Thursday, December 29, 2011

Welcoming the NEW YEAR... 2012!

Say hello to 2012 - a new year, a fresh start, a lovely chance to do more, do better and make a greater impact on the single parents community in Malaysia. Jumble Station and PWP Bhd takes this marvellous opportunity to say a very big and heartfelt THANK YOU to all our friends, fans and supporters for their unstinting cooperation and support over the last 41/2 years and as we move into our crucial 5th year of existence, we sincerely hope that we can together with all others, be there in a real sense for single parents in need and be the motivational factor for the success o their children's efforts to break out of the cycle of poverty that has gripped their families all these years. With your continued linkages, we can move mountains to reach each family, one problem at a time. So HAPPY 2012 to all and BLESS YOU for your friendship and love....from the three co-founders: Lim Lian See, Mary Anne Tan and Sanice Kam.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Graduates of Sewing Station

It has been 4 months of gruelling training – every Tuesday and Thursday nights – the students have been faithfully turning up at the Sewing Station at PJ Old Town to master the intricate art of sewing and fashion designing.

The students – Mala a mother of three kids, Yeong Fong Peng a deaf mute, Suhaibah a single mother of three, Carol a businesswoman and Joyce a housewife – all successfully completed their basic training in sewing and fashion designing just prior to Christmas.

To celebrate this momentous milestone, the class of 2011 (the inaugural batch) decided to throw a small graduation party and come dressed in the baju kurung that they had sewn for themselves. And to make the occasion even more special, Jumble Station’s co-founder Sanice was specially invited to grace this very special event.

For Jumble Station, this event marks a new milestone in our efforts to assist poor single parents and poor families wanting to improve their livelihood. For many of these students, the ability to sew a dress and to master the skills of fashion designing will enable them to earn extra money to feed their families or help them to start a home-based business by itself.

As for Adrian, the single father and ex-fashion designer, this graduation of the first batch of students is momentous in that it marks the first time ever he has been able to teach anyone his special skills and to be able to teach those who are illiterate to this stage is an achievement in itself.

Anyone interested in joining his class can contact Jumble Station at 016-2202958

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sporty trip of a lifetime for JS/PWP’s poor kids

Cars, bikes and planes are every child’s idea of great toys but the pleasure is tripled when the toys are really big rich men’s toys, so to get a chance to ride in one of these vehicles is always an opportunity not to be missed.

Well Parents Without Partners Bhd (PWP) was asked to send some children of single parents and kids from disadvantaged families to participate in the Royal Selangor Club's (RSC) annual motorsports carnival and charity drive held recently.

PWP co-founder Sanice Kam with some 18 children in tow turned up at the Dataran Merdeka where they were greeted by more than 80 vintage, classic, super fast cars and superbikes put on display specially for this occasion. Around 15 of them were also the more ultra-modern, fast cars, such as the Lamborghini and the Ferrari as well as around 15 Harley-Davidson motorcycles for the youngsters to gape in awe and wonder. In the vintage and classic cars category includes a 1965 MG GT and a Citroen 2CV.
According to the RSC Motor Sports Section’s organising chairman, Mr R. Shanmugam, this is the RSC’s 5th time organising such an event for the under privileged kids as part of the club’s contribution to society, only this time, they did it with the strong support of the Blue Jacket Club members as well.

The kids on their part had a whale of a time and their thrill of a life time had to have been the long leisurely drive from the innermost city of KL out to the fascinating Sungai Besi RMAF Musuem where aerial displays of vintage planes and pre-war aeroplanes as well as some sleek looking helicopters made it a truly fun outing for all.

Topping off the trip was a cheque for RM2,000 given to PWP by the RSC aimed at helping the charitable organisation with its efforts to assist poor single parents and their kids in the coming months. To the RSC Motor Sports Section and the Blue Jackets Club, a very big “Thank You” for your kindness and generosity to the needy single parents under PWP’s care and concern.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

financial tips for single parents

Parents have the hardest job in the world, and those who do it alone truly deserve a medal. An added challenge of single parenting is handling the finances. Living on only one income makes budgeting, and saving for your little ones' future even more difficult. The good news is that you're not alone and financial freedom is closer than you think.

Here are some financial tips for single parents.

1.Talk to your kids about money
If your children are old enough to understand the value of money, then it may be in your best interest to talk to them about it. Airing out the family's financial situation can give kids a better idea of where money comes from and where it goes. Opening this line of communication between you and your kids may foster a better understanding of spending, budgeting, and saving so that they can contribute to the family nest one day.
2.Track your spending
As a single parent, you have to be even more cautious of your spending and how it impacts your family. Single parents are advised to track their spending by keeping a written or digital ledger of their purchases. Once you know how much you're spending and where it's going, you can better budget your money and start investing wisely.
3.Save on child care
Child care is expensive, and some single parents simply don't want the added costs. If you're not going to get child care, then you're going to have to make some adjustments to make it work. First, ask family and friends if they can watch your children while you're at work. If this doesn't work, then you may need to change your work schedule, or split the duties with a trusted child care provider to cut the costs in half.
4.Manage and stay out of debt
The last thing you need to compound your financial troubles is getting into debt. Living on one income is most certainly tough, but single parents have to make wise financial decisions to avoid falling into debt. If you're already in debt, take care of this problem right away. This may mean taking on another job to pay off your current debt, or resorting to debt consolidation or debt settlement.

5.Save for retirement
Don't forget about yourself! Single parents should continue to save for retirement so they have enough money to live on when they stop working. Even if you're a young parent, it's never too early to start setting money aside for retirement and planning for your future. Parents who live on a limited income are advised to put more money into retirement and emergency funds than in college savings because their children will likely qualify for financial aid and scholarships. There's no such thing for retirees.
6.Save for your kids' college education
Saving for college is difficult for anyone, especially if you're a single parent. You may not be able to save enough to pay for their entire schooling, but every little bit counts. The earlier you can start setting money aside for college, the more you'll be able to help them out. Depending on your family income, your children may qualify for financial aid, scholarships, and work study programs that make college much more attainable.
7.Find free things to do
There are plenty of fun activities to do with your children that don't cost a sen. Single parents should partake in free activities like going to the park, attending museums during free hours, camping out in the backyard, and playing board games at home. Not only are these activities cost-effective, but they are fun for the whole family.
8.Live within your means
Although many people do not live within their means, it is crucial for single parents to do so. Living within your means is very doable, but it certainly requires a great deal of discipline. If you can no longer afford your car payments or your mortgage is becoming a major financial burden, then it may be time to downgrade to a less expensive car or move into a more affordable apartment. Just as you teach your children the difference between needs and wants, you have to explore the same question when it comes to living within your means.
9.Create an emergency fund
Parents know that accidents happen, but not everyone is prepared for the costs that come from these unexpected events. One of the best ways to protect your family from being completely wiped out in an emergency is to create an emergency fund. Although this amount varies from person to person, single parents should try to save as much as they possible can because they are supporting themselves and their children. When creating your emergency fund, consider different emergency scenarios and how much they would cost and give some thought to your job security. But most importantly, don't touch that emergency fund unless it's a real emergency.

The above information is sourced from:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sampling the sumptuousness of the Summit Hotel

Hotels are nothing new to most of us adults, after all we’ve visited many and stayed in a number of them too but for the marginalised groups, meaning the poorer folks, hotels remain a mystery.

Summit Hotel at Subang Jaya realised this possibility and chose to open its doors to some children of poor single parents and the under privileged groups recently to celebrate the Festival of Lights better known as Deepavali. Two organisations, Rumah Kids and Parents Without Partners (PWP) Bhd were invited to have their youngsters come over for a afternoon outing and high tea.

PWP responded by sending over 10 year old Karthik, sisters Fa’in and Fazlin, 10 and 9 years old respectively, Teo Hui Min, 7 and her mother Yeong Fong Pheng who is a deaf mute while Rumah Kids sent around 10 teenagers.

First thing that got PWP kids really excited was the plunge into the swimming pool which was kept exclusively open for their use. Group General Manager of Summit Hotels and Resorts Mr Lam Hin Choon himself personally welcomed the youngsters to the hotel and took time to take photos with the kids at the hotel’s pool side.
After much splashings and friendly dunkings, the youngsters clamoured to have a look at one of the hotel rooms because almost all of PWP’s kids hade never seen a hotel room before.

Karthik when asked which part of the room he liked best said he loved the bathroom because it had a “kolam” i.e. a bath tub which meant he could soak in and swim for as long as he wanted if ever he got to stay in the hotel room. The younger kids were more fascinated by the bedside controls for the TV set which happened to feature a cartoon show such that the kids were reluctant to have the TV switched off.

The beautifully laid out buffet meal which comprised the high tea for the kids were an awesome treat for them and many didn’t know exactly where to start in terms of piling up their plates but eventually they settled for a plateful of their choice food and going again for other choices. Dessert was another dilemmas they pondered over the cakes, fruits or ice-cream choices but all food went out of their minds when a magician magically turned up with many tricks up his sleeve.

All of PWP kids were mesmerised and astounded with the ease with which the magician made his cards appear and disappear, the drinks vanish without a trace or the fork to bend with seemingly effortless ease. One kid who aimed to be a pilot immediately announced he’s rather be a magician but was persuaded that he should pursue his pilot dream and master magic as a hobby! The special day was topped off by a group photo for memory's sake and Mr Lam’s generosity in giving Deepavali ang pow packets to each child just prior to waving the happy and contented kids off for home in the hotel’s very own van. You can bet PWP kids will be more than happy to trek back to the Summit Hotel should the staff send another invitation!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Taylors Uni volunteers get a feel for JS work

Volunteers can play an important role in any charity initiative and JS welcomes volunteers seeing that we have so few thus far. Of course being relatively new would account for the fact that not many organisations, colleges or universities would have heard of JS despite us being around for some 4 years now.

So it was a pleasant surprise when six enthusiastic youths from Taylor’s University opted to assist Parents Without Partners with its reaching out efforts to poor single parents while doing their bit for their moral education course.

Nichole who happens to be my ex-colleague from the Edge Ooi’s daughter brought along five of her uni mates and together we spent two days of going around to see what a day in the life of a JS volunteer was like.

First off we introduced them to JS activities from sorting to collection of donated items, donating groceries to deserving poor single parents, dragging unwanted items to the recycle centres, visiting the homework centre at Brilliant Light which was funded by The Edge’s Rat Race event last year and taking the youngsters there through a simple photography course for the day.

Armed with a small digital camera each, the volunteers took between 2 to 3 kids in hand and taught them the rudiments of taking photos of still life in the form of stuffed toys which had been prepared beforehand. The children were excited to learn a new skill and learnt via comparison how to be a better photographer.

On Sunday, the six volunteers turned up early at 9am at the Amcorp Mall to assist in the sale of collectibles and decorative items which is aimed at raising additional funds for JS works. They learnt that it takes skills to be a good sales promoter, that there is value in even the most mundane of items. At the end of the two day volunteering events, the youths have gained a greater appreciation of what it entails to successfully run a charitable organisation. Hopefully it will have inspired them to want to assist the poor in a more practical and heartfelt manner than ever before!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Suffering a loss

Many single parents are scarred by the loss of their spouse, whether through death or abandonment. For some, the psychological damage runs very deep, extends for years and appears seemingly irreversible while others are hurt for a while and then bounce off the experience to emerge stronger.

Some of us, never having experienced such a severe loss, find that it’s a little hard to fully comprehend the pain and anguish they are going through and we can’t begin to understand their fragile psyche until we literally start to “walk in their shoes”.

Yours truly got a little glimpse of the dark void of “suffering a loss” that many single parents go through when four young robbers pounced on me, put a knife to my neck and took away my waist pouch in 10mins flat just before Hari Raya!

The pouch held my personal items, JS and my cash, a digital camera and a bunch of keys, admittedly nothing much but the nuisance and inconvenience of having to replace the lost items has now made me more paranoid about the issue of safety. Now I tend to be more conscious of locking my car doors as soon as I get into the car, I’ll look around carefully first before getting out of the car and arm myself with a bat if I have to stand outside a house for any length of time.

The sense of outrage still burns within me, the anger at losing personal items to ruthless, worthless robbers still simmers, the fact that I should be grateful no physical harm came to me is often times more overlooked than remembered as I continually nurse a grudge against the thieving louts. Like the scarred single parents JS is helping, I couldn’t let go of the painful past!

Then something happened to renew my faith in humankind. A JS supporter learnt of what had happened and went out to buy JS a brand new digital camera to replace the one that was lost – the gesture was so unexpected, so spontaneous it considerably erased the pain and brought home one single, penetrative truth – bad things happen but we don’t have to be dragged down by it, we don't have to stay in its destructive grip, we need to move on and continue to do what we do best - make this world a better place for all.

Yes and how much more lovelier it can and will be, if we actively seek and choose to see only the beautiful side of life rather then to wallow in pain and perpetually nurse a lifetime of anguished “loss”...

Yours truly has now started using the digital camera to do just that – capture the joys of life and loves so that scarred single parents can also get out from the dark void that has held them captive for so long.

JS first photo – a pix of one of our single mother cats – all pregnant cats become single mums right? – newborn kitties – 3 of them, so small, so marvellously cute - a symbol of a fresh new look, a fresh new beginning awesome!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Filling up an empty flat

Some people have wondered what does Jumble Station do with the items that people donate? First off, we give them to single parents in need of them and here’s one classic example.

Single parent Saras has five kids – four girls and a boy. The two older girls are teenagers 16 and 14 while the other girl is 10 and the boy is 8years old. The baby of the lot is Sarah Angeline who is only 3months old, the result of this single mother’s hope for a second, better relationship but the worthless father of this baby scooted off as soon as she was conceived!

Saras and her three girls (the 10 year old and the boy were sent to live in a home) had been living in Puchong with her sister but her sister tired of them and moved out to an undisclosed location forcing them to move to a cheap flat in Angsana where Jumble Station is located.

The flat on the 10th floor is bare except for a dirty looking comforter that doubles as a mattress for all of them at night, a table for dining and a table to hold their meager amount of clothes. Jumble Station promptly sent them a newly serviced fridge, a washing machine, a single bed and mattress, a TV and stand fan, a personal computer complete with monitor, keyboard, PC table, dining chairs, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, rice cooker, kettle, blender, toys and baby items including clothes for baby Sarah Angeline.

Saras who has been struggling on her RM800 salary to pay for rent, food and clothes for her children ever since her hubby abandoned the family could not believe that she could get these household items for free when she moved into the flat on August 20th.

JS doesn’t just equip the flat, we also looked into the issue of ensuring the youngsters are gainfully involved in activities beneficial to the family and for that we’ve connected the youngsters (they start in their new school only in January next year) with a businessman who is willing to pay them RM25 a day for volunteering to paste labels on his products. With this income coming in, at least the family should be a little more comfortable until Saras can get a better paying job or her boss raises her salary to enable her to support her growing family.

This family still need other household items such as a sofa set etc, cupboards, DVD player etc but we will send these to them as soon as JS receives them from the donors.

In the meantime, JS also needs more clothes, decorative items (ceramics, gifts, paintings etc) collectibles (stamps, badges, comics, watches, coca cola etc), cameras (film and digital) toys, costume jewellery, music CDs, DVDs etc to fill its table for its weekend flea market sales at Amcorp Mall in order to raise more funds for our work with poor single parents so if you know of anyone with stuff to let go call or SMS 016-2202958 Anne for collection.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CSR with a difference!

Many organizations want to do something for charity and that's good for Parents Without Partners (PWP) and Jumble Station but what we always strive for, is to do things a little differently from the norm. So when newcomer airline Oman Air first came to us saying they wanted to offer free trips for the poor single parents kids to Oman, we decided we’d do something far more radical then just have them all take the free trip.

We kicked off the programme by organizing an essay and art competition specially for our single parents kids and we had them in various locations, sitting in one single mum’s flat to do the essay or the art competition. Typically most of the participants aged from 11years to 20years, chose to draw rather than write and the winners turned out to be four candidates – Robin, Sujatha, Jilianna and Mary Anne Letricia. Since only 3 winners from each race could be picked, we had to decide between Sujatha and Letricia but the decision was made when Letricia failed to turn up for the face to face interview with Oman Air’s manager for KL, Kathleen Leong.

On June 6-10th, the three winners accompanied by Integrity PR’s Jennifer Nelson and her assistant Tengku Shireen and Mary Anne as vice president of PWP flew off to Oman where a very warm hospitality awaited us. Once there, PWP began to teach the youngsters how to take photographs of Oman scenery and activities the way a photo journalist would. Armed with small Lumix digital cameras donated by JS supporters, the three newbie photographers went about clicking and recording their experiences and every night reviewing their efforts.

Step by step they were taught the rudiments of what makes a good picture and urged to look at things from the perspective of a photo journalist because aside from taking photos, the youths were also encouraged to interview their tour guides and host Ghazan so that each photo would have a story to tell.

Of course it wasn’t an easy transition to go from gawking tourist to avid photo journalists but the youths went through the process pretty well and when they returned, they were urged to work on their travel journal, slide presentation as well as a travel essay. On July 28, the trio presented their efforts to the local press, they stood up before a panel of four to five press folks and wowed them over with their interesting photos. For the three 1Malaysia youths, it was their first time with the media and they handled them pretty well too. PWP asked the media people for their feedback on the youths’ efforts and the response was that the kids obviously enjoyed the experience, they were still so vibrantly enthusiastic about the experience and they were remarkably talented! For PWP, it was a satisfying experiment in carrying out the adage that “it is better to teach the children to fish than to give them just fish to eat!”.

What have we imparted to the kids? We’ve taught them new skills – writing and photography so that should they want to, they can develop such skills further to help improve their employable skills someday. They have also learnt to expand their horizons, having seen that there is a whole new world out there for themselves and that all that stands between them and success is the ability to go beyond their current impoverished state. For the single parents, it was also an eye opening period because now they saw first hand, how talented their kids are and all that’s needed is to give them the encouragement they need to advance further in life. This is truly CSR with a real and vital difference!

Friday, July 15, 2011

JS featured in July issue of Her World

It’s funny how publicity comes when you least expect it…hmmm? Jumble Station had gone to a house belonging to Fanny Bucheli to get the items she wanted to donate for our single parents cause and it turns out she’s a writer with this very esteemed publication Her World!

Unaware of this at that time, she had queried me on what we would do with the toys and other stuff she was giving us and when I told her that some would be given away free to poor single parents and the rest sold to low cost flat dwellers and the money used to assist single parents, she was very excited and said she’d like to write about what we’re doing for this special group.

Of course I had no objections since all kinds of promotions are good for our cause which is still relatively unknown to a majority of people. Being an ex-journalist myself I am very wary of utilizing my journalistic contacts and network to gain exposure for JS for fear of abusing the connections and putting friends in a fix but if someone stumbles on us and wants to write about us, ah, that’s a different story altogether right?

So here’s the printed copy and if you want to read the interesting piece, just go get the July issue and read it all – nice piece complete with rare pix of all three of us all dolled and made up too ha ha! After reading, do please donate the magazine to JS, we'd be happy to have it for our record (smile)!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Funny Fourth Party

We just had our single parents party – our 4th actually – and it was really funny occasion for many of our poor single parents who turned up at Dream Centre in Petaling Jaya where the event was held. Some 60 single mothers and two single dads together with 200 children were on hand to play games, sing songs and laugh out loud with the others of like mind.

Interesting games such as the tissue thin game, the ball toss, the sticker hunt all had the kids and their parents hunting determinedly for a prize or two. 10 members of the Malaysian Association for the Blind then gave a lively rendition of country line dancing and proceeded to display their fancy footwork that one may find it hard to believe they’re unable to see at all.

Next Godfrey and his female counterpart serenaded the audience with old songs including Hank William’s Jambalaya and finished it off with Donny and Marie Osmond’s famous duet “I’m a little bit country, And I’m a little bit rock & roll!

However the one act that had everyone in stitches and rolling with riotous laughter was Pastor Ravi , pastor of the Indian members who together with his faithful companion the cheeky puppet had ensured a rollicking good time for all. The two verbally jousted and sparred with smart talk and wise cracks, it made the puppet seem so human like indeed.

When the show was over, each single parent was given a goodie bag filled with a number of donated items such as KFC vouchers and a prize each donated by GDEX, the local courier company while their kids were given an opportunity to choose which beanie baby toy they preferred and were also given several bottles of multivitamins from Hovid to build up their strength and their overall health. The single parents then topped off the evening with a hearty meal of Indian chicken curry and briyani rice, sambal with samosas and eggs. All in all, it was a deeply satisfying party for all concerned except that this time, we had omitted the lucky draw aspect which had many asking about it after all!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jumble Station's success story on BFM

Guess what folks.. Jumble Station was on BFM recently where single father Adrian was being interviewed about his 2nd start in business and he credits it to Jumble Station's help. JS was invited by Meera the producer of the Bigger Picture programme to share about how we help single parents and how Adrian got back on the road to business success. You can listen to the podcast of the interview and hear for yourself what was discussed...just click on this link
and happy listening!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dinos Alive!

Talk about dinosaurs and the kids surely do come alive indeed. Recently PWP was invited by the Lioness of Subang Jaya to bring along 15 children of single parents for the Dinos Alive exhibition at the National Science Centre at Bukit Kiara. The 15 children soon ballooned to 20 and by the time we actually got on the chartered school bus, there were 30 of us, all from angsana at USJ1.

Arriving at the Science Centre we found ourselves one of hundreds of kids, all of whom had taken the start of the one week May school holidays as a chance to educate themselves about all things scientific and marvel at the giant prehistoric monsters! Ensuring our 29 youngsters stayed together at all times was a near impossibility and on the three occasions when we lost a kid or two, it was literally like looking for a needle in a hay stack or an ikan bilis in an ocean!

Despite that the outing was a huge success for the tiny tots, with the youngest Hakimi and his new best friend Hui Min awe struck by the magnitude of their Jurrassic pals. Funnily enough they weren’t in the least bit intimidated by the sheer size of the monsters but some other older kids were terrified by the sounds and life like movements of the dinos with one or two loudly refusing to enter the pseudo cave or jungle habitat.

A hearty chicken rice meal topped off the afternoon followed soon after by the youngsters giddily playing at the nearby playground, slipping, sliding and racing each other up and down some slides, crazily spinning the merry-go-round till they flopped down in a dizzy spell themselves or swinging like veritable tarzans on the four swings available at the park. All in all, the kids had a wonderfully refreshing time and wanted to know when the next “outing” would be so that they could be invited again. Thanks Lionesses of Subang for making this holiday season so special for our single parents and poor folks kids… keep up the good work.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Her World stumbles on our JS world!

Her World, the fashion magazine for English speaking fashionistas in Malaysia came across Jumble Station recently and decided to do a write up. Jumble Station was called upon recently to collect donated items from one of its contributing writers Tania and while loading the stuff onto the lorry, the story of how we came about spilled out

What piqued Tania’s interest was the fact that JS was started by three very ordinary women, Malaysian women at that, doing very ordinary things for a much forgotten group – the single parents.

Realising that this story of impacting broken lives with newly donated items was something that should not be kept under wraps she promptly got the three of us together and got us to tell what prompted us to start Jumble Station and Parents Without Partners, the NGO organisation for single parents in need.

For those who have problems being interviewed, let me assure you, the interview part was the easy peasy part of the whole thing, the photography aspect turned out to be the real killer. First off, we tried sending our very own pix, newly snapped ones too – of us in different poses, casual, bold, daring, funny but no dice, they failed the cut!

So the editor sent along a photo editor, a photographer and a make-up artist! Yep, a makeup artist of all things and for someone who has never ever put any makeup on the face (except for when I had some slapped on at age 7 and thereby disliked makeup becos it made me look hideously unlike me and tasted horrid to boot! ) it was a traumatic prospect indeed!

Still one has to sacrifice for the sake of charity and hence yours truly went through it like a real trooper, preferring not to look in the mirror in the process until after the entire shooting is declared officially over When I finally dared to look I discovered that horrors! I look just like my mum! Cotton wool and facial lotion soon changed all that thankfully! So anyway, our JS article should be coming out in the June issue of Her World so hopefully it will be all worth it after all!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Maturity Factor

One of Parents Without Partner’s and Jumble Station’s stated principles is to help empower single parents and their kids to financial independence, kinda like teaching them to fish instead of feeding them with fish on a daily basis.

This is however easier said than done , often times, the single parent is too psychologically damaged to consider taking such a route or they are too afraid to even consider something that involves major responsibilities.

So often times, at JS we need to wait, encourage and nurture them to the right, stage where they will then be ready to take on the challenge of accepting a new responsibility. When that happens, the single parent will then be so happy and grateful for the opportunities given, for the second chance so to speak of making a difference and will work hard towards generating the extra income they need to forge on ahead.

Single father Adrian Ong’s case is one example. When he came to JS three years ago, he was a broken man – his earlier success as a fashion designer had all gone down the drain after being cheated, saddled with debts as guarantor for his former business partner, mistreated by his former employers and thrice attempting suicide. He had lost all interest in matters related to fashion designing and was content to work for us at our 2nd hand store. We mentored him and encouraged his many his talents until he was ready to embark on his own way again.
Today, JS managed to get him a small shop at PJ Old Town and he is now happily back in full swing in his favourite hobby – designing vintage wear and wedding apparel. The shop itself cost only RM150 in rental a month and that greatly reduced his overhead costs while his clientele is growing by the day. With the help of his sisters, he is now able to achieve his lifelong dream to have his own little boutique where his talents can be given free rein – needless to say he is thrilled beyond measure by the help and unstinting support rendered to him by JS. He says now he can rebuild his life and career and hopefully save for his planned RM15,000 surgery in May for his fluid in the brain proplem.

Single mother Jackie’s son is another matter altogether. William, aged 22 was not happy with the job that JS found for him, working in a factory that makes cleaning products. Both he and his mother claim that they make barely enough to pay for their rental and for extras and was in fact already two months behind in their rental. When the landlord called JS to complain and threatened to kick them out of the apartment, we decided to do something about it.

We asked William if he would be interested in starting his own business and he said that he was keen to get into the computer repair business. However due to his lack of nework contacts, JS realizes that he would need to have something else to rely on before his computer business can take off so it was suggested that he start a thrift shop in Setapak where the conditions are almost exactly like that of JS at Angsana Subang. The idea was for him to sell the donated items that JS would give to him while he builds up his contacts with the low cost residents there and thereby be able to supply their needs in terms of household items and IT requirements.

He agreed and a shoplot was promptly found and the rental deposit of RM3650 was promptly paid at end February. He gave in his notice and by March 7, he was free to focus on the shop. The only snag was, he suddenly liked his independent status better and took his time about getting the shop up and running. It took him 3 weeks to get just the TNB metre in and another 5 days just to get the forms for his business licence! By this time we had bought him a second hand car for RM3,000 and given him another RM2,50 for repairs because the tyres, clutch etc needed repairs done. Afterwhich more money was given to him to pay for his insurance, Puspakom inspection and JPJ transfer of names as well as RM1,400 for the overdue rental to his Jati flat so his landlord won’t kick them out while he is setting up this shop.

We thought that getting him the car and the shop would help galvanise him into action. Sorry, the sense of urgency to start earning his own income was sorely missing and come April 1, the shop was no where near to starting business. With nothing much being done JS naturally took him to task and boy did he react angrily. Describing the idea of a thrift shop as a “gila idea” he yelled that he had been having sleepless nights wondering how to repay JS back the RM11,350 that had already been extended to him. We told him to stop worrying about it and start doing something about it and so we gently began to move him towards that goal. Over the weekend his shop is now taking shape and hopefully once the doors are open for business he will understand what it means to generate his own income through his own hard work. JS hopes that this shop will someday free his mother of her need to drive kids to school which barely meets her monthly financial needs.

Two situations, two vastly different reactions – one brings tremendous joy, the other brings grief – JS admittedly has lots to learn too from these two experiences of launching businesses for single parents! The maturity factor is so very important in this entrepreneurial skills development aspect indeed. Hopefully with our guidance, William too will be a success after this initial immaturity hiccup!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hopping from shop to shop

This year of the rabbit has turned out to be one ‘hoppingly’ active period for us at Jumble Station with the establishment of four different charity shops on our plate. The first is the Brilliant Light Charity shop at Desa Mentari is almost 95% complete after the hefty renovations we had put into the place. Now all that’s needed is to buy the shelves from Ikea, have them installed onto the walls and presto the shop will be ready for business. Of course there is also that issue of getting the MBPJ approval for a business licence and an advertisement licence for our signboard. Both will be looked into by today hopefully.

Next we have the two shoplots, No 8 & 9 at the Jalan Othman Bus Station at PJ Old Town, those two have been painted by William and Kumanan single parents kids who wanted to earn extra income. From the dirty grubby, messy place initially, it’s now been cleaned up and painted white and again, all that’s needed is for the shelves and fan to be installed. These two shops are meant for CES’ homeless and reformed drug addicts to learn the skills of getting back into society and mastering the skills of being responsible for finances and products. The proposed name will be Old Town Thrift Shop (OTTS). JS also got another shop no:20 which has been lent to single father Adrian to start his own little boutique so that he can generate his own income independently and to help raise the funds he needs for surgery to drain the fluid in his head. The surgery if necessary will come up to RM15,000 at least so he is galvanised into building up his much needed finances. Funny thing is that when we first applied for the 3 shops in late November last year, the area was a dead place, had been for the last 2 years but after getting the shops at end January this year, all the other available shops were quickly snapped up - talk about a miracle!

As for the shop at Setapak, William is busy cleaning up the shop and trying to get Tan, the property agent to fix back the ceramic sink and make sure electricity and water are reinstalled in the corner shop. Once that’s done, we can then start putting in the supermarket shelves and wooden shelves needed so that goods can be properly displayed. This shop will be owned and managed by William and his mum to help them generate the income they need to survive and they plan to call it JackWille Bundle.

The shops are going to be ready soon, our biggest problem will be to find the right people to man these shops and therein lies the snag. We had hoped to use Kumanan to man the Brilliant Light shop but his lack of responsibility is such that we had to scrap this move and look for others to fill this role. We’ll have to earnestly pray for the right people to help us make this shop a real success!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Be Grateful, Be Thankful... always!

Have embarked on a Gratitude Attitude Journal to remind myself of the many small blessings that come my way and this is one of them...

Lord.. I really don’t know why my phone had to act up today but I thank you for enabling me to dry it out fast enough, get a spare battery that fits it and allow my phone to hot sync with my PC so that all my contents and contacts aren’t going to be lost for good. Thankfully this experience is a good forewarning for me to back up all my info so that I won’t lose the data the way I did the other time.

I would also like to thank you earnestly for allowing me to be of help to Pasupthy and her daughter Mariam as well as Mary Dass and her daughter Linda. I had the lovely opportunity to assist them and be of real help to each of them by taking them all the way to Putrajaya.

Take Pasupthy for instance, when I discovered that there was a spelling mistake in her new copy of her birth certificate I managed to persuade the government clerk, despite her obvious reluctance, to re-issue her birth certificate with her proper name so that there will be no problems in the years to come.

As for Linda, I’m truly happy that I could assist in sending her to the National Registration Department and while there have a pep talk with her on her need to save more rather than spend all her earnings on goodness knows what.

I am also deeply grateful Lord that you did not make me to be a racist, the way the Malay civil servants were to Pasupthy especially when they dismissed my horrified look that it would take them 2 years to let Pasupthy know if her application for citizenship is approved or rejected.

I am truly so grateful for my Malaysian citizenship status that I’ve always taken so much for granted which has given me the right to vote in the Malaysian general elections especially after Pasupthy’s interviewer snidely remarked that ‘her one vote doesn’t count!”

Lord teach me never to be so insulting, so snide or so contemptuous of our God given right to vote and allow me to treasure my very own citizenship while praying that you will intervene for innocent folks like these single parents who ask for nothing more than what is their birthright!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai to all of U!

This fluffy Rabbit isn't staying in the hat! It's eager to nibble away at your bad vibes, hop over the dangerous spots in your life, leap with you in full abandon to a fuller abundance, bounce up in joy for your continued good health and pawfully pray for increased wealth for you and your loved ones. Gong Xi Fa Cai to all the loyal and wonderful supporters of Jumble Station and Parents Without Partners Bhd.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welfare O Welfare... where art thou?

The Welfare Ministry is supposed to take care of the needs of poor, destitute Malaysians. I’m pretty sure they have millions of such people all over Malaysia but surely it does not take the Ministry’s workers , two to three years to get their act together?
Recently Jumble Station took several of the single parents and poor families they had been caring for in Angsana, Subang Jaya to the week long registration exercise conducted by Kelana Jaya’s MP Loh Gwo-Burne for the elderly, the disabled, single parents and families in need.
For single mother Mariam, this is her fourth time registering her need as a single mother earning only RM650 with three growing boys to care for. The first time she registered, the Ministry officials promised to pay her a visit to officially check out her situation. Apparently one official did but left a message with Miriam’s youngest son, 10 years old then to have the mum call the Welfare Ministry. Needless to say she never got the message. In 2009 Jumble Station helped her to apply a second time, six months went by, nothing.
A check revealed that the officer in charge of her case had quit and no one bothered to follow up on her backlog. Another application was put in last year and another officer dropped by to verify her situation while Mariam was at work, peeped in her rented flat saw that she had ‘nice’ things like sofa, /TV etc and concluded that she isn’t poor! Helloooo... those items were given to her by Jumble Station as per our policy of helping needy single parents and she shouldn’t have been deprived of her Welfare benefit because of this cursory glance. One phone call could have cleared this up but no.. and now three years later, Miriam is still struggling without a sen from Welfare.
Yeong Fong Pheng and her husband Victor are disabled or OKU because they are both deaf and mute. Both are registered with the Welfare Ministry and have been issued OKU cards each. Victor gets a small sum each month but his wife gets nothing. They have a five year old daughter and Victor works as a store keeper for about RM800 a month. Yeong’s attempts to find sewing work that she can do at home has been unsuccessful, she is illiterate and mute making it really tough to communicate with her. For some strange reason, Welfare has neglected her need for money to help raise her little girl!
Grace Ramayah is wheel chair bound. She has been getting welfare benefits when she was in Klang but when she relocated to Angsana to be with her son who has since found a job as a contract worker in a factory, her Welfare payments stopped. Frantic enquiries revealed that Klang welfare officers regard her case as ‘case closed’ since she no longer lives in Klang while the Subang Welfare Department says she has to put in a fresh application. That was done but to date, nothing has come out of it.
Panjalai has just turned 60 and had herself registered as part of the “Usia Emas” group. She has no idea what kind of benefits is available for senior citizens in Malaysia. She registered in the hope that the Welfare Dept will give her something, anything to assist her because her son is still unemployed and her daughter has not finished her studies at Help University where she was given a scholarship.

They and several hundred others who registered at Desa Mentari during the week long exercise were told to come back on Jan 30th Sunday at 9am to meet with Welfare Department officials over their needs, JS sent them over at 8.30am and they sat through till 11am only to realise they had been duped into becoming one of the “two hundred strong crowd” present to welcome a Gerakan politician! All they got from their Sunday wait was the same lame “we’ll look into your situation and don’t call us, we’ll call you!” promise. It’s time the Welfare Ministry in Subang have a real heart for those in need, forget the politics, just get the money to where it’s needed most – the hard core poor!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Forging ahead in 2011

Jumble Station last night held an appreciation ‘makan’ for its workers, helpers and volunteers. The makan itself was in an Indian restaurant at USJ9 and present were the three founders, Ping Ngan, Lian See and Mary Anne.

The VIPs for the night were full time worker Fazila Saad, part time van drivers Fauzi and single mum Jacky, her son William who assists with collections during the lorry runs with Yun, night time worker and single mum Panjalai and her daughter Sujatha, odd job worker and son of a single mother Siva Nathan and volunteer Kim.

After a hefty banana leaf rice complete with yogurt and “rasem’ all of us adjourned to Ping Ngan’s house where a series of team building games were conducted to strengthen the team spirit among the JS folks. First off they were all asked to discover details of each other, from full name to favourite food, fruit, movie and colour and within a space of 10 minutes. Each one was then called upon to reveal the info obtained whereupon it was discovered that some had not got around to interviewing the person while others tried to remember what they had seen in their rival’s paper!

Mary Anne then divided them into two teams – even and odd – and shot off a series of questions all pertaining to JS matters. Questions such as how old was JS in 2010 showed that one team mistakenly thought it had been 6 years while the other team got it spot on 3 years! Even the name of the organization that owns Jumble Station was comically written as Parents Without Parents when in fact it should have been Parents Without Partners!

Still it was a good and fun way for the staff to really learn about JS/PWP and discard the erroneous info they may have unwittingly stored. A Blessed draw was then held with every staff and helper walking off with a prize each bringing smiles to all of them by the time they went back home. Mary Anne then urged them all to work collectively for the continued success of JS and to put aside their differences while embracing new changes so that together we can all march forward to make a greater impact on society and single parents in particular.