Saya terbaca dari sini.

I am
not a veteran volunteer, but I have had a fair share of experience volunteering
at various soup kitchens across Kuala Lumpur since I was 16. This is my humble
opinion and is not linked to any organisations that I have volunteered with.


From
cutting onions to packing food to distributing food in the soup kitchen, we
have never been paid. Most soup kitchens receive monetary donation or food
donation from various sponsors, be it an individual, company or food operator.
Each soup kitchen has their location of distribution (sometimes 3/4 a night)
and it is almost at the same spot every time they are on duty. Faces change
among volunteers, some regular, some not. Same goes to those who come for food,
some are regulars, some are not.


You
see, not all of the people who come for soup kitchens are homeless. Some of
them are, but a big number of them are people suffering from poverty. Extremely
small income earners who cannot afford to feed their family, single mothers who
have worked double shift on minimum wage and is unable to provide food for
their children, and also old people who are not being cared after. People who
have so little to live on, but with many many mouths to feed. Those are the
people who line up day after day.


Do we
feed the homeless, the drug users and sex workers? Yes we do. The raunchy
looking guy with bloodshot red eyes? Yes we do. The man who smells like booze
hardly able to stand straight while queueing? Yes we do. The man who pushes a
stolen trolly from Giant with all his things inside? Yes we do. 


But we do not
discriminate, we feed because they are hungry and because getting food is a
problem for them.


Now,
Dato Seri Tengku Adnan said in his statement, “We give them jobs but they
don’t want as it is easy to get food as these street kitchens are feeding
them”. 


Putrajaya created a plan to give jobs to the jobless, and not
specifically jobs for the homeless. Half of the homeless people do not even
have proper identification as they are born out of prostitution, poverty, or is
mentally unstable and unfit to find an occupation. 


Now Dato’, I am pretty sure
you have never gone down to the streets to volunteer, so let me give you a
little introduction. Soup kitchens in Malaysia are not a walk-in-for-free KFC
where it is open 24 hours for you to come in anytime you like, place your order
and walk away with hot delicious food. 


Most soup kitchens only operate at night
because volunteers have a day job. Then there’s the weather, and the queue to
take food, and trust me Dato’, it is not the gourmet food you are fed with your
entire life. Its basic food, just to beat the hunger. 


So those who come for
food, can only come once a day, walk to the area of distribution, bear with the
weather and queue just to get basic food. Easy? No Dato’. Its not.


By
following your logic, we should ban free food for buka puasa at Masjids,
because free food breeds homelessness. We should ban Langar meals at Gudhwaras
and temples giving free vegetarian lunch, because we will breed homelessness. 


We should probably ban Ministers lavish open houses during festive seasons
(which are paid by us, the rakyat btw), because that too will breed
homelessness. Go ahead, ban them.


Another
statement I find to be a bit out of hand is that, volunteer soup kitchens cause
garbage infested scenes. Again, Dato, this is not a restaurant where we open
tables and serve food under the romantic streetlights of “your” city. 

Most of the food are packed and given to them where they would go to other
places and eat. Either at home, or if they are homeless, wherever they seek
shelter. Most don’t eat at the location because there is no space due to the
queue and also due to the other services a soup kitchen provide, like a mobile
clinic or a free haircutting service. 


In every soup kitchen, there will be
volunteers who will be in charge of the location and queue to ensure that
people don’t mess the area up or create a scene. Guess what, some of them even
clean after the place too, even when the litter was there before the soup
kitchen came.


Its
funny how you say soup kitchens cause the garbage. Let me ask you, Dato, have
you ever been to a pasar malam or pasar ramadhan? Where people dump garbage as
they walk, after they buy food and after they sell their goods? Have you ever
walked on a street the morning after a pasar malam? Its infested with garbage,
plastic wrappers. Oh go shut them down too, why not.


Do you
know why the rakyat is so unhappy with this ban? 


Well first of all, it is not
your city, it is ours. We paid you to run it. 


Secondly, is because this shows
what your priority is, which is image over welfare. Orang melayu kata, biar
papa asalkan bergaya, mungkin itulah pegangan hidup Dato. 


And thirdly, is
because we know how it is like to fall. Sometimes, life pulls the carpet under
you and you crash with everything around you, and you need help to get up.
There is no shame in asking for help, but there is great shame when you are so
arrogant, you stop others from seeking help. 


You may be blessed today, you
drive your fancy car, live in your big house and eat delicious food all day
everyday. But like those who queues up for free food, they did not ask for that
moment when their life turned upside down. 


And lastly, is because, we, the
volunteers/donors, take it upon ourselves to settle a problem that should have been
YOUR responsibility. But in our mission, you ban us?


I
sincerely hope you learn a few lessons on humility before life teaches you the
hard way. There’s no shame in wanting to erase poverty and homelessness. In
fact I think its noble. 


But there is shame in condemning others, just because
life is a little harsh on them.


I hope
you reconsider. But nonetheless, I know the NGOs will not let your ruling stop
them, because they are the heroes. They have always been the heroes.


Thank
you.