Tragedy of the Poor, Living in Societal Apathy

Sunday, hellishly humid and blisteringly hot. Bangkok. I’m in one of those random moods to explore places, away from anything that looks and feels elaborate in structure and decoration. The feet, thighs and lower back set in motion, and I’m off. Bangkok holds much for a traveller, particularly when one is away from the main roads and shopping malls. Life, as in many cities, begins in the older districts, where tourists would not venture, where the middle-class are conveniently absent. Elderly Thai man walks slowly…

As if people cared about the urban poor

The homeless and urban poor in Kuala Lumpur are an invisible community. They roam about the city, hidden by the shadows, or trying to earn the daily wage in the filthy back lanes from some odd job that most working class Malaysians won’t want to get their hands dirty. Whether the poor are locals or foreigners, it matters not to Malaysian society, the Institution does not seem to see nor positively react to the presence of the untouchables. They are rendered invisible from societal prejudice,…

Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State: “Its Been Done Before”

A new investigation by Global Witness reveals the systemic corruption and illegality at the heart of government in Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest state. This film, shot undercover during the investigation, reveals for the first time the instruments used by members of the ruling Taib family and its local lawyers to skirt Malaysia’s laws and taxes, creaming off huge profits at the expense of indigenous people and hiding their dirty money in Singapore. Singapore, the “New Switzerland” where money goes in and disappears. So much for anti-corruption in…

Demonstration: Land Rights and Poverty in Thailand

  There was over 900 marginalized people in front of the Government Building on 2 Oct 2012 [Bangkok]. They gathered, to show solidarity and for the government to address their needs and concerns affecting their land, homes and rights. Many are poor folks, those living in urban slums, in hardship and a minority of those struggling against statelessness.  Despite the incredible heat and humidity, hundreds listened to the speeches of their community leaders. Some spoke about the delays of development, others mentioned rights to land,…

Special Privileges and Odd Characteristic

Tremendous physical endurance, passive courage and good breeding are among the more admirable qualities of those living in splendour. Such qualities require the separation of the weak from the strong. The poor are not even in this equation; they simply do not qualify to be rubbing shoulders with the elites. Characteristics that are more typically refined – and of much greater cultural significance – than a liking for expensive alcohol or speaking with an accent are the bizarre national tendencies towards melancholy and scepticism. The…

Forgotten, the child continues to beg in the sea of ignorance

Yes Bangkok is a city of contradictions and life is often brought about by extremes and radical ignorance. I’ve noticed that despite the wealth and knowledge of society, there’s very little motivation to change, that growth is a comatose element of Bangkok. Elitism has grown fat from the ignorance and fear of a complacent society, not really caring about inspiring others to make those changes. I was near a shopping mall, and saw a child begging on the street, surrounded by an army of shoppers…

The lost child gnawing at the edge of reality

Children, roaming aimlessly, many with worries on their faces. Faces are drawn and haggard from homelessness and work. Even when human rights are championed by the protectors of humanity, the void of child poverty grows wider. Such fiendish hypocrisy is fed by the elitism of social causes, preferring trendy concerns over beggarism. Everyday, young people are depleted of their hopes and dreams, living at the mercy of barbaric neglect and by a knowledge-bent, refined society. It is not as if we do not have the skills and…