Homeless is a serious issue around the world.
Different definitions of homelessness are used in different contexts. Generally, homelessness is defined as a person who “lacks of a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence.” Lacking of shelter can be affecting one’s health condition, productivity, etc. Number of homeless is proportional related to the country economic too.
I started to visit the homeless years back when i just stepped into the college life. Every last day of the Chinese New Year (Chap Goh Meh) will be the first day of the year of the visitation. On the night itself, we will stop by convenience shop and start chip in money to buy food and daily needs. Then , we will be driving around the city center and start distribute to the homeless.
All this while , i never approach the public and never realize the power of social media.
This year, thanks to the power of social media especially Facebook! To Mark Zuckerberg ! Thank you for such an amazing platform !! Thank you Mark, thank you Facbook, thank you everyone!
11th February 2017
As usual, kicked start the visitation at 930pm. 13 person, 5 cars. We were stopping by at KK Mart to get the 1st round goods.
Ang pao for the kids and the elderly!
We distributed different categories goods to each cars. Some store food and beverage, some store women and baby daily needs, some store clothes and etc.
13 individuals with 13 pairs of hands. We are good to go now!
The homeless has different backgrounds. Unemployed, drugs addicts, and etc. Some of them are really tight in budget and they couldn’t afford the high rental rate in the city whereas some were just lazy. There are also some ‘fake homeless’ who were just so greedy to get free food and free stuff . They knew about the distribution hour and they will make their time to wait at that specific location to wait for free stuff. This is really bad. I prefer not to make any personal judgement or assumption on this scenario but I think we should really look into the real problems and not just reaching out blindly. *I will elaborate more on the real story behind these homeless later in this post*
There are also foreign workers who trying to save on their salary or some even have no working permit and so they hardly get a proper job to sustain their commitments.
The most heart ranching scene of the night after reaching out hundreds of homeless was this old couple.
Location: Jalan Pasar, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.
They arrange all their needs at the side neatly. They were neatly dressed. They have blankets, newspaper of the day, glasses, umbrella, etc. WHY ARE THEY HOMELESS ?????
The grandpa was then realized about our arrival. I gave him an Ang Pao and asked him if we can offer them a place to stay. He rejected my offer and said :” Thank you very much.”
I don’t understand why.
It was 2a.m. I thought it was too late to continue our conversation and i decided to go back to them on the next day.
12th February 2017
I managed to see them at the same spot.
We got them sleeping bags too.
This time, i decided to take my time to understand about them. I did a live stream on my FB page in order to update the people who are very much concerning about their situation.
The grandpa, 82 years old , from Penang.
The grandma, 80 years old, from Melaka, stayed in Singapore for some time previously. Identity card was stolen.
They have been homeless for 8 months. The last residing room is at Pandan Indah with a rental rate of MYR 470. There were then ‘chased out’ by the owner because the couple couldn’t afford for the rental anymore. Since then, they moved out and started to sleep along the streets. First, they tried to sleep at the bus station but grandma was then fall down from the seat so they moved to sleep in front of the shop-lot. During the day time, they have to leave by 6a.m. before the shop open and will only be back at around 7p.m. in the evening. They have few bags of personal belongings and grandpa said that they felt blessed that the security guard of the hotel next door was kind enough to help them to store their belongings secretly in his rest room. The guard had been also taking good care of them too. *I met him and i sincerely thank him for that. He is really nice and he also helped the couple to pack their stuff when we went to pick them to hotel*
Grandpa had been working very hard for the past years. He is still looking for job but no one willing to hire him anymore due to his age. Grandma is still working as a volunteer worker at the nearby Siamese Temple.
Their only source for daily expenses is very much depend on the public. Grandma can get free food from the temple and grandpa can get free food from St John Church which is also nearby to them. Sometimes, they get cash (MYR 5/ MYR 10/ MYR 20) from some kind anonymous too.
According to the grandpa, they do get offer from the St John Church to send them to the old folk home at Rawang. They rejected the offer because they wish to walk around while they still can walk. He claimed that if there were sent to old folk home, they will lost their freedom . They wish to continue their current daily routine while they still able to do so.
” I don’t want to go into the homes. I wish to walk around and popo can also go to the temple and run her daily routine. I wish i can still walk around before my life comes to the end.”
There is another lady named Elain tried to help them for quite some time. She bought them some daily needs and gave them some cash. She tried to convince them to old folk home as well. Besides, she did offer few nights stays for them too while sorting out their permanent shelter. Grandpa rejected. He insisted that he can’t leave their current sleeping spot because he afraid some homeless will take over that spot. Grandpa also mentioned that that sleeping spot so far is good. The only thing is that those drugs addicts will steal their belongings and sometimes they will be totally lost their sleeping nights when it rains heavily.
Interesting part was that the grandpa thought i was Elain at first. I reminded him to keep the Ang Pao that i gave to him so that the drug addicts wont steal the money and i also mentioned to him that i have included my contact inside the Ang Pao. But then , he showed me Elain’s number and said that :” Yes, i have your number with me…”
That moment make me felt like i am in some kind of drama. Her contact number is exactly same as my contact number!
I contacted Elain.
The world is just so small. Elain happened to be the ex-school mate of one of my friend! Now, i am keeping in touch with Elain to sort out their permanent shelter.
That night, we spent few hours to chat with them. We also found that grandma is having some health problem recently and it is most probably due to sleeping on the street under rain for quite some time. She kept waking up around 3a.m due to difficulty of breathing. Grandpa has to take care of her so both of them didn’t get to sleep well too.
That night, i had made a deal with grandpa. I told him that i will bring him to the bank the next day and help him activate his bank account. I also told him that there are a bunch of good people trying to help them on their shelter too. I have also successfully convinced them to stay at our friend’s hostel for some nights before we sort out their permanent place.
13th February 2017
Picked up grandpa and help him activated his BSN bank account with some cash.
Then picked up a walking stick sponsored by Matthew. Thank you so much Matt! Grandpa has difficulty to walk due to his weak knee.
We picked them up again around 1030p.m.
We understand from them earlier that they want to stay somewhere nearby so that they can still run their daily errands like usual. We were very thankful that one of our friends who is running hotel business agreed to help them on their temporarily stay before we get a suitable permanent place.
Here, i wish to take the oppoturnity to say a big THANK YOU to Jeremy too. He is the one who have been assisting me. Thank you Jem!
Revopackers is a backpackers hostel located just behind Berjaya Times Square. This is not an advertorial. I sincerely appreciate what Revopackers had done. They really help a lot because it is not easy to find a suitable place for them in such a short time.
There are staircases. The staff under Revopackers also will taking care of their steps expecially grandpa. Besides, they also arranged the big room with attached bathroom opposite the person in-charge’s restroom so that anytime the couple can easily reach them if they need help.
We have arranged their belongings and also brought them some water and foods. We make sure everything is good for them and also taught them how to lock the door and be safe.
It was a Valentine’s eve. They had a good rest and happy with their room.
14th February 2017
We went back to check on their stay. Everything went well.
15th February 2017
I have called in many numbers for the rental. Nothing positive.
Owner refuse to rent to the couple when they heard about their age.
” Har? 80s?! Why do you guys let them stay outside? 80s cannot. Alot of issues. Sorry.”
” Not accept.”
” Cannot la !!! I don’t take old people!”
It has been very hard for me. Not easy. Really not easy to get even a room for them. I am having problem with their permanent stay. Please help if you can. Please do.
That night, I went back and had a chatting session with them. and brought them food.
From the conversation, i suspect that they do have children. But, they told me they don’t have children earlier.
I do not not the reason and i think there might be a story behind.
I also found that grandma is having short term memory. She have been repeating things and forget what i told her in just minutes.
Grandpa have been doing his best to take care himself and grandma.
Grandpa can converse very well in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien.
Grandma can speak Cantonese.
They are nice but they may be abit demanding on their permanent stay. I do understand that they really want some freedom and wish to walk around when they still can.
For now.. I hope we can help the best we can.
I have Grandpa’s bank account. I will not reveal it yet as i think that deposit cash directly to his account may not be the best option and may not really help.
Another thing that we noticed while we help them to move , grandpa is a smoker. I do understand it is not easy to change the habit but smoking has a cost too. Besides, I am still not clear about their real background . Not too sure if any other bad habits existing.
They are now staying at Revopackers, Jalan Pudu.
Phone: +603 9224 7655
Address: 258, Level 2, Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
I am also figuring out how to set up a proper platform to collect funds for their permanent stay too. Meanwhile, if anyone can help or anyway that we can get a place for them, please do contact me.
I am planning to get them a 12 months long of room rental. Market rate for a room rental around that area should be around MYR 400 or so.
Contact ::JC 011 528 55555
Here, i would like to thank everyone who are in this with me!
The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. There is no other better word to express how much i appreciated your help. Thank you is all i can say. Thank you very much! God bless!!! #blessings4u