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…

Kuala Lumpur: Homelessness, Revisited

Homelessness is not a new societal dilemma in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, homelessness affect even beyond the urban and rural poor. Often communities struggle with high cost of living, poor mental health, societal stigmatization and unemployment. Malaysia, with its 30-odd million people, is blessed with natural resources, surrounded by non-threatening neighbours, a wealth of knowledge left behind by her colonial masters. Malaysia, my country, has moved largely away from an agricultural nation, into the sophisticated, modern country that it is now, with Kuala Lumpur as its…

Compassion Is Not An Embracing Virtue

The tudung-clad Malay girls who were seen hugging and kissing members of a K-pop band at a concert in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday have been given a week by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) to come forward or face arrest, Utusan Malaysia reports. (The Malaysian Insider). Meanwhile the institutions in Malaysia neglect social concerns on rampant poverty, poor education system, and marginalization of young people. However they, these mighty moralistic bodies have the resources and time to purge those they classify as deviants.…

BlackBerry Prepaid Packages from TrueMove, AIS, TuneTalk and Celcom

I travel often to Thailand, and depend a lot on my BlackBerry for internet and communication. In the land of smiles and armed with my BB Bold 9790, I have tried the local telcos, for prepaid BB packages from Dtac, AIS and True. While as in Malaysia, I’ve tried TuneTalk, Maxis, Digi and Celcom. Huge difference to the pricing of the packages and the service. Let’s start (click on the images) with… MALAYSIA I’m inclined to stick with Celcom at this rate, solely for the…

A Glimpse of My BlackBerry Passport

After several agonizing days, scores of phone call inquiries to a clueless Malaysian telco (Celcom) and friends, I was able to purchase the BlackBerry Passport at the Celcom shop in Midvalley, Kuala Lumpur. The cost: RM2,399.00 In the video my younger brother, Zuhair, decided to admire it when I left the table to pay for the coffee.     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…

BlackBerry Passport in Malaysia? Not yet

BlackBerry Passport. I’ve been waiting for this, with an unconventional energy that is truly unfitting of a relief-cum-outreach worker. I have my sins, the Zashnain-stamp-of-approval, one that borders on attachment unbecoming of my so-called “activist” persona. Besides my prized swiss army watch, the so-called “sins” of materialism, I am stubbornly a firm believer of BB. I couldn’t care less of what others thought about BB, not my problem if others ridiculously fancy apps and invulnerabilities over BB security. Anyway, I’ve set aside some money to…

Pulau Pinang, a brief time of recuperation before the journey

Its always good to be back in Penang, even though the times spent is usually on a cocktail of work and pleasure. Relaxation, no matter how brief, is something of a rarity nowadays for me. The cold weather, with the whipping sea wind and gloomy sky promised moments of rain. Nature didn’t disappoint me, as Penang was covered by the kisses of the storm. Magnificent, really. Outreach, that dreaded word that armchair activists glued to their computer screens and urban Starbuck-sipping social workers dread. Outreach is…

Societal Pursuit of Gratification, during Ramadan

We swing, most often with relish, from euphoric intensity, then to the other, to immortality of emotions; self-emptiness, shreds of self.   Ramadan, during the month, Muslims engage in the ritualistic obligation of fasting; the deprivation of cycles, the consumption of limitation, of modest portions and outwardly respectable behaviours. Not an easy task for many, if one is conscious of the glares and the mock looks of disgust from other Malaysian Muslims. Society’s obsession with trying to subdue others into similar paths of emotional repression,…

Toilet-Canteen uproar, now sedition comes into play

While its common for school administration and municipal councils to advocate for higher standards of health, particularly when children are involved… well not exactly in one Malaysian school. Some children ended up in a place where people won’t even think to bring food and drinks. UMNO nationalists want whistle-blowers to be charged for sedition, maybe to cover up the disgusting culture of segregation or merely to silence people into submission under this draconian law. Welcome to Malaysia.   ZashnainAn avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain…

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,…