May 11, 2016

The Other Side of KL

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is like a heart to the body and a pacemaker to the heartbeats. The magnificent skyscrapers touching the sky, incredible architectural details portraying their own beauty, a vast, accessible transportation means making travelling so much easier and whatnots have created a significant invisible boundary between the urban lifestyle and the other side of KL. The other side of KL in this context represents a large community of citizens that most of us do not aware of, including the old me.

Living in a cozy place, where we can study comfortably and sleep soundly, we are sheltered from the awfulness of reality some people are facing and struggling with. The other side of KL is often hidden during the day, and more noticeable during the night, when the moon starts its shift and the darkness takes place. While we are having dinner with our family and friends either in a house or restaurant, these people have nowhere to go, no money to buy food and no clothes to change.

I've always wanted to get involved with this community and participate in any action plan that can bring me closer to them because who knows, my presence might ease the burden they carry on their shoulders and their stories may give a big impact and a chance for me to learn from them. Proposing and initiating are beyond my ability, so for now, taking part is more than enough and this wish became a reality with the help of my friend, Nawal who brought the 6 of us to join the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen, giving food to the homeless.

As the clock continued ticking and time passed by, the number of vehicles reduced, shops closed one by one, and the usual hustle and bustle turned to idle and quiet. We searched for the Pertiwi's van from one area to another area, but failed to find the van. 2-hour of van hunting and and we gave up, telling ourselves, maybe that day was not our day and we'll come back again next time. We even went to the 'Pusat Transit Gelandangan' (a building acts as a transit place for the homeless), but none of the Pertiwi volunteers were there, so we deliberately turned back to the last checkpoint just to try our luck for the last time. We were kinda devastated to notice the absence of any van in that area. As Nawal steered the car slowly towards left, we saw a number of people were lining up and also the van!


Nawal parked the car by the roadside and we delightfully headed to where the Pertiwi team and the van were. The Pertiwi volunteers were very welcoming. They moved aside to make way for us to join the crew, and even taught us how to do those tasks. Pertiwi is a non-governmental organisation, which goes to a few areas 4 times every week, together with hundreds of food for the homeless. Other than that, they also provide a medical team with a few doctors who bring along some medications for those who need.

The numbers of homeless who came to get food started to reduce and none of the cups of coffee was left to be distributed, indirectly telling us that our work was almost come to the end. Before we called it a day, we went to the medical team and observed their tasks. One of the doctors was checking a woman's ear. The doctor told the woman that she had some infection and he would write a referral letter for her to bring it to Hospital Kuala Lumpur. Everything seemed normal, a patient meeting a doctor, telling him what's wrong to get medication, but the later conversation between them gently touched my heart, making me started crying inside.

Doc: Awak tahu tak HKL kat mana? 
Doc: Do you know where's HKL?

Lady 1: Tak tahu doctor. Kau tahu kat mana tak? *sambil pandang kawan sebelah* 
Lady 1: I don't know. Do you know? *looking at her friend*

Lady 2: Tahu tahu. Nanti aku bawa kau. 
Lady 2: Yes, I know. Later I'll bring you there.

Doc: Awak pergi sana, kasi diorang surat ni. Bawa sekali RM 1. 
Doc: Go to HKL and give them this referral letter. Bring along RM 1.

The first lady looked at her friend and asked..

Lady 1: Kau ada seringgit tak? 
Lady 1: Do you have RM 1?

The second lady nodded her head.

The conversation was fast, but the memory of it still can be recalled vividly from my mind. Usually people ask for RM 1 because they don't have change, but in this case, she asked because she didn't have any money. The question triggered my lacrimal duct to increase the secretion from lacrimal gland, producing a watery glaze over my eyes. Terdetik dalam hati, "Ya Allah, RM 1 tu besar untuk diorang. Aku ni banyak membazir." Though they looked fine and happy go lucky kind of persons, yet we've never been in their shoes, so we know neither their struggle nor their battle.

One of my friends asked them whether they have a job or not, then they told us that they had tried to find and are still finding, but couldn't secure any even one. We had a nice chit chat with them, asking about their families so on and so forth (they don't have parents and they came to KL to find a job), and before we made our way back home to Bukit Jalil, both of them gave some precious advices to us and the most precious thing I heard being uttered by them was respect and do good to your parents while they are still alive. 

It might be just a tiny simple advice, but many people neglect it. Sometimes, those who have less know certain things better than those who have more.

It was really saddening and heart breaking to see, especially a family with 3 small kids and elderly people, at the age around 60+, lining up to get some food for dinner and hot coffee to make them feel warm for a minute or two in the cold windy night. The bitterest tears shed over the incident are for the feelings that can't be described and the ignorance I overlooked.

May Allah ease everything for them. Amin.

Awat bulat sangat muka hang, Dylla


  1. "Experience is the best teacher". Tulah, kadang-kadang cemburu tengok betapa kuatnya diaorang hadap masalah hidup but still boleh senyum, tabah apa semua hurm. Anyway good job kakakku!

  2. seronoknya... boleh belajar banyak benda. Alhamdulillah, kadang-kadang kita lupa nak bersyukur dengan apa yg kita ada sbb kita sibuk sangat nak apa yg kita tak ada :/

    teringin nak join aktiviti mcmni T_T

  3. I lived the life before. PKS fed me for me to be walking another day, every other day, with my own two feet. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. I had no one ringgit nor coins in my pocket.. Consistently, for almost 18 months. But had food and friends that didnt think about how much money i have, coz we didnt have any. Peace be upon u, doc. There's simple more than meets the eyes with the homeless and the poor. They're me frens. And my heroes.

    1. May peace be upon you too. Yup, I second that. There are things we can learn from them. Things that we might not see. Things that we might neglect.