Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello 2011!!!!!

Today is the first day of the New Year and its the beginning of another year of fresh starts, fun activities and new experiences. Here's a card wishing everyone out there rooting for us to do more, to do better this year a lovely card from little ant who is currently resting down under for another week!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Thank You card to all our friends

Hey another Christmas has crept on us and we wanna take the opportunity to say a million thanks to all who have helped us in this ministry.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Elim Gospel Hall blesses poor single parents

With the economy getting worse by the day, finance remains a big headache for many a poor single parents and when December comes around, the issue becomes a nagging problem. Why? Well single parents first have to feed their hungry hordes of kids, secondly they have to find the cash to buy new school items – school bag, books, uniforms, shoes, socks, even track suits in some cases – and all those require cash.

Realising this, Elim Gospel Hall in Ipoh organized a fund raising dinner with veteran singer Fong Pei Pei to help raise additional cash for poor single parents under PWP/Jumble Station’s care. Lim Lian See and Mary Anne, made the trek up north for this very special event and arrived just in time despite not being familiar with the route.

The dinner itself was held at a local seafood restaurant where some 51 tables were all taken up by church members, their supporters and family members. A 15 member choir kicked off with a Chinese rendition of Christmas carols followed by a speech by David Ho of Hovid Bhd who also heads the Professional Youth Fellowship (PYF) organisation up in Ipoh.

Mary Anne was then invited to share a little about what PWP has been doing to assist poor single parents and her speech was simultaneously translated for the benefit of the mostly Chinese listeners. After that, a cheque presentation for RM18,000 was handed over to Mary Anne by David Ho but sadly the picture could not be taken because the guy who was entrusted with the task of photographing the historic moment, forgot to switch on the camera and couldn’t understand why the camera would not function!

Meanwhile the guests tucked into the delicious Chinese course dinner while the veteran singer crooned her way into the hearts of her faithful supporters who listened and watched with rapt attention. Unfortunately, we had to rush out of the concert hall because Lian See’s handbag was snatched by a motorcyclist and we had to take her to the police station to make a report. Except for this one inconvenience, the Ipoh outing was a great success and we would like to thank God for kind and compassionate souls like Elim Gospel Hall members for reaching out to our single parents in need.

Once again a very “Big Thank You” for all those who made this event so successful and memorable.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oman Air Winners

Three single parents children have been selected to go to Oman and they did it all on their own merit. The three winners comprise all the elements of 1Malaysia – Sujatha Sahadevan, 19, Suri Juliana, 16, and Robin Lee, 15 years old.
The three winners beat 13 other contenders in the essay writing and art competition centred on the topic of “Why I want to go to Oman” which was held last month.

Most of the competitors chose the easy route, preferring drawing over essay writing except for one Chinese girl who wrote her entire essay in Bahasa Malaysia and flawlessly too. The only snag was, the essay itself lacked the oomp says the two penultimate judges – Kathleen, the Oman Air sales & marketing manager and Jennifer Ann Nelson the PR for Oman Air.

According to the duo, Robin’s essay won over that of the one written in BM because of his creative style of writing and the unique focus of his essay – food. Funnily enough, Robin who isn’t anywhere near fat waxes lyrical about the kind of foods to be found in Oman and expresses an intense desire to taste all the different flavours to be found in Oman.

Suri Julianna, the second winner, impressed the judges with her manga style of drawing and her attention to detail. At her mother’s urging Juliana surfed the Internet to see what Oman had to offer and then proceeded to depict them faithfully – manga style. Compared to the entries from the other kids, hers was a class above, definitely. She was shrewd enough to also include Oman Air logo and in Jawi too!

As for Sujatha, she wrote a commendable piece on Oman’s touristy sights with a special interest on the visiting of markets also known as ‘souks’ while Mary Anne Letricia was an equally strong contender in the Indian category with her penetrative yet hugely bombastic use of words to describe Oman in general. Both were shortlisted for an interview where Kathleen would be able to finally decide on who among the two would be picked to go.

In the end, Sujatha won purely by default because Letricia did not want to make an effort to turn up for the meeting which was held at the Oman Air offices, smack in the centre of KL. The trio were asked by Kathleen to talk at length about what they’ve learnt about Oman while in the process of surfing the Internet and all three spoke confidently which made the interview very interesting.

Kathleen then informed the three that the actual flight to Oman would be postponed to January next year because the Omanis are in the process of winding down what with Hari Raya Haji, the King’s Birthday and the recently concluded Asian Games.

To all three winners, you’re de best and you’re the first of many more future pool of Oman air ambassadors that will be formed in the near future. Once again ‘Congrats’ to all winners and to those kids who did not succeed, there’s always next year to try again!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Classic car ride for the little "Elks"

Parents Without Partners /Jumble Station brought a total of 11 poor kids for the recent vintage car ride, wholly sponsored by Elken Malaysia which is touted as one of the top players in the direct selling industry in Malaysia.

By the way, Elken is a made-in-Malaysia success story beginning in 1995 with strong foothold in Asian nations including Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore. Elken encourages its members touching lives in a more meaningful way and the vintage car ride last Saturday was a case in point.

The ride saw vintage car owners collaborating with Elken to bring joy to the little ones firstly via the stimulating, wind swept car ride from the Old Klang road right through the busiest parts of Kuala Lumpur and in the heart of the KL business centre where Elken’s Japanese restaurants were located.

The ride itself was as usual pretty exhilarating for kids and single mum Jacky who had never rode in such classic cars but the Japanese food was truly an enigma to many of the little passengers – most hardly touched the artistically beautiful food – finding it too strange for their liking and opted mainly for the mushroom soup which they could swallow.

Which was a pity because to see the fried prawns, the salads, the rolls all left untouched was a waste, perhaps the organisers should have realised that kids from poorer neighborhoods would have preferred simpler meals like fried rice, fried noodles and fried vegetables.

The other strange feel is that while the poor, marginalised kids were supposed to be the VIPs for the day, it turned out that the vintage car owners were the ones feted more than the kids themselves. From the start, while the kids waited for more than an hour for the event to start, the vintage car owners were the first to be invited to have their breakfast of sandwiches and fried spring rolls, no one remembered to feed the hungry kids.

By the time yours truly went to remind the organisers, the breakfast spread was no more and Elken staff had to make do with little satchets of biscuits and cookies instead. Again when it came time to giving out the goody bags, the car owners took precedence over the kiddies making one feel like the underpriviledged kids were just an after thought and not the key reason for the entire vintage car ride.

Ah well, Elken assistant Vice President Group HR Dr Henry Yeoh saved the day by being such a nice sport himself, taking time to chat with the little ones, walking up to many of the cars to get to know the special passengers and generally making himself available for many a photo opportunity. So kudos to Elken for its first ever vintage CSR project and hopefully, they will learn to be better than the best, the next time around.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rights of single parents – Suhakam seminar

Human Rights organization Suhakam got the ball rolling recently with its day long seminar on the rights of single mothers. Led by the VVIP former 1st lady Siti Hasmah, some 200 people turned up for the event. The majority were representatives from the various single mothers association from as far north as Penang and south as in Johor.

Frankly I thought the seminar should have been expanded to include single dads as well and that it would have been better to have it renamed to ‘Single Parents’ rather than it be a Single Mum’s affair.

I was roped in to give my two sen worth because Lian See wasn’t comfortable in BM and after hearing about all the usual woes faced by single mums, it seemed like the perfect platform to share about what needs to be done to get the agenda of transformation for the single parents in Malaysia moving ahead.

I kicked off my sharing with some suggestions that I hoped would be picked up by the planners and they number around 5. They include:

1. Creating a national database of poor single parents, their details and the help received from which particular organization
2. Publishing a handy booklet on the different financial aids made available to single parents both by the government and by the private sector
3. Offering more focused financial aids and seed capital so poor single parents can develop a more entrepreneurial mindset.
4. Getting the Welfare Ministry to be sensitive to the plight of single parents by increasing their monthly aid from the current RM100 a month to a higher sum to keep up with the inflationary spiral. The RM450 maximum per family should be revised to RM450 minimum per family because the cost of living is escalating year by year
5. The Welfare Ministry needs to get its act together – stop sending single parents to three different places just to get their monthly aid, to conduct home checks with reference to the charity organization that is assisting them because JS policy of giving furniture, deco items etc could well backfire since the Welfare Department would deem the contents of their home as evidence of obvious wealth!

Will Suhakam convey these suggestions to the government? Will the relevant government organizations or agencies ferret out the truth behind such suggestions? If they do, then the seminar would have proven its worth, if nothing worthwhile emerges from this daylong discussions, then it would be one more exercise in futility that Malaysia is fast gaining a sour reputation for. More’s the pity if it does happen that way!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Getting the lazy to move

How does one move a sluggish individual? How does one motivate someone who does not appear to want to be motivated? The usual way would be to figuratively ‘light a fire’ under the person’s bum and hope like hell it gets him into a frenzy of activity which last long after the fire is gone!

JS did that recently to a single mother’s kid who for the last 10 months has been refusing to find a job, preferring instead to play computer games for hours on end. With sufficient food in the kitchen and a roof over his head, there was no incentive for him to find employment, why should he?

Like an addict, be it with drugs, alcohol or gambling, the best way to get around this addiction is to remove the temptation totally so that the process of withdrawal is implemented and a cure is achieved.

Since the CPU was the cause of the addiction, the best solution was to remove it and this was promptly done but boy, that sparked off a furious reaction with threats and curses raining down like cats and dogs. The fracas was finally settled by the adroit inclusion of a business mentor who was fired up enough to give him a piece of his mind while tearing at his excuses to justify his inaction.

For our part, JS too needed to get out of its inertia, its languorous state of complacency so we went off to attend a free talk on Grooming Social Entrepreneurs organized by the Ashoka Foundation under the auspices of the Malaysian Association of Creativity and Innovation (Macri) and supported jointly by the American Embassy and the Global Entrepreneur Week. Ashoka is the leading organization for the social entrepreneurs on a global scale.

Some 30 plus people were there and the speaker Alexis Ditkowsky had everyone keenly follow her every word since she was sharing some of the creative and innovative ways to raise funds without just adopting the traditional palms up approach.

She outlined all the new media channels where others have gone before and a few where none had gone before. There were the online retail outlet Elevyn for instance that specializes in selling crafts and works of charitable organizations while others offered buying opportunities and online competitions to entice more NGOs into applying for grants which were there for the taking. Clean Tech for instance is organizing a contest for the greenest idea in the area of Green Technology while Creativity in Innovation is much sought after by Tomel.

Beyond the talk, it was the networking opportunity that was relished the most because now, there were more new faces going places and it is always very useful to re-connect or establish connections with the people in the same charitable field or those with a keen interest to assist or volunteer their services.

The end result with regard to the lighting of the fire and the exposition of new ideas is the same – rejuvenation coupled with a deep desire to fly higher or to reach for the next level of achievement. Either way, it’s good, far better than maintaining the poor status quo right?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Write or creatively draw your way to Oman

Want to travel to Oman? Want to see what the other side of the world has to offer? Oman Air, the official airline for Oman will be giving three children of poor single parents from Parents Without Partners’ organization, a chance to fly and stay for free at Muscat, the capital city of Oman from November 28-Dec 2 2010.

If you want the chance to get to Muscat, hurry and take part in our Art or Essay Competition and prove to us that you deserve to be picked as one of the winners for this very special contest.

Aged between 12-15? Show us your dexterity with the paintbrush or markers by drawing your view of Oman as the ultimate travel destination. Draw what you hope to see, draw why you think traveling to Oman will help you. Draw anything that captures your fancy, along the lines of why “I want to travel to Oman” and see if your drawing captures the hearts of the judges.

For youths within the ages of 16-20, take a pen to paper or get on to a PC to type out a 300 word essay in English or BM on why “I want to travel to Oman”. Let your thoughts soar to the skies, share your aspirations, your dreams, your hopes about what you want to do, see or experience when you are there. Let your creative juices rip, the more creative your essay, the more fascinating a read it becomes, the better your chances of flying on Oman Air come the year end school holidays.

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking and be sure not to miss the Oct 15 deadline and remember to include:

Your full name:
Parent’s full name:

For more information, contact: Mary Anne Tan 016-2202958, Lim Lian See 0123871757

Incidentally, this is a CSR initiative by newcomer Oman Air to give back to Malaysia for the warm hospitality and welcome it received when it launched its inaugural Muscat to KL flight early this year. Despite being so new to the fast rising Malaysian aviation scene, Oman Air has hit the ground running with its desire to assist the marginalised and PWP/Jumble Station is delighted to be the recipient of its humanitarian gesture. PWP president Lim Lian See and vice president Mary Anne got together with Oman Air District Sales Manager Kathleen Leong and her PR consultant Jennifer to hammer out the details of the competition. PWP looks forward to Oman Air inspiring its single parents' kids to look to the skies and beyond for a better life ahead.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hunting down Jumble Station

Jumble Station became the 'hunted' for some 50 treasure hunters from Harvest Church at Subang Jaya on Merdeka Day. William the organizer of the treasure hunt, a professional hunter himself had stumbled upon Jumble Station while doing some early recognizance trips earlier in the month.

Delighted to discover what JS has been doing to impact the lives of many poor folks and especially focusing on making life easier for poor single parents, he decided to include JS in the treasure hunting route and to make sure they actually got to know us, he had the teams bring items for the shop.

So around noon of Merdeka Day, there were several cars that eventually found their way outside our shop and William himself was on hand to welcome them while yours truly explained to the curious treasure hunters what exactly we were doing to assist those in need.

Most of the hunters came armed with donated items but a few sheepishly said they only got the message early this morning and it was too late but promised to start bringing items to JS from now on. Some of the items donated ranged from a brown mahogany electric guitar to aromatheraphy items, from cooking pots to cute cuddly toys.

For many of the hunters who were accompanied by little kids, JS was a great place to get to know because now they know where to bring their extraneous items plus we were able to show them first hand how our single parents kids also use unwanted plastic items to make robots for sale!

Friday, August 20, 2010

MyKasih @ Mydin

Single Parents and Poor Families at Angsana recently got the feel of how the MyKasih programme works during the official launch at the Mydin Hypermarket in Subang Jaya.
Ambank chief honcho Tan Sri Dato Azman Hashim kicked off the event with a RM52,000 donation for the Angsana based recipients and another RM1 million for future neighbourhood locations to come. Mydin’s big boss Dato Ameer Ali Mydin who was once an employee of Ambank was also on hand to welcome his former boss and the My Kasih team.

Single parents Panjalai came with her son Kumanan and daughter Sujatha, Mariam came with her younger son Karthik, Letchumy, Jacky, Irene Tong and Suhaibah were also there for this special occasion. A mute couple, Victor and Fang Pheng recommended by Jumble Station were present for the event and appeared quite bewildered by what was going on!

Each of the MyKasih recipient was given a duit raya packet with RM50 in it and told to begin shopping for their RM40 groceries that day itself. For many, it was a case of trial and error, many had to go back and take only the items that were featured in a little booklet they were given and any different products taken meant delays at the payout counter. Once the right goods were checked out, the recipient’s MyKad was inserted into a handheld machine and the amount of goods bought was successfully swiped from their MyKad.

Many of the single parents and even the mute couple were delighted to go home armed with big bags of groceries and they were even more delighted to learn that they would be getting MyKasih’s RM40 every two weeks for 12 months. They are of course, extremely grateful to all the corporate bodies out there that were willing to sponsor this uniquely special programme for the poor. The Angsana single parents are happy, hopefully it will be the turn of single parents at Lembah Subang, Desa Mentari or Shah Alam next.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

PWP benefits from the Edge Rat Race 2010

There is a big difference between being a runner and a charity recipient in the Edge Rat Race. As a runner, you are high on adrenaline and you sweat buckets as you try to make it to the finishing line. As a recipient of the Edge Rat Race, you are also running on adrenaline mentally and you sweat buckets in the heat as you wait for the race to be over but the difference is that as a recipient, you already know you are a winner from the minute you participate!

For Parents without Partners (PWP), the thrill was to be a part of this pulsating, fun, adrenaline driven annual event. I’d forgotten how much fun it was and participating in the 2010 event brought it all back with a vengeance. Years back when I first joined the Edge netvalue team, one of the first things newcomers have to do in the Edge is to run for the Rat Race and I gamely took up the challenge while my other colleague Risen chose the easier route – cover the event as a journalist.

In the end, the running was the easier part, you could run or walk and I did both, beating our dispatch boy by several lengths too! This year, PWP was chosen as one of the 20 recipients for the charity run and we were given each a table to display our creative wares and brochures so that the runners and their corporate supporters could have a better idea of what we the charity organizations that they were raising funds for, were actually doing.

Sad to say, only a handful of curious supporters and cheerleaders stopped at the row of tables where we were situated but undaunted, yours truly decided to be more proactive. Armed with my faithful SLR, I marched up to the stage and proceeded to take photos of the various groups that were being photographed by the Edge’s official photographer. When each team came down, I handed over my business card and told them that I had the photos if they wanted and to keep us in mind if they had items they wanted to let go. How’s that for pro-active promotion?

In the evening, we the 20 charity organizations were feted to a lovely dinner in an open amphitheatre and each organization was presented with a mock cheque for the projects we had planned to implement. In our case, we had presented three different projects first off was the Brilliant Light Homework Centre – a homebased study centre for kids who are unable to attend school due perhaps to a lack of birth certs or have been expelled from school for various reasons.

The second project is the Hungry Hearts Project – a soup kitchen concept that we believe will help ensure there are less hungry kids and their parents at Lembah Subang. The last project is the Photography with Passion project that we hope to implement during the end year school holidays where the children of single parents can learn photography and develop a new interest and new skills to help keep them off the streets.

This donation from the Edge is the first of many more fund raising activities PWP intends to undertake to ensure we have the funds we need to empower single parents in need to live more independent lives. We believe always in doing our best and leave God to do the rest!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Meet Fabroid & Kidroid – Our single dad and son robots

What do you do if a kid dislikes academic studies? Or cannot find a job after many months? Try getting them to learn new skills – like robot making for instance! Jumble Station got this opportunity recently when robot maker extraordinaire Lim dropped by at Angsana Flats in USJ 1 Subang Jaya to invite 5 children of single parents to participate in a one day workshop on how to make robots.

Getting five youngsters to volunteer for this was easy, almost everyone of the youngsters present clamoured for the opportunity but in the end, it was 20-year old Kumanan, jobless for 5 months now, his sister Sujatha, Siva and his brother Kannan and Prityaraj were the happy ones who got the chance to participate in the course.

Mind you the course isn’t cheap, it costs roughly around RM400 per kid but what’s great about this is that the course is already sponsored by a corporate individual or organization so for the charity organization concerned, it’s free! Lim’s task was to teach the art of creating and building robots using everyday recycle items, objects and parts.

So there we were, bright and early at the Youth International Centre in Cheras where the Whiz Wits class by Think Technique founder Lim Name Aik was being held. There we found another five groups (a sixth group came in much later) from the various homes in the Klang Valley. There was the Ti Ratana Karuna Ilam group from Kepong, the Anbul Ilam group from Klang, the Cornerstone group from Semenyih, the Shelter Home group from Petaling Jaya and the House of Joy. The last group to arrive was ….

To get the motley crew of young robot makers into the spirit of creativity, Lim first had the youngster moving to a rap song designed to get their different body parts moving in consonant with the lyrics – right hand, left hand, right leg, left leg, head… you get the drift?

Rap over, the kids then swung into action. Taking the recycled items that they had brought, they got into a quick huddle to decide on what form their robot would take. For a while most were stumped for answers till Lim came along and guided them expertly into what would be suitable for which part of the robot. All, except one team of girls who came with just a sackful of mineral water bottles, they later got a helping hand from the other teams who had extra items they didn’t need.

Next the kids were given directions on how to use the various drills, bits and other electrical mechanical gadgets, the braver ones couldn’t wait to get their hands on the equipment, the more timid ones preferred to just watch or hold the items to be drilled fast.

Our team were perplexed at first and spent the greater part of the morning on how to get the base for the robot properly affixed because it was not plastic but metal. Eventually they settled on putting a square shaped hi fi speaker and screwing it on really tight. Next was the issue of putting the hollowed out printer and computer monitor together which was a real issue because one was bigger than the other and leaving it like that made for a very wobbly robot. Even Lim the expert couldn’t devise a way to get the robot to stand rock solid so the team eventually decided to completely remove the printer and just make do with the pc monitor which made for a shorter robot than most but at least it was steady and firm.

For the head, they used an aromatic bowl with its innards removed while its eyes were from an old binoculars and its limbs from a discarded plastic tricycle. On their own, the discarded items looked like what they were – junk – but in the hands of these young, enthusiastic robotic mechanics, the items were creatively put together to emerge as “Fabroid and Kidroid” a father and son robotic family. When asked, Kumanan explained that all the members of the team were children of single parents, they wanted their prototype robot to be a single father and his robotic son!And the green Hulk hands - that's to tell others to lend a helping hand and to green the earth. How nice, now we can use this item for a promotion the next JS goes on an awareness drive.

Meanwhile the other teams delivered pretty impressive results too, especially after their creative endeavours were spray painted silver coloured. Funnily, none of the other teams wanted to use any other colour except silver although there were green and red ones as well. The only team that consented to use only did that because there were no silver spray paints left by the time all the other teams got through theirs. Naturally every team was extremely proud of their new achievement and the JS team got a double dose of confidence when Fabroid and Kidroid were photographed by two women who were captivated by it while we were waiting for our ride home. With the robotic competition coming up sometime in September, you can bet, these youngsters will be raring to show off their new found ‘robotics’ skills.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MyKasih for Angsana folks

When one is poor and struggling, every little bit of help is much needed and appreciated. MyKasih a non-governmental organization that gets corporate organizations to donate cash which in turn is used to assist poorer folks recently dropped by Angsana Flats USJ1 to register the needy families as part of their latest exercise to reach poorer neighbourhoods.

Parents Without Partners was alerted of this planned event and had pre-registered its Angsana based single parents with the MyKasih team. So when the team turned up we found that the multipurpose hall at Angsana was already filling up with many people, most of them registering their details with the Resident Committee of Angsana under Encik Azmi and his team.

On our part, there was single mother Letchumy who struggles to feed her three sons on the meager salary she earns from Mydin. There was also her sister Marimmah who is also a single mother of three boys, there was Panjalai who works in a kindergarten and has two grown children, one studying at Help University on a scholarship obtained with the help of Jumble Station and the other still seeking a job without much success. There was also Suhaibah who works at JS and has a teenaged daughter to worry over while Irene Thung, who works in a restaurant took some time off to be there in person and Jackie You who drives two kids to school and has two of her own to care for as well.

Single dad Hasrun a lorry driver couldn’t make it for the event because he had overtime work while single mother Liza clean forgot about it, another single mother Dasma did not respond to the request for details. All three have forfeited their chance to participate in the MyKasih programme because the quota for the evening has already been met which is a real pity.

Having officially registered their details, the officials from MyKasih will personally visit the homes of the families concerned to ascertain the authenticity of their need. Encik Ahmad from MyKasih says one of the factors they will consider is whether or not the home looks ‘poor’ or ‘rich’. Ouch! I told him that my single parents homes will look very nice because JS policy has been to give the best household things and anything else they may need to poor single parents because that’s what our generous donors want us to do.

As such, the MyKasih officials should not penalize our single parents because they’re innocent of the trappings of nice things thanks to JS policy. Ahmad says he will keep that in mind and that’s a relief. Once the registered ones are cleared for assistance, they will be given RM80 a month – RM40 every two weeks – embedded in their Mykad which can be used at the Giant hypermart for all their grocery or other miscellanous needs. This cash assistance will go on for one year at least which should be of immense relief to the poorer folks at Angsana, Subang Jaya.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Joshua our little hero!

Joshua is less than 2 months old and already he was embroiled in a little drama! His dad Danni is a Nepalese and works as a security guard at the One Avenue condo just opposite Jumble Station. His mum is an Indonesian Rumanan who also works as a cleaner at the same condo. They met and married without much fanfare and then had little Joshua 48 days ago. The drama began when Danni took little Joshua for his usual morning walk and got enticed into drinking by two of his Nepalese friends.

At around 11am Rumanan came down to the ground floor to get her son and inform Danni that lunch was ready, he was all tanked up and became amourous. When she rejected him, he lashed out at her and they had a terrible fight which became violent. A badly injured Rumanan ran off leaving a very drunken Danni to care for Joshua. Tipsy and weaving his way around the Angsana flat area, Danni apparently was so zonked out he kept knocking into things and apparently tripped on a stone which caused Joshua to fall from his arms and onto his head. A crying Joshua suffered a severe swelling on his head but his drunken dad refused to allow anyone to take him despite his drunkness. A huge crowd had gathered just outside of Jumble Station with many customers begging us to do something!

Yours truly finally managed to persuade Danni to hand over little Joshua by telling the father that his little boy needed new clothes and JS has lots of new infant clothes. Danni handed over little Joshua to us and he was hurriedly placed under protection from further endangerment by the staff of Jumble Station while awaiting the arrival of the police. Tensions arose when it was discovered that Danni is a Christian and Rumanan a Muslim and some self appointed local vigilantes then kicked and punched him in the name of religion. JS staff had a tough time trying to protect him from the brutal beating while ensuring he did not get near to little Joshua to snatch him away.When the police did arrive they came on motorbikes and we had to wait another half hour for a police car to come and take little Joshua for medical attention.

Imagine our surprise when we were told that Joshua could not go in a police car for whatever reason. Frantic with worry over his increased swelling and his constant crying, we rushed him to SJMC in an ordinary car but again bureaucracy reigned, the private hospital refused to begin treatment unless someone was willing to pay for it! Eventually it was decided that little Joshua would be sent to the PPUM (former Universiti Hospital) where he was immediately admitted to the children’s ICU ward.

Much later, his mother arrived at JS just as the UH ambulance arrived and she was taken to UH to await her son but after waiting for 4 hours, she returned to JS not sure of where little Joshua had been placed. The police then insisted that she along with JS staff go to the USJ8 police station to lodge a report on the baby injury incident and boy was it a long long process, we ended up having to drive all the way to Seri Kembangan where the Subang IPD was located and where we had our statements taken and recorded in case Joshua took a turn for the worse.

It was near midnight by the time we brought Rumanan to PPUM and she saw her little boy admitted as an ‘unknown’ in the ICU ward. Little Joshua had suffered a hemorrhage in his brain and both his arms were broken so he was kept in the hospital for five days as he underwent a battery of tests. His dad meanwhile was kept in the Puchong lockup pending investigations into whether Joshua’s injuries were caused by his father deliberately throwing him as some Angsana residents were alleging or if it was an accidental fall.

Five nights later, little Joshua was deemed okay to leave the hospital and brought home by his relieved mother and the next day, he was smothered in kisses by his very relieved, happy and very sober father Danni. Unfortunately for Danni, his fate will now have to be dependent on a judge but for Joshua, it had been a narrow escape from death and his second shot at life is nothing short of miraculous indeed!

True, Jumble Station's policy is to assist only Malaysian single parents but Joshua's critical state forced us to bend the rules a little and when we accepted this innocent bundle of joy we had to see it right through... which meant taking the mum to and fro the hospital, getting clothes for she and little Joshua, buying pampers and giving the mum RM100 in case of emergencies as well as driving both mum and child to all the police stations for the official reports.

The key thing is that Jumble Station played a vital role in rescuing this little innocent and in the end, little Joshua became the real hero of this near tragic drama when he emerged safe and relatively sound from his hospital stay.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Homeless in Subang

Jackie has been a single mother for some eight years now ever since her hubby left their matrimonial home in Subang Jaya without bothering to care for their two children, William and Emily.

The abrupt departure of her ex forced Jackie to take on the responsibility of bringing up the two kids single handedly and she did it in the only way possible – driving other people’s kids to and from school and tuition classes – in her really beat up old car.

Earning barely enough each month to survive was tough enough but this was made bearable by the fact that at least she and her kids have a roof over their heads. After all, the house was all paid for and no one can take it away from her thought this single mother, a former receptionist now turned transport driver.

She thought wrong! When the economy became bad and her ex ran out of money he pestered her to sell their matrimonial home which was registered in both their names. When she refused to do so, he took it on himself to re-mortgage it instead.

The bank official who handled the documentation assured Jackie that the ex-husband would be held “solely responsible” for the new loan and based on this assurance, Jacky signed the new loan documents. Big mistake! The loan was not paid and since the ex was nowhere to be found, the bank resorted to recover its monies by auctioning off Jacky’s house in USJ, Subang Jaya.

The successful auction bidder tried over a period of two years to get Jackie to move out of the house so he could claim possession of it but she unable to believe the home is no longer hers, stubbornly refused to let the new owner take it. He had no choice but to turn to the law and armed with the proper papers and accompanied by court officials took possession of the house. Like most single parents, the betrayal by their spouse and that of losing their beloved home is enough to make them want to blank out the reality of the situation until things come to a head.

Jackie and her two kids now found that the neighbourhood playing field has become her new ‘open’ home. The newly homeless trio suddenly found themselves battling on two fronts – finding a new home as fast as possible and fighting off strangers and neighbourhood kids who were helping themselves to the items that had been dumped in the open field. Heavy evening downpours made matters even worse, rendering everything soggy and damp while destroying a couple of their most prized possessions as well.

Fortunately, Jackie had the sense to call Subang Jaya ADUN Hannah Yeoh who responded swiftly to her plight by having Jackie and her kids stay at a budget hotel Cottage Inn while arranging for a lorry to cart away some of the bigger items such as their TV, sofa set, fridge etc to a storage space in Klang. Still not all the items could be hauled away and for the next four days, William and Emily faithfully went back to the field to guard their ‘gradually dwindling’ collection of displaced family possessions while agonizing over where they would stay next knowing full well they did not possess the means to pay for a deposit even to rent a new home!

That’s when Parents Without Partners (PWP) and Jumble Station (JS) came in to help out. Alerted by Hannah Yeoh’s office on Jacky’s plight, PWP immediately swung into action and managed to secure a small 3 bedroom flat just across the street from where JS 2nd hand shop is located.

The rental for the flat was RM700 a month and we paid for the rental deposit requested by the landlord - two months deposit and one month rental in advance plus half month deposit for utilities. We also gave William the cash needed to buy paints and brushes to do up the flat and make it a lot more hospitable for his family and enough cash to pay for their 5-day stay at the Cottage Inn.

Today, Jackie, William and Emily have a roof over their heads. JS which collects donated items for single parents was also able to replace many of Jackie and her kids’ items that had been stolen or destroyed by the rains. They have also be placed on our list of food bank recipients for monthly food rations that includes rice, noodles, biscuits, oil etc. PWP also partners other organizations like the Lions of Subang Jaya to bring groceries to needy single parents.

A very tearful Jackie, William and Emily couldn’t believe there are organizations out there like PWP and JS that would selflessly assist single parents in need regardless of race or religious factors and not expect to be repaid either! “For eight years I struggled all alone to raise my two children without help from my ex. Now I am truly grateful that PWP and JS are there to help us in our time of need. We don’t feel so alone any more and we really want to thank all those who cared enough to help us through this very difficult time.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Getting acquainted with Aquaria

Some years back, while working with the Edge as a journalist I wrote on the planned construction of an underwater world class aquarium to be known as the Aquaria. In 2005 this 60,000 sq ft natural aquatic museum was completed and opened to the public but I never got around to seeing it.

Recently, I finally got the chance to visit it together with some single parents from Angsana. They included newest single mum Jackie and her daughter Emily, Panjalai and her daughter Sujatha, Mariam’s two younger sons Kannan and Karthik, Letchmy’s two younger sons Dinesh and Rajesh and Suhaibah’s daughter Juliana.

Another 3 big busload from DUMC were also there and that made for a huge crowd of youngsters all clamouring for a closer look. The views of the various, strange looking, and weird animals and amphibians all made for a very fascinating educational time for both the young and the old that went there.

The single parents and their little ones were mesmerized by the colours, the shapes, the stunning sizes of the various fishy creatures that swam, snucked or swivelled by in their mammoth tanks. The overhead glass aquarium afforded an unbeatable view of the undersides of huge sharks, stingrays, giant turtles that literally swished by from right to left as our little ones and their older parents watched with awestruck wonder.All the single parents and kids that came ad never been inside the Acqaria so it was a fascinating and memorable event for all.

The photos show it best and this is one of the many different ways in which Parents Without Partners and Jumble Station aims to make life more interesting and a lot more fun for the harried single parents and their little charges