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!