it means to many of us, the more privileged ones.

And lest we forget.....A Very BLESSED CHRISTMAS to everyone from us folks at JUMBLE STATION.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Movie Magic

By Mary Anne Tan
It’s been quite a while since we went out to the movie theatre, with DVDs being so cheap and all but still nothing beats the thrill of being seated in a plush cinema complete with sen-surround system to hear even the smallest whisper.

Recently, Golden Screen Cinema on the 3rd floor of Summit Shopping Centre played the generous host to some single parents kids and kids from underprivileged backgrounds. The original plan was for around 30 kids to be invited to see “Cloudy with a touch of meatball” but since school was still on, it was really difficult trying to meet the expected target.

Several homes that Lian See had originally invited pulled out at the eleventh hour for personal reasons and left us at Jumble Station really flat footed. We eventually managed to get some 16 children and 5 adults to show up for the show and boy, what a thrill it was.

The kids who woke up early and had to skip breakfast were treated to a relatively delightful breakfast of mee siam, sausages, nuggets, cakes and drinks by Chatterbox. The Malay children mingled easily with the Indian kids as they happily got to know each other through the impromptu games we had while waiting for the GSC to open its screen doors.

Our hosts David from chatterbox, Nelson and Thomas from GSC were more than happy to have their photos taken with the irrepressible youngsters who took the opportunity to ape legendary pop idol Michael Jackson in his classic pose – one hand tipping his hat forward, the other stretched straight out or the other one with their feet crossed over and their hands outstretched over their heads.

For single mother Nisha it was her first time ever in a cinema and she’s already 25years old now. Many other children were also overawed with the cavernous auditorium, the darkness they were plunged into and the air conditioning! However, once the screen came alive with the antics of Flint the wacky inventor, the chill factor went out and the laughter set in. By the end of the movie, the little ones came out with huge smiles and willingly admitted that they had thoroughly enjoyed the entire event.

So a great big thank you to David of Chatterbox for keeping our little ones tummies filled and to the GSC staff for making time for the less privileged and bringing joy and laughter into their normally drab lives. GSC has said they plan to do this again and we’re looking forward to bringing more fun and happiness into single parents and their kids lives once again! Will our kids get a chance at seeing The Frog and the Princess next????

Parents without Partners and Jumble Station its recycle arm - are singularly focused on helping single parents in need. If you have items (we take all except plants and animals) to donate, SMS or call Anne 016-2202958.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A 'cool gift' for new single dad

Hasrun Manaf became a single father recently when his wife who has been working in Johore Baru for the last 2 years, demanded her freedom in August, just days before Hari Raya. He got custody of his eldest son Md Harith Hamizan, 9 years and Md Harith Haikal, 7 years while his youngest son 5, is still being cared for by his wife's mother in Johore.

For Hasrun or Yun as he is more commonly known around Angsana Flats, this has been a particularly painful period, one that he was ill prepared for and still struggling to come to terms with. For one, he is realising just how difficult it is to be a single father and be the sole provider for his growing boys. Yun’s take home pay as a lorry driver is only RM1,000 a month and of this he has to pay RM380 for his flat, leaving the balance of RM680 to survive till the next payday.

Now, although his youngest son is with the grandmother, under the syariah law, he is still committed to sending RM100 a month for his son’s upkeep. Fortunately for Yun, Jumble Station has been a real blessing to him in two ways – giving him groceries (rice, oil, biscuits, Milo etc) each month and enabling him to earn extra income on weekends and holidays.

See he was already helping us out way before he became a single father – he’d been assisting us with the transporting and collecting of items from the homes of the various donors and had been paid RM100 – RM120 each time, so aiding him as a single father was a natural extension.

His willingness to assist – going to as many as 5-6 houses in a day, usually a Sunday or a public holiday - without demanding to be paid for every house he goes to has enabled Jumble Station to save lots while still offering a great service for those willing to let go bulky items without having to pay for the disposal of the items themselves.

More recently however, Yun faced a terrible setback. With only RM20 left and two weeks before his next pay day, Yun happilyy help us out and received RM100 from jumble station for his efforts, despite being sick with a bad cold. While returning from Puchong he was stopped by police and asked to show his IC. Feeling very unwell, he uncharacteristically handed over his entire wallet with the newly earned RM100 to the policeman. When he got home, he discovered to his horror that the RM100 was missing from his wallet! Yun was bitterly crushed – he had promised to bank in RM100 to his ex-wife so she could buy milk and other items for their youngest son but now the RM100 was missing!

When JS learnt of this we immediately banked in RM100 into his ex-wife’s account and donated another RM100 for him to survive till the next pay day or till his next item collection event. Yun, normally a very quiet and private chap was in tears. He later SMSed this message “ Terima Kasih Sis - God Bless You!”

More recently, Yun was further blessed when he received a brand new Samsung refrigerator to replace his old one that was malfunctioning – it was no longer cool, the door was off its hinges and it was guzzling lots of electricity to boot!

Yoga and Kevala practitioner Sharmini and her group of yoga students spontaneously got together to raise the funds needed to help poor single parents when they learnt about Jumble Station’s efforts to help single parents in need. They went out and purchased a fridge from Tesco and no one could be more pleased than this deservingly helpful single father.

For a single parent, willing to ‘fish’ for himself instead of just waiting for handouts, this is truly a ‘cool treat, a super cool incentive’ indeed to help out others and be blessed in return! If Yun could, he’d SMS this same message to all you kind yoga folks out at Sharmini’s class - “Terima Kasih - God Bless You .. All” As it is, his smile says it best!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Seeking gift givers...

Frens, Jumble Station will be organising a number of activities in the month of December to celebrate Christmas and the coming new year/ school term of 2010. First off we're planning a Christmas party for 30 children of single parents on December 9 together with the YWCA and it would be great if some people out there with nice toys or stationery items could donate it to us to be giftwrapped for this party. The YWCA will take care of the makan but gifts and carol singing will be our responsibility ... singing carols is no problem but finding the nice gifts that's our challenge so anyone out there who's got nice toys to give away.. here's your chance to bring smiles to the little ones.
Also on Dec 1 we will be having a free medical camp for single parents and the poor folks at Lembah Subang from 9am-2pm and since its a Tuesday, we need to have some free gift items to attract folks to attend the medical clinic - anyone have door gifts as inducement to ensure we get the 300 people expected?

Come January 3 2010 we will be having a Back-to-School party for single parents and their kids where we plan to give them a new school bag, uniform, a pair of shoes, socks and stationery for the new school term - some 200 are expected and we've already got 100 girls primary uniform but we'll need boys' primary uniforms and a few baju kurung uniforms as well.

So if anyone knows of anyone who can help donate or get us the uniforms cheaply made, just give us a holler or SMS 016-2202958 Anne.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Joyfully enjoyable at Jaya33

Jumble Station was given the opportunity to promote PWP to the office workers and shoppers at Jaya33 recently. Naturally we jumped at this chance to try out a new location especially since the management of Jaya33 was kind enough to offer it to us for free.

So from last Thursday to Sunday, we turned up right on the dot or earlier and proceeded to promote both our mission and our donated items. We brought along an assortment of items, not knowing what would attract the buying crowd and took great pains to chat about PWP and how single parents are being assisted in their hour of need.

Of course there were many other traders there on the concourse as well but JS was the only charity group for that long weekend so we made the most of it. We shared, chatted, acted neighbourly and made new friends even as we tried to lure visitors to our stall itself.

Turns out the buyers weren’t all that keen on the little knick knacks, little trinkets or no matter how colourful they were) cute stuffed toys. What they wanted were more serious stuff from books to clothes, bags to watches. By Sunday, we had it down pat and brought mostly novels and children’s colourful books.

We made many new friends like the Pak Cik and his cookie cutter wife who was a whiz with cakes, cookies and packed food, there was Patricia, Kathlene, Christina, and caught up with some ‘older’ friends like Janice of Rantau PR and our happy fren J Lo.

Even Adrian who abhorred selling at Amcorp was lured in by the genteel crowd enough to make a pitch at selling some new clothes for RM35 each. Overall, the experience was exciting and he’s promised to join me again at Jaya33 should the opportunity arise once more!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Unforgettable Deepavali

For many of the poorer single parents at Lembah Subang, this is probably one of the most unforgettable Deepavali ever, not to mention the fact that it is also the most colourful for them so far. Why?

Well, for one thing they received an unexpected 5 black bags full of colourful and lovely looking Deepavali clothes just two days before Deepavali. The clothes were donated by the wife of one of the owners of the most popular Indian food chain The Lotus Restaurant who realised that she could bring some joy and happiness just by donating her own clothes and those of her kids.

The clothes, still in pristine condition and expensively and beautifully textured not forgetting colourful too, drew lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aaahs’ from the single parents and their kids. Some kids even asked if more of such clothes would be coming in the near future? We told them we hope so!

Topping off their joy was the fact that some 10 Indian single parents received RM100 each to help make Deepavali more enjoyable while those who lacked beds, mattresses, cupboards, gas stoves, beddings and toys were able to also choose from the lorry-load that was brought to their flats at Lembah Subang today. There was even a massage chair that had been donated and will go to single mother Normah’s elderly mum who has been complaining of acute aches and pains!

Jumble Station’s single parent co-ordinator Venie, her sister and friend were on hand to receive the items and were able to secure the help of two men to assist in carting the items up to the rented flat where those who needed the items most, could help themselves to it.

Over the last two years Jumble Station has been able to send the donated items to the homes of the single parents at various areas including Old Klang Road, Desa Mentari, Angsana Flats, Shah Alam, Klang, Sungai Buloh and Lembah Subang. The snag is that one tends to forget to snap a pix of the handover of such household or electrical products because well, no one brought a camera along in the rush to get the lorry and logistics running smoothly.

This time however, we were well prepared and hence you can see the happy smiles on the recipient’s face. For those who are sceptical of JS fulfilling your request that single parents get the items you donated, such pictures speak a thousand words : Thanks for your kindness and we at JS truly do appreciate your kind and continous support! A very Happy Deepavali to all Hindus.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winning (small) in Cimb’s photo competition

Jumble Station took part in CIMB’s MyCause ’s photo competition launched in July this year and ended in September. We had sent in 5 photos and all except one was centred on the topic of Single Father, Silent Heroes. The remaining one was a photo of some Indian kids peering through a slice of bread at the world.

One entry the one of a sombre looking single father on a bicycle with five happy kids taken just outside of Jumble Station’s shop won a consolation prize in the competition. That and the kids with bread slices was put on display at the CIMB office during the prize presentation event, yesterday.

Of course we were hoping for a big win – the first prize was RM30,000 for the photographer and RM100,000 for the charity featured but the competition was really tough – some 4,600 entries came flooding in and the judges had a tough time picking the winners.

So to have two of our photos in the 100 best photos selected for exhibition by CIMB is already a great miracle and the RM2,000 cash prize that came with the bicycle photo win was a really nice consolation ‘bonus’. CIMB chairman Tan Sri Nor Md Yusof who turned out to be Adrian Ong's customer during his fashion designing days, urged JS to not give up but to try again next year.

What’s more, Tengku Zarina Tengku Ibrahim, CIMB's director of sponsorships said that CIMB has additional monies for deserving charitable causes beyond the photo competition programmes and that Jumble Station is definitely one of those it will be keen to collaborate with. Now that’s something to look forward too right?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

JS@ the e@curve

Jumble Station recently took part in the Joujou & Shugi Toy Art Mart Vendor at e@Curve along with 31 other traders most of them selling clothes, trinkets, shoes and fashionable gee-gaws.

We were all there bright and early before even the lights in some corners were switched on. There was an air of camaraderie between many of the younger fashionista entrepreneurs and it turned out JS was the only charity priviledged enough to have been given a booth there and a free one at that!

The traders were placed in two wings, the North and the South wings of the e@Curve and it was aptly named alright because most of the crowd appeared to hang around the North wing while only a few straggled through the South side enroute to and from the centre atrium where an LG Starz dance and singing audition was being carried out as well.

Still we took it in a more positive light, preferring to focus not so much on the sales aspect but more on the promotional aspects of creating greater awareness for JS. See we figured that since most of the folks in the Damansara and e@curve shopping mall were the richer folks, they’d be more interested in donating their unwanted items rather than adding to their household clutter. So we were more than active in handing out our postcards to the ones who passed our way and talked to whoever was willing to stop for a while and learn more about what JS does.

People like Chad Merchant, an American who loves travelling and staying to absorb the cultural diversities of Malaysia and Asia was one of those who promised to highlight what we’re doing and the kind of handicrafts we had to offer. Then there was Quachee, his brother and mother who turned out to be fellow Malaccans and who were Straits born to boot. What’s more they turned out to be related to Eddy an antique dealer whom I’d just gotten to know for about a week – talk about a small world indeed. JS was supposed to be there again on Sunday but a bad case of the flu bug felled this stalwart worker and we had to take a badly needed rest! Well there’s always another time, another day for the e@curve!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Fun way to disburse 'funds'

What do you do if you have loads of funfair tickets that you’ve bought and you’re not free to spend them? Give them away to some charitable group with lots of kids who can appreciate it That was exactly what Eng Meng, a housewife with four kids did recently. She had bought up some RM300 worth of funfair tickets for her church fun fair – Trinity Church – but wasn’t able to go because she and her kids had to scoot off to Sarawak for a family matter.

Jumble Station was asked to make use of the tickets which we gladly accepted only to realise that the fun fair event coincided with the planned visit of 100 of our single parents children to KLCC Petronas Twin Tower as well. Undaunted, Adrian, Judy and I drove to the fair grounds – the church premises itself – at Kelana Jaya area and proceeded to look for items to buy back to give to the single parents.

Boy oh boy, the place was huge, the crowd tremendous, the games were aplenty, the food banyak nya… but items to purchase – hardly any. Those toys we saw, they had to be purchased direct via cash, no coupons. We could only eat ourselves fat as pigs cos there were food aplenty or play games till we were tired as hell. With each game costing RM5 at least and food ranging from RM10 upwards, it was a difficult decision indeed. In the end, we each ate just one meal, played one game of drop the coin into the water and spent the rest on the only sure win game – the Blessed Draw game.

This was where for RM5 you could scrabble in a bucket, pick a scrap of paper with a number on it and claim your prize. Adrian had set his heart on a bicycle for his precious Nisha while Judy and I were more pragmatic – any worth while prize will do. In the end, our luck wasn’t that er.. blessed – we ended up with loads of snacks, mineral water bottles, some tinned food, a couple of brightly coloured balls and a plastic mug or two. Still we had a nice time and the fun fair certainly gave me an idea of what to do in the event JS needs to raise more funds in the very near future!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recyclists gather!

Jumble Station was one of the newest kiddo in the green, eco movement when it took part in the No Plastic Bag Bazaar held at Noble House at Jalan Bukit Bintang last weekend. The Recyclist movement is one very vibrant group indeed as seen first hand with so many young professionals connected mostly via face-book, making a beeline for the restaurant turned marketplace and where pre-loved items were the signature dishes on offer rather than food itself.

We were given a cosy little corner right at the entrance so that those entering and departing could hardly miss us. This being our first time participating in the No Plastic Bag Bazaar, although for many of the vendors there it was their 2nd time, we had no real idea what to bring to whet the appetites of the potential buyers.

So accordingly we dragged along our regular collectibles from music CDs, to stuffed toys, knick knacks and a boxful of dated costume jewellery. Well the eco-supporters that thronged the bazaar were drawn more to the costume jewellery and the stuffed toys with a sprinkling of others gunning for the more interesting collectibles. The furry friends farm folks loved our collection of furry friends and bought em off us to decorate their table and must say it certainly brightened up the otherwise stark table indeed.

Other vendors who brought along clothes by the bagfuls had an equally busy time as vintage wear mostly ruled the roost this time around but of course there were those who went for more eclectic designs and wearables.

In between we were royally entertained by various local celebrities and fund raising became more fun with the auctioning off of clothes and gear by the likes of Hannah Lo, Xandria Ooi and Amber Chia. Oh yeah Adrian single father and JS helper grabbed the opportunity to have an autograph from Amber Chia and have a shot of him standing next to her, not once but twice! Seems the first time she had her lovely eyes hidden behind sunglasses! Overall it was a great time and we’d love to participate in more enviro/eco friendly events like these. Kudos to Janet Lee and gang for organising this very interesting event.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vintage Feel

Let’s confess it. How many of us had always wanted to be seen driving a priceless, expensive, vintage vehicle? Many for sure, but most of us can’t hope or even dream of ever possessing one let alone be allowed to drive one in our lifetime!

So we’ll settle for the next best thing – be driven around town in one and have others not so fortunate stare at us in shock, surprise, envy? The Malaysian Singapore Vintage Car Register or MSVCR in short comprising owners of vintage and classic cars were kind enough to lend their prized possessions to bring excitement into the lives of the under privileged.

Some nine charity organisations involved in caring for the disabled, the abandoned, the poor etc were invited to join the vintage car owners on a Sunday getaway ride to Klang. Parents Without Partners (PWP) Bhd which focuses on assisting poor Single Parents went along for the joy ride with 17 children of single parents from Lembah Subang. It was a first vintage car outing for PWP and our youngsters and we were more worried about maybe losing the kids amongst the huge crowd of youngsters that were running helter skelter between the many models of cars so old, yet so classically beautiful.

Despite being an admitted vehicle dunce, one could still palpably see and feel the love, pride and tender care that was being showered on the vintage vehicles lining the roadway at the Selangor Spastic Centre in PJ. Every vehicle there gleamed and sparkled, each outshining the other in fenders, bumpers, designs, make and models. The more sporty convertibles naturally drew more admirers but here and there some unusual vehicles too drew amused glances like the so very hippie looking van scrawled, er, painted with beatnik slogans and drawings.

With a vigourous wave of the Malaysian flag, the entire entourage joyfully set off from the starting point at the Spastics Centre and meandered their way through the busy PJ roads cut into the fast moving Plus highway and zoomed towards Klang. Along the way, it was amusing to see how the traffic marshals, looking more like Nazi soldiers in their war helmets and tank like vehicle as well as the ad hoc volunteer ‘traffic policemen’ who were able to direct the traffic at strategic junctions so we wouldn’t take the wrong route and could drive without any mishap.

Comfortably ensconced in a red convertible Triumph with my aviation engineer driver who fended off my queries about pricing and cost with the ‘OSA lah” it was nice to see first hand how different the cars of yesteryears were compared to those of today. For one there was no air conditioning so it was highly dependent on the natural breeze, there was no radio or tape player so you had to whistle or sing on your own, the horn was a little black button on the wood veneer dashboard far away from the steering wheel that’s we’re so used to.

Still with the wind in face and the sun roasting above, it was great to see the many smiles, winks, honks and envious glances from drivers and passengers in the more mundane, less sleek cars of today. The vintage motorcade made a stop at the Tanjung seafood restaurant for lunch where the little ones were treated to rice, meat and fish dishes followed by ice-cream, fruits and cupcakes.

One vintage car owner then topped off the meal with a lively rendition of a Hindi song, complete with the dance routine that drew smiles, laughter and photo-taking on cell phones by the highly amused crowd. Once lunch was over, everyone made a beeline for their favourite classic car and back to PJ we all zipped through. All in all, it was really a vintage experience, a driving sensation of what it was like during a bygone era and the ‘purrfect’ power of the vehicle even in today’s chaotic traffic situations. The kids too don’t know much about cars but they all agreed it was a heady, powerful feel and a smashingly good ride in the bargain! Kudos to all MSVCR members who helped to make this the unforgettable ride of their lives.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jumble Station at Jaya 1

How times have changed! Back in 1983, I used to walk past the area on my way to work at the Star as a young rookie reporter and it was just a factory whose name I can’t ever recall. Yesterday, I revisited the area and what a transformation the area has undergone. Gone was the unknown factory premises and in its place was a spanking new Jaya 1 - shiny, sparkling new corporate offices intermingled with a multitude of eating outlets on various levels turning the place into a great place for discovery minded folks. Now, residents and students, families and mobile professionals are spoilt for choice between the Old Town Kopitiam shop to the Secret Recipe, Starbucks to the Duck King restaurant and many, many more.

Not surprisingly to ensure Jaya 1 becomes a magnet for day-trippers and night goers, the management has latched onto the bazaar concept so that one can browse and shop, bargain and haggle while waiting for one’s meal or drink to be served. Jumble Station was recently invited to participate gratis as part of the management’s efforts to connect with the less advantaged and we were more than happy to set up stall there when the clarion call is given.

Together with volunteer Kelly who happens to be a whiz at gift wrapping, we took up two tables and displayed our creative crafts and some collectibles including a train made from recycled metal parts, a heritage miniature Nonya bridal gown and a bear basket of flowers.

While the crowd wasn’t that plentiful as yet, Jaya 1 looks promising enough especially after the management shared their vision of opening up a more permanent area for NGOs to be known as Community Connections where charity organisations can sell their items for free while promoting their activities to the many patrons of the shops at Jaya 1. Should this become a reality, Jaya 1 could well rival the likes of other weekend marts and draw in a much bigger retail buying crowd with the strong purchasing power to boot. So all you folks out there looking for great buys while doing your bit for charity - drop by at Jaya 1 to support single parents in need!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What a blast for Single Parents

Parents Without Partners Bhd, the NGO whose social entrepreneurial arm is Jumble Station, successfully held its annual party for single parents on July 5 2009. Despite the fact that it was held at the Dream Centre sports arena and was rather hot, the 60 single mothers and three single fathers, along with the 200 or so kids that turned up had a fantastically great time indeed.

First off they were able for the first time in their lives to enjoy a full fledged fashion show by our Jumble Station volunteers in which some 15 models took to the floor in a catwalk that had most viewers mesmerised.

The fashion show was themed along the lines of single parent so there were little kids taking to the catwalk with adults and walking and posing for photographs like they were professionals. Two kinds of dressing were flaunted – the casual, easy going designs and the semi formal evening wear.

After Lim Lian See, PWP’s president and co-founder of Jumble Station gave her speech, a slide presentation on activities that Jumble Station had been conducting since 2007 was featured allowing those single parents who had missed on those events to see for themselves how others had enjoyed or benefited from events organised just them. The events ranged from radio and TV interviews of single parents needs and woes by Bernama TV and Radio 24 to the rousing free Medical Camp in March and launch of Urban Station in Kuala Lumpur in April this year.

This was followed by a lively rendition of country line dancing to the tune of Billy Ray Cyrus’ runaway country hit Accky Breaky Heart. The dancers meanwhile had wisely ditched their formal evening gown and donned instead cowboy pants, shirts and boots, not forgetting the really rugged looking cowboy hats.

The highlight of the party was the lucky draw where some 20 single parents were able to walk off with lovely prizes, ranging from a brand new Panasonic refrigerator sponsored by CK Lim, to a 21 inch Pensonic TV sponsored by IT firm The Media Shoppe and even to porcelain collectible dolls donated by Kelly from Hardar Gift Shop!

The party was made all the more satisfying by a hearty Hi Tea spread sponsored by IT organisation Pikom and consumed with great gusto by the really hungry single parents and their equally hungry kids. Topping off the entire celebration was the goodie bags courtesy of GDEX where each single parent was given either a toaster, an iron or a hair dryer while the little ones were given a towel, a notepad and a miniature GDEX truck.

The single parents expressed satisfaction and joy with many stating that they had never felt so wanted and cared for in their lives. Many more said they wouldn’t want to miss next year’s Single Parents Day celebration and to be sure to include them in our invitation next year. They also said there should be more of such get-together occasions so that they could connect with each other better. We couldn’t agree more with that view!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ayam Berempah and Angels

Here’s one practical way to help a single parent in need – utilise his or her skills to help other charitable organisation and make some income in the process. Joyce Leong, our volunteer wanted to help raise funds for her other favourite charity – the Angel Home for disadvantaged children – while at the same time help a single mother in need.

She came up with this solution – pay RM600 to a single mum from Jumble Station to cook some food and then get her pals to buy up the Angels’ food and funfair coupons so that the food will be all bought up – thereby killing two birds with one stone.

Pretty smart move actually and one that worked very well. Single mother Nani who has 6 young children to bring up was the one tapped for this event because her signature dish, the ayam berempah is the one that is mouth-watering enough to get buyers lining up.

So there we were, at the MCA premises at OUG firing up a spicy storm, getting some 120 pieces of chicken all spicily fried and little bowls of rice all steamed up for the hungry crowd. Of course there were competition all around, it being a food and fun fair after all but Nani’s fragrant and freshly fried chicken smell was powerful enough to waft through and irresistibly draw the hungry folks to her stall located right at the end of the open air premises. And surprisingly, despite coming in much later than the other participants, within less than 3 hours, Nani’s ayam berempah was all sold out with latecomers having to make do with tiny fragments to whet their appetites.

For Adrian, this food and fun fair is an eye opener and a precursor to what to expect the next time Jumble Station organises something similar to raise its own funds. In the meantime, for those of you looking to contribute to something similar, why not take a leaf from Joyce Leong’s example and kill two birds with one charitable stone!

Friday, June 5, 2009

To fish or not to fish--that's the dilemma!

We’ve all heard the saying “Give someone a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach ‘em to fish and they’ll eat for a lifetime.” But what happens if the learner doesn’t fancy mastering the art of fishing…what then?

Well then perhaps the smarter move is to find what the learner really wants to learn and then give him the tools of the trade to make particular mastery of the skills needed a real possibility.

Single parents by virtue of the fact they have kids to fuss over, generally don’t make for good or reliable students. Some folks wonder why with all the ‘free courses’ available in the marketplace more single parents can’t garner the skills they need to get on with life.

Take Rainah Kinsang for example. It’s been exactly a year and six months since she became a single mother after her hubby drowned while spearfishing in an abandoned property development site in Subang. This single mother of four boys struggled to raise them single-handedly, found it too tough and promptly packed them off to their grandparents in Sabah while she returned to Subang ostensibly to make something of herself.

She was offered a fully paid 2-year course to learn how to do facial and hairdressing by the YWCA training team. She attended for less than a month and dropped out for good. Seems she didn’t mind the course but the enforced live-in requirement grated on her need for total freedom hence her sudden departure from a course that others less privileged were dying to get into.

She moped around for a couple of months, mulling what to do next, then a friend suggested they both go into the tailoring business. Although not exactly skilled with the needle and thread, she was game for it. Initially it scared her a little but she thought the better insurance hedge would be to sell some ‘bundle-like” clothes so she could meet her share of the rental while taking the opportunity to learn sewing skills.

Fortunately for her, Jumble Station had just received several brand new clothes that still bore the price tagged labels and these were passed on to her in her spanking new shop just two doors away from us. Displaying brand new clothes for sale is the easy part, pricing it at an affordable level is another and here Rainah has had to be guided closely to ensure she does not under-price or over-price the items donated to her for onward sale. It’s hoped that this hand-holding will have to be eased off soon and that she will learn to be more business savvy as time goes on. For now though, instead of lounging on a comfy 3-seater sofa flicking through magazines, she’s been prodded pointedly to take up tailoring and learn to sew from Melini her fellow Sabahan business partner.

Then there’s also Liza, an unwed mother who apparently has learnt the art of doing facials but for some strange reason never seems to stick long enough at it to earn enough to feed year old Alyesha. Jumble Station had assisted her by loaning RM4,000 last year so she could buy 2nd hand facial equipment and furniture but except for an occasional foray into facials, she has hardly made enough to feed a church mouse!
Where once she was able to utilise some space in a hairstyling salon, now she is forced to work from her rented flat because the hairstyling business ‘closed shop’ recently. At RM35 a facial, one would think getting customers around the Subang Mewah neighbourhood should be easy a pie.
Not so, it has been tough as nails because now more people are cost conscious and facials are deemed a luxury not a necessity. She now has a fishing rod in hand, but Liza realises she will need to have the right bait (print some flyers, viral market her skills etc) in order to lure in the customers, the question is, is she and many other single parents, up to the task as yet? Only time will tell!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

HELP-ing hand from HELP University College

One of the key factors that Jumble Station puts priority on is the need for education for the children of Single Parents. Why? Education is the passport to future success, the lynchpin that can break the chains and bonds of poverty.

But what if the single family concerned does not have the finance to fund the child’s education? Previously one would have just shrugged it off and gone straight to the working/ employment pool. Today there are other options and one of them is to tap into the potential offered in the area of scholarships by the various organisations.

Hence, when Jumble Station got a chance to meet with Mrs Paul Chan, the co-founder of the well established HELP University College we took the opportunity to broach the subject of scholarships for needy folks – especially for the children of poor single parents. A concerned Mrs Chan was more than willing to offer a full scholarship to deserving children of single parents wanting to pursue a degree here in Malaysia.

Spurred by the desire to see as many deserving smart youngsters get the tertiary education they deserve Mr and Mrs Paul Chan co-founded HELP Uni College which has since gone on to make great strides in private education. Now she agreed to extend a HELPing hand to one of ours.

Sujata, daughter of single mother Panjalai from Angsana Flats in USJ1 was offered a full scholarship to do her foundation and a three-year degree course in accountancy. Despite the distance – from Angsana to the Kommuter to KL Sentral to Damansara – Sujata expressed joy and happiness at this golden opportunity to pursue her studies in a well established and highly respected institute. The only snag is that it costs quite a bit for transport – RM5 x 2 = RM10 to and from the school each day and Jumble Station is hoping to find an individual willing to commit to RM500 a month just so Sujata can travel and have a bit of lunch for the next four years as she pursues a course in accounting.

Jason Kwan is another bright student keen to pursue a career in advertising. We’re approaching The One Academy for a possible scholarship but in the meantime, are there any kind souls out there, ready and willing to invest in educating a bright yet poor student? If so just buzz or send an SMS to 016-2202958 and we can chat .

Friday, April 24, 2009

Say hello to Urban Station

Urban Station, a collaboration between DUMC’s Urban KL Fellowship catering to the homeless, the street people and Jumble Station, focused on Single Parents in need, made its debut on April 22 2009.

Urban Fellowship of Street Ministry as all of us know it has been around for quite some time and is located at the 1st floor of the old Klang Bus Station. Back in its heyday the bus station was a hive of activity with many buses heading out from KL to the rest of the other states. Today however it acts as a feeder terminal for the Klang and KL centric buses.

JS was approached to assist urban Fellowship set up a thrift shop in the heart of KL specifically to help create job opportunities for its many street folks, most of whom find it tough to get anyone to give them a job. Since Jumble Station believes in partnering others to assist the needy plus it makes it easier for others to reach us in KL instead of in Subang Jaya, the collaboration made a lot of sense to both partie

Urban Station was born from this need to recycle items, re-energise humans and rebuild lives. In line with that we began employing a young homeless couple to assist us in the shop but the weekend before the launch, they scooted off, never to be seen again.

Ah well, some people blow the opportunities given to them, others make good use of them. Now we have a more matured woman and a street savvy yet very teachable guy willing to assist us in making Urban Station a success.
So folks, if you are around the KL bus station area, do drop by with your friends and buy an item or two to help the needy. Proceeds after overheads will go towards the needs of the street folks and single parents who are poor so every helping hand in making Urban Station a success will be mightily appreciated.

Just for the launch we had DUMC senior pastor Daniel Ho, CES director Pastor Margaret Loy and Jumble Station co-founder Lim Lian See cutting the ballooned ribbon while our JS dancers performed a short country line dance to the beat of Achky Breaky heart song and I must say we were a refreshing change, adding both colour and youthful zest to this once very quiet place.

A big thanks to all our fiesty boot stompers from Adrian, Lian See, Joyce Leong, Mae Ane, Noni, Meksue, Eng Yao and DJ Pingngan. Let’s put our special caring stomp on KL and its environs via Urban Station itself!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Teaching Single Parents to fish

Some people deplore the idea of assisting those in need by giving out purely cash or groceries. For Jumble Station, we believe in meeting emergency needs via cash or in kind (giving donated items to single parents free of charge) first so that physical needs are met uppermost, after which, we will look at a more long term solution to their current predicament.

So yes, giving them fish to eat is important but teaching them to fish is a more sensible and more sustainable way to ease them of their financial woes. However teaching single parents in need to fish is a pretty daunting task not least because the desire to learn to “fish” has to come from them first.

One key thing is that one must first try to ‘lure’ them into the benefits learning to fish and it’s tough because first off many of the poor single parents are less skilled, poorly educated and lack self-confidence or are still psychologically too traumatised to try something new.

There are of course some exceptions and two of them come to mind. The first is single mother Rusnani who has 6 children to care for and whose spouse, a drug addict, abandoned her while she was expecting her last child. Nani possesses an enviable skill – she can cook and her signature dish – ayam berempah and nasi kukus (spicy fried chicken and steamed rice) is deliciously mouth-watering!

Nani came to Jumble Station’s attention when a friend who had promised to loan her the down-payment for a van that she needed to ferry her cooking utensils and ingredients, was nowhere to be found. All she needed was just RM3,000 to get a van that would help her to kick-start her food business at Damansara Heights, KL.

Recognising her desire to work and feed her children Jumble Station gave her the money needed to get a second hand van and she has since garnered quite a loyal following of customers who were willing to stand in line to await their ‘packed aromatic lunch”.

The snag is that she does not posses a licence and was constantly facing harassment from DBKL officers who would cart off her cooking gas tank, her cooking implements and chicken and impose a hefty RM300 fine each time she wanted her items back.

We stepped in to assist again by writing an appeal letter to DBKL seeking their help in getting her a licence but to no avail. Fortunately, she managed to secure a spot near the mosque premises where she is now able to conduct her daily business unhindered while her customers are delighted to know that their supply of ayam berempah remains uninterrupted. For Jumble Station it is enough to know that she is now capable of shouldering the burden of caring for her children independently and her desire now is to be able to hire some workers to help her in this business whilst expanding her reach to other places as well.

For single mother Panjalai, who earns only RM600 as a kindergarten helper and has only RM200 to survive on after deducting rental each month, learning to ‘fish’ is something she is just beginning to grasp. Jumble Station assisted her by securing her a small space in a shoplot at Angsana Flats for RM100 rental where she can now sell some items to the local residents there.
This little shop now sells detergents – powdered and liquid – formula from the well recognised name Kleenso.

Kleenso’s founder Mr Lee Teck Meng was kind enough to participate in this ‘teaching to fish’ exercise by supplying Panjalai’s shop with several of his branded products including bleach, softener, floor, glass and bathroom cleaners, car polish etc. There were also liquid detergent refills where one could bring one’s old plastic containers and buy the refill for a much cheaper price. Panjalai would earn some 30sen to 50sen per bottle sold while Jumble Station chipped in by passing to her some children’s toys, both big and small, to enable her to draw in the mothers and children to her shop.

It’s been only a month or so since this fishing experiment got started but so far, the indications are that both Nani and Panjalai are excited and pleased with their little ‘ventures’ and are gaining greater self confidence as the days go by. For Nani it is a move that is paying off well because she is now able to return RM200 a month to Jumble Station while Panjalai finds her retail venture very encouraging – she is able to pay off her RM100 rental for this month and have a little left over for her two teenage children.

Jumble Station hopes to get some flyers printed for them and that should help get more people to know about their products and to actually buy their products so that they can live more financially independent lives. So if you have a party planned and need great food – don’t miss Nani’s mouthwatering ayam berempah and if you need dishwashing liquid detergent to clean up after that, just swing by Panjalai’s shop to get some.

Admittedly both do not need ‘charity’ but they can go far with your strong, unstinting support. At Jumble Station we’re truly hoping that these two early successes will visibly inspire many more single parents to do likewise and thereby free themselves from the shackles of poverty. We really do want them to know that a hand-up is far better than a hand-out long term!

Jumble Station has a singular vision to assist single parents in need. If you have toys, clothes, electrical or electronic items, collectibles, furniture, books etc, do drop them at F1-01-05 Angsana Flats, USJ1 Subang Mewah, Subang Jaya, Selangor or call 016-2202958 for collection of bulky items.

Monday, March 2, 2009

JS dancers wow Angsana crowd during free medical clinic

Sunday, March 1 ....Some 750 residents of Angsana Flats at Subang Mewah, USJ1 were given free medical treatment and check up on Sunday March 1 2009. Organised jointly by the
Rotary Clubs of Bukit Kiara Sunrise (RCBKS) and The Rotary Club of Shah Alam (RCSA) in collaboration with Jumble Station, a NGO helping poor Single Parents and the Angsana Residents Association, the event saw some 15 doctors from both the private and government hospitals.
The Free Medical Camp was to create health awareness among the poorer community of the low cost flats of Angsana Flats, to provide free medical consultation and medicine to this community and to provide a health education for the residents there.
It began with a line dance exercise by Jumble Station volunteers and promptly at 9 am the crowd started streaming for the medical check up. Pfizher (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd;s Care –A –Van conducted tests to check the cholesterol and blood sugar tests for those aged 40 onwards as well as for blood pressure, Body Mass Index and obesity tests, among others. There were also free ultrasound tests for the kidney area, eye tests conducted and a mobile pharmacy manned by qualified pharmacists to dispense free medicine. Many youngsters were given de-wormed medicine while several adults were surprised to learn that they had high blood pressure and needed to be more careful of their own health.
Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib, the Minister of Rural and Regional Development was scheduled to officiate the closing but technical delays in his flight return to Malaysia prevented him from turning up. The guest of honour was Lion Group Medical Assistance Fund trustee Colleen stood in his place while Elsie Low, President of Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise, Chandra Sekharan, President of Rotary Club of Shah Alam, and Azmy Awang, President Persatuan Penduduk Pangsapuri Angsana were the VIPs.
Jumble Station dancers, wowed the crowd with a lively rendition of a Malay dance titled “Dikir Puteri” led by our talented Adrian Ong, MekSue, Noni and her daughter Shamine. Our Dikir team was led by yours truly and other very sporting guys and gals – Rontau, Mae Ann, Eng Yao, Lian See, Sujata and her mum and Jessica.
The main sponsors for Angsana Flat’s medical camp included Lion Group Medical Assistance Fund, Pfizer, Pyrogen Technologies, Kossan Bhd, Hartalega Sdn. Bhd, Alkarich Sdn. Bhd., Michael Gan and Maestro Swiss Trading Sdn Bhd