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.