Saturday, December 29, 2012

Carolling at Jumble Station

Jumble Station became the liveliest place around the Angsana low cost flats thanks to some cell group members who turned up for our very caroling session. JS staff, supporters and the co-founders too were on hand and ready to belt out a couple of Christmas songs and carols.

Earlier on the workers worked feverishly to decorate JS itself setting up the Christmas tree, putting the ornaments on and yes, the twinkling coloured lights. A trunkful of Santa hats were available for the adults and kids alike with 2 year old Gunawan sporting the cutest costume – little Santa himself!

The dinner spread was another mouth watering experience with each staff and volunteer adding to the varied dishes from Assam Prawn Sambal from Adrian to Nadia’s meesiam, from Mala’s mixed veg to Alice’s macaroni, from Meow’s cauliflower and mushroom dish to Mariammah’s delicious chicken curry!

On the caroling part, everyone sang with gusto from young singers like NurFain and NurFazlyin who sang their hearts out with their fav number Feliz Navidad to Meow and gang who went through the likes of such carols as Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Silent Night. While the crowd was strangely absent, the spirit of a joyous and Blessed Christmas was clearly evident.

To all JS supporters, a very Blessed Christmas and a much happier 2013 New Year.from the three of us co-founders – Sanice Kam, Lim Lian See and Mary Anne 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sharing the “True Breath” of Christmas

The recent 1Muhibbah Christmas party hosted by the Breath of God Church led by Rev Aloysious Lopez and his charming wife on Sunday Dec 16 at the Vivatel Hotel is a marvelous example of how a church can bless so many children of different races and enable them to feel a fresh breath of what Christmas is all about. Jumble Station sent over some of its poor Muslim kids to the event and they were immediately enveloped in the spirit of love, fun and excitement from the beginning to the end. With hundreds of kids their age running around merrily complete with party hats and sweets, our kids, even down to the littlest one, Gunawan, 2 years old, felt right at home in the cavernous banquet hall. From the time they grabbed a candy floss, were handed a Christmas goodie bag to the time they got a Christmas present each, right up to the moment they were able to run on stage to do the gangnam dances and wiggle their bodies to the beat of music, the kids were in seventh heaven. For Nurain and Fazlyn this was their first ever Christmas party and they couldn’t get enough of it! The icing on the cake was when the VIP guest Datuk Seri Sharizat, former Welfare Minister and current head of BN’s Wanita movement genially agreed to have her photograph taken with the JS team. Sharizat who had met Farah Nisha some years back when she was just a kid was pleasantly surprised to discover how she had shot up in height and still as pretty as ever at the age of 12! Sharizat also handed over a RM5,000 cheque to the church on behalf of the Wanita UMNO team. The 1Muhibbah spirit was clearly present too in the array of performances that saw an Indian, Chinese, Malay and even a Michael Jackson dance performed to the delighted squeals of the young and not so young audience. However, the one clear message that came through that night itself was that the spirit of Christmas, the love for all mankind – still exists – and that sharing the sweet breath of God thru his birth (Christmas) is what’s most important! Glory to God in the Highest and Peace to all those who contributed to make this party so special to the less priviledged, we the NGOs on the ground truly appreciate the efforts that made this party so wonderfully memorable to our poor kids!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Really Cool Party at Genting Resort

One busload of poor kids from Subang Jaya, Desa Mentari and Lembah Subang set off for the cool heights of Genting Highlands Resort recently and discovered an amazing warmth in welcome that still resounds till now! Jumble Station had been invited to bring some 40 kids for Genting’s annual Christmas party on December 13, 2012 and for many of the 30 kids that eventually turned up, this was their first time ever seeing this cool mountain retreat for real. The party themed “Out of this world” saw many of Genting’s Employees dressed in space like costume and mythological creatures. Each of the 10 charity homes that made its way up the hill resort was also encouraged to have its kids participate in the competition resulting in many a spaced out bumble bee, monster masked behemoth, a princess or two and other strange creatures. On our part we had single dad Adrian’s two girl Nisha and Natasha dressed in silver lame space gear complete with robotic masks and shocking blue and pink Afro hairpieces. Nisha’s natural grace and ability to carry herself well enabled her to beat the others and won for herself a RM500 first prize. The season’s merriment was made all the more warm and inviting with the presence of the VVIP, none other than Puan Sri Cecelia Lim herself who turned out to be a very charming, fun loving and hugely supportive persona – willing at the drop of a hat to join in the activities – from her impromptu Christmas carol singing to doing the Gangnam style dancing with happy abandon. She came across as truly a people person, different from the usually very formal top gun one would come across in the corporate world –a refreshing change indeed. However what got our kids even more excited was the part where their personal Christmas wish was fulfilled in a spectacular manner – some like single dad Yun’s two boys Hamizan and Heikal had wished for a bicycle each – while Nisha’s younger sister Farah Diyana had also wished for a bicycle – all found themselves “gifted” with a bike each! The bigger teens ended up with handphones, MP3 players with a surprise backpack thrown in! It was highly amusing to see tiny tots like 2 year old Gunawan toddling away with a Genting bag of goodies that was even bigger than he is while little Nur Ramadhani, 8, held tightly to her white teddy bear and cried later when she thought she had lost it! After the gifts galore, it was time for some outdoor fun but the steady drizzle and cold air drew the youngsters back into the fun of the indoor amusement park and the kids, both young and old were delighted to try all the various rides – from the paddle pop train ride to the carousel, from the screaming terror ride of the roller coaster to the more sedate Eiffel Tower car rides. All in all, everyone from Jumble Station had a fantastic time and our thanks must go to the dedicated Genting staff that took care of all the details and ensured a marvelously smooth party from the beginning to the end! Four year old Nurul Debby Syafika says it best when she woke up early the next day and insisted her mum wake her older brother up so they won’t be late for another ride up to Genting Highlands again!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Awesome ‘warrior’ performance

Jumble Station recently teamed up with Antah Healthcare to present a Dikir Puteri or Warrior Princess dance for its 50th anniversary celebration at the Sime Darby Convention Hall on Dec 6 2012. Under the guidance of single dad Adrian Ong, 10 girls from Antah Healthcare were trained in the traditional art of a female warrior dance complete with its delicate gestures and symbolic movements. Most of the girls had never attempted a Malay ceremonial dance before but they caught on soon enough and were passionate enough to want to practice the various dance steps every lunch break they could get! On JS side, some 16 volunteers were recruited including the children of single parents – Hasrun’s two boys Hamizan and Heikal as well as Adrian’s two girls – Farah Nisha and Farah Diyana. All were put through their paces in terms of learning to clap and do the dikir hand movements in unison without anyone missing a beat. Heikal at first could not grasp the complicated steps and burst into tears but after a little persuasion and patience, he finally caught on to it and believe it or not became the best dance performer not to mention the cutest and the handsomest to boot! The night of the grand performance, the dance team made a truly grand entrance with Adrian in his guise as Siti leading the way followed by the tiny warriors and accompanied by the older female warriors to the astonishment of the VVIP guest Tuanku from the Negri Sembilan Royal Family. The audience were then entertained to a lively rendition of P Ramlee’s song Ai Ya Cik Siti and Ah Pek played by single dad Hasrun Manaf (whose kung fu stance and ceremonial Chinese strides into the dining hall was jaw droppingly impressive) before being held spellbound by the smooth, slick and thoroughly professional dance performance of the Dikir Puteri dancers and the accompanying warriors. What made the show so mesmerizing was the fact that it was 1Malaysia at its best – the Puteri was Zsa Zsa a Malay single mother while four other handmaidens were Indians, the Dikir Puteri clapping troupe comprised, Chinese, Malays and Sabahans – plus the youngsters were so adorable in their earnestness to perform correctly throughout the show. Yun and Adrian’s impersonation of P Ramlee and Saloma’s comic hit song “Yang Mana Satu”sent the crowd into stitches as they verbally jousted on stage but the final applause was reserved for the lively a-go-go twist number “whooly booly” which saw the two boys and two girls donning shocking pink and blue wigs while gyrating gamely to the dance steps. Overall what made the performances so stunning was the riotous display of colours that went into the costumes, headdresses and “sampings” as well as the infectious joy and fun apparent in all the JS & Antah dancers. That everyone had a great time was obvious with many of Antah management and staff totally impressed with the level of sophistication and dedication that went into the conceptualizing, execution and final delivery of the shows itself. One thing is for sure, we do have inherent talents at JS that should be tapped further for the benefit of the Malaysian community… yes indeed!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grieving Widows Blessed

Five single mothers who spouse have died were recommended by Parents Without Partners Bhd for this year’s GGP Dinner at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club recently.
The five single mums – Revathy, Sumathi, Shanti. Mages and Zuraidah accompanied by their kids were all given a RM300 early Christmas present each and RM200 a month allocation for the whole year of 2013.
Zuraidah from Puchong whose youngest daughter is only a year old is so touched by the Christmas gift and the monthly cash donation because she is currently unable to seek employment since she has to care for three children - two girls and a boy. 
Sumathi who has two young boys is equally delighted with the monetary gift because December is the leanest month for her since she earns a living driving young kids to school in her rickety car but with the school holidays she has less income for the month so this is a blessing indeed.

Edmund, the co-founder of GGP said that both the monies given was to help the single moms through the challenges of next year and enable them to realize they are not alone. Some of the invitees were also asked to get on the stage especially if their birthdays happen to fall in the months of November and December.

Zuraidah’s daughter whose birthday fell on Dec 2 was not around when the birthday celebrations took place, having gone to the washroom at that particularly important time. Nevetheless, the spunky girl did ask for a gift bag that all birthday gals got.. and yes she got one too!

Friday, November 9, 2012

donate your old digital cameras pls

Hey, its nice to have friends who are willing to do their bit to help a charity and this time around my old ex-colleague from the Edge, Grace has got together with some friends to do their bit for Parents Without Partners Bhd by launching a donate your camera drive starting on Thursday Nov 8 and ending on December 10 2012.

See PWP wants to organise a day long photography course for single parents kids during the December school holidays because we think its a great opportunity to teach the youngsters a new skill while keeping them occupied with a new and interesting challenge - mastering the art of seeing through the lens. We're thinking of having between 10-20 kids but to do that we need each kid to hold a camera, a digital camera that is - so the kid can see instantly what kind of pic he's taken and do the necessary if he has not done a good job.

Grace has opted to do this while simultaneously conducting another noteworthy deed - helping the Pos Malaysia to discover or re-discover lost places of interest under the theme of Hilang...hmmm that sounds really interesting and I'm rooting for both Hilang and our appeal for the donation of old digital cameras to be successful.. so if you know of anyone with a digital camera lying unused in a drawer at home or in the office, do give them a not so subtle nudge and tell them to contact Grace as per the banner/poster or Mary Anne at 016-2202958... cheers!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Connecting with Welfare officials

The Welfare Ministry is tasked with assisting the poor and the needy in Malaysia but it is a monumental task for just one government body to handle all the social needs and dire emergencies that crop up like bad mushrooms. NGOs therefore play an important role as the on-the-ground facilitators to reach to the innermost core of the poverty stricken areas and denizens of otherwise hidden slums. JS has been working hands on with many poor single parents located in various parts of the Klang Valley region without the Welfare Ministry being the wiser. Not any more. Recently, Parents Without Partners (PWP) and its social entrepreneurship arm JS went to visit some of the more pertinent Welfare Departments – specifically the KL Welfare Department at Jalan Pahang, the Selangor Welfare HQ at Shah Alam, the Subang Jaya Welfare Dept at SS15 and the Woman, Family and Community Ministry at Putrajaya. Volunteer Lillian and co-founder Mary Anne made the rounds to try and connect directly with the pertinent officials themselves. All except the KL Welfare Dept were very friendly and pro-actively happy to assist us in our enquries and complaints pertaining to the aids and grants available for the single parents and the needy. The KL Welfare Dept on the other hand, insisted that we had to wait for an appointment before we could even meet the director’s PA let alone the director or his deputy ..because all were involved in very important meetings! Haniza Tamin assistant to the director of Socio Economic Development and Welfare Aid at Putrajaya was most helpful with her suggestions on how PWP could liase with the various Welfare Depts to tap into the government aid and assistance programmes for the poor and marginalized in society. Encik Mohd Fadhlie Khamis heading the Subang Jaya Welfare Dept has obviously been one of the more diligent officials around. Since he took over the dept in 2011 last year, he has managed to clear more than half of the 2,300 backlog cases left by his predecessor. This explains how one of our single mums finally got the RM200 (RM100 per school going kid) she desperately needed after applying for four different times over the last three years! Kudos to folks like Mohd Fadlie and Haniza because it is dedication and a genuine compassionate desire to really help the poor with govt assistance that can make a vast and visible difference today!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gifting to poor single parents

Many people think of property developers as a materialistic, capitalist bunch but most generally are not and they show it in different ways too! One such developer, Bukit Kiara Properties which focuses on developing high end property projects showed their compassionate side in a rather nice, understated way. See, lots of companies have reasons of their own to try and win over the hearts and minds of those working in developer firms and Bkt Kiara Prop is well aware of this. As part of their drive to do business with integrity, they made it a rule that gifts received from well meaning “corporate friends or suppliers” must be declared and handed over by the recipients. All such gifts will then be collected and handed over to worthy homes and deserving charitable causes. Well recently, Parents Without Partners was chosen to receive the gift items from none other than NK Tong, the group managing director himself. The gifts were an interesting assortment from a coffeemaker to wine & liquor, from umbrellas to computer bags and files, from decorative items to thumb drives and hampers among others. For PWP these items will come in useful as year end gifts for our annual Back-to-School party, for single parents wanting to use the liquor to bake cakes or even for items that can be sold to raise more funds at Amcorp mall weekend flea market. So to the smart and generous staff of Bkt Kiara Properties, thanks for thinking of the poor single parents even as you continue to build lovely homes for the well-to-do!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vintage Enjoyment

For many of us, getting into a car for a ride is so common place. For some kids from the orphanages getting a car ride to anywhere is …ah ya nothing to shout about, they act so nonchalant, so unimpressed, downright bored in some instances it makes the poor host wonder what went wrong. Well for Parents Without Partners Bhd kids which also includes those from poor families, a vintage car ride is very definitely an experience to treasure. Take Ani and her four kids for instance. A Sabahan married to an odd job labourer who can barely eke a living, Ani has had very few enjoyable experiences in her life, marred more often by difficulties than joys. So when the opportunity came for them to participate in the annual vintage car ride organized by the Royal Selangor Club Motorsports Ani and her kids were excited beyond measure – they were up and ready by 7am even though the van was supposed to leave only at 8am! Some 25 of us went for the ride in celebration of the 55th Merdeka Day and the cars galore had kids clamouring to take photos with their favourite vintage models or just hopping into any car that would take them for their ride. The open topped cars were the most irresistible while those with fiery colours be it flaming orange, black or red saw just as many kids clambering on board. The convoy zoomed from the Spastics Centre in PJ to the rustic beauty of the Selangor Coast Club of Klang where the hungry youngsters were treated to a plentiful lunch of meaty curried dishes, vegetables, rice and fruits topped with ice cold drinks that one couldn’t get enough off especially since the weather was blistering hot! And oh yes, the clown was around to pass them some cute little balloons while keeping them entertained with his motley magic tricks. It was obvious some of the kids from different homes must have seen the clown performing before because they could accurately predict what his trick would result in which quite detracted from the joy and surprise that the newbies were experiencing. All in all, Ani and her kids had the time of their lives and for PWP, that’s a priceless benefit – to bring joy into otherwise drab lives!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Duit Raya" for our Muslim single parents

Hari Raya this year is a lot more celebratory than previous years for Parents Without Partners (PWP)’s poorer Muslim parents thanks to some cash contributions given by some concerned journalists, their relatives and kids. When JS SMSed a special request for old Baju Melayu and Baju Raya for the single parents and their kids to wear for this year, the idea was rejected in favour of a cash donation so that the poor Muslim parents could buy and choose their own clothes for Hari Raya instead. Around 7 poor Muslim parents and single parents received the RM200-RM400 (depending on the number of kids they have) and they included Hasrun Manaf and his three sons, Ani and her four kids, Siti and her two kids, Malar and her three kids, Bob and his three kids, Suhaibah and her three kids, Eda and her four kids. All were flabbergasted to get the news about the cash donation and they were truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the donors towards making Hari Raya a special occasion. A visibly tearful Malar for instance couldn’t believe that a stranger would contribute to make a Raya so special especially since she is so financially tight and trying so hard to make ends meet! Eda from Rawang was equally touched to get the good news. She became a single mother after her hubby died of cancer in September last year leaving her to care for her four kids. Today she runs a small cafĂ© in Cyberjaya earning only RM1,000 a month and so the extra cash to buy Raya clothes for herself and her kids were an unexpected blessing indeed! The others too expressed their heartfelt thanks for this donation that would enable them to get a baju Raya and shoes for RM50 each at least! Ani who lives in Puchong with her four kids and who could not travel to Sabah due to a lack of funds, was in tears when she received the duit raya to buy clothes and cookies for her kids. A very grateful Ani said that she never expected such a helping hand and is most grateful to the people who chose to help her family in this way. To our Muslim single parents and to their very generous donors – Sharifah and family, Wah Foon and hubby.. a very BIG Thank You and Selamat Hari Raya to all!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Balls, balls and pads!!

What do you do when someone donates around 30 bowling balls to you? Jumble Station received a call about whether or not we accept bowling balls and thinking that it was probably only one or two, we said okay! Imagine our shock when the lorry driver Hasrun delivered the 30 bowling balls and we had no idea what to do with them. That’s when we had the brainwave to call the nearest bowling centre which happened to be at the Summit Shopping Centre. The manager Mustafa Yassin was kind enough to allow JS to sell the bowling balls directly to the players at the bowling entre especially since there was a tournament on from 11pm till 1.30am that Sunday. So promptly at 9.30pm single mother Irene and I showed up at the bowling alley complete with the 30 bowling balls only to learn a couple of new things which we aren’t likely to forget. First off, all the bowling balls are not made equal – I used to think about the only thing differentiating each ball is the finger holding size per ball.. hah! Mustafa told us that balls weigh differently and the ones we brought over fell into two categories – the 10-11 pound category and the 13-14 pound category. The other differentiating factor was that each ball went according to the brand, some brands were more marketable than others, some were designed to spin as they roll, some were designed to give killer shots etc. Even the pricing was different – the lighter balls could be sold for RM80 and below while the heavier balls could be sold for RM100 and below. We also learnt that bowling balls were being sold from RM400 to a high of RM800 for the really high class model – so pricing our balls from RM100 and below should make it attractive for ardent bowlers! Well it turns out most Malaysians prefer the lighter balls and sadly we only had about 5 of these and these were quickly snapped but the rest could not attract any buyers even though we offered two balls at RM150 with a third ball given for free! In the end we left the remaining balls for Mustafa to try and flog them off to some newbie players but to date, there’s hasn’t been a call from him yet! And then JS received some 12 cartons of brand new “She” sanitary pads for our single parents in the usual day, night and promotional pack deals with the proviso that the single parents use these for themselves or if they want to sell to earn an income, the pricing must be close to the recommended retail price which was around RM9 for the daytime pads, RM10 for the night time. Again, the single parents and poor mums who received these were delighted because it meant they need not spend their own money buying these what more for their kids! Suhaibah for one who has two teenaged daughters is happy to get the pads because she says her financial situation is currently very tight and this batch of pads should last she and her daughters quite some time! Single mother Mariammah was amused to have been given sanitary pads but recognizes that this free gift will certainly help her save some cash considering that her salary is only RM750 a month with 3 boys to feed each month! And for single mother Mah who plans to sell the pads at the price recommended by the donor so that should greatly increase her monthly income to help feed her brood of kids. Anyone else out there with stuff to donate… just call or SMS 016-2202958 and we’ll be there in a jiffy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

JS hits 5 years!

Jumble Station’s 5 years old and to celebrate the special milestone we had our annual party which was held on July 1 2012, themed Starry Starry Bright featuring at least two well known stars impersonators – Michael Jackson and P. Ramlee! P Ramlee’s timeless charm came alive through the comedic rendition of Ai Ya Cik Siti which immortalizes the Ali Baba story of a servant girl attempting to procure the services of a cobbler to sew up a dead body. Single dads Adrian Ong and Hasrun Manaf played the role of Siti and Ah Pek so well they had the hugely appreciative crowd in stitches watching the blindfolded couple jump a couple of imaginary steps. And then came the real crowd pleaser! MJ Surin who is a real life Malaysian clone of the real Michael Jackson stunned the 150 plus single parents and kids who turned up for the event, with his mesmerizing moonwalks, fancy footwork and pulsating poses . From the minute he burst on stage and threw his hat down in a defiant act of independence, he had the audience, old and young right in the palm of his hands. They avidly followed his every move, every gesture and when he hopped off stage to grab some hands, many rushed forward to grasp or to snap some quick shots. When he left for a quick costume change, the crowd yelled impatiently for his return and just couldn’t get enough of his slick dancing moves. Prior to that, JS showed a slide presentation of all the highlights of the 5 year journey and smiles could be seen on the faces of those who were caught by the camera over from 2007 to 2012. Topping off the day’s event was a Blessed Draw where some 15 prizes were up for grabs and a sumptuous high tea with ayam berempah, golden nuggets and browned sausages while goodie bags filled with items such as an electric kettle each, Hovid’s vitamins and GDEX’s KFC coupons among other items. The Lioness Club of Subang Jaya were also on hand to make this party a very special one with 5 of their members turning up to assist us in the preparation of the goodie bags for the kids and in the presentation of the blessed draw gifts. Yes, the mood was joyous, the laughter infectious and the fun contagious. All in all, it was a great way to celebrate 5 glorious years of working with the poor single parents and it clearly showed that the passion still burns as bright as ever.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Single fathers for Father's Day

With Father's Day just around the corner, it was pretty smart of China Press to contact us about the possibility of interviewing a few single fathers for its Father's Day article which was published just last Sunday. The reporter Yu Yi eventually gave about four pages to this topic and managed to interview two single fathers - Boon and Adrian Ong (primarily because they were both Chinese single dads!). Although yours truly can't read or speak Chinese, here's the gist of the articles itself: Tan Chee Boon is 58 years old with a six year old son Justin John who was born sickly. The boy's mum a 26 year old woman abandoned them when she could not cope with the year long hospital stay following the birth of Justin but Boon persevered and today Justin is a robust kid attending kindergarten this year. Boon is unemployed because he has to be there for his son but he ekes out a careful living on his EPF funds and grows and sells some herbs and plants at his home in Sungai Buloh. They live in a house rent free thanks to a friend who works abroad and needed the place taken care of in the interim period.Jumble Station learnt of their existence two years ago and has been helping them in various ways including providing them with household items when their existing ones break down. Adrian's case was a rarity because he unofficially became a single dad when his tenant and wife left their eldest baby behind and returned to their kampung with their sickly second child. Adrian took care and bonded with the abandoned baby Farah Nisha until she was taken back to her kampung at the age of 7 when it was time for school. What many readers find remarkable is that a guy would bother to raise someone else child and a child that is of a different race too! Today, Adrian has not one but three "kids" when Nisha and her two younger sisters Natasha and Diyana come over to be with him for the school holidays! Two examples of fathers going beyond the call of responsibilities and doing a great job of it too - Happy Fathers Day to all single dads in Malaysia and around the world!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Learning Station is officially launched today

Adrian Ong, single father and a former high flying fashion designer had with the help of JS opened a small vintage dress boutique at PJ Old Town early last year. There he also boosted his income by offering to teach others the art of sewing so that they can develop a skill to earn more money. The snag was that too many of his potential and existing sewing students found it too taxing to travel from Subang to PJ Old town to attend classes at the Sewing Station due largely to the inevitable traffic jams. PWP recognized this and offered half its storage space to him to set up the “Learning Station” where the poor, the marginalized and those who want to develop new skills can come for lessons ranging in arts & craft making, sewing classes as well mastering conversational English. The Lions and Lioness Clubs of Subang Jaya learnt about the proposed establishment of the Learning Station and agreed to sponsor the renovation works that went into making this new project a reality. Today was the official opening of the Learning Station and saw some 70 people turning up for the event which started at 4.30pm - some 20 or so were from Sysmex, the corporate entity that sponsored RM3,000 for the renovations while the Lion & Lioness Clubs of Subang Jaya had around 10 people and the rest comprised journalists and supporters of JS itself. Many of those present were impressed by the creative use of recycled items for the shop while the Nyonya Wedding gown stole the show because it truly showcased Adrian's ability to design traditional costume while helping to preserve his cultural heritage.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Revitalising poor single parents

Single parents who are poor and struggling to care for their growing brood, generally tend not to seek help unless they have absolutely no choice and are at their wits end. Those who do come to Jumble Station and Parents Without Partners Bhd (PWP) for assistance are offered opportunities to take on new roles that can make a dramatic difference in their lives. Some accept the challenge, others turn it down flat. We cite three recent cases of those who opted to take on the challenge and will feature each as we go along… Case 1: Just after Chinese New Year this year single mother Irene Tong, 48, was told to leave by her restaurant boss who opted to hire a younger replacement and pay only half the salary Irene used to get each month. Irene a mother of two boys found it tough to get another job and settled for working nights at Jumble Station for only RM20 a night. Needless to say this was insufficient to pay even her rent of RM450 and JS stepped in to pay during these challenging months. A long term solution had to be found and when there was a vacancy for someone to run the Brilliant Light Charity shop at Desa Mentari, she was offered that opportunity. Irene was told that the 2nd hand shop, set up by Jumble Station to front the DUMC’s Tamil Ministry’s Homework Centre for poor kids, would be hers to manage, develop and generate the income she will need to survive. She accepted the challenge to be an entrepreneur and work towards paying off half the rent of the shop (RM500) as well as earn enough to feed her family with hopefully some left over next time, to someday buy her own flat. She is now a motivated business woman, determined to make this venture a success even if it means she has to travel by bus everyday and wait alone in the night for the bus to get home. Irene believes that she has been blessed with this great opportunity to own her own business and she relishes the idea of making a success of it. All she needs now is to get the shop's flyer to the many residents there and a constant, regular supply of good items that her customers want. For now it appears the migrant and Malay buyers love to buy bags, clothes, toys, electrical items and shoes. Anyone out there with stuff to donate - SMS or call for collection at 016-2202958.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Party Time

Parties are usually a luxury for poor families, single parents included. It is hard enough for them to find the money to put food on the table let alone pay for a glittery, fanciful event like a birthday party. So when the invitation came for poor families and single parents to celebrate two very special events, Jumble Station and PWP jumped at the golden opportunity.

The first was the day-long celebration of Nestle’s 100 year involvement in Malaysia where a carnival like atmosphere was evident at the Merdeka Square or Dataran Merdeka as we know it. Our kids were part of the thousands of Nestle invitees encouraged to participate in games, sample all the foods that Nestle is so famous for and gape in admiration at the many different performers that showed off their talents. Despite the long queues that one had to endure before one could get to the games stall, the food stall or the performance itself, the effort was well worth it and the laughter, fun and camaraderie made for a truly fun filled celebratory day indeed.

The second invite was to attend the birthday of Jasmine Leong who was turning all of 10 years. Four poor kids were specially invited for this event which was themed “Alice In Wonderland” and boy were our kids truly impressed! Karthik, 13, the son of a single mother for one had never had a real birthday party and it was the same with Min Min, NurFain and Nur Fazlin. They were truly in awe of the decorations, the games, the bouncy playground, the costumes, the food spread and the ventriloquist that had been hired just for the purpose of making a huge and colourful impact. Even the face painting had them giggling with happiness and the ease with which they won prizes brought smiles to their faces. By the time they left, they had armloads of goodies – from cotton sugar to popcorns, from toys to fancy hats. What is even more wonderful is the fact that birthday girl Jasmine was willing to share her birthday celebration with the less priviledged and so doing, enabled them to realise that there can be a better life ahead for them, if they only work hard at succeeding someday!