Tag: society

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 pulsing, growing heart of bourgeoisie appetite.

However with rapid urbanization, poor public administration, clueless NGOs and a money-hungry society which seems to enjoy feeding upon itself, the marginalization of communities has grown. Homeless folks, visibly more Malaysians than foreigners, some from the distant shores of Malaysia’s Borneo, of Sabah and Sarawak. They, and some with their families, flock the roads, back lanes, the commercial centres and the capitalistic monuments of modern development. Yet despite their visibility, they find that the middle-class urbanites and elites are more often uninterested in helping the poor, those in need. Class-based prejudice, sometimes infused with racism, and even xenophobia, is the dominating component that makes Kuala Lumpur what it is now.

A city, filled with loss.

Elder, homeless and begging in the heart of capitalistic Kuala Lumpur.
Elder, homeless and begging in the heart of capitalistic Kuala Lumpur.
A temporary home, in plain sight of corporate offices. Yet urban society ignores the homeless, maybe hoping they would simply disappear.
A temporary home, in plain sight of corporate offices. Yet urban society ignores the homeless, maybe hoping they would simply disappear.
Urbanites usually ignore the plights of Malaysians and foreigners who are homeless in the city.
Urbanites usually ignore the plights of Malaysians and foreigners who are homeless in the city.
Modernisation of Kuala Lumpur. Only the elites enjoy true luxury and comfort.
Modernisation of Kuala Lumpur. Only the elites enjoy true luxury and comfort.
This couple does not appear to be hungry or homeless, but they were begging near KL Sentral.
This couple does not appear to be hungry or homeless, but they were begging near KL Sentral.
Under the scorching sun, surrounded by Malaysian monuments of development, this man begs for coins.
Under the scorching sun, surrounded by Malaysian monuments of development, this man begs for coins.

 

 

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

ICT Future: Lets Start with Participation in Thailand

Often young people are the first to take advantage of information and communication technologies. I see this in developing countries within the region, a prevalent desire for continuous content consumption, be it via sharing on social media, engaging on the internet, advocacy with mass dissemination and, or simply for one’s private entertainment. Traditional sense of socializing, at least during the “old days” of my youth, have been aggressively challenged and even in this day and age of modernization, we still see the present socialization challenged by young people and by people of my generation.

New technology is not only bringing about the uniformed culture of information. There has been frequent outbreaks of anti-conformism to this culture, bordering on the right to internet freedom to socio-political self-awareness of ideas and propagandas. Such culture is visible in almost every corner of the youth community, where experimentation, tentative prodding and the curiosity swells.

Though often, such in Thailand, this behaviour of internet autonomy is discouraged by the cultural conservatives, right-wings and the authorities. Some groups, traditionalists fearing a backlash to their lives or to their sense of “order” and make it a point to exclude young people in decision-making process, such as in consultation for the country’s national internet-related policies.

I’ve noticed, such exclusion takes place when authorities demand for development (in this case, a so-called “reform”) of national strategies with the secret introduction of a new set of laws, governed by a rebranded government strong-arm, called “Ministry of Digital Economy“. Though in truth, its a far-removed agency with politically motivated individuals championing its conception. I worry about the digital divide, in itself caused by the junta-inspired groups of decision-makers, with unsolved social inequality, marginalization and that obvious institutional desire to ensure conformity.

So let’s start with basic questions, by facilitating the brain juices of young people:

Are there government programs and policies that specifically address the right of participation of not just young people but also the masses into consultation in drafting laws that affect ICT? If so, what areas of focus?

Are there government-related programs to empower young people to be part of the growth of ICT in Thailand? What about NGO programs? Is the private sector involved, and what about individuals?

Have young people or youth organizations been involved with the present planning of the proposed laws? And what about the evaluation of the future impact of such laws on them?

Without their active participation in decision-making and problem-solving, and without taking into account of their concerns on censorship, surveillance and other internet regulations, the government will surely place young Thais on the wrong side of the digital divide.

 

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Grand Delusion: A Road-Map To Nowhere

Thailand apparently has road-maps for everything under the sun. Road-maps for national harmony, road-maps for unity, road-maps for peace in conflict-torn south Thailand, road-maps for digital economy, and road-maps for solidifying power.

This “road-map” is of course debatable, something that politicians and right-wing factions widely abuse when they speak to their audience, to the unconvinced rural crowds or the applauding teary-eyed urban middle class. Road-maps, aye, so often mentioned by uniformed powers that at times the general public forgets to ask what is this so-called strategy all about. I, for one, am clueless.

Clueless, simply because there is no elaboration, no detailed explanation to such a plan, during the weekly rants on telly, and in public forums organized by patriots. Often enough, officials mouth what has been repeated a thousand times, almost to the point that they themselves believe in the delusions.

Let’s take housing in Bangkok as an example, and more specifically, permanent and temporary homes for the urban poor.

Bangkok’s local government, sort of a city hall system with its own governor, has been pretty silent about housing for the poor. No word about access to low cost housing, and silent about the increasing homelessness in the mega city, this heart of the land of smiles. And what of the residents of slums, squatting on land that clearly does not belong to them. In some areas, local and foreign residents of such crowded communities, and those wandering from one street to another,  are without access to the road-map.

The obvious absence of rights-based social programs for those who are in desperate need for housing is the only sure thing in this equation. Oh aye, and also the missing Bangkok governor; who seems to be frequently away from the limelight after the coup of 2014.

With the increasing speculation of an economic meltdown in the country, starting with Bangkok, people are genuinely concerned about their wages, their livelihood, their bowl of rice. Families are worried about their children’s education, their debts and their homes.

Such concerns are not solely affecting the working class and the dirt poor, as you may already know. An economic slowdown will surely affect the middle class, particularly when people are uncertain about their future despite their government’s weekly assurances of a road-map for socio-economic recovery. What does this plan envision, and how are communities involved in shaping their future? No one knows, and not many dare to ask the ruling junta. So how now? Oh hell, I’m still clueless.

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Behind the Wall lies Misery

Pol Pot’s secret prison, code-named “S-21” during his genocidal rule (1975-79). Between 1-2 million Cambodians – and many thousands of foreigners – were starved to death, tortured, or killed, during this reign of terror.

When the Vietnamese Army invaded in 1979 the S-21 prison staff fled, leaving behind thousands of written and photographic records. Altogether more than 6,000 photographs were left; the majority, however, have been lost or destroyed.

Behind the wall lies misery
Behind the wall lies misery

 

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Malaysia’s Najib Facing Turbulence

Shook my head, what a mega embarrassment for Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak. The general election is around the corner, Malaysians are eager for the official announcement by Najib, yet typical of politicians and government, you’ll never get a straight answer from the clowns.

The government, political parties and politicians have been busy, giving out financial aid to Malaysians, making pledges that everyone knows would only cater to the elite few and talking rots from every corner of the country. As for Chinese New Year, the government brought in South Korea’s K-Pop entertainer, PSY, to perform for the crowd.

After watching the video, I can’t help but wonder why Najib or his Melayu-licking cronies are eager to stay in power. They are obviously unpopular among Malaysians, with the exception when you’re throwing money at them. The country needs leadership, definitely not Najib and UMNO.

 

 

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Rohingya: A Dying Community

http://akrockefeller.com/media/rohingya-the-forgotten-people/

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 Human Story

 

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

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 society’s standards (much less expectations!). Does a single person have the courage to really go along with the truth? Is one life more important than the thousands?

Or does one voice brings about justice compared to a million?

Life is precious. Don’t forget that.

 

 

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

A Spider on the Perimeter of its Web

When society is dissatisfied with its own expectation and need for luxurious living, it sets more rules and bureaucracy designed to improve the quality of life for the few.

They prefer slavery or something that resembles a uniformed standard of living and refined obedience.

Accordingly, they will hesitate to reduce anyone to a state of numb terror and then withdraw to their fine dwellings, high above the reach of the poor. Somewhat like a spider on the perimeter of its web.

If one person rouse herself to defiance, the societal pressure groups would dash out and destroy her reputation.

Such is the way of life we face nowadays. The world offers little in enlightenment, nor shows value to the individual. There’s no establishment that seeks to bring the minority to her knees. Society in itself is the cannibal of earthly desires, it strikes to consume its own merely to satisfy the whims of greed and arrogance.

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Prophetic eyes that peek at Bangkok

SKULL
SKULL
Skull in the distance

One can’t deny the oddity of this snapshot, which I took on a Saturday afternoon in Bangkok. The “skull” cloud seems to be peeking at the inhabitants of this city, watching… a bad omen? I don’t believe in such, but who knows. Some of my Thai friends seem to think so, wrapped up in their superstition and the usual-dose of gossips.

I have learned great many aspects of the Thai-psyche, and surprisingly there’s not much of difference between the superstitious minds of Malaysians and Thais. Almost everything could co-relate to a bad omen or good fortune. Make no sense to this traveler, nor would I want to indulge in such thoughts, though I would continue nodding my head while desperately trying to make sense of what people are trying to say.

Bangkok has been good to me. Yes, despite the hectic work, confusing schedules, misunderstands due to the lack of proficiency of my Thai (and their English), and the expectations which appears to always contradict with one another. Language has been a challenge although the blame may go on my shoulders, me and my inability to speak and understand basic Thai. Oh hell, no point beating myself silly on this issue.

I have met many people during my journey, with the exception of one asshole, the rest are friendly, warm, even though some may be as odd as me, on a whole, they are hospitable with their disarming smiles. I like Bangkok, despite the senseless madness that sometimes tend to grip the mechanics of this city, and the people.

 

 

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Our society: whitewash of hypocrisy and lies

An establishment strives on a set of governing principles or what they would term as “core values” within the Great Hierarchy. These are to ensure a logical, predictable outcome to what the stakeholders desire. Life, to them, must conform to the ideals of their creation. Dogma, supersedes life, and thus the Institution expects everyone to swallow the nectar of Order.

A person with a different viewpoint is commonly ostracised from society. Robbed of their identity within the mainstream community, these individuals are sent to the pisspot of redundancy. The Institution does not want a black sheep littering their hierarchy. Peer influence, that failing, peer pressure fueled by prejudice is placed upon the individual, in the quest to break the will of the black sheep.

Individualism is not appreciated by society, and as such, the majority resorts to cannibalising the minority, especially the marginalised and vulnerable. Such core values of conformity, merely a whitewash of hypocrisy and lies.

Don't Conform

Don’t Conform

Zashnain

An 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 be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Thailand
This work by Moui is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Thailand.
%d bloggers like this: