Possibly the last meal we offered

Last night, I was filled with guilt, sadness, anger and disappointment. Someone phoned and told me that the street people ‘have been hauled up into lorries, taken to various destinations.’

I was guilty because I brought the issue about the homeless to the CM and the official in charge of welfare, YB Phee. So, I was wondering if our citizen journalism video project has caused the state to be jumpy and they took action to ‘clean things up’. I wonder if the people I had talked to feel we, along with our video, had somehow betrayed them.

I was sad because many of them do not want to be sent to welfare homes or any of those places as they value their freedom. So, knowing that they are now confined in a place where there are rules and regulations sort of break my heart.

I was angry because the mention of Rela and lorries just pissed me so much. I get visions of catching stray dogs. And I am disappointed because I feel they will not be treated in a dignified way like they should.

But, strange circumstances really happened. The video which I was supposed to deliver to the CM and Welfare department was delayed and I only got it Monday morning by Pos Laju. I was editing it when I get the call and somehow that spur me on to do the best I can.

This afternoon, YB Phee talked to me on the phone. And not wanting to beat around the bush, I straight away bluntly told him, “I am sorry but when I hear Rela, I am afraid the people may have been roughly treated.” YB Phee immediately responded, “That’s why I was there to personally supervise things.”

YB Phee asked me to deliver the video clips to him just now and I had done so. Murphy Law rules. My laptop won’t burn CD, my printer ran out of ink. But I got to Komtar in time and handed the below video to the CM and YB Phee along with some questions.

This is not the end of the issue. My coursemates from the citizen journalism are going to pursue the state government and ask to follow-up with the people who are placed in welfare homes and other locations. Hopefully, we can be the voice that they don’t have.

So, yeah, like my sons said, “Ma, was that the last supper they had?” Maybe, maybe not. They may have a better home to live in now. Or they may be cursing that their freedom has been curbed. I had done my best and I pray they are happier, with better meals and a roof over their heads.

Still, it feels kind of teary that this week, another of my church group who is cooking, is not going to cook for 180 people anymore.

17 thoughts on “Possibly the last meal we offered

  1. flik – I also want to be homeless and live in RM10M bungalow!

    choonie – My hubby returned home and saw the news and said, “Hah, they must think you all ‘cho kui’ and caused them to get hauled up” (cho kui = back stab). Bawllssssss

  2. alamak..bck fired pula!! no lah, the homeless won’t think you ‘cho kui’ where got kui cook curry n give free one?
    saw yr clip, good effort for first timer. Putting the content aside, just wanna comment on the technical issues. camera a bit jerky (got use tripod or not?), you were cut off fr the many scenes, I only saw 1 kui’s hand sticking fr the side, lots of hesitation like ‘ah..mm….’ fr u lah, not like you the obnoxious 5xmum, nerves may be?, clips at the beginning did not flow/blend well, may be adding malay/english subtitle when interviewing in hokkien better.
    ok, before u start cursing my mother/father..i’ll stop now.
    poverty and homelessness exist everywhere. I agree ‘Rehab’ is a better word then ‘Rehome’. but finding a place to stay is where rehab starts. There must be a policy that over 50’s should not be discriminated in searching employment. when i use public toilet in s’pore, they are always manned by older ppl, but boy, did they keep the toilet clean!!! it may be a simple job, but they do it well.

    JT´s last blog post..My knees are hurting, doc !! (part 2)

  3. JT – Camera not my area. I need to squeeze four hours of work into less than 10 mins so a lot of conversations were halted. I cannot insert transition cos my PC crashed each time I do that. I export my movie and just found out some subtitles disappeared. I only interview in Hokkien. You cannot recognise my sexy voice meh? Hahaha. It is not nerves but I was trying to think of questions. It was an impromptu thing and there is no script, no pre-written plot. It was touch and go. And getting the people to talk is not easy. With the welfare officer, back in the bright place, also no pre-set questions because I just ask whatever came to mind. And the half-cut hand floating, I got no time to edit frame by frame cos these clips reached me yesterday and this afternoon, that YB Phee said must deliver to him today. Wuah…yesterday, I sat there editing until my eyes also can pop and my PC crashed and though I saved the work, it seems to be messed up when I open file.

    Phew…so nice to get to rant. Thanks for the review.

  4. I am sad too cos i din get to chip in some $ this time & i tot i cud do it soon but seems like d nex time will take a very long time to come.

  5. Mindy – Actually, they cannot totally clear the streets. There are still hundred over people on the streets. The efforts to give them meals are on-going. So, don’t worry, can do that other time.

    flik – Actually, there are pros and cons to the clean up. On one hand, it is better life for them but on the other, some want the freedom. So, there is really no good or bad. So long as they are treated decently, it is a good attempt to help them.

  6. Wonderful work lilian. Love the video. Great editing and very professionally done except for one part where the camera went in and out of focus.

    I think like you mentioned in the video, continuing to stay on the streets is not the right way to go. Hopefully Phee’s programme for them will be successful. Putting them up in homes will at least solve the shelter and food part of their basic necessities for the time being. Clearly some need medical for physical and mental ills. Hopefully also that the homes can find some jobs for the more able bodied ones as well.

    Flikteoh, 10 mil is not a lot to start a sustainable project to house, feed and medicate 300 people. To build a house big enough with reasonable facilities and furnish it for 300 should already take up more than half the budget. Don’t forget caretakers, food, medication and consumables.

  7. I believe the one “kui” hand sticking out from the side (the one interviewing Jalil in BM) is not Lilian’s. The voice stammer a lot and in contrast the interviewee, Jalil seems to do much better.

    Hey, these street uncles got brain one you know. Jalil is aware of the current political and social situation in the state and can give suggestions off the cuff like dat.

    One thing the last Chinese man said is very true, “If people got heart to give, they will accept it. But if people got no heart to give, no point to go and ask from them”.

    Thanks for the video. I will show it to my sons. Lots of lessons to be learnt from that.

  8. domino – That uncle really politik mia olang. I think UMNO mia supporter from the way he complained about Pakatan, hahaha. There are lots of other wisdoms from them but I had to cut to only less than 10 mins or else those VIPs won’t have time to listen to long ramblings lor. Moreover, Youtube only allow short clips.

    paul – Tks for the feedback. It is a pity there was some out of focus part but what he said was crucial to me so I leave it on. Actually, providing the infrastructure is one thing but providing the genuine concern and care for them is a big task. Unless the state gov. is willing to work with outside organisations, they won’t be able to look into the emotional supports for them. Then again, it is also tough when they let in religious fanatics who are bended on preaching.

    In a way, I welcome the shelter home the state gov. propose because it is like a soup kitchen and shelter that I was thinking of. But I hope the Fed Gov will not be stingy in the allocations while they burn millions on white elephants.

  9. mom nobody can forever get donation n gather ppl n cook n deliver the food 4 them 1

    they wont wanted to live on lucky-have-3-meals-no-luck-no meals for the rest of their life oso

    they need assistance more than donation, hopefully sending them to the homes is a forwarding step

  10. JT is rite, where got ‘kui’ give free food one. No lar, you think like that. If you are all the ‘kui’, I am one of the ‘kui kia’. We only do our best to help. Without you doing that last Saturday, the Rela will also take them away at any time on any day. I learn alot from your videoclip. In fact, my tears roll down looking at how fortunate my family are. Well, YB Phee said he is there to supervise – when he is there, off course everything will be good and nice but when he is not around, what is going to happen. I had personally see how they old uncles and aunties treated. Sad to say, sometimes they are treated like dogs. Are they sure they are going to build RM10m bungalow for the needy? Lilian, you did a great job. Next time, if you ever had this activity just let me know. I am willing to help in whichever way I can. This time, you no need to buy chicken and carry like ‘siau lang’. I get my supplier to send it to me and I send it right to the kitchen in your church. Loving is Sharing!!!

    Erina´s last blog post..Help With Love

  11. I think this country is not helping the poor at all. The welfare officer said try to give them jobs and the problem cannot be solve. Of course the problem can’t be solve if he never experience being a homeless at this age before. This is not even a problem in the first place, its part of the test God given to us by giving it back to the society. Asking them to go back to the Workforce at this age? Really sad that these words came out from some one who is not committed to this.
    When i visited South Korea , there is a huge place for old folk where they will get Free Food everyday. This is part of the thing Govt could do instead of asking them to work some more. But our nation have million of dollars to help other countries first. Shame on the govt.

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