Soup Kitchen for Marginalized, Homeless Community in Kuala Lumpur

Homelessness and marginalization affects many countries, especially when development and urbanization grows unchecked by the government and ignored by society. Malaysia likes to highlight its modern cities and dramatic shift from an agriculture-based nation to a sophisticated civilization. Yet behind the scenes, and often blatantly staring at your face, poverty and hardship grows in Kuala Lumpur, a self-declared city of successes. On May 3 in KL, I observed a group of young volunteers, mobilized by Dapur Jalanan, providing free food and drinks to about 80…

The High Cost Of Wishing For Better Days

Strong winds, dreadfully cold temperature. Night time, in Bangkok. Its the “winter” season in most parts of Thailand. How bizarre, and how odd. That word, “winter” in this region. The chills forces me to walk further, past the narrow alleys and the dim lights almost hovering. No fog, but expecting the early morning mist much later. Where are the others? The homeless. In this wretchedness one calls a city. They’re not dead, they couldn’t be dead, at least I hope not. The intense cold offers…

Rohingya: A Dying Community

They are branded as one of the most persecuted communities in the world by the UN, yet nobody knows their name. They are the forgotten people. In recent weeks, the escalating violence has displaced more than 90,000 Rohingya people. Villages are being burnt, people are being abducted, concentration camps are being created, women are being raped and children mercilessly killed. The persecution against the Rohingya can be described in no other terms but that of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Check out: Burma’s Rohingya – The…

Memories of Misi Bangkok

Came across an old post by Nurul Izzah, a member of the Malaysian Parliament. We have met only a couple of times, the last bit was after the “Misi Bangkok” – she treated me to a great brunch in Kuala Lumpur, I was still in hunger-mode then as it was difficult to find food during the great flood of Thailand. Nurul has a good heart, she offered support to me when I needed it, the funds she raised was crucial in the relief work in…

Q & A With @isaanlife about Buddhism in Thailand

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Zash: How long have you been living in Thailand and practising Buddhism? Tom: I arrived in Thailand in August of 1995 and have been in Northeast Thailand, with the exception of a few trips to Laos and Bangkok, been here without break since that time. Practicing Buddhism? Well what time is it? I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. I was first introduced to Buddhism during the war in Vietnam. Through my adult years I read about Buddhism in its many forms, as…

Life is Precious, Don’t Forget That

I have to say, I think that we are in some kind of crossroad as to whether civilization is civilized, or has it turned onto itself in its raw prejudicial and cannibalistic way, consuming others due to their bizarre desire or merely just because the individual is different from the rest of the common folk. Are we really qualified to take on the responsibility of nurturing life; or have we grown in complete redundancy and apathy as our religion? Life is not about society and its conformity to…

My Neighbourhood – Official Trailer – A Just Vision Film

(25 mins) When a Palestinian boy loses half of his home to Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, he joins his community in a campaign of nonviolent protests. Efforts to put a quick end to the demonstrations are foiled when scores of Israelis choose to stand by the residents’ side. ZashnainAn avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can…

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…

Visiting young friends in the plantation

The heat wave is stifling hot in Malaysia. My friends in Thailand report the same, though the humidity here is crushing – suffocating which drains the energy and leaves one hallow. My journey took me to a plantation, some 17 kilometers from a small town called Bagan Lalang. The palm oil plantation was almost in the middle of nowhere, the weather was terrible. Surrounded by tall trees and ferns, I walked with my young guide, armed with a backpack and my mobile phone. Wasn’t much…

From darkness to darkness deeper yet

By a combination of intense thinking and mystic concentration, some people enabled their minds to roam with rarely attainable freedom, sometimes so successfully that they came upon fresh and valuable insights. When they did reach new theories and perceptions about the meaning of life and death, they were eager to share their discoveries with others. Many then left their hill retreats and wandered through the countryside, the cities, preaching to all who would listen. In this day and age, we would brand them “madmen” —…