Thursday, June 27, 2013

Learning Station one year on....

A year ago, the Lioness of Subang Jaya wanted to do something to assist the community of Subang Jaya and they teamed up with Jumble Station to do a project that would impact the community.

The result was Learning Station where with the collaboration of single father and former fashion designer Adrian Ong, they successfully renovated what was once a storage space into a beautifully decorated designer shoplot that doubles as a boutique for the sale of  vintage clothings and a sewing station for those wanting to learn sewing.

Open to single parents and the poor in the low cost flats at Angsana and paying students elsewhere, Learning Station has been able teach many untutored or semi skilled women into the art of sewing. Jumble Station pays for those from the marginalized groups while the outsiders pay a very affordable sum of RM250 a month to learn sewing skills.

Today, one year later, students like Yeong Fong Pheng (a deaf mute who could not get a job because she is also illiterate) have shown a marvelous talent in sewing and now earns a decent living sewing from her home. She is now sought after to help especially in view of the upcoming Hari Raya festival when orders for Baju Raya overwhelms the tailoring shops.

Even the not so talented learners like Normala have been able to learn the rudiments of sewing and is now proudly in the midst of sewing her three children’s baju raya thereby saving a heap of money that would otherwise have gone to tailors.

For Suhaibah, who used to cut dresses using a machine, this one on one lessons in designing, sewing and embroidering her own clothes is an eye opener and the one means she has to increase her monthly income on a more regular basis compared to making cakes only for Hari Raya.

As for newcomer Jahuyah Suhib, the chance to learn a new skill thrills her to bits because now she knows that this skill can be turned into an income generating source for her future. Currently she bicycles to two different jobs just to make ends meet but age is catching up and she worries about being knocked off her bicycle leaving her 10 year old son alone!

For Subang Jaya Lioness president Sharon Tang and her members Ilene, Carol and Poo Eng, the visit to Learning Station is a fitting finale to her term  as president and it was heartening to know first hand how the Lioness of SJ were able to positively impact the lives of the poor in Subang Jaya alone.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Grand Prix with Petronas at Sepang

Most kids go gaga over racing cars, always imagining themselves in the driver’s seat and racing down a race track burning their tyres as they fancy themselves a Ferrari or a Porche streaking away and leaving their less talented drivers biting the dust.

Well for one Saturday afternoon, the children of single parents and poor families, were the special guests of national oil company Petronas led by its senior manager of Petronas Motorsports Promotions Management Roshaniza Ilmi Mohd Ali, at Sepang where they were able to see and experience for themselves the thrill, the fun and capture the excitement of world class car racing.

All 66 children, from as young as 6years to 22 years old were led from the cool comfort of the Paddock to the blistering hot cacophonic surroundings of the race track to witness for themselves the fun and funny side of racing.

Enroute to the Petronas racing car stall, the kids passed through some very interesting sights, beautiful sleek cars being revved up and undergoing various tests, hordes of racing fans snapping and videotaping their favourite cars, brands and drivers.

That there were so many beautiful racing girls, modeling alongside their respectively branded cars was another eye opener for many of the youngsters while having their photos taken next to the all-white rubbery Michelin character was indeed a thrill for them.

And when they got to meet young and handsome Afiq and two other really dashing looking Petronas rally drivers, the kids really went wild demanding for their autographs and treasuring these to show to their respective parent back home.

Once back in the cool comfort of the air conditioned Paddock, the youngsters hungrily gobbled down the tasty meal that had been laid out just for them while thirstily gulping down the ice cold cordial drinks to cool themselves down.

Replete with food, the youngsters then raced to the glass windows where they started paying more attention to the activities taking place down below where the cars were zipping in for quick checks and zipping out again in five minutes or less! Many were awed by the swift repairs, oil and gas checks they witnessed, some even said they’d want to be a part of the rally team when they grow up!

But the greatest fun the youngsters had was when they opened the Petronas goody bags they had received and tried out the water cooling fans – from then on, it was shooting mayhem all the way with many of the kids catching the Petronas staff and volunteers unawares with a sneaky blast of their fan “gun”.

Those kids that were initially very shy, soon became fast, albeit ‘wet’ friends and many went back and regaled their amused mums with their memories of fast cars, sexy girls and fast fan “shoots”. Almost all said they wanted to go again if Petronas issued another invite to them and they made it clear when they loudly and enthusiastically said “Best-nya” after saying their thank-yous to a very delighted Petronas staff. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Photography with passion

How does one interest children in learning a new skill? During the school holidays when kids put aside their books and look for more interesting adventure, is there something that can be used to keep them fully occupied while learning at the same time?

How about photography – mastering the rudiments of using camera and garnering the skills to take good photographs – can this be done with kids? You bet! Jumble Station recently handed over a digital camera each to five children of single parents telling them to go snap whatever catches their fancy.

First off, we drove all the way to Bukit Tinggi, near the Selesa Hillhomes near Genting Highlands  where nature beckons and there are more trees and greens than humans. At the Cleft, a private home belonging to Pastor Chai Hok, we let loose the kids armed only with a small digital camera each and told them to snap at will.

Needless to say, they came back with photos of trees, vegetation, flowers, some household items and even the family dogs that were totally uninspiring to say the least. What they had done was to shoot blindly - anything and everything - without thought or coherence, without a hint of artistry.

Gathering the kids together Mary Anne drew on her long experience as a photo-journalist and gave the youngsters, a simple yet clear way of looking at photography in a different light.  It kicked off with the manner of using and holding the camera properly, what each symbol on the camera was for and how to view things from a thematic angle – in this case, the patterns of nature. Rather than snapping at will and in a haphazard manner, each youngster was urged to snap the photos in a more creative, more artistic, more intimate manner.

This time, the results were a lot more impressive, Farah Nisha, 12, her little sister Farah Diana 9, and young Leyseree 11, all displayed a keen desire to improve their skills and the impact was abvious. Where before the pictures were bland snapshots, this time, the trio made an effort to find something interesting from each object and photograph that in an intriguing way.

Two older boys, Sivanathan and Robin Lee too tried their hand at photography and they too showed vast improvements in their way of looking and capturing items that carried the theme – patterns – pretty well. Their keen eye for the different colours and patterns were beautifully captured and given time and practice, they could well make this a delightful skill outside of their school work.

JS plans to continue this Photography with Passion project during the year end Christmas break where we plan to include more kids and make it a memorable outing of fun and excitement in the process. This means feeding the hungry youngsters, ferrying them to and fro from the photo spot and offering some attractive prizes (new digital cameras) to the more creative ones as well. We hope that more people will make this project of ours possible by donating the digital cameras they have stashed away unused in their homes or offices so that more kids can fully participate and learn the skills of seeing God’s and man’s creations in a totally new light! If you have cameras to donate for this creatively interesting project, do contact Mary Anne 016-2202958 or drop them at either of the two large cages located at the TNB substation/motorbike parking spot in Dream Centre itself.